Don’t Sweat It, These 17 Waterproof Foundations Have You CoveredAugust 28, 2023
Foundation is one of those essential makeup products that can probably be found in everyone’s makeup bag. It’s, well, the foundation of any good makeup look, a canvas upon which you’ll apply the rest of your products. There are numerous foundation formulas to choose from — there are dewy creams, lightweight skin tints and matte powders to name a few. But there’s one formulation that everyone needs if they want a long-lasting base that’ll last against sweat, rain, make-outs and humidity.
Enter waterproof foundations: Just like regular foundations, they come in many different forms and ensure your makeup stands up to whatever your day (or the weather) has in store. They are an especially great choice during the summer or if you have a very active lifestyle and are always on the run.
To help you find the best one for you, we took out the guesswork and rounded up our favorites, including the best drugstore waterproof foundations, the best luxury waterproof foundations and even the best water-resistant foundations. We also spoke to makeup artists Elizabeth Seropian and Emily Gray Higgins to get some insight on formulations, removal and other questions you may have about this makeup staple.
What Is Waterproof Foundation?
Waterproof foundation is formulated differently from a regular foundation because the former is made to resist water. Both Higgins and Seropian share that waterproof formulations dry down completely which is what gives it that waterproof element. This type of foundation typically contains adhesive ingredients that make the product stick to your skin better than your average complexion makeup. It’s used to even out your skin tone and texture and serve as a base for the rest of your makeup.
How Does Waterproof Foundation Differ From Other Types Of Foundation?
Waterproof foundations are made to be long-lasting and, well, waterproof. Seropian says, “A waterproof foundation is designed to withstand water, sweat and humidity, making it ideal for long-lasting wear, particularly in situations where traditional foundations might falter.” You can find waterproof foundations in many different formulations — from powder to cream to liquid — but the main difference between those products and other foundations is the lasting power and coverage.
Waterproof foundations are usually full coverage to conceal any unwanted blemishes and hold up against liquid ruining your makeup. As stated previously, waterproof foundations dry down completely to adhere to the skin for a no-budge hold. If you have a special event like a wedding, prom, or important business meeting where you want to look your best, you should consider applying a waterproof foundation so your makeup looks as good at the end of the day as it does in the beginning.
What to Look For in a Waterproof Foundation
First and foremost, check the bottle label to make sure your chosen foundation is waterproof or water-resistant. It will usually say so on the bottle itself or packaging. You should also look for descriptors that describe the foundation as sweat-proof, transfer-proof, or transfer-resistant. This will mean the foundation can withstand anything you throw at it.
Best Waterproof Foundations
Considering just how pigmented this full-coverage foundation is, it feels surprisingly lightweight on your skin. Use the online shade finder for a foundation from the 45-shade range that will best match your skin tone.
The breathable Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation feels like a second skin compared to heavy, cakey foundation options. Customize your coverage level by applying the foundation with a sponge for lighter coverage or a brush to build it up to a medium-coverage finish.
The YSL Beauty All Hours Foundation mattifies your skin without dulling its luminosity to give you a glowy, natural look. Transfer-proof and waterproof like many of the other foundations on this list, you can comfortably wear it for up to 24 hours thanks to hydrating hyaluronic acid in the formula.
If you prefer a powder foundation, check out the Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder by L’Oréal Paris. It may seem hard to believe that a powder foundation can be waterproof, but this blurring powder is waterproof, sweatproof and heatproof. One swipe of this powder covers blemishes, redness and anything else you may want to cover for a long-lasting wear and formulation that melts into the skin for a soft-to-the-touch finish.
Foundation isn’t just for your face. The idea of camouflaging coverage can also be applied to body foundations like this one from IT Cosmetics. This waterproof body foundation is waterproof for all-day wear and quickly dries down to an illuminated finish. Any blemishes or discoloration on your body that you’re looking to cover will be evened out for the moments you want to conceal from head to toe.
Another powder foundation, this option from Essence Cosmetics mattifies your skin without any annoying cakiness. The powder formula controls oil and combats shine for up to 16 hours of waterproof wear.
Skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and r.e.m.’s own hydro smooth essence are formulated into this waterproof foundation to deliver hydration with long-lasting coverage. There are 60 shades to choose from with an extensive range of skin tones and undertones to help you find your perfect match for a natural finish.
This two-in-one waterproof complexion product makes it easier than ever to get the appearance of perfect skin. It conceals redness and under-eye circles, but can also be used all over your face as a full-coverage foundation.
This foundation is a favorite of Higgins for dry skin types. “I would recommend the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation. It resists oil and water, but still keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day. Plus, it has a beautiful natural glow finish,” she says.
If you’re looking for a foundation that will stay put all day, look no further than the waterproof Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Use it to make your pores — and any other complexion imperfections — disappear.
Best Water-Resistant Foundations
The Maybelline New York SuperStay Longwear Liquid Foundation will give you up to 30 hours of transfer-resistant, water-resistant and sweat-resistant coverage without clogging your pores. Watch as it melts smoothly into your skin as you brush it onto your face.
You’ll be amazed at how seamlessly the water-resistant Power Fabric + Foundation blends into your skin to give you medium to full coverage. Pair it with concealer and cream blush for a stunning natural makeup look.
The Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H Longwear Foundation is not completely waterproof, but it is humidity-resistant, so you can wear it on warm, sweaty days without having to worry about it fading. It gives your skin a natural-looking matte (but never powdery) finish.
Even out your complexion with the incredibly thin and light Infallible 24-Hour Fresh Wear Foundation. We like that this liquid foundation is formulated with SPF, so in addition to making your skin look great, it protects it from the sun.
Instagram-worthy skin is achieved with this foundation from NYX Professional Makeup, which applies lightweight with a blurred finish. Don’t be shocked if your friends ask what filter you used when you post yourself wearing this foundation. Simply point to the 24 shades formulated to enhance skin color and tone and tell them to thank you (and us) later.
This foundation offers the power of a liquid foundation in a powder format for a lightweight finish that resists caking and patchiness. In one swipe you’ll get sweat-resistant, water-resistant and transfer-resistant coverage available in 16 shades of medium to full coverage. Wear this foundation on its own or as a pigmented setting powder.
Water-resistant gets a luxury spin with this long-lasting foundation from Valentino Beauty. With 40 shades available, this transfer-resistant foundation gives skin a semi-matte finish for a hydrated look that lasts all day. With a buildable, medium coverage, this foundation is ideal for those who want breathable wear without the fear of clogging pores with the product.
How Long Does Waterproof Foundation Last?
“The longevity of a waterproof foundation can vary based on the specific brand, formula, your skin type, and the conditions you're exposed to,” says Seropian. Most waterproof foundations are created to provide extended wear that may last from eight hours to 24 hours (if you need to wear a full face of makeup all day and night). She also shares the trick to long-lasting waterproof foundation is using setting products. “It's important to set your foundation with a compatible setting spray or powder to maximize its staying power and consider touch-ups if you'll be wearing it for an extended period.”
How to Remove Waterproof Foundation
When it’s time to remove your waterproof foundation, we recommend following the double cleansing method as is custom in K-Beauty practices. Reach for an oil-based makeup remover like the CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Balm, gently massage it into your skin and watch as the foundation begins to break apart. Follow up with a water-based cleanser or your usual daily cleanser.
Another good idea is to look for cleansers that are specifically formulated to remove waterproof makeup, like the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover. As a DIY home remedy, Elizabeth reaches for one of her favorite pantry ingredients, coconut oil. “Coconut oil is gentle and can effectively break down waterproof makeup. It's rich in fatty acids that help dissolve makeup without clogging pores,” she shares.