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More primer challenges

edited February 2014 in Ask the Beauty Brains
I continue to have challenges as I experiment with primers.  Here is one issue: I barely have time in the morning to apply sunscreen and then primer and then makeup.  So it's a big deal for me waiting for the sunscreen to dry down before applying primer.  But if I don't wait like 20-30 minutes, here is what happens: my normally transparent micronized zinc oxide sunscreen turns opaque white when I spread on the primer.  Then when I apply powder foundation, it shows up as a weird color against the white (too pale, too yellow, just wrong).  I even tried blow drying my face after applying sunscreen to see if I could speed up the sunscreen drying down.  Any ideas why the primer would turn the sunscreen opaque white like that?  It happened with more than one brand of primer.  Weird.


  • I think what is happening is this: 

    When you apply the sunscreen it goes through a dry down phase where the emulsion breaks as water evaporates. At the end of the dry down you're left with a water resistant film on your skin. 

    Why you apply another product on top of the sunscreen before the dry down is complete you're probably re-emulsifying the sunscreen ingredients which is what causes it to turn white. 

    Why doesn't drying your face with a blow dryer help? Probably because you're speeding the evaporation of water from the sunscreen but the oil droplets are still surrounded by emulsifier and haven't coalesced into a film yet. Therefore they're still easily re-emulsified (and turn white.)

  • edited February 2014
    Thanks, Randy.  So how long would I have to give it?
  • At any rate, the good news is this: if I apply primer VERY sparingly, and wait for my sunscreen to dry down all the way beforehand (again, in my experience this is a 20 minute or so proposition), I don't get the weird look, and I also have minimal to no irritation from either primer or makeup, and minimal to no primer residue after cleansing with my usual creamy cleanser.
  • I would have guessed 15 to 30 minutes for the sunscreen to set up a film so your 20 minute experience sounds right on target. 
  • Yeah, and one of my challenges is that I don't like to apply my sunscreen before brushing teeth, for fear of removing the sunscreen from around my mouth area (I tend to rinse the outside of my mouth area).  So my routine is that I shower, apply rosacea cream and moisturizer, then dry hair, then brush teeth, then apply sunscreen.  So that leaves me with nothing to do while I'm waiting for my sunscreen to dry down.  I could brush teeth before drying my hair, but my hair dries so quickly that it would dry funny while I'm brushing my teeth.
  • You might consider a sunscreen in an oil base instead of an emulsion. (Example: Vichy Laboratoires Capital Soleil SPF 30 Sunscreen Oil.) Since there's no water dry down phase you shouldn't have the same whitening problems. 

    Of course using a product like this on your face means you'll have to worry about the oils causing breakouts, irritation from the fragrance, etc but at least it gives you another option. 
  • Thanks, Randy.  My issue is that I have sensitive skin so any sunscreen product I use has to be "mineral" based.  It took me forever to find a sunscreen that agreed with me.
  • My only recommendation for you at this point is to consider a face transplant. I'm not sure if insurance will cover it or not. 
  • Sounds about right. We've exhausted the more conservative options;)
  • I hope I'm not being impolite. Being new around here, I don't know the protocols. However, have you thought of combining your sunscreen and primer into one product?  I have very sensitive skin and hate wearing sunscreens because they often irritate me, feel itchy and tacky, etc. I have been really happy with a 50 SPF BB cream from Kiehl's. If I need it, I use Laura Mercier concealer with a brush over the BB cream, and then powder over that. The Kiehl's has good staying power on me and has not irritated my skin at all, which is close to miraculous. It is called "Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream". The downside is there is a limited range of shades, as is true with many BB creams.

    It contains natural mineral pigments and seems to have a mixture of mineral and chemical sunscreens. My skin hates silicones and I was originally attracted to its silicone-free formula.

  • SusiL: These are the protocols: 

    Be nice to other Forum members. 
    Be open minded and respect the scientific method (e.g, don't automatically believe all the pseudo-scientific crap that's out there.)
    Buy all the Beauty Brains books. (The last one is optional but we'd really appreciate it!)
  • I wouldn't have thought anything was impolite except I suppose it does give me pause when something is prefaced by "I hope I'm not being impolite" or "please don't take offense, but..." I wonder--did I miss something? WAS there something impolite? :). Yes, I have considered combining sunscreen and primer and even tried mixing a little primer into my sunscreen (one of the few times I can say my skin had knife-like sensations...). Thanks for the recommendation of the kiehls product. I will try to get a sample.
  • I guess I did sound ominous! I just meant about jumping into an existing conversation. In the past, I've visited some message board that got quite snotty about it. That's all.

    Kiehl's is a great company for samples. There is a store near me, and I stop in for sample packets of the BB cream so I can keep them for travel. They're big enough for an overnight trip, maybe even two nights.

  • Rule No. 4: No snottiness allowed here! Only nice people need apply. 

    So in other words, welcome SuziL and feel free to jump into any conversation you want!
  • Wow, that does sound snotty. It's never occurred to me that I couldn't join a conversation as a newbie. Sounds clique-ish.
  • We're not like that here. Welcome!
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