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2023 Best Waterproof Foundations (Definitive Guide)

by Sandy Taylor

What is the best waterproof foundation makeup for swimming? Is it right for your skin? This post aims to answer these questions and more. Waterproof foundations can be considered as one of the most “mysterious” types of makeup out there. The word “waterproof” tends to give people the impression that this type of foundation is very sticky and hard to wash off. Although it is true that waterproof foundations are designed to last longer on your face, they are not as “scary” as they seem to be.

I know that many of my readers have some kind of phobia towards waterproof foundations. Quite honestly, I think a lot of people feel that way because they don’t know this type of makeup enough. After all, you probably wouldn’t think about using waterproof foundations unless you’re going for a swim or participate in sweaty sports.

Consider wearing waterproof foundations before emotional events, such as watching a sad movie, will ensure that your makeup will stay on your face, rather than on your favorite clothes (Which, by the way, is very hard to wash off).

Here is my smart guide to choosing waterproof foundations that works for you.


Best Waterproof Foundation Makeup and Brands List

Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage 24 Hour Foundation

The Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage 24 Hour Foundation is one of the best hydrating waterproof foundations. This is a 24-hour full coverage waterproof foundation that is lightweight and comfortable to wear all day. It has a matte finish formulated with the use of kaolin clay and bamboo powders to help control oil & shine.

It contains hyaluronic acid, a superior skin hydrating ingredient that helps to lock in your skin’s moisture. It is non-acnegenic and cruelty-free.  It doesn’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles.

After application, the waterproofing effects start in minutes which allows you to go for a swim with peace in mind.

For these reasons, the Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation is a great waterproof foundation at the price point. It simply works, feels light and is super easy to blend! I love it!

BTW, I have written a detailed guide on other foundations with hyaluronic acids. Check it out if you want to find out more.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup is one of the best waterproof foundations for weddings. Here are the reasons why:

  • 24-Hr Staying Power – You won’t have a lot of time on your wedding day. The foundation lasts up to 24 hours and once it’s on, it doesn’t require any touch-ups. This allows you to focus on your wedding and not on your makeup.
  • Sun Protection SPF 10 – If your wedding will be held outdoors, you will be protected from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
  • Natural Matte Finish – Helps to keep shine and control oil throughout the day. This is especially important on your wedding day since you will be taking a lot of photos and you wouldn’t want the shine to reflect light from the camera flash. It’s also oil-free
  • Waterproof – Lasts in humid weather and will stay in place even during those emotional wedding moments.
  • Transfer-resistant – You don’t have to worry about it getting on your wedding dress or other outfits.
  • Medium to full-coverage – You can easily control the coverage as it’s buildable.

This foundation is dermatologist-tested, non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic. It’s fragrance-free.

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation

The Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation is one of the best waterproof foundations for acne-prone skin. This foundation contains 2% salicylic acid, a super acne bacteria-fighting ingredient and it is waterproof, allowing you to swim with it for up to 90 mins.

This is a full coverage foundation with sun protection SPF 30. It’s a long-wear waterproof foundation that stays on all day you barely require touch-ups. 

This an “oxygenating foundation”, meaning that the formula is enriched with oxygen. When applied, the oxygen is easily absorbed into your skin, allowing it to easily breathe. This helps to boost circulation, promote cell turnover and stimulates your skin to heal. 

Notable ingredients include:

  • Aloe – Offers anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, soothing, qualities for your skin.
  • Cerevisiae – Used for hydration and skin conditioning. 
  • Salicylic Acid – Kills acne bacteria, clears acne blemishes and prevents new breakouts. 
  • Vitamin E – Antioxidant that helps to prevent damage from free radicals. 

This foundation is lightweight, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. It works well on dry or combination skin and it’s safe for sensitive skin.  

It is paraben-free, cruelty-free and vegan. 

Mac Pro Longer Waterproof Foundation

The Mac Pro Longer Waterproof Foundation is a full-coverage waterproof foundation that was created using a unique waterproof formula and will last through rain, tears, sweat and everything in between. This is foundation can be worn as a foundation or concealer. It is also one of the best waterproof foundations for swimming (more section below).

It is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested. It’s oil-free making it one of the best waterproof foundations for oily skin. The formula does a great job absorbing oil, keeping shine away throughout the day.

