Waterproof Make Up that will last for humid tropics, days spent swimming, and beach vacations is hard to find. But through years of tropical travel, I've tested ALL the best waterproof foundations, mascaras, and setting sprays so you don't have to. This is the ultimate guide to the best make up brands and products that will stay on in the water - no matter what. (And what to use to actually take it off at the end of the day!)
I break down my 5 ultimate can't-leave-home-without products, as well as a complete make up routine designed to STAY ON, no matter how wet, humid, sweaty, or rainy your travels become.
GOAT: The Ultimate Top 5 Waterproof Make-Up Products
Before getting into a deep-dive of all of the best waterproof make-up, product by product, and my step-by-step guide on how to keep your make-up on all day, no matter how wet or humid the environment, here are my ride or die, always with me, top 5. I have not boarded a plane in the last few years without at least one of all of these in my carry on (I usually pack at least two eyeliners and lipsticks, just in case.)
1. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Since trying out this sunscreen back in 2018 or so, I haven't bought a different face SPF since. Unseen sunscreen dominates - this product has an insane 4.9 stars on Amazon, and is on the top of every best-of list. This one is my personal favorite because it is so light and smooth, and glides across your skin like a make-up primer. I typically don't even wear a primer anymore, I just put this on over my moisturizer and apply my foundation directly. I even got Brandon hooked on Unseen and now we both keep this in our travel bags at all times.
2. Tarte Amazonian Clay
This foundation has been my GOAT for years now - however Tarte just reformulated and renamed all of the shades, and because it had such a rabid following, people are all but rioting about it. I've found the new formula to be just as good as the one I've been using all these years, however my perfect shade match was discontinued so I'm still trying to find my new ideal shade, so I understand the hate a bit. You can still find some shades of the original formula on Tarte's website here.
I apply this with a beauty blender and have found that even when my breakouts are at their absolute worst, this foundation does an amazing job of covering EVERYTHING. (My favorite tip is to spray my foundation layer with setting spray, let that dry for a couple of minutes, and then spray more setting spray when I have all of my make-up on.) I swear this makes this foundation unstoppable, even when swimming.
One other note on this foundation - these bottles are 1.7 ounces, when most foundations only come in 1 ounce bottles, meaning that for the price you get almost double a standard foundation bottle! Plus, I love the plastic bottle - I recently finally splurged on the famous Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation and promptly shattered the bottle on a hotel bathroom floor. My beloved Tarte foundation would never.
3. KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner
This eyeliner has been my unwavering ride-or-die for a solid 10 YEARS now. There's not much to say besides that if you're an eyeliner wearer, this has remained the absolute best over for years. A story even went viral a few years ago about a girl who was in a car crash and still had this eyeliner on in a perfect cat-eye. This eyeliner is easy to apply, lasts for months of daily wear, and just stays the hell on your face. I've tried other eyeliners over the years, but this is the one I have always, always come back to.
Tattoo liner also comes in a rich brown shade, for all you blonde beauties.
4. Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Lipstick
I don't even need to talk about his lipstick anymore - it's literally become part of my identity. I have been wearing this exact shade for the past 4 years - and I have the receipts to prove it when Dailymail sourced a whole damn article about it. (Also note my love for the KVD Eyeliner in this same article.)
This liquid matte simply is the greatest of all time - you apply, let this dry for about 10 minutes, and then it will literally not move off your face until you use an oil cleanser. In my early years of wearing lipstick, I would get lipstick stains on my clothes, my mugs, my boyfriends, and practically everything I owned. That problem was immediately eliminated when I found Superstay - this does not kiss off ever.
You can bet that I will be wearing this lipstick on my wedding day - and probably for many years to come.
Check out this color shade range!
The color I always wear is 'Heroine'
5. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Urban Decay is by far the best setting spray on the market - I feel like I had been hearing about this one for years and years, and when I finally tried it - I was hooked.
When I'm doing my make-up, I spray this directly over my foundation, let it dry for a minute, then spray it again after I have added the rest of my make-up as a final touch. It will stay all day, even in the heat and humidity. If you have other make-up products that you really love and want to continue using, try this spray over them to make all products last longer and be more resistant.
The Full Process:
My step by step guide to a completely weather-proof skin care and make-up routine, in order of application. Whether you're planning on spending a ton of time in the water, traveling to a super humid area, or just looking to make your make-up last all day no matter what, this is every single thing I have learned over the years.
Step 1: Skin Prep & Moisturize
Especially if you're going to be in the sun and salt water or chlorine all day, keeping your face hydrated is key! No matter how good your make-up is, it's really tough to hide overly dried out or flaky skin, so start with a great moisturizer.
This First Aid Beauty moisturizer is one of the highest rated on all of Sephora! People really, really love this one - and if you have dry skin, this is made to extra deep hydration.
Tatcha has a huge cult following and is often the moisturizer choice of That Girl. This cream says to do it all - hydrate, firm, plump, and resurface - and by the glowing reviews and massive following, it absolutely delivers.
If you fall in love with this one, Sephora also stocks a value size for a better deal on daily wear.
One of personal favorites! Exfolikate is made with multiple BHAs and helps exfoliate your skin deeply. This moisturizer is a bit on the pricier side, but using this one regularly has truly made my skin GLOW. If you have sensitive skin, especially in the sun, this one might be too much for you, and might be a good choice only for nighttime use.
