Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturiser?

Article Read Duration 3 min read

The more we learn how skincare can benefit us, the more our multi-step skincare routines, well, multiply. Building a base that targets your concerns and skin type is a protective and strengthening measure that ensures your skin will look and feel its best, even as we grow older. However, your routine order needs to be properly considered for those products to work effectively. Knowing whether moisturiser or sunscreen goes first is essential to making sure you are properly protected from the harsh Australian sun. The correct combination and sequence of your sunscreen with other skincare products will prevent harmful sun damage from UVA and UVB rays, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and protect against premature ageing. To understand where you should place sunscreen in your skincare routine, as well as the way you should be applying it, read our comprehensive guide below

When to apply sunscreen in your skincare routine

Though we’re all familiar with the importance of sunscreen use in Australia, knowing which step sunscreen should be in your skincare routine can be tricky. Your face routine is all about knowing which ingredients require access to permeate the deeper layers of skin, and which help to build a protective barrier on our outer layer (called the epidermis). We’ve provided simple explanations on when to apply sunscreen in conjunction with your other products.


Sunscreen before or after moisturiser

An often-searched query is whether to apply sunscreen or moisturiser first. The answer depends on which kind of sunscreen you use, chemical vs. physical. Chemical sunscreens like the Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ are made from chemically active ingredients and need to be fully absorbed into skin in order to provide UV protection. So, if you’re using a chemical sunscreen, apply directly after cleansing and exfoliating, and before moisturiser. Physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreen), like the Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ create a barrier between you and UV rays by sitting on top of your skin. So, they need to be applied as the last step in your skincare routine, after moisturiser.

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.


Sunscreen before or after serum

Serums contain potent ingredients like antioxidants and acids and must be fully absorbed into skin to do their best work. Chemical sunscreens have a similar compound structure to serums and should be used in conjunction with them. Use your chemical sunscreen first to make sure that UV rays are properly protected against, and then apply your serum on top. When using a physical sunscreen, always know that it must be applied after all other products so that it can create a barrier. Apply physical sunscreens after serums and moisturisers.


Eye cream before or after sunscreen

Eye creams are used to prevent and treat dark circles and puffiness and are also a premature-ageing preventative. Different eye creams have different levels of thickness, but even those with watery substances should go on after your chemical sunscreen. In much the same way, all eye creams, regardless of formulas, need to be applied before physical sunscreens.

Can you mix sunscreen with moisturiser?

The simple answer to whether or not you can mix sunscreen with moisturiser is no. As a general rule of thumb, skincare products should never be mixed together because this dilutes the efficacy of the sunscreen.

How long should you wait to put on sunscreen after moisturiser?

To allow sunscreen to fully absorb, wait 20 minutes before sun exposure. This may seem like a time-consuming measure, but as sunscreen is arguably your most important skincare product, applying it correctly is worth the wait, so plan ahead.

Tinted vs untinted sunscreen

The choice between tinted and untinted sunscreen is a personal one. Unlike untinted sunscreen, tinted sunscreen provides light coverage alongside SPF protection. If you like achieving a more natural look than traditional foundations offer, tinted sunscreen might be a good option. Our tinted sunscreens are also non comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. For those with acne-prone skin, they are a good alternative to full makeup.

The importance of daily application

Staying across your skincare routine is integral to achieving your skincare goals. Most products take time and regular use to be fully effective, so make space each morning for your routine. Read below for answers on the daily application of moisturiser and sunscreen.



Include moisturiser in both your morning and evening routine. The concentrated hydration aids your epidermis to defend your skin against external irritants like the sun and pollutants, and actively rejuvenates and soothes. For those with oily and acne-prone skin, our Effaclar Duo Anti-Acne Moisturiser reduces breakouts and improves skin tone. Those with dry and sensitive skin should go for moisturisers that contain ceramides and vitamins for soothing, like our Toleriane Sensitive Facial Moisturiser.



Sunscreen is an essential part of your morning skincare routine, but it also needs to be reapplied throughout the day. If you go outside or sit near a window at work or home, make sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.

Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.


Anthelios is a pioneering player in the sun care market. Its broad-spectrum, very high protection is the result of almost 30 years of advanced clinical research into sun care and sensitive skin.




UVA rays disrupt skin’s inner building blocks such as collagen and elastin fibres. Over time,sun exposure causes a loss of plumpness and elasticity as well as wrinkles. UVB rays also stimulate patchy and irregular pigment production leading to dark spots and a sallow complexion. Globally, these changes in the skin are known as photo-ageing.
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Even on a grey and rainy day, skin is exposed to UV rays that will gradually cause the stigmata of photo-ageing to appear. To fully protect your skin, opt for sunscreen every day, not just when it’s warm and sunny. 
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TRUE. If detected early, 90% of skin cancers are curable. That is why screening is so important between dermatologist visits, to keep an eye on your moles and those of your loved ones.
And of course, make sunscreen a daily non-negotiable to protect your moles and prevent skin cancer.
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