This product is universally loved and was found to last all day through even extreme humidity. It is great for someone needing full coverage in a lightweight and comfortable package.

Furthermore, this foundation lasts up to 24 hours and is one of the best long-lasting waterproof foundations around. 

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation

This Kat Von D foundation is one of the best waterproof foundations for tattoos. It provides your skin with extremely full coverage and it’s able to cover heavy pigmented tattoos. It does not leave the skin greasy or oily. It feels lightweight and has a natural matte finish.

This foundation is also perfect if you need extra coverage for pimples, scarring, rosacea or discoloration. It comes in a wide variety of shades so you can match your skin tone using undertones. I find Kat Von D to be a great foundation for special occasions.

This foundation is vegan and cruelty-free. It is free of parabens and phthalates.

Dermacol Make-up Cover

The Dermacol Make-up Cover is a good waterproof foundation with SPF (SPF 30), it is also hypoallergenic and good for sensitive skin. Dermocol is preservative-free. This clinically tested foundation contains 50% pigments, meaning it can hide away blemishes and discoloration like it was never there.

This foundation is my personal favorite and, in my opinion, is the best waterproof foundation for sensitive skin. When applied in a thin layer, it sits on top of your skin in a natural finish. It lasts up to 24 hours through sweat, humidity, and tears.

Cezanne Waterproof Liquid Foundation

The Cezanne Waterproof Liquid Foundation is one of the best waterproof liquid foundations for dry skin. This foundation contains hyaluronic acid, a superior moisture-retaining ingredient that helps to moisturize your skin.

This product contains four times more water-resisting agents than the average waterproof foundation and also shields your skin against the sun with SPF 26.

It is guaranteed to stay in place through even the most grueling days. It also contains grapefruit extract and hamamelis extract which helps to revitalize your skin.

Cezanne foundation is medium to full coverage, depending on your application. It lasts all day and is light enough for sensitive and acne-prone skin types.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation

This Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation is waterproof and it is the best waterproof powders for swimming. It delivers a natural, medium coverage finish that lasts up to 12 hours. It goes on lightly and does not settle into fine lines or wrinkles. This is a great product to use if you just need to even out your skin tone or conceal a little redness.

It can be worn alone if you have sensitive skin or just want a lighter look. If you want heavier coverage, I recommend dusting this on over a light liquid foundation.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation

This Tom Ford waterproof foundation is the best full coverage waterproof foundation. Depending on your needs, this product can be used as a full coverage foundation or as a spot treatment concealer. It applies smoothly, is easy to blend. The formula can hide some of the toughest skin imperfections.

The waterproof formula in this foundation is excellent and will last throughout the day in all temperatures. Some people even found their foundation looked better at the end of the day than when they first applied it.

Sweet LeiLani Island Goddess Foundation

The Sweet LeiLani Island Goddess Foundation is one of the best waterproof foundations for stretch marks and mature skin. It is formulated with plant-based ingredients that can help increase the production of collagen, a protein that holds skin cells together and keeps your skin supple. Increased collagen product on your skin means fewer stretch marks and fine lines.

Other ingredients that make this foundation great for stretch marks and mature skin include:

  • Sun-Drenched Cucumber – has skin lightening compounds and nutrients that help to fade stretch marks.
  • Green Tea  – have anti-inflammatory properties that calm red skin around stretch marks.
  • Vitamin C – a strong antioxidant that fights your body’s free-radicals and slows down the effects of aging.
  • Grape Seed – helps to improve the skin’s overall elasticity
  • Rose Hip – helps to promote skin regeneration.
  • White Tea – contains anti-bacterial and anti-aging properties that help to prevent wrinkles and sagging skin.

This foundation is formulated with optically diffusing minerals that control oil and minimize the appearance of pores. It is a medium to full coverage foundation with a silky airbrushed finish.

It is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free and fragrance-free. It is formulated with a non-chemical sunscreen (Titanium Dioxide based and no risk of skin sensitivity). There are 5 shades to choose from.

