How to Make Makeup Waterproof

Updated February 21, 2017

Waterproofing your make-up will keep your face looking fresh at the beach or pool, while you exercise or anytime you get caught in the rain. With the right formulas and a few extra steps, you can be reasonably sure that water, humidity or sweat won't make your mascara run, your eye shadow bleed or your foundation smudge.

Choose foundation, blush and eye-make-up formulas designed to resist water. The package should clearly state that the formula is waterproof or water-resistant. Cream-to-powder and spray-on foundations are ideal. If you'll be swimming, consider one of the full-coverage foundations used to conceal birthmarks and tattoos. For heat or humidity, choose a water-based formula, since oil-based make-up can melt in the heat.

Prepare your skin by applying a light, water-based moisturiser. Let it soak in for at least a minute.

Apply a foundation primer. Primer smooths your skin's texture and helps make-up adhere well so it can resist water. It also creates a sweat- and oil-resistant barrier between your skin and make-up. Use eye primer and lip primer to create a smooth canvas for eye make-up and lipstick.

Use only a thin layer of foundation. Even out your skin tone, but let your natural colour shine through. Thick foundation won't set fully enough to become waterproof. Then put on your blush, eye make-up and lipstick. Apply these cosmetics quickly and carefully, because waterproof formulas set fast and mistakes can be hard to correct.

Apply anti-shine mattifying powder. This sets the make-up to create a waterproof surface. It also absorbs excess oil, preventing the make-up from breaking down in the heat. Dust on a generous amount with a large, fluffy powder brush. Blot with a powder puff or tissue. Brush off excess powder.

Mist your face with a make-up fixer spray to seal your work. Hold the bottle at least 12 inches from your face to get a dry, rather than sticky, finish. Let the spray set for 30 seconds. This creates a barrier that keeps out water.

Apply a lip sealer to make your lipstick waterproof and smudge-resistant. Keep lips apart for 30 seconds to let the sealer set.


If your face gets wet or sweaty, blot the moisture with a tissue or blotting paper. Press the paper down and lift it straight up. Don't wipe.


Waterproof make-up can be difficult to remove. To avoid damaging your skin, wash gently with a cleanser specially designed for waterproof make-up. Avoid waterproof make-up if you have very sensitive skin or are prone to acne. Swimming for long periods will break down even the best waterproof make-up job. To be on the safe side, carry a make-up bag for touch-ups.

Things You'll Need

  • Waterproof make-up
  • Foundation primer
  • Eye primer
  • Lip primer
  • Anti-shine powder
  • Soft, fluffy brush
  • Powder puff or tissue
  • Fixer spray
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