As a rule of thumb, waterproof makeup is not all that great for your skin. It typically isn’t formulated for daily use and should be reserved only for special occasions. That being so, when waterproof is a must, these are the products I would recommend to look great while making a splash!
Let me start off by saying I am not a big fan of waterproof makeup. I understand that it certainly has a place – summer holidays, humid backyard BBQs, and of course, weddings – but the long-wear properties that make products “waterproof” can be detrimental to the skin’s overall health. Here are some key factors to consider before fully taking the waterproof makeup plunge.
WATERPROOF MAKEUP 101:
1. Waterproof makeup is heavier than traditional makeup and contains specific ingredients which could lead to skin problems including irritation and clogged pores.
2. There’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant makeup is more gentle and lighter on the skin. So unless you need the extreme staying power of waterproof makeup, give water-resistant a try.
3. Waterproof makeup contains ingredients designed block out water, including animal-derived and vegetable-based waxes, solvents and polymer, and even silicone. In large quantities and when used consistently these can cause breakouts and allergic reactions.
4. Avoid products where the primary ingredient is silicone. Look for polymers like Acrylates Copolymer and Isododecan to boost your waterproof makeup without the negative side effects.
5. Invest in a VERY good waterproof makeup remover as the harder the makeup is to remove, the more tugging on the skin/skin damage, residue leftover, build up in pores, and dehydration.
6. Scan for the the word “stain” when trying to find a product that will withstand the elements and the test of time.
Despite some shortcomings, it’s undeniable that waterproof makeup is 100% necessary from time-to-time (unless you’re going after that Lauren Conrad circa The Hills look).
Below is a list of Genova-approved waterproof makeup products in almost every category. I’ve relied on these gems while on vacation in temps well above 100F, at tear-jerking events, and even for my own wedding festivities.
Top Waterproof Makeup Picks
Dior BACKSTAGE Face and Body Foundation (part of my wedding rehearsal look)
Description: Achieve a flawless complexion on both the face and body. The lightweight, waterproof formula resists workout sessions, high temperatures, and humidity, while the pigments create a smooth and natural look. It can also be used to camouflage minor imperfections on the neck, shoulders, legs, or anywhere else.
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer
Description: A waterproof, full-coverage concealer that is highly pigmented for buildable coverage. This complexion perfector covers, corrects, and conceals. Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer is formulated with jojoba oil and honey, which moisturize and smooth the look of skin. It instantly conceals dark circles, blemishes, discoloration, redness, and hyperpigmentation. The high concentration of pigments is non-cakey and won’t settle into fine lines or pores. This concealer formula is perfect for all skin types and only requires a rice-grain-size amount for a complete coverage.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (the one product I would use daily)
Description: Cult favorite and winner of multiple major awards, Laura Mercier’s “best in beauty,” #1 setting powder* is your go-to powder. Pros love the super smooth application, which goes on evenly, blends effortlessly and provides great wear. Sets makeup for 12 hours without adding weight or texture.
A touch of sheer coverage with a matte finish sets makeup flawlessly for 12 hours.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer (a go-to for travel)
Description: An ultra-light, mineral-based bronzing powder that delivers an all-over, summer glow year round. The silky, streak-free powder looks like a real (not faux) summer glow and doesn’t sweat off on humid days. It’s tartelette-approved, dermatologist-tested, waterproof, vegan, and formulated without mineral oil, triclosan, and gluten.
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée Happy Hydrating Gel-Cream Blush (part of my wedding day look, shade Lively)
Description: A hydrating liquid gel-cream blush that combines the freshness of an emulsion with the lasting power of a stain.
Chantecaille Mermaid Eye Color (part of my wedding day look, shades Copper, Seashell, and Hematite)
Description: An innovative high shine, long wear formula that can be worn wet or dry as an eye shadow or eyeliner. Infused with a silk tree extract, the luxurious texture creates a lasting metallic sheen that lends a youthful appearance to the eye area.
Creamy, powdery feel makes it easy to apply with the fingertips. Richly pigmented hues shimmer with a rich metallic sheen. Buildable metallics mix beautifully with opaque shadows.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
Description: A true original. This award-winning long-wearing eyeliner offers the precision of liquid liner with the ease of a gel-based formula—all with 8 hours of waterproof and sweat- and humidity-resistant wear.
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof (part of my wedding day look)
Description: The mascara that delivers it all — precise separation, volume, length, curl — in a long-wearing, waterproof formula that won’t flake or smudge.
Pro-Vitamin B5 hydrates and conditions lashes to keep them supple and healthy-looking. A unique brush design offers perfect definition of even the finest lashes
Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara (part of my wedding day look)
Description: A spectacular waterproof mascara formula that curls lashes and adds volume.
This revolutionary waterproof formula glides on with a curved brush to deliver the exceptional curling power of Diorshow Iconic mascara.The curved brush, inspired by professional hair care curling tools, styles every lash from bottom to top. High-precision ingredients provide intense definition and hold without clumping or smudging, and the revolutionary formula creates instant oversized volume and curl day after day.
Chantecaille Waterproof Brow Definer (THIS REALLY WORKS! Only brow product I have found that is in fact waterproof. Part of my wedding day look and vacation staple)
Description: An innovative dual-ended brow perfector with a grooming brush on one end and a triangular tip on the other that allows for a tailor-made stroke and effortless application.
The advanced formula combines the benefits of a waterproof brow pencil, wax, and powder to create naturally fuller looking brows instantly. Subtly builds volume while providing light hold.
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner (part of my wedding day look, shade Iconic Nude & Love Trap)
Description: Create the ultimate pout with Charlotte Tilbury’s long-lasting waterproof lip liners and long lasting lipsticks. By outlining your lips you will create the perfect-looking base for a smoother lipstick application. Resize and redefine the look of your lips for a fuller-looking pout with the rich, velvety formulas. This waterproof, velvety formula glides over the skin, helping to reshape and resize the appearance of your lips. The barely-there long lasting lip liners flatter all skin tones and effortlessly balances out the look of your lips.
Dior Lip Tattoo (part of my wedding day look, shade Natural Nude)
Description: Dior Lip Tattoo, the first long-wear lip tint by Dior, is about to shake up your makeup routine. With its 12-hour wear,* comfortable formula and weightless no-transfer finish, the colour fuses to the lips like a tattoo just seconds after application.
A note on my wedding waterproof makeup rockstars (special shout out to Chantecaille), they held up for about 10 hours – YES, 10 HOURS – through lots of ugly crying without running or ruining my look. I’ve included pics below as evidence.
All of the photos above are unedited.
Photo Credit: Julian Kanz