Phoera Waterproof Matte Liquid Foundation

The Phoera Waterproof Matte Liquid Foundation is one of the best waterproof foundation creams. It’s a medium coverage foundation that is buildable to full and provides a soft matte finish. It has a waterproof oil-free formula that is long-lasting and helps to keep shine away during the day.

This foundation cream feels lightweight and provides a soft texture that doesn’t feel cakey. It contains skin brightening complex and skin moisturizing ingredients.

This foundation is vegan, paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free and free of toxins.

Vertra SPF 35 Sports Sunscreen Face Stick

The Vertra SPF 35 Sports Sunscreen Face Stick is one of the best waterproof foundations for body and legs. It’s called a “face stick” but you can use it on your body too and it’s the most popular foundation amount surfers. This product has a non-greasy application and once it’s on your body, it is very water-resistant. As the name suggests, the product is perfect for those of you looking to do some sports and know that you are about to have a sweaty day.

Vertra tested this product with athletes and have had great results. The product is designed for outdoor use formulated with sunblock SPF 35.  It’s backed by the Skin Cancer Foundation and has received 5-star recommendations from users who have used it.

The designers have created this product with an easy to use applicator! It is truly fantastic for anyone looking to stay beautiful during intense workouts or swimming

Best Waterproof Foundation For Swimming

When it comes to swimming finding the right waterproof foundation can be challenging. After all, most products out there advertise that they will last a long time, but is only intended to be waterproof for light-duty applications.

Since you will be in the water for an extended amount of time when you are swimming. You will need to wear something that is a little “tougher” than your regular waterproof foundation.

For this reason, I highly recommend Mac Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation. This waterproof foundation lasts up to 24 hours and is water-resistant. Got oily skin? No problem. This is an oil-free waterproof foundation.

If you would prefer to use a BB cream instead, I recommend Nature Republic Super Origin Collagen Waterproof BB Cream. This is a very good waterproof BB cream for swimming. It is light coverage and is SPF 46. Remember that BB creams are usually lighter than foundations and the selection of shades is also limited.

There should be a good reason why you would choose a BB cream over a foundation. I would only recommend this product and all other BB creams for people with lighter or pale skin.

Waterproof Foundations: What You Need To Know

Benefits Of Using a Waterproof Foundation

It’s obvious that there are certain advantages to wearing the best waterproof foundation. Most advantages apply to those who love outdoor sports or wet activities such as swimming. One great advantage is that most foundations come with sun protection. Anyone who plays outdoors knows the importance of protecting your face and staying beautiful while enjoying a day out in the sun.

If you are not an outdoors person. It might be a good idea just to carry a small bottle of waterproof foundation with you when you go out. Simply touch up during emotional situations and you will be good to go.

How To Waterproof Your Foundation For Swimming

If you already have a product that you feel comfortable with, you can “waterproof” it to make them become resistant to water or sweat. This is achieved by the use of a makeup finishing spray.

Most makeup sprays are designed specifically for special events and to minimize touch-ups. You can think of these sprays as special types of “ waterproof seal” which helps to hold your makeup together. Best of all, most come in small bottles which allow you to quickly waterproof your makeup during expected events.

One of the best waterproof makeup sprays that I like to use the most is the Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finish. This is one of the best waterproof makeup sprays for swimming. It’s an ultra-fine mist spray created using Skindinavia’s patented technology that helps to protect your makeup from moisture and sweat. You could go swimming with it and your makeup will stay in place.

Many people do not know this but Skindinavia actually came out with one of the first sprays in the market which was what first got me interested in this brand. The product is tested by dermatologists and is completely oil free (perfect for acne prone skin). Skindinavia is popular with many Hollywood stars and can hold up your makeup for up to 16 hours!

To use your makeup spray, simply spray a fine mist of it onto your face after your makeup routine. The amount that is needed varies but you do not need to apply a thick layer. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the bottle. I recommend a quick 2-step spray. First, spray your face with a light mist. Once this layer dries, spray another layer to lock this layer in. This helps to ensure that your makeup is held firmly.

Some instructions on the bottle may tell you to spray after you apply your foundation. I find that this is not as effective as if you sprayed after your makeup routine. This is something that you have to try on your own to figure out what works best for you.

