Is Foundation Waterproof? | Find out if you can swim in Foundation

To answer your question quickly, foundation can be waterproof but this isn’t always the case. Let’s take a closer look at whether foundation is waterproof and if it’s ok to swim while wearing it. Foundation is an item of makeup most of us have in our cosmetics collections and often the most important beauty product for helping you build and achieve that knockout look.

Applying foundation smoothly can give you that stunning even complexion that is uniform in colour and covers any blemishes on your skin. Foundation brands often include sunscreen and naturally moisturising ingredients in their formulas, but can we wear these foundations when we get sweaty, go swimming or walk in the rain. This is a question a lot of people always ask me.

Let’s find out whether foundation is waterproof, if we can swim in foundation and whether there are any benefits to wearing a waterproof foundation instead of regular foundation.


Is Foundation Waterproof?

Yes, Foundation is waterproof, but not all foundations are waterproof. Waterproof foundation is created differently from your regular foundation and some foundations are better than others at repelling water. Waterproof foundation is often developed using oil based ingredients that do not run when they come into contact with water.

Oil and silicon based waterproof foundations are a lifesaver if you want that wow factor while you are being active, chilling at the pool or living in a humid environment where we all know what it’s like to constantly battle with forehead sweat.

When summer is coming makeup brands often claim their foundations are waterproof but this doesn’t always mean they will perform well in the swimming pool. 

What Makes Foundation Waterproof? 

Some foundations are made with a water base. These foundations are not waterproof, as the product has no way to block water if it is itself made of water. That would be impossible, as these foundations cannot be designed to block their own base ingredient. 

As a result, regular water based foundation tend to smear and run whenever another liquid with a water base, such as sweat or raindrops, comes into contact with the foundation.

To see whether your foundation is waterproof check out the ingredients list. Ingredients used in water based foundation formulas tend to start with the word aqua but this doesn’t always mean they are water based.

If you are looking for waterproof foundation, you’ll usually want to avoid these ingredients because waterproof foundations are known to be developed with an oil base or silicone.

The silicone or other oil based ingredients form a water-resistant barrier that prevents water from mixing with the foundation and making it run.

Look for the following ingredients in a waterproof foundation: dimethicone copolyol, silicones, isododecane, or acrylate copolymer.

The labels on waterproof foundations are often listed as waterproof, but they may also say sweat proof, long lasting or stay in place foundation.

Waxes and high levels of polymers are also often added to foundation formulas to create a protective barrier against moisture. 

What Are the Benefits of Waterproof Foundation? 

Waterproof foundation is a necessity if you live a highly active lifestyle, or if you live in a very humid or rainy location. 

Many athletes swear by waterproof foundation since it stops sweat from ruining their makeup, and performers like these products for the same reason.

If you are a very spontaneous person, a waterproof foundation will preserve your makeup no matter what you choose to do throughout the day, such as an impromptu hike. 

Even if you are not highly active, constant humidity and rain will mess up your makeup. A waterproof foundation eliminates this issue, and you will not have to fret if you forget your umbrella.

Not having to worry about the weather is especially nice if you work outside. Of course, waterproof foundation is also an excellent product to use if you will be spending the day near or in water.

My favourite waterproof foundation

I have to admit, I haven’t tested this foundation while swimming underwater, so I can’t tell you whether it will perform well if you are a swimming with your face and makeup underwater.

My favourite waterproof foundation is the Mac pro long wear foundation nourishing waterproof foundation.

M.A.C Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation NC25,0.85 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)

Click the image to view this foundation on Amazon

The mac pro long wear foundation is a lovely long lasting foundation that is easy to apply and doesn’t cake, crease or streak. The formula is oil free and the main ingredient that has sweat and water resistant properties is Dimethicone.

Synchronised swimmers have used Mac makeup, but they also recommend the brand make up for ever. Synchronised swimmers often experiment with setting sprays and lots of different makeup products to find that perfect flawless finish for long time underwater foundation wear.

You might also have to experiment with different product, settings sprays and sunscreen if you are planning to wear makeup for a day at the pool or water park.

Can you swim with foundation on?

Yes, you can swim while wearing some water proof foundation products. 

If you aren’t convinced your foundation will stay in place while swimming you could always apply a thin layer of Petroleum jelly on top of it to create a protective waterproof barrier.

Wearing a long lasting, 24 hour or all day foundation that had some water blocking properties, also helps protect your skin from the chlorine in swimming pools. Chlorine dries out your skin because it removes some of your skin natural oils that help keep your skin healthy and moisturised.

If you swim with foundation on, I would avoid spending too long under water. Even though a lot of foundation brands claim their makeup is waterproof, they usually just mean water resistant, sweat proof or splash proof.

Even the best foundations designed for swimming are going to start to run if your face is under water a lot. Make sure your fake tan is also water resistant if you are spending a lot of time in water this summer.

How to make a regular foundation waterproof

If you’ve made the mistake of purchasing a regular foundation that isn’t waterproof. You might still be able to save the day with the help of a few beauty tricks that people use to waterproof their foundation.

Setting spray or setting powder is one product designed to be sprayed on top of your makeup to create a protective barrier against moisture. Even synchronised swimmers use settings sprays to hold their makeup in place while submerged underwater for a long time.

Skindinavia sell an extremely long lasting and low cost fine mist setting spray that is also oil and paraben free. This setting spray is great because it also helps stop your natural oils from causing your foundation to run.

Another of my favourite waterproof setting sprays is the PPI skin illustrator blue marble setting spray. This is a more expensive option but the product offers a strong setting formula.

Regular vs waterproof foundation

Waterproof foundation Regular foundation
Common ingredients Silicone based ingredients, Dimethicone Water based formula
Brands Mac pro longwear, skindinavia, Covergirl outlast active foundation. All foundation brands
Sweat proof Yes Regular Matte foundations are good at soaking up your skins moisture.
How long lasting are they Usually all day wear or 24 hour wear because waterproof formulas are created to stay put and can be difficult to remove. You can buy long lasting and light short wear regular foundations. A regular foundation won;t usually last as long as a water resistant foundation.

Is Foundation Really Waterproof?

While there are many waterproof foundations out there, not all foundations are specifically made this way. Always look for silicone ingredients at the top of those listed on a product.

The label on waterproof foundations usually says waterproof, but some cosmetics products use sweat proof, long lasting, or even humidity resistant on their labels.

Regular foundation with setting spray works just fine for some people, but if you are very active or constantly exposed to water or wet weather, waterproof foundation is a better choice. This is especially true if you never have time to touch up your makeup.

Because waterproof foundations are usually long lasting formulas, even if you aren’t going to be swimming or exposed to water, they are still a great choice for all day foundation wear.

Product image
Popular waterproof foundation
M.A.C Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation NC25,0.85 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Waterproof cream foundation
Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream - 5 Vanilla by Make Up For Ever for Women - 0.5 oz Concealer
Product name
Mac Pro Longwear waterproof foundation
Makeup forever foundation
Click to view on Amazon
Popular waterproof foundation
Product image
M.A.C Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation NC25,0.85 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Product name
Mac Pro Longwear waterproof foundation
Click to view on Amazon
Waterproof cream foundation
Product image
Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream - 5 Vanilla by Make Up For Ever for Women - 0.5 oz Concealer
Product name
Makeup forever foundation
Click to view on Amazon

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