Whether it’s the rain and snow or the pool and beach, every season sometimes calls for waterproof makeup. Maybe it’s weddings that have you worried about your carefully applied makeup slipping and sliding, since if you’re anything like me nothing gets your tear ducts going as quickly as couples exchanging wedding vows. That is why knowing all the tips and tricks on having totally waterproof makeup can come in handy every once in a while.
In this article, I’ll cover all the bases of waterproof makeup, so you can look flawless whether you’re facing a rainy day or participating in a cool underwater photoshoot. We’ve gathered the very best waterproof makeup products with my personal reviews. I also explain exactly what it is that makes waterproof makeup so excellent at holding up against moisture.
I’ll give some suggestions for when it is the right time to use waterproof makeup. I also have some extra tips & tricks for waterproofing that beat. To seal the deal, I’ll make sure you know how to remove your waterproof makeup at the end of the day.
Your Guide to Waterproof Makeup: Contents
• 15 Best Waterproof Makeup Products to Buy Now
• What Is Waterproof Makeup?
• What Is Waterproof Makeup Made Of?
• When to Use Waterproof Makeup?
• Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant Makeup
• Waterproof Makeup Tips for a Longer-Lasting Makeup Look
• How to Remove Waterproof Makeup
1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
This iconic eyebrow cream is known for its intense color, precise look, and intense longevity, but did you know it is also one of the best waterproof makeup products? This pomade will hold up not only to sweat and rain, but also even to a long pool visit! If your skin is especially oily, you can choose to set it with a powder on top, to make it both water- and oil-resistant. Choose the most fitting of the 11 shades available at Sephora!
2. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Is there a point to liquid eyeliner that isn’t waterproof? You can cry, sweat or get caught in the rain with happiness, knowing that your wings will remain sharp. This liner has a marker-like tip that makes it a total breeze to use, and it gives solid, opaque color. There are 12 color options available at Sephora.
3. NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick
Great liquid lipsticks that stay put through all kinds of beverages don’t have to break the bank, as proven by NYX’s take on waterproof makeup products. These lipsticks come in 19 gorgeous and unique shades, which you can find at Ulta.
4. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer
Finding a high-coverage concealer can be tough enough, but finding one that will totally resist the trials and tribulations of rain and sweat without the need for powder is darn near impossible. That’s what makes this waterproof concealer from It Cosmetics so mind-blowing, and as a bonus, it is loaded with anti-aging skincare ingredients! Choose your shade out of the 6 available at Sephora!
5. Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation
This is one of the best foundations out there, period, but it gets extra attention for being one of the best waterproof makeup products as well. It’s a foundation for both face and body that can stay on even without being powdered. It has a natural finish that works for all skin types, and gives a medium coverage that can be easily sheered out or built up. You can buy your best match out of the 40 shades sold at Sephora.
6. MAC Liquidlast Liner
MAC has crafted a nearly perfect waterproof liquid eyeliner, which is so difficult to remove that it is almost to its detriment. Compared to the Stila liner, this eyeliner has a sleeker, thinner applicator that requires a bit of practice, but gives an extremely thin and precise line. It is available at Nordstrom in 7 colors.
7. Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara
This waterproof mascara does it all: it holds a curl, gives length, gives volume, and it stays on through rain, tears, and even hot yoga. Wear it fearlessly, knowing that it will not smudge, streak, clump, or flake no matter what you put it through. You can find it for sale at Sephora.
8. Make Up For Ever Aqua Seal
This liquid is as unique as they come, and is especially cherished by professional makeup artists, because it converts all powder products into waterproof makeup products – especially eyeshadows! You can mix a tiny drop with your powder or dab it gently over the eye after you’ve already applied your makeup, and your shadows, liners, and brow powders will transform into something that will not move. This also works great for turning eyeshadows into intensely pigmented, waterproof eyeliners. It is available for sale at Sephora.
9. MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
This high-coverage formula will not move no matter what. It is part of the MAC Pro range, and it is suited for underwater photoshoots. It can also work for rainy days or just as a day-to-day foundation if you prefer a fuller coverage and don’t like wasting your time on touch-ups. There are 10 shades available at Nordstrom.
10. Givenchy Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow
If you’re not a fan of powders, you’ll be happy to know these smudge-proof, waterproof eyeshadows exist, and they work beautifully! They glide on smoothly, give buildable color, and do not crease. You can layer them under powder eyeshadows for extra intensity, or wear them alone knowing that they’ll fare well against sweat and rain alike. They come in 11 colors at Sephora.
11. Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer
This two-in-one bronzer and contour powder will last through the hottest summer days to give you that sun-kissed look. It is a mineral-based product with just a touch of clay along with some antioxidant ingredients. You can buy this waterproof makeup product in two shades via Sephora.
