Sunburnt Skin: How to Cover Sunburn with Makeup

The warm weather during the summer months doesn’t just give you a chance to soak up the sun, it is also a time when sunburn is very common. Sun exposure for longer periods of time due to negligence, lack of knowledge, and improper sun protection can cause sunburn easily. The tenderness and burning sensation associated can seem unbearable at that moment. Nevertheless, these symptoms do die down but the redness caused due to sunburn is one such symptom that lasts longer than we want it to.

The goal of having fresh glowing skin quickly transforms into a nightmare of red and highly sensitive skin –  that makes you too embarrassed to step outside. In such a situation, the wonderful and dazzling world of makeup comes to your rescue. With the right technique and products, you can cover up the sunburn in just under half an hour and face the world with confidence.

woman in a white and blue floral dress wearing a brown straw hat, pouring sand towards the camera whilst smiling.

Here is an easy to follow step by step makeup routine for you to cover sunburn efficiently.

Apply Sunscreen

Moisturise the skin and apply sunscreen before you begin applying any makeup. Give the skin a few minutes to absorb these products and then start the makeup application.

Suggested Article: How To Protect Your Skin During A Heatwave.

Use Colour Corrector

To counter the redness, use a green corrector on the sunburnt areas and blend it well using a makeup brush or a makeup sponge. Blend gently and refrain from applying excess pressure on the tender skin.


Now, the next step would be to apply a liquid or cream foundation to cover up the redness completely. Use a medium to full coverage foundation to get the best results. Powder foundation can also be used as humidity during the summer months can make the liquid foundation difficult to last all day.

Suggested Article: How to Reapply Sunscreen While Wearing Makeup.


Use a finely milled powder to set the foundation in place, followed by a soft bronzer and blush if you prefer. Using a bronzer works well to add some colour back to your face.

Eye Makeup

Eye makeup and using a lip product is a completely personal preference. We recommend subtle eye looks such as a soft brown smokey eye or just a simple winged liner to add some panache to your look. Stark colours are best avoided as the main goal here is to cover up the sunburnt skin and not create an eye-catching makeup look.

woman wearing black sweater shielding her face from the blinding sunshine.

What Causes Sunburn and How to Prevent It

Sunburn occurs due to UV exposure through sunlight, as well as other light sources such as tanning beds. The UV rays sensitise the exposed skin and cause redness, tenderness, burning, swelling, and headache. The sunburnt skin is warm to touch and can also be painful. The first and foremost way to prevent sunburns is to minimise your exposure to the harsh UV rays present in sunlight.

Cover Up

Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs as much as possible. During the hot summer months, it is difficult to wear such clothing but breezy, cotton outfits can come to your aid in the heat. The full length of the sleeves and the pants will provide decent coverage on your skin and also let air pass through easily so that you do not feel too hot.

Hats, umbrellas, and scarves can be used to protect the facial skin from being directly exposed to sunlight.

Suggested Article: Prevent Smog and Pollution from Affecting Your Skin.

a woman standing in a field, during a heatwave, wearing a long dress and hat.


Another great prevention tip for sunburns is to use a good sunscreen.

Sunscreen blocks the harmful sun rays from damaging the skin and causing any type of sensitive reaction, like sunburns. This cosmetic product also shields the skin from developing skin cancer as the UV rays are blocked.

An efficient sunscreen that has an SPF ranging between 20 and 30 is ideal during most seasons. Make sure to check that the protection offered is both for UV-A and UV-B rays.

If you do plan to spend some time in the sun to develop a tan, limit your exposure to just a couple of minutes at a time. Also, always apply sunscreen at least half an hour before you step out. Sunscreen reapplication every two to three hours is recommended by dermatologists when the sun exposure is going to continue to ensure sun protection is optimal.

A tube of sunscreen by a swimming pool. Sunscreen is essential in helping to prevent sunburn.

How to Soothe and Treat The Skin Once Sunburnt?

Skin that is sunburnt becomes sensitive, red, and inflamed. The skin can also peel because of the adverse effects of the harmful sunlight on your supple skin. To treat sunburns, it is important to keep in mind these aspects so that appropriate measures can be undertaken to alleviate these symptoms and soothe the skin.

Here are some tips and treatment options that you can follow.

Clean the Affected Area

Once you are out of the sun, gently wash the affected skin with cool water. Do not use very cold water or any soap. The chemicals in soaps or body washes can irritate the sunburnt skin easily as it is already sensitised. Take a shower if you can to cool down the body temperature.

