A portrait of woman winking while lying on a bed, sunlight hitting her skin.

When you have reactive and delicate skin, every skincare decision can feel like a gamble. Be wary of what products you put on your face, including . Finding the right sunscreen for sensitive skin – one that doesn’t cause flare-ups or leave a white sheen – is easier said than done, which is why many TikTok users have turned to SPF cocktailing. But is mixing sunscreen into moisturizer or foundation a stroke of brilliance or a disaster waiting to happen?

What Is SPF Cocktailing?

Blending products like serum, bronzer, or concealer with sunscreen is one of the new-ish skincare hacks circulating on TikTok. The reason behind this trend sounds good in theory: it tones down any white residue and shaves minutes off your . Additionally, people find that combining SPF with skincare products helps mitigate potential irritation.

Is It Okay to Mix Sunscreen With Other Products?

Sunscreen cocktailing may streamline your routine, but it might be just as bad as not wearing SPF at all. When you mix different types of sunscreens, or add other products to yours, you risk altering their formulas and compromising efficacy. Essentially, you’re applying less SPF than intended, which means you’re not getting the level of protection your skin requires.

Another problem with SPF cocktailing is that certain ingredients may not be compatible with the sunscreen’s formula. They may degrade or destabilize the actives that shield your skin from harmful . Your skin could also experience adverse reactions to your customized blend. It’s best to skip this BeautyTok fad and opt for a single sunscreen product that meets your needs, especially if you have sensitive skin.

What Is the Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin?

Selecting sunscreen for is a steep task. It should have a moderate level of defense against solar radiation, but you may want to consider other factors, too.

Know the difference between mineral vs. chemical sunscreens.

, also known as physical sunscreens, typically feature zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals sit on the surface of the skin and create a barrier to reflect and scatter UV light. What’s great about them is that they’re considered non-irritating, though they also tend to give off an ashy appearance, especially in darker skin tones.

On the other end, chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat. Unlike their mineral counterparts, their ingredients blend more seamlessly with the skin and are virtually invisible once applied.

Some chemical sunscreens can be harsh on sensitive skin, however, newer chemical filters now have better absorption and zero eye stinging or redness,

Try skincare-infused sunscreens that don't cause stinging or redness, or leave a white cast, like POND'S UV Hydrate Sunscreen and POND'S UV Bright Sunscreen. The former is infused with hyaluron for extra moisture, while the latter contains Gluta-Niacinamide to fade dark spots in three days. Most importantly, both have SPF 50 PA++++ – offering broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Look for hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic formulas.

Ideally, sunscreen for sensitive skin is formulated to reduce the risks of . A way to check this is by doing a . Rub a coin-sized layer on your arm or neck. Reapply at least once, then watch for any signs of discomfort like itching, swelling, and rashes.

If your skin is acne-prone, make sure to pick a lightweight and oil-free sunscreen. The formula prevents your pores from getting clogged and doesn’t result in oiliness.

How Should You Apply Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin?

Cocktailing your sunscreen is clearly out of the question. However, you can layer it with both makeup and skincare products. No need to worry about rendering it ineffective!

The golden rule is to of your skincare regimen. Apply approximately two fingers’ worth of sunscreen all over your face and neck, not forgetting the oft-neglected areas like behind the ears and eyelids. Wait a few minutes until your skin has absorbed the product before proceeding with makeup.

File SPF cocktailing under your “Do Not Try” folder because it does more harm than good. It’s just not worth the drama. Instead, use sunscreen for sensitive skin so you can enjoy the outdoors without compromising your skin’s health.