12. NYX Proof It Eyeshadow Primer Transparent
On their own, even good powder eyeshadows will crease and fade with the lightest touch of water, but this exceptional eyelid primer will work like magic to lock them into place and prevent creasing or fading even in watery conditions. It is one of the of best waterproof makeup products out there, and since it is NYX it is totally affordable too! Pick it up from Ulta!
13. Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder
Waterproof makeup products are great, but waterproof makeup products that will also make your regular products resistant to water are incredible! This mattifying setting powder is super powerful, so if you get sweaty easily it is a must in your bag – otherwise, you might want to save it for your swimming days. You can buy it from Sephora.
14. Urban Decay Lo-Fi Lip Mousse
When you’re out on the beach the last thing you want is to feel a greasy or heavy product on your lip – you’d much rather feel nothing at all. These lip stains from Urban Decay are just that, giving buildable coverage to the lips so you can enjoy a sheer wash of color or rock an opaque lip without it feeling like anything. A dip in the water will not make this waterproof makeup product budge, so choose your favorite (or favorites) of the 8 shades available at Sephora.
15. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick
If you prefer a super intense, saturated lip with a matte finish, then these liquid lipsticks will do the trick and they will not fade no matter how wet you get. They come in some really intense shades, so you really have a ton of options. They are sold at Ulta, with 29 color options.
Waterproof makeup products are the big guns, made to hold up against the greatest watery threats. Waterproof makeup exists in all categories, although of course waterproof mascaras are the most well known and beloved.
However, there are also waterproof foundations, face powders, eyeshadows, eyeliners, brow fillers, bronzers, blushes, and lipsticks. Notably, there are also waterproof sealants and powders that transform regular makeup into waterproof.
There are many ingredients commonly used in makeup that holds up against water. Waxes like beeswax, paraffin, and carnauba wax, all kinds of oils, and silicones like cyclomethicone and dimethicone are particularly excellent at repelling water.
These ingredients show up in most makeup formulations because all makeup has to repel water to a certain extent – after all, humans produce sweat no matter what, and makeup has to hold up against that.
The ingredients that make waterproof makeup impossible for water to penetrate are specific polymers that are able to form a water-resistant film over the skin or lashes once they evaporate. There are many different kinds of waterproofing polymers used in cosmetics, so look for ingredients that end in “copolymer” or “crosspolymer” to know that a product is truly waterproof.
Waterproof makeup is strong stuff, so most people don’t need to use it on a daily basis. The perfect time to break out the waterproof makeup products is when you want to wear a full face of makeup, but know that you are likely to get very wet throughout the day.
I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a full face of makeup to the beach, waterpark, or pool on most occasions, but if that’s what you’re into then waterproof makeup might come in handy for you. For me, a full face of waterproof makeup makes sense for an underwater photoshoot or a special occasion that has the potential to get watery due to the weather or tears.
Those with hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating, might find the need to use waterproof makeup products on a daily basis, as regular makeup may not hold up. People with sensitive eyes that tear up easily might find the need to only use waterproof makeup products around their eyes, like waterproof mascara, eyeliner, or under-eye concealer.
Despite what some myth-mongers like to say, there is no added risk that waterproof makeup will clog your pores or cause acne as long as it is removed correctly. However, waterproof makeup is much harder to remove than regular or even water-resistant makeup; that is why I give really clear waterproof makeup removal instructions later on in this article, and it is why I don’t think it is necessary on a day-to-day basis.
When I talk about waterproof makeup here, I meant seriously impervious to water. Waterproof makeup products are made to completely hold up against large quantities of water. With waterproof makeup products you should be able to totally submerge your face, and still have your makeup be completely in tact.
Water-resistant makeup products, on the other hand, are not quite as heavy-duty. They should hold up on your average sweaty day (though perhaps not against a session of hot yoga) or if you get caught in a light drizzle. For the most part you can reserve the waterproof makeup products for the long beach and pool days, or for events when you are sure to be crying.
These days most mascaras are water-resistant to a certain extent, since they are made with waxes, ingredients that hold up well against water. The same applies to foundations, which are usually made with water-repelling silicones, oils, and waxes. The big difference between water-resistant makeup and waterproof makeup comes from film-forming ingredients as polymers.
Waterproof makeup products are amazing at keeping makeup in tact, but the truth is that with a bit of know-how you can get even regular makeup products to last through a liquid assault.
• The biggest secret to waterproof makeup, even if the products themselves are not technically waterproof, is using a very thin layer of cream and a lot of powder. This means that you want to apply your foundation in as thin a layer as possible, and then you want to make sure to powder it well by using a big brush and applying with a stippling motion.