Tips for Spraying:

  1. Shake the bottle well before application. This ensures that the product is evenly mixed so that when you spray it, roughly the same amount of ingredients is applied to your face.
  2. It is a good idea to cover your clothes around your neck area with a towel or paper towels.
  3. If a sponge is available, spray a little bit of solution to the sponge and use it apply to areas that require extra coverage.

Waterproof Foundations with SPF: Should you use it?

Foundations with SPF saves you the need to purchase another bottle of sunscreen, but are they effective and should you be using them? Here are a few key points to remember:

How much coverage do you need?

If you’re only needing a little bit of foundation to cover minor blemishes, you would probably be better off purchasing a waterproof sunscreen and use that for the rest of the areas that don’t require a foundation. Waterproof sunscreens are cheaper and you get more for the price you pay for a foundation.

If you’re using your foundation for light coverage applications, consider how much you’re actually putting on your skin. Many people tend to apply more to help block out the sun but this will leave your skin looking cakey and uneven. Remember that light coverage foundations can only deal with minor blemishes and only thin layer is required.

What SPF do you need?

Study finds that the higher the SPF, the better. Well, I think that one should be pretty obvious to most people. However, what is the real difference between say SPF 15 vs SPF 30? Sejal Shah, MD explains that “SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 protects against 97 percent.”

Also, keep in mind that most people only apply 25% – 50% of the rated amount. There are two things here to point out:

  1. If you use a sunscreen that is rated to SPF 30 but not using the rated amount, you will end up with less sun protection (say SPF 7). 
  2. Check the rated amount for the SPF rating of your foundation. If that amount is higher than what you would want to use to cover blemishes / skin impurities, then stick with sunscreen as a base and blend the foundation on top.

How to Remove Waterproof Foundation Makeup

Although waterproof, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not difficult to remove a waterproof foundation from your skin and you can do it with materials that you already have at home. Here are 2 ways you can try:

  1. Use Vaseline – Apply a small amount of Vaseline to the area of your skin that is covered by the foundation. Let it sit for a few minutes and then use a warm washcloth to remove the Vaseline. You will find that the Vaseline helps to “melt” the foundation, making it easy for you to remove it.
  2. Use Olive Oil – Like Vaseline, simply rub a bit of olive oil on the area of your skin that is covered by the waterproof foundation and then rub it off with a face towel in a few minutes. Warning though, not everyone is a fan of the olive oil scent. I would suggest that you follow up with your regular facial cleansing routine if you decide to go with olive oil.

How to Get Waterproof Foundation Off Clothes (Best Hack)

For those of us who wear a waterproof foundation on a daily basis, we understand how easy it is to get it on our clothes. However, if you got a foundation on your favorite pair or sweater or jeans, don’t worry as I will share with you a trick I use. Note that this method works for pretty much all types of waterproof makeup.

What you will need:

  • Dish Soap
  • Your Fingers
  • Some Water (optional)


Step 1) First, squeeze a light amount of dish soap on the area where the foundation or makeup is.

Step 2) Rub the dish soap into the fabric with your fingers. Do not use brushes or wash clothes as they tend to ruin the texture of fabrics. You may notice at this point that the makeup has lifted up from clothes.

Step 3) Now that the makeup has loosen, you can choose to put your garment in the washing machine or wipe off the makeup with a wet tissue or paper towel.

Watch this in action in Shonagh Scott’s video below:

Cautions and Other Tips You Should Know

  • As with all other types of foundations, selecting the right shade of waterproof foundation is important. I have written a post on this matter and have included tools in that post to help you find the perfect shade. Check it out here.
  • Some waterproof foundations are heavier and may clog your pores. Always do proper research before choosing the right foundation. The ones that I have reviewed in this post are great recommendations.
  • Waterproof foundations are not intended to be used daily. Excessive use will dry up your skin. Always remember to properly moisturize your skin after each use.

How to Select Waterproof Foundations for Dry Skin

When it come to selecting a waterproof foundation that works well for your dry skin, the key ingredient that you should look for in your foundation is oil. There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. Oil based ingredients will help to moisturize your skin. Oil locks in moisture and nourishes your skin to prevent irritation.
  2. Oil and water don’t mix well and this natural aspect simply works in your favor. Oil based foundations are much more “water repellant” than other types of foundations and it’s guaranteed to stay on your skin longer.

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