The 13 Best Waterproof Foundations

The 13 Best Waterproof Foundations

Many of us want to look picture-perfect during our getaways, whether we’re on a beach vacation, exploring overseas cities, or getting lost in a dreamy winter wonderland. The best waterproof foundations can help you do just that, but finding the right one for your skin can be a challenge.

The keys to a long-lasting, high-performing foundation is ingredients aimed at caring for your skin, according to Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACE Dermatology. “If you wear makeup regularly, it’s important to look for foundations with skincare ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, aloe, vitamin C and E, and jojoba oil,” Yadav explains. “After all, why wouldn’t you choose a formula that’s actually doing something for your skin?” 

From nailing the ingredients to finding the right texture and shade that blends seamlessly into your skin, we’re here to help you find the best foundation for you. Our top pick, the Makeup Forever HD Longwear Foundation, covers all the bases, including hydrating ingredients, flawless performance, and even being available in a travel-ready mini size. We’ve rounded up plenty more options for the best waterproof foundations. including those with matte finishes and products for acne-prone skin.

These are the best waterproof foundations to shop:


Best Overall:
Make Up Forever HD Skin Undetectable Longwear Foundation


Sephora


Why We Love It: It gives skin a silky feel.

What to Consider: It can settle into fine lines, and not all shades are available in mini sizes.

No one wants to stop and set or touch up their makeup when they’re busy enjoying their travels, which is why this long-lasting waterproof foundation made number one on our list. Available in 40 shades, this Make Up Forever foundation blends seamlessly into the skin for a natural look and silky texture. A lightweight, medium-coverage formula created with vegetable-based glycerin for moisture preservation and exopolysaccharide to give off a glow, it won’t clog your pores or melt when you start to sweat. We love that it comes in a mini size that’s perfect to slip into a carry-on, backpack, or beach bag, however, it’s disappointing that the .4-ounce option only comes in a few shades. Still, this resilient foundation is a great choice to truly feel your best through rain, snow, sweat, and ocean water—without a caked-makeup look. The best part? The bottle is made from 40 percent recycled glass and can be recycled itself when you’re ready to restock. 

Price at time of publish: $22 (mini size)

Shades available: 40 | Sizes available: 1.01 ounces, .4 ounces


Best for Hot Climates:
Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-Free Hydra Foundation

Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-free Hydra Foundation

Sephora


Why We Love It: The formula is designed to allow your pores to breathe.

What to Consider: You may have to apply two layers for full coverage.

Want to get dolled up for that perfect selfie without humidity getting in the way? Fear not, as this foundation from Smashbox takes care of all oil concerns. Lightweight with buildable coverage and transfer-resistant, this liquid foundation is powered by breathable polymers to improve the feel of skin so you can look flawless even when breaking a sweat. It’s a vegan formula that includes hyaluronic acid, which is a go-to for hydration. Although this foundation has more of a matte finish, it blends well into the skin for a natural look. 

Price at time of publish: $25 (full size)

Shades available: 40 | Sizes available: 1 ounce, 0.34 ounce


Best for Snow Sports:
L’Oréal Skin Paradise Water-Infused Tinted Moisturizer

L'Oréal Skin Paradise Water-Infused Tinted Moisturizer

Amazon


Why We Love It: It’s infused with aloe vera for ultimate hydration.

What to Consider: It can cling to dry patches on the skin, and it’s only available in five shades.

Cold climates can quite literally suck the life out of your skin by zapping moisture, making them tough environments for foundation to thrive. L’Oreal comes to the rescue with this tinted moisturizer. Formulated with witch hazel and aloe vera for ultimate hydration, it’s boosted by a 70 percent water base. The Skin Paradise Water-infused Tinted Moisturizer is oil-free and won’t clog pores, and it’s small enough to easily fit in your ski pants pocket or crossbody. With SPF 19, it also helps to give you sun protection that’s crucial for days spent outside with rays reflecting off of snow.

Price at time of publish: $9

Shades available: 5 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best for Scar Coverage:
Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Foundation For Face and Body SPF 15

Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Foundation For Face and Body SPF 15

Ulta


Why We Love It: It has a 12-hour wear.

What to Consider: We wish it had a higher SPF rating.

If you want to maximize your coverage on both your face and body, your best bet is this creamy, highly pigmented  foundation from Estée Lauder. It’s non-acnegenic, has 12-hour wear, and protects with SPF 15. It is formulated to gently conceal everything from sun spots and veins to tattoos and scars. While this foundation is ideal for some fun in the sun, the SPF isn’t the highest, so be mindful of having additional protection.