Best Budget Pick!
CeraVe is an AMAZING budget option, and honestly just a fantastic skincare brand overall. This deep moisturizing cream holds it own as both a face moisturizer and an overall body cream.
Step 2: Best Waterproof Sunscreen
As mentioned above - this is truly the GOAT. Or to quote Brandon: "this is my favorite because it's dry and soft, so it doesn't make my face feel oily"
I'm not even going to give alternatives here because this is simply THE one.
Step 3: Best Waterproof Primer
This clear primer gel is super lightweight and well known for smoothing skin and blurring pores to make your makeup last - I've been using this one for years, and the packaging has improved, but the product is just as great as always.
Milk Makeup was born out of Milk PhotoStudios in New York, so the brand is developed to look great on camera and last, as well as being known for being a clean beauty brand. This one is a Sephora-exclusive, but consistently comes up as one of the best long-last primers on the market.
If you're looking for a more budget-friendly primer, the e.l.f Poreless Putty Primer is AMAZING, and under $10.
Step 4: Best Waterproof Concealer & Foundation
I found this foundation through the recommendation of a beauty blogger and it is fantastic! This one is designed to be buildable, so the more you apply, the fuller the coverage is - and the formula is great for your skin. While I've been trying to find my new perfect shade of Amazonian Clay (I bought a too light shade in the reformulation, and it lasts forever!), I've been mixing it with Your Skin But Better - and I think the combo might actually be better than either on their own. This is definitely a new favorite!
As mentioned above, this is my forever favorite!
Much like the foundation, I have been using and loving Shape Tape for extra coverage on blemishes and discoloration for years! Dab this on any spots and let it cure for a few minutes, than apply the rest of your foundation, and this combo will cover practically anything.
Step 5: Best Waterproof Setting Powder
Laura Mercier is truly the MVP of setting powder. If you are ever looking up reviews for the best powders, this one is always ranked number 1. I'll save you the trouble of doing more research - for the absolute best way to adhere your foundation to your face for literally forever - this is the one you need. (Plus of course Urban Decay setting spray)
If you're looking for a great budget-friendly option, e.l.f. Halo Glow Setting Powder is a fantastic and incredibly high-rated option for under $10!
Step 6: Best Waterproof Setting Spray
As mentioned, this one is KEY in this entire process. I actually bought one travel-sized version of this spray to keep in my make-up bag, and continually refill it from the full-size bottles for a better per-use value. Highly recommend!
Best Waterproof Brows:
This is the exact palette that I use and take with me everywhere. Benefit is well known for their brow products, and used to be a much smaller version that I used for YEARS, and the product was updated to this larger size about a year ago. This will literally last forever - I use this every day and I feel like I have yet to make a dent. The wax and powder combo is great for both filling in and using the up-combing method that modern brows are known for - this is one of the few products where I actually use the included applicator tools every single time. There just isn't anything better!
For a smaller, more travel-friendly option, Benefit Brow Pomade is an amazing addition to pop in to a make-up bag.
Just make sure to set this pomade with a dab of setting powder / setting spray and to Bring Your Own Brush!
Best Waterproof Eyeliner:
THE undisputed MVP!
Looking for a budget-friendly version? Maybelline TattooStudio Gel Pencil Waterproof Longwear Eyeliner is highly rated and a good dupe for Tattoo Liner for $6.50
Best Waterproof Mascara:
Lancome Monsieur is always rated as one of the best and most waterproof mascaras on the market. You can't go wrong with a true classic!
Dior Show is the WELL known MVP of Waterproof Mascara, and at $30 a tube, is quite a reasonable price for such a high-end couture makeup brand.
Tips to Make It Last:
My go-to strategy to make my make-up last as long as possible in both humid weather and water is to apply in a specific order:
- (Wait a few minutes to let this set)
- Concealer and Foundation (blend and apply with beauty blender)
- Thorough mist of Setting Spray
- (Wait 2 minutes for this layer to dry)
- A sprinkle of Setting Powder - Or I will use my standard face powder
- The rest of your make-up: brows, blush, eyeliner, etc
- A second thorough mist of Setting Spray
- My famous Maybelline Lipstick
Taking it All Off: Best Make Up Remover:
I found this Korean oil pre-cleanser on amazon a couple of years ago, and I haven't used anything else since. This one is IT! Especially with how hard my matte ink lipstick can be to take off, this is absolutely amazing at removing every ounce of make-up I build up over a long shoot day.
I apply a few pumps of this directly to my dry face, watch my make-up melt off as a rub it in, and then rinse and follow with a cleanser. It doesn't matter if you're using waterproof make-up or probably straight up sharpie or oil paint, this rice water will take it ALL off with no problem.
I actually first received this Korres cleanser in my IPSY monthly subscription box, am I have been hooked on it since! This foams up really nicely, is creamy in a way that helps remove any and all make-up, and isn't drying. I had never heard of this brand previously, but now I have been a repeat purchaser! The Korres brand has a number of very promising skincare products that I am looking to try soon!
I always come back to CeraVe because the products just work so well and are always large sizes at amazing price points. This cleanser is a long-time classic that does its job well and has tons of healing and hydrating ingredients. I actually use this is a full body wash since the price is so great!
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