How to Wear Makeup Swimming

beautiful woman at pool

Going for a swim doesn't mean your face has to be au naturale. Anyone can make a splash once the temperatures soar! With the right products, your makeup will look great both in and out of the water.

Waterproof Makeup Tips

The last thing you want is for your carefully applied makeup to smudge or run, so proper application is essential. These tips will help your products stay in place.

  • It is okay to leave your bronzer at home. According to the Elle article "11 Tips You Need to Know Before Wearing Makeup to the Beach," you can avoid cakey or unnatural looking skin by swapping your powder bronzer for a water-resistant foundation, four shades darker than your normal shade.
  • Tinted lip balm is a great alternative to a lip liner and lipstick duo. It gives your lips a flush of color without being high maintenance. That means less worrying and more time enjoying!
  • Add on a setting spray to give longevity to your look. Whether you are out in the sun, taking a dip in the pool, or have a full day of activities planned, a quick spritz can make a huge difference. The Kat Von D Lock n' Load Makeup Setting Spray is about $30 and promises 16 hours of wear, even in extreme temperatures.
  • Use good quality makeup products formulated to resist wanter to ensure your makeup doesn't smear and slide at the pool or beach.
  • Avoid rubbing your face with a towel when you dry off. Instead, pat gently so you don't smear your makeup. Another option is to use blotting papers to absorb excess moisture.
  • Be careful how you remove waterproof makeup. Use a small amount of Johnson's Baby Shampoo with warm water to take off eyeliner, shadow, and mascara with ease. To take off water-resistant lip products, coat your lips with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and wipe off with a hand towel.

Best Products to Wear Swimming

If you want to look fresh and radiant, the key is to use waterproof and water-resistant makeup. Waterproof cosmetics contain unique ingredients that preserve the integrity of makeup, so it will not run or smear when it comes into contact with water. The following are popular products that are ideal for swimming:

Water-Resistant Foundation and Concealer

When it comes to face products that offer coverage, longevity, and water resistance, don't settle for bargain brands. Wearing cheap concealer on a hot day can result in a runny, sticky mess. You are better off investing in a product that works. Not only will this give you some peace of mind but you'll look amazing.

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, [NW13] .85 oz
  • MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation: When it comes to foundation with staying power, few are better than MAC's waterproof version. Retailing at about $35 for a 0.84 ounce tube, it lasts for 24 hours, is oil free, and repels moisture from the surface of the face. It can be worn as a foundation or a concealer, depending on your desired level of coverage. Reviews have been largely positive, with Makeup Alley users praising its lightweight texture and transfer resistant formula.
  • Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation: This next foundation is known for its full coverage and long-wearing finish. At jus over $40 for a one-ounce bottle, the Kat Von D foundation is certainly an investment, however, it has been praised for its creamy texture, wear time, and extensive shade selection. This product provides matte coverage that is waterproof, fade-proof, and transfer resistant. The brand also offers the Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Creme (about $35 for a 0.22 ounce tube) if you need a long-lasting concealer as well.
  • Bobbi Brown BB Cream with SPF: If you want a light coverage look that still gives your face protection, opt for the Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizer. It costs just over $45 for a 1.3 ounce tube and has an SPF of 35. Touted as a five-in-one product, (that can perfect, hydrate, brighten, repair, and protect) this is a well-rounded beauty product. It provides matte coverage rather than a dewy finish, making it a unique BB cream. To see how it wears throughout the day, watch the YouTube video Bobbi Brown BB Cream First Impression.
  • Lancome Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer: This waterproof and streak-proof concealer blends in completely and is crease resistant. It retails at just over $30 for a 0.5 ounce tube and conditions the eye area with soothing chamomile extract and honey. With reviews highlighting its waterproof formula, all-day staying power, buildable coverage, and creamy consistency, this product will help you swim in style.