Price at time of publish: $48

Shades available: 15 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best Eco-friendly:
BareFaced Beauty Mineral Foundation

BareFaced Beauty Mineral Foundation

BareFaced


Why We Love It: Refills are available in compostable pouches.

What to Consider: Powder foundation may not be ideal for someone with dry skin.

Unlike traditional powder foundation, mineral foundations like this pick are formulated with zinc, which helps balance the skin’s oil production and regenerate connective tissue. Its ingredients are 100 percent natural origin, and the sifter has a lock so you don’t have to worry about it spilling during transit. We love that you can purchase refills for this foundation that come in compostable packaging. 

Price at time of publish: $18 (full size)

Shades available: 20 | Sizes available: .4 ounces, .08 ounces


Best Drugstore:
Nyx Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation

NYX Can't Stop Won't Stop 24HR Full Coverage Matte Foundation

Amazon


Why We Love It: It includes vitamin E to nourish the skin.

What to Consider: It has a full-coverage, thoroughly matte finish, which not everyone prefers.

NYX is known for its high-end quality at affordable prices, and this 24-hour foundation lives up to the reputation. Created in a wide shade range, it’s a full-coverage foundation designed for busy bees and those long days soaking in every possible hour in a new city. With shine control and sweat resistance, it’ll maintain its matte finish for a full 24 hours without transferring to clothes or headwear. Small enough to pack in a carry-on, vegan, and enhanced with vitamin E for nourishment, it proves great foundation doesn’t have to break the bank.

Price at time of publish: $12

Shades available: 37 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best Stick:
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Sephora


Why We Love It: The formula is designed to match and correct your complexion upon application.

What to Consider: The full shade range isn’t available at every retailer.

Stick foundations are perfect for traveling thanks to their lightweight, compact sizes. This particular Bobbi Brown foundation was designed for portability, and it’s just as kind to your skin as it is to your packing plan. Loaded with olive oil extract and shea butter, it can be used as an all-over color-correcting foundation or as a spot concealer for quick fixes. It’s also buildable when you prefer a full-coverage effect, which makes it a perfectly versatile choice for trips during which you’ll have varied makeup needs.

Price at time of publish: $21

Shades available: 43 | Sizes available: .31 ounces


Best Shade Range:
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

charlotte tilbury airbrush flawless foundation

Sephora


Why We Love It: The formula is a skincare hybrid.

What to Consider: It’s not ideal for oily skin.

Luxury meets practicality when it comes to this foundation from Charlotte Tilbury. A hybrid of skincare and makeup, this formula offers full coverage and a soft matte finish. It includes as much replexium, a combination of peptides that target fine lines and wrinkles, as the brand’s signature serum, and menthol-containing aircool yields a refreshing feel. Currently, there are 44 shades available—from cool to deep in various undertones—so most can achieve the desired airbrushed look and feel with this product.  

Price at time of publish: $46

Shades available: 44 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best for Body:
MAC Studio Radiance Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation

MAC Studio Radiance Face And Body Radiant Sheer Foundation

Ulta


Why We Love It: The formula is lightweight and buildable.

What to Consider: The coverage is extremely sheer.

Want your legs and arms to look just as flawless as your face? Drench yourself in a weightless formula that provides an instant glow with a true-to-skin match and hydration. Keep in mind that this is designed for the body, so it’s meant to blend in as much as possible. For heavier coverage, you will need to apply a few layers. If you’re just after a radiant, lit-from-within glow to turn heads by the pool, one layer will suffice.

Price at time of publish: $39

Shades available: 30 | Sizes available: 1.7 ounces


Best Matte:
Too Faced Born This Way Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Too Faced Born This Way Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Sephora


Why We Love It: It works to replenish skin’s moisture levels.

What to Consider: Color matching can be a bit difficult.

In a perfect world, we would all be born with skin that doesn’t get oily or shiny. Too Faced got us a step closer with a vegan foundation that keeps you shine-free while still retaining the sparkle of your natural beauty. Formulated with coconut water, alpine rose, and hyaluronic acid to support skin health and strength, this foundation provides 24-hour matte coverage. Keep in mind it does not oxidize, so the shade you see is the shade you get, which can be tricky when finding your match.

Price at time of publish: $45

Shades available: 35 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best Full-coverage:
Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Full Coverage Foundation

Ulta


Why We Love It: It works to absorb oil all day long.

What to Consider: You need to be extra sure to prep and prime your skin before application.

