10 Waterproof Makeup Products for a Mermaid Makeover - QC Makeup Academy

When you’re playing with the elements, don’t take your chances with everyday makeup products. Remember the iconic upside-down kiss scene between Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst’s rain-drenched characters in Spider-Man (2002)? It’s touted as one of the most romantic moments in cinematic history. Now, imagine black mascara running down Kirsten Dunst’s face and into her lip gloss. Yeah, not pretty!

Great makeup artists will change the way they do makeup according to their project’s needs. If you’re hired to apply makeup that holds up underwater, you’ll need to change the application process. And, even more importantly, the items in your makeup artistry kit.

Keeping reading to discover 10 beauty products that’ll survive through sweat and swim!

underwater photoshoot makeup artistry

When would underwater makeup artistry skills come in handy?

There are basically three industries where knowledge of underwater makeup is necessary.

  1. Synchronized swimming shows
  2. TV, Film, and Editorial productions
  3. Mermaid and underwater circus entertainment

We will recommend products that’ll stay on and stay vibrant even when exposed to water. But first, we need to go over factors that will influence how you approach your appointment.

Special considerations

  1. Just like in theatrical stage productions, you’ll need to exaggerate the makeup you use in these makeup jobs. That’s because water tends to wash people out. That’s why you’ll also see mermaids and Olympic synchronized swimmers in heavy and dramatic makeup.
  2. If your model is spending long amounts of time in water outdoors, you’ll need to apply SPF prior to makeup application. Failing to do so can lead to a nasty sunburn! Choose a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen that’s water-resistant. We advise against chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone as they are not reef-friendly! Instead, choose physical sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
beach model needs sunscreen

What waterproof/water-resistant makeup products should be in my makeup kit?

Now that you’re aware of the special conditions, it’s time to get to the good stuff! See the list of makeup products we recommend for a mermaid-approved professional makeup kit!

Face Primer

Try this: Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer

Primers minimize pores and smooth facial skin over for an even complexion. But these features are just added bonuses. The real magic comes in its waterproof formula, grabbing hold of all the colorful products you apply on top and making them stay put until the end of the day!


Try this: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

This award-winning, color-correcting cream functions just as well underwater as it does above. The product blurs away imperfections while giving you broad-spectrum sun protection. Not to mention the cream is infused with a hydrating face serum—a life-saver if your model is in salt or high-chlorinated water!

water fairy editorial photoshoot featuring waterproof makeup kit products


Try this: Cargo Cosmetics Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

This sweat-proof formula is just what we needed. Whether your model is swimming underwater or standing up against the reflective waters of the sea, they’ll definitely need blush to bring life back onto their faces. Although these blushes only come in three colors (for now), this powder formula is infused with silicone and can even be applied underwater!


Try this: bareMinerals Statement Matte Liquid Lipstick

This full-coverage matte liquid lipstick is a winner in our books. Although the colors are bold, the formula creates a soft-focus finish. The light-weight, non-tacky formula is infused with a silky primer. It looks as great as it feels!

Powder Products

Try this: Make Up For Ever Aqua Seal

For all your powder products from eyeshadow to contour, pair it with Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Seal! One of the defining products of the brand’s Aqua range, this product can save you a ton of money! The liquid converts regular powder and pencil makeup products into water- and smudge-proof formulas—perfect for the budget makeup artist!

Eyeshadow Primer

Try this: Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer

Just like the face primer, an eyeshadow primer is essential! Lay down this primer to prevent eyeshadow creasing and fading.


Try this: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Despite its ultra-creamy consistency, this eye pencil is the real deal! Coming in almost 40 colors, this waterproof formula doesn’t budge until you take it off!


Despite the many waterproof formulas out there, there is only one mascara that the professional mermaid Linden Wolbert trusts.

She says, “I’ve tried just about every waterproof mascara brand out there, from the most to the least expensive. And the best is L’Oréal Paris’s Voluminous Waterproof Building Mascara in Black Brown. Oddly, the Carbon Black color of this brand totally runs and smears in water. The Black Brown does not! It’s the only one that stays on and doesn’t do crazy clumping; and it lengthens incredibly.”

underwater makeup artistry for mermaids


Try this: Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil

This brow pencil makes drawing and filling brows a dream! Unlike many of its waterproof competitors, the slanted tip glides over the body of the brow to fill it just a few swipes. Then, use the spoolie on the opposite end to blend it all together.

Setting Spray

Try this: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Setting sprays were long thought of as a bonus step that adds a layer of luxury. But in fact, this is a crucial step for preserving your makeup looks underwater. This Holy Grail product will seal in all of your hard work!

What makeup products do you recommend for a waterproof makeup look? Let us know!

Another way to produce waterproof makeup is through airbrushing! Find out the pros and cons of using airbrush makeup!

Author Celina Feng

More posts by Celina Feng

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