Waterproof foundations are unmatched when it comes to facing things like humidity, rain, sweat, or even a Nicholas Sparks–induced ugly cry. And considering how much effort we put into our makeup looks, it’s reasonable to want it to stay put throughout the day. Luckily, you can count on the best waterproof foundations to help with that.
A quality, long-wear formula that can withstand all of the elements is essential to almost any glam routine, whether you’re going for a soft matte finish for a blurred daytime look or looking for a buildable, full-coverage option for a full-face beat. So whether you’re prepping for a day beside a pool, trying to heatwave-proof your look or are planning your wedding makeup, long-lasting and waterproof foundations should be on your radar.
Best waterproof foundations at a glance – our top picks:
- Best waterproof foundation overall: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation, £39, Sephora
- Best long-lasting waterproof foundation: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation, WAS £33 NOW £29.70, LookFantastic
- Best waterproof foundation for a matte finish: Dior Forever Matte Foundation SPF 15, WAS £45 NOW £38.25, Boots
- Best affordable waterproof foundation: L’Oréal Infallible 32HR Fresh Wear Foundation, £9.11, Amazon
You may be wondering: Is there really a difference between traditional formulas — be it a lightweight foundation, tinted moisturiser, or full-coverage sitch — and waterproof ones? The answer is a resounding yes. Waterproof or long-wear foundations “typically contain silicone-based compounds and polymers that create a barrier on the skin’s surface, preventing water from penetrating and causing the foundation to break down,” says professional makeup artist Oscar Velazquez. Meaning that, like waterproof mascara, they’re water-resistant and formulated to withstand the hottest of days — and you’ll get even more staying power if you lock in your makeup look with a setting spray.
But before you shade match to just any waterproof foundation, make sure to consider your skin type; those with acne-prone skin should be mindful of the formula, as it’s those exact polymers that also may contain comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients. The good news? There are acne- and sensitive-skin-friendly options available too, as well as more hydrating options powered by ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. And don’t skip your nightly face wash, as tired as you may be; use a good makeup remover and cleanser to give yourself a bare face before bed, to avoid any next-day irritation or breakouts.
To help you find the best waterproof foundations on the market, we’ve quizzed dermatologists and MUAs for their recommendations. Plus, we also scoured all the top retailers and browsed all of our favourite beauty brands such as Fenty Beauty, L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, Dior and Charlotte Tilbury to find the most highly rated sweat-proof makeup products out there.
Feeling inspired to upgrade your makeup routine? Check out our guides on the best bronzers, best concealers, best lipstick, best highlighter, best setting sprays, best makeup brushes and more. And don’t forget about skincare – we’ve got guides on the best face SPFs, best hyaluronic acid serums and the best sun creams and sunscreens.
For more shoppable beauty content from Glamour UK Commerce Writer Denise Primbet, follow her on Twitter @deniseprimbet and Instagram @deniseprimbet.
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