If you struggle with oily, sensitive, or dry skin, you may have trouble finding a foundation that works for you. Water based foundations are growing in popularity as an effective yet gentle option suitable for a variety of skin types. Keep reading as we dive into everything you need to know to find your ideal water based foundation match.
What Exactly Are Water Based Foundations?
Water based foundations get their name because they have a higher water content than oil or silicone based options. But what does this mean for your skin? Let’s break it down:
Water Provides Hydration
The high water concentration hydrates skin, providing essential moisture. This makes them ideal for dry complexions.
Gentle for Sensitive Skin
With fewer irritating ingredients than oil or silicone formulas, water-based foundation are less likely to cause acne or rashes. The water soothes and calms, perfect for easily inflamed skin.
Control Oil and Shine
The water content tricks the skin into producing less oil since it feels hydrated. Less oil means less shine and longer wear for oily and combination skin types.
Natural, Lightweight Finish
The water allows foundations to feel weightless on the skin. And without thick pigments or greasiness, water-based foundations look subtly enhancing instead of heavy.
Water based foundations first became popular in the early 20th century but have recently had a major comeback because of these skin-enhancing benefits.
What Skin Types are Water Based Foundations Best For?
Water based foundations are extremely versatile, suiting a wide variety of skin types when formulated properly. Let’s see who can benefit most from these hydrating formulas:
Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
The oil-controlling properties help prevent shine breakthrough and clogged pores responsible for acne. The right formulas also contain acne fighters.
Dry and Dehydrated Skin
Hydrating water based makeups prevent flaking and symptoms of dryness better than matte formulas. Dewier finishes improve the look of skin as well.
Sensitive or Eczema-Prone Skin
Gentle ingredients reduce the chance of reactions