Apply Moisturiser

Pat the skin dry softly and apply a moisturiser ideal for sensitive skin. Check for skin soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and oatmeal in moisturisers. These ingredients work towards providing some relief from the redness and also the inflammation.

water pouring into mint leaves, in a clear glass, on a wooden chopping board.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keep sipping on water and electrolytes to replenish the reserves that were lost from the body and the skin due to the sunburn. This will help to soothe the sunburnt skin from inside the body.

Suggested Article: Hydration Hacks: 12 Easy Ways to Drink More Water.

Home Remedies for Sunburn

Some simple home remedies that you can give a try to soothe and treat sunburnt skin include:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Take about two to three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and dilute it in a cup of cool water. Using a cotton ball or soft face cloth, pat this solution on the affected skin. ACV helps to soothe the redness and the swelling caused due to sunburns. It helps to heal the skin and speed up the recovery process.

glass jars of apple cider vinegar, next to an array of apples.

Yoghurt for Sunburn.

Yoghurt, specifically Greek Yoghurt, is another great home remedy that cools down the skin and moisturises it at the same time. Apply a thin to medium layer on the sunburnt skin and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Cold Compress for Sunburn

If you a have a cold compress available at home, use it intermittently to soothe the irritation and burning sensation. The low temperature of the cold compress will also reduce the inflammation. Wrap some ice cubes in a hand towel and use it as a cold compress if you do not own one.

two ice cubes on a white background / ice can help pain associated with sunburn.

Suggested Article: Summer Dry Skin: Switch Your Skincare For The Warm Season.

Products to Use to Cover Sunburn Safely

The choice of products that you use in your skincare and makeup routine to cover sunburns matters greatly. The wrong products can make the situation worse so pay attention to the ingredient list and use specialised products, if possible.

Here is an easy to follow a list of products to use to cover the sunburnt skin.

Aloe Vera Gel

Before you begin to prep your face for the day ahead, use an aloe vera gel (organic is the best type) to soothe the sunburnt skin. Fresh aloe vera gel can also be extracted from an aloe leaf and be used on the sunburn. Aloe has soothing and refreshing properties that counter many symptoms seen during sunburns and heal the skin.

aloe vera gel with a gradient grey background / aloe vera is good for sunburn.

Moisturiser for Sunburn.

Use a moisturiser that is for sensitive skin, even if you do not have a sensitive skin type normally. Sunburnt skin is sensitive and harsh products can aggravate the condition. After the moisturiser has absorbed into the skin, apply a sunscreen to prevent any further damage due to sunlight.

during a heatwave: a person squeezing moisturiser out of a tube on to their hand with a sink in the background.

Colour Corrector for Sunburn.

Apply the green corrector and foundation after this to cover up the redness. Many brands have specially formulated foundations that are meant to cover redness. These products work well for the sunburnt skin as their formulations contain redness camouflaging components.


Mineral foundations that are powders can add light to medium coverage, instead of full coverage liquid foundations. Powder foundations also tend to last longer during humid weather conditions.

How to Ensure Makeup Lasts Throughout the Day.

Sunburn is common during summer months which tend to be hot and sweaty. This means that makeup can literally melt away or start smudging in various places. To make the makeup you have used to cover up the sunburn last throughout the day, an important step that you can add to your makeup routine is using a setting spray. This will lock your makeup in place and make it last all day long.

Brands such as Tarte, Mario Badescu, and Urban Decay have setting sprays that are specially for setting your makeup. This can also replenish and refresh your skin.

Apart from using a makeup setting sprays, using a primer before you go in with your colour corrector (green corrector) and foundation can also increase the longevity of your makeup. All you need is a pea-sized amount of a good makeup primer in your problem areas.

Types of Foundation

Oil-free foundations are your best companions to cover sunburns during humid weather conditions as they prevent excess oil build up on the skin. The matte looks they offer counters the humidity in the atmosphere and makes your base makeup last longer than usual. Once the foundation is blended into the skin, use a loose powder or a compact powder to lock it in place. The dual effect of the setting powder and the setting spray works well towards achieving the goal of making the makeup last as long as 10 to 12 hours even.

Suggested Article: How to Choose the Right Sun Protection for You.

woman applying makeup in front of a large round mirror.

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