• The same principle applies to other makeup items, like blush, bronzer, contour, and highlight. You can apply a cream contour or blush first, and layer a translucent powder or a powder version of the product on top to lock it into place and make it waterproof.
• Baking your foundation is another great way of really locking it into place, no matter what kind of weather you face. Using a powder puff or a damp beauty blender, press the powder into your skin in a thick layer. Let it sit on your skin for about five minutes, and then brush away the excess with a fluffy brush.
• I use the same trick for waterproofing my eyebrows as I do for waterproofing my eyeliner. I cannot leave the house without my eyebrows filled in, but nothing is worse than having them smudge off, while eyeliner I could realistically do without for a day.
No matter which one it is that you can’t live without, follow the same principle: first apply a cream product like a gel or pencil eyeliner or eyebrow pencil or pomade as you normally would. Then, with a thin angled brush set that first layer with a matching eyeshadow or eyebrow powder. This guarantees that your brows and eyeliner will not budge, even in a heavy rain.
• When it comes to mascaras, you can enjoy a bit of both worlds by combining regular and waterproof formulas. By putting on a layer of regular mascara followed by a layer of waterproof mascara you will make it much easier to clean off your eye makeup at the end of the night, but still have your look be resistant to water.
• A lot of the time, spending all day in the water also means spending all day in the sun. Don’t forget to apply a layer of sunscreen with at least 30 SPF before applying your waterproof makeup. You can use a face powder or a spray with an SPF throughout the day to refresh the protection.
• When it comes to skin care, gel-based products will feel much lighter sitting under your makeup, and they will prevent it from melting off as easily.
Your facial cleanser and water are likely not going to be good enough to get rid of your waterproof makeup! Chances are you will need a more specific makeup-removing product, and you might even want to adopt the double cleansing technique.
If you are absolutely set on only cleansing your face once, opt for the kind of cleanser that can truly break down waterproof makeup. Oil cleansers and balm cleansers tend to be the best at that, since they are made of oil, which is great at breaking down water-resistant makeup ingredients.
Unlike using pure oil or a makeup remover, however, these cleansers also contain mild surfactants that ensure that they will be rinsed away with water. Cream cleansers also tend to be better than gel cleansers at removing waterproof makeup, but they’re not as good as oil and balm cleansers.
The best way to use these cleansers is to apply them to your face while it is dry. Squeeze out a bit into your palm, and massage it into your skin in upward, circular motions. You will immediately notice the oil or balm cleanser breaking down and dislodging your complexion makeup.
When you get to the area around the eyes, use your ring finger to gently massage the cleanser over the eye area, being especially thorough but still careful when you go over your eyeline and eyelashes.
Once your whole face is covered in cleanser, and all of your waterproof makeup has broken down and mixed with it, rinse as much of it off with a splash of water. Once most of that makeup and cleanser have been washed down the drain, use a facial cloth, a facial sponge, or some cotton pads to get rid of any residue.
Double cleansing is by far the better choice for really getting the face clean of all of those waterproof makeup products.
Double cleansing is a two-step process in which you first break down the makeup with an oilier or creamier cleanser, and then you give the face a quick scrub down with a gel or foam-based cleanser that will also break down those oils. It is a great way of removing waterproof makeup, especially for those that have oily and acne-prone skin.
If you would like to use an oil or balm cleanser for your first cleanse, simply follow the directions I listed above. On the other hand if you plan on doing the first cleanse with regular oil, like sunflower or coconut oil, or with a makeup remover, then you want to do things just a little differently.
I prefer using my hands to rub the oil or waterproof makeup remover into my skin, although some people prefer using a cotton pad – in the cases of some makeup removers, a cotton pad will also work better. Either massage the oil into your skin to break down the makeup, or wipe your skin with the cotton pad in upward motions.
Be extra careful around your eyes, using gentle motions in order not to pull on the sensitive skin there. Once all of the makeup has broken down, use a paper towel, a soft dry face cloth, or cotton pads to wipe off the mixture of makeup and remover.
Once you’ve removed as much as possible, splash your face with water, and dispense a nickel-sized amount of gel or foam cleanser into your hands. Massage the cleanser into your skin with upward, circular motions, until you have covered your whole face.
Next, use water to rinse off as much of the cleanser as you can. Make sure all of the cleanser is gone by wiping your face with a damp face cloth or a damp cotton pad.
Nourish your cleansed skin with an essence or some serums, and cap things off with a healthy dose of moisturizer.
Photos via @janicejoostemaa, @carlibel, @notjessfashion, @beautsoup, @kristinabazan