Splash-Proof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is nothing new, but technology has made it better than ever for girls who like to swim. The added polymer makes it stick to your eyelashes... even after a few laps in the pool. There are many mascaras to choose from, but some of the most popular (and effective) are:

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Waterproof Mascara, Black, 0.28 fl oz
  • Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara: If you are on the hunt for a mascara that will stay put, then Urban Decay may be your best bet. This $20 tube gives lots of length, definition, and best of all, stays right where you want it. The unique gel formula has been tested in the ocean, at the pool, and even at the gym. Further proving its durability? It made StyleCaster's list of the best makeup to wear at the beach.
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara: Being on a budget doesn't mean running mascara. L'Oreal is a drugstore brand that offers a waterproof protection and lots of lash definition. It costs just $8 a tube and adds tons of thickness to the lashes. (Up to three times the thickness of your natural lashes, in fact). Since this product is fragrance free, it works well on people with sensitive eyes, and has been dubbed a holy grail product by beauty lovers on YouTube.
  • Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara: Another must-have mascara comes from Tarte. Beauty blog Musings of a Muse praises its ability to provide super dramatic lashes. It retails for about $25 and has unforgettable (and oh-so-cute) waterproof packaging. Offering length, curl, volume, and conditioning, this is one mascara you'll reach for time and time again. Tarte promises that Lights, Camera, Splashes will stay put whether you are caught in the rain, sweating, or even crying.
  • Clarins Double Fix Mascara: There is no reason to ditch your favorite mascara when you go swimming. All you need is the Clarins Double Fix Mascara (about $25 per tube), which goes over top of your everyday mascara. The gel creates a waterproof and sweat resistant coating, so you can enjoy your day without worry. This can also be applied to your eyebrows as a way to set non-waterproof brow products.

Eye Shadow and Liner

When it comes to wearing eye makeup in the pool, a little goes a long way. A pop of color or some bold liner will help you stand out with ease.Here are some popular picks for swim-proof shadow and eyeliner:

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, Intense Black, 0.02 Oz
  • Givenchy Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow: Just because you are heading for a swim doesn't mean your eyelids need to be bare. Simply use a cream shadow instead of a powder. Givenchy cream shadows, which retail for about $30, come in ten different shades. Each one has a creamy consistency, is waterproof, lasts for 16 hours, and gives your next look a fun pop of color. The Fashion Spot even gave this line of cream shadows a mention in their list of the best sweat-proof makeup.
  • Make Up Forever Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Color: Few brands are as celebrated in their waterproof efforts as Make Up Forever. They have a full line of Aqua makeup - with products designed to withstand water, sweat, and other extreme conditions. In fact, this line is so beloved, synchronized swimmers actually use them during performances. Each Aqua Cream shadow costs about $23 and there are a whopping 25 shades to choose from.
  • LORAC Front of the Line Pro Liquid Eyeliner: For some people, eyeliner is not an add on, it is a necessity. If you believe the latter is true, then add this LORAC liner to your makeup collection. It costs around $23 and is a breeze to use. The product has a flexible tip which gives you tons of control and makes application quick and easy. It is also long wearing, water-resistent, and promises not to smudge or budge. No wonder xoVain mentioned it in their article, "How I Waterproofed My Signature Makeup Look for My Miami Vacation."
  • Stila Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner: Another great option comes from Stila for about $22. Known for their line of Stay All Day products, this liquid eyeliner delivers on that promise. Not only did it make Good Housekeeping's list of lasting waterproof eyeliners, but the product stays in place throughout the day. It does not run, smudge, flake, or feather. With an easy to use applicator and a wide selection of shades (everything from black to white, blue, teal, orange, and so much more), this eyeliner is essential.


Anyone can look poised and polished while swimming. Sometimes, all it takes is a little attention to detail. Well-groomed brows add shape to the face and give you an effortlessly beautiful finish.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, 05 Deep
  • Make Up Forever Aqua Brow: Your eyebrows can be flawless everywhere you go with the help of the Make Up Forever brow gel (about $28 for a 0.23 ounce tube). This long-lasting eyebrow corrector allows you to fill in any sparse areas, create definition, and achieve Instagram-worthy brows in no time flat. The highly pigmented product is applied using an angled brush. (Take a look at this Aqua Brow tutorial on YouTube to perfect your application technique). Like the rest of the Aqua line, it is designed to withstand water, sweat, and other extreme conditions. In short? Your brows aren't going anywhere.
  • Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel: There is another beloved brow product to keep on your radar. Benefit's Gimme Brow (just over $30 for a 0.1 ounce tube) has taken over the beauty world. Not only is it an award winner (snagging top marks from Allure and winning the Total Beauty Editor's Choice Award) but it builds upon your own brows to create fullness that looks natural. It has a water-resistant formula, is long-lasting, and has an easy to use precision tip. No wonder this has been getting solid reviews from users across the board.

Lipstick With Staying Power

Wearing lipstick is not a requirement (especially when you are swimming) but it is a great way to have fun and get playful with color. Keep your lips luscious with these fantastic waterproof choices:

Max Factor Lasting LipFinity Lip Colour, Long Lasting Lipstick Lipstain, 335 Just In Love
  • Max Factor Lipfinity Lip Colour: This line of Max Factor lipsticks (just $15 per set) lasts all day if applied properly. All you need to do is apply a coat of color, then follow up with a moisturizing topcoat. Each lipstick is waterproof and includes PermaTone, which is a semi-permanent color. That helps it to last for up to 24 hours. If variety is what you are after, not to worry. There are 46 shades to choose from, including basic nude colors, vibrant pinks, mauve, red, and more. Reviews on Beauty Haven have praised the formula for being extremely long-lasting.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: The NARS lip pencil is great because it acts as a stain. It is both a pencil and a lipstick, giving you precision, color, and staying power, all in one. At about $33 per pencil this is certainly not the most affordable option, but it works. This product even made the Brit + Co list of "10 Long-Lasting Lipsticks That Don't Budge." The formula is creamy, rich, pigmented, and will stay all day. Reach for this matte pencil the next time you want to swim.
  • Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick: These days, liquid lipsticks are ultra trendy. Beauty lovers have fallen head over heels for the long-lasting formula liquid lipsticks provide. That includes the line from Urban Decay. For a little over $20 a tube, you can enjoy waterproof colors that are intensely pigmented and transfer proof. They are comfortable to wear and come in a variety of shades and finishes (including matte and metallic). Take a look at blogger Keiko Lynn's swatches of the full collection.
  • Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge Liquid Lipstick: Though there are plenty of great waterproof lipsticks out there, Make Up Forever provides some of the best. Their line offers twenty three different shades (some matte and some with a high shine finish), so you always have options. Each tube is about $30 and gives waterproof and smudge-proof protection. The two step application process (lipstick on one end and a clear top coat on the other) ensures that the color always stays put. This product is not just popular, it works. StyleCaster listed it as one of the "4 Waterproof Lipsticks That Actually Last."

Reasons to Wear Makeup Swimming

There are no rules when it comes to beauty. Some women avoid makeup during the hot summer months while others are eager to showcase their glamorous side. The reality is that wearing makeup to the pool or beach is not uncommon. Though there will always be critics, there are many reasons to apply it before you swim.

  • Many face products, such as moisturizer, primer, and BB cream contain an SPF. There are a number of SPF infused foundations as well. These items can protect your skin from the suns harsh rays.
  • Studies show that many women wear makeup to boost self confidence. Survey results from The Renfrew Center Foundation found that 44 percent of women experienced negative feelings without it.
  • Those recovering from surgery may choose to wear makeup while swimming to provide extra protection to newly healing skin.
  • For some women, putting on makeup is a daily ritual. It can be a calming and enjoyable process. Just because you are ready to hit the beach doesn't mean you need to give up that dedicated "you" time.
  • If you are going from one activity to another, there may not be time to apply a full face of makeup after you swim.

Look Beautiful Wherever You Go

Why should going for a swim mean sacrificing your makeup routine? With careful application and some waterproof products, you will look (and feel) beautiful from head to toe.

How to Wear Makeup Swimming