The Setting Powder I Use to Prevent Sunburns and Breakouts

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Rio Viera-Newton. Photo: Rio Viera Newton

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Sunscreen during the summer months stresses me out. I know how important it is for my skin, and I’m terrified of getting melasma (dark spots), but there’s still the possibility that sunscreen will make me break out. There are a handful of sunscreens that I trust and that I’ve incorporated into my morning routine (after moisturizing, before concealing, for those who are curious), such as Cosrx Aloe Vera Sunscreen, La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX, and Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Sheer. But my dermatologist recently informed me that in order to effectively protect against harsh UV rays, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. And no matter how much I trust a sunscreen, applying more of it on top of the preexisting layer and makeup will, almost every time, clog my pores and make me break out. Wearing sunscreen is a nonnegotiable, but keeping my skin clear — well, you know me.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a product that solved my problem. It’s called the Supergoop setting powder, and everyone I respect in beauty — from YouTube guru Desi Perkins to makeup artist Shayna Gold — has posted about how excited they were about it. Packed with Ceramide 3 and Olive Glycerides to help nourish your skin, this product (a setting powder, like it says in the name) swears to provide your skin with SPF 45 protection all while providing a flawless matte (i.e., not shiny) finish. The powder comes in shades of translucent, light, medium, and dark, so you can use it to lock in your makeup or as a tinted powder for all-around coverage. I ordered it in the light shade, and when the package came in the mail, I unwrapped it as if I were the Tasmanian Devil.

I’m really happy to say that this product is good, guys. What’s perhaps most satisfying about it is that it both keeps my makeup in place — a feat on hot and sweaty summer days when your makeup is dying to slide off your face — and eliminates the need to top off my sunscreen. I put on the first layer in the morning, put on my makeup, put on this, and then reapply it throughout the day.

I have tons of foundations and primers that boast SPF claims, but it’s rare that I actually trust a makeup product to provide me with adequate protection from UV rays. I’ve been using this powder daily – even once on its own when I forgot to apply my regular sunscreen – and despite my daily chemical exfoliation and vitamin C use (two products that can make your skin particularly sensitive to UV rays), I haven’t had one sunburn or sunspot on my face. Today is officially the first day of what will hopefully be a long, warm summer — and your face needs protection even when you’re leaving the office to go pick up lunch.

Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder
$30, DermStore

Other Strat-approved products with SPF

Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen SPF30 Sensitive Skin
$25, Amazon

According to one superfan commenter on Amazon, this moisturizer will not make you break out. “Wow, I love this stuff,” they wrote. “Finally, a 30 SPF sun lotion with moisturizer that does not smell, does not make my eyes sting, and does not make my mouth taste like suntan lotion.”

Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream
$14, Amazon

Cosrx’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is Viera-Newton’s go-to for two reasons: “It’s super light — it’s not one of those sunscreens you can feel or smell on your skin all day. And it also will not break you out because, come on, Cosrx would never do that to us.”

Missha All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk
$21, Amazon

According to Strat writer Lori Keong, this sunscreen-moisturizer-hybrid from Korean skin-care brand Missha “blends into skin well without making you look pasty or oily.”

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The Best Makeup With SPF Is Supergoop’s Setting Powder