Whether you’re planning to spend your nights stargazing or bar crawling, this foundation is sure to keep you dry and fabulous the whole time. Conceal acne and scars, and show out with a natural matte look with this clean and vegan formula. It is waterproof, sweatproof, and transfer-proof. However, the key to activating this foundation’s top-tier formula is ensuring your skin is prepped and primed with moisturizer and primer before application. In addition, it’s not the best for those with dry skin.

Price at time of publish: $40

Shades available: 17 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best Light-coverage:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

Ulta


Why We Love It: It evens out discoloration and texture.

What to Consider: It can transfer to clothes.

Achieve a sunset-like glow with this foundation from ABH. Formulated with antioxidants from vitamin E and seaweed extract to keep the skin calm, this foundation covers blemishes and scars with a sheer veil. One downside is that this formula is known to transfer, so we highly recommend that you set it with powder or a matte setting spray. It’s also water-resistant, not waterproof, so you shouldn’t rely on it when you know you’ll be drenched. 

Price at time of publish: $38

Shades available: 50 | Sizes available: 1 ounce


Best for Oily Skin :
Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation

Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 25

Ulta


Why We Love It: It contains more skincare ingredients than makeup ingredients.

What to Consider: It is fragrance-free.

Clinique carefully formulated this foundation to give your skin the nourishing effects of serums. Designed specifically with oily skin in mind, it includes salicylic acid to reduce skin secretion fluids (i.e. sweat), hyaluronic acid, and three types of vitamin C for brightness. It’s waterproof, feels lightweight, and leaves skin with a satin feel. The chic glass bottle is also recyclable and the foundation fragrance-free, so it may not appeal to the nose at first. Be aware that it’s highly concentrated, so a little will go a long way.

Price at time of publish: $43

Shades available: 42 | Sizes available: 1 ounce

Tips for Buying a Waterproof Foundation

Utilize digital shade-matching tools

If you don’t know your shade or undertone, retail sites such as Ulta and Sephora offer digital shade-matching tools, and many individual beauty brands offer their own matching services. Quizzes, photo readings, and tools that let you try on foundations virtually ensure you get a perfect match. 

Think about which level of coverage is best for you

The right level of coverage is highly dependent on your preference and situation. If you’re going glamping in a humid climate, you may not want full coverage, as it could feel uncomfortable. Sheer coverage or a simple tinted moisturizer are probably your best bets. Need to dress up for a night out at a pub? Make sure your makeup is flash-free on that selfie with a full-coverage matte foundation. Have a scar you prefer to conceal? Consider a buildable body foundation. Climate and comfortability are key when it comes to deciding coverage. 

Know your skin type and look for nourishing ingredients

“The longer a makeup formula lasts, the more drying it tends to be,” Dr. Yadav explains. “Waterproof foundation may be extremely drying on the skin, which could cause discomfort. Look for hydrating formulas with ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, which will help draw water into the skin and stave off dryness.”

Understanding how your skin reacts in certain climates and to certain foundations is also key in finding your staple. For example, I have sensitive skin, but it’s also oily. My skin takes best to a cream foundation or an oil-free matte one that doesn’t clog my pores and lead to breakouts. Always do a patch test with your foundation so you won’t have to deal with a hard reaction if your skin decides it’s not a match.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I apply foundation?

    Everyone has a different method for applying foundation, and, honestly, it all comes down to preference and foundation formula. For cream and stick foundation, I recommend starting by applying it to the core centers of the face that make up the T-zone: the nose, forehead, and chin. Use a buffing brush to slowly blend it out. For liquid foundation, I also prefer a brush but have found that applying directly to a sponge and blending out works just as well. The key to long-lasting foundation is prepping and priming the skin with a good moisturizer and primer.

  • How do I remove waterproof foundation?

    You’ll want to use a makeup remover—ideally a cleansing balm. Oil breaks down waterproofing ingredients the best, so an oil-based liquid remover is the wisest choice. You want to make sure you are removing the makeup as gently as possible, since constant wiping and scrubbing can cause irritation. If you’re out of makeup remover, you can also use micellar water to remove it and follow up with a facial cleanser.

  • How do I get waterproof foundation stains out of clothes?

    Getting waterproof foundation stains out of clothes can be tricky and frustrating if you’re not used to it. Sometimes, going through the wash two times with a strong detergent such as Tide can get it out. However, the most popular method is shaving cream. Applying foam shaving cream to the item, letting it sit for a few minutes, then rubbing the stain should remove the foundation.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Náosha Gregg is a broadcast associate at CBS Mornings and a freelance writer. She has a passion for all things beauty and skincare. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, and more. 

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