Staying safe in the sun and arming yourself with proper SPF is the #1 beauty tip out there, but not everyone is doing it right. On average, says Allure Magazine, “we apply about half the amount we need in order to get the SPF written on the bottle.” Most dermatologists recommend at least SPF 30 for everyday use. With skin cancer rates on the rise, up 300% since 1994, setting yourself up for summer sunscreen success should be the most important part of your beauty routine.

Not sure where to start or how to apply? Let us walk you through it with the answers to common questions.

What kind of sunscreen should I use?

The best sunscreen is one you’ll actually WANT to use. It may take you some time to find a formula you like, so feel free to experiment. Better Homes and Gardens reminders readers “you’ll have to date lots of sunscreens before you find one you fall in love with.” Aerosol, lotion, powder…find the one that looks, feels, and smells best to you.

How much should I put on?

Ignore the shot glass metaphor you’ve always heard. According to Dr. David Herschthal of The University of Miami “The number-one problem with sunscreens – all formulas – is that the average patient does not apply enough.” You need about half a teaspoon for your face alone and a heaping quarter-sized dollop for each body part (think each arm, each leg, stomach, etc.). When you’re using the right amount, it will be “thick and difficult to rub in at first, even if the formula is sheer,” says Allure.

Does the SPF in your makeup count?

Unfortunately, not really, but it doesn’t hurt. The Huffington Post points out “a two-in-one foundation/sunscreen certainly seems handy, but that doesn’t mean it works. Part of the problem is quantity: a dab of foundation isn’t the same as the amount of sunscreen you’d slather on your face.” So by all means pick makeup products with SPF, but you’ll have to apply the real deal for full protection.

Do I need to reapply?

Yes! “After two hours, the first layer is basically null and void,” says Susan Bard, M.D. of Vanguard Dermatology in New York City and WebMD agrees. Keep a powder sunscreen in your purse or desk drawer for on the go touch-ups. We like loading up our Retractable Kabuki Brush with powder sunscreen and popping it in our bag to apply later. Keep it safe and set a reminder on your phone to reapply every two hours when you’re in the sun.

What else can I do?

Sunscreen is most effective when paired with other forms of protection, like shade and clothing. Wear sunglasses and a hat when you’re in the sun and try to avoid being in direct sunlight midday, when the sun is most intense.

Taking sun protection seriously is a great first step for a lifetime of happy and healthy skin. Need to review the signs and symptoms of skin cancer? Visit