PSA: There's an easy way to make your sunscreen stay on your face.

Sunscreen is arguably the most important skincare product in our arsenal. However, it has to be one of the most controversial, difficult to use and disliked products available. 

Too greasy, runny, very glowy, drying, leaves a white cast, irritating, and pore-clogging are just some of the things you hear about people's quests to find the ultimate perfect sunscreen they are happy to apply.

However, one of the biggest fears I always see people ask is, "Will it sting my eyes?"

Nothing is worse than when you start feeling that burning in your eyes as sunscreen spreads around your face throughout the day. But it doesn't happen with all sunscreens, and what might irritate one person's eyes will be fine for another, making it a challenging hurdle for many.

Watch: How to protect your skin from the sun. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Sunscreen is a film-forming product, which means it creates a film over your skin to be effective at adequately protecting your skin from the sun. This is why we always go on about making sure you are using enough sunscreen (hint: a quarter of a teaspoon) and reapplying every two hours – because you need to ensure you are getting adequate coverage throughout the day so you are protected.

Sunscreen tends to migrate naturally through the day as we sweat, touch our face, exercise and apply makeup – this is why we need to continuously reapply. Unfortunately, that also means that although you might not have placed your sunscreen near your eyes in the morning, it can begin creeping in and creating havoc by midday.


Luckily, I'm here to show you a few easy hacks to avoid the sunscreen eye sting and ensure you are comfortable wearing your sunscreen all day.

1. Pick the right sunscreen.

All sunscreens are formulated differently, with different filters, which means the sunscreen that stings one person's eyes might not hurt yours (and vice versa).

If you know you are prone to sunscreen eye sting, look for one specifically formulated for sensitive skin. These are often much gentler formulations that will be less likely to sting your eyes.

2. Set your sunscreen.

One of the best ways to avoid sunscreen stinging your eyes is to lightly brush it with a translucent powder. By using a powder, you help ''set'' that sunscreen in place, which means you will get far less migration (aka into your eyes) throughout the day.

How to do this? Using a brush or damp beauty blender, take a small amount of a powder such as the Elf Cosmetics Sheer High Definition Powder ($14), which is translucent, or the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder ($73), which is lightly pigmented, and lightly dust or pat over and around the eye area.

The powder will lock everything in place and ensure even oily skin people don't have sunscreen travelling into their eyes. 

3. Use a sunscreen stick.

Another great way to minimise your risk if stinging eyes is using a sunscreen stick around the eye area, rather than a regular cream sunscreen. If you do want to use your everyday sunscream on your face, ensure you leave a two- to three-centimetre margin around your entire eye area, then use a sunscreen stick for this delicate skin.


There is a wide range of convenient, small-sized SPF sticks out there to help you gently apply sunscreen around the eye area. Because these are usually formulated in a solid stick base, they tend to not slide around your face, as much as they are more grippy and will set in place.

4. Apply your primer first.

Primers are also skincare products formulated to create a grippy film over your face to ensure your makeup sits smoothly and lasts longer. This can also help stop sunscreen from seeping into your eyes throughout the day. 

Apply a small amount of makeup eye primer on top and under your eye area — the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eye Primer, $41, is perfect for this as it has a small doe foot applicator to get right around the eye area. 

Once that has dried, apply your sunscreen on the top as usual. This will give something for your sunscreen to grip onto and help lock it in place so it doesn't migrate as much.

Remember to always read the label on your sunscreen and follow all instructions on the bottle while reapplying every two hours. Sunscreen is essential, but it doesn't need to be painful!

Do you have any summer suncare tips you'd like to share? Drop them below.

Feature image: Supplied/Amelia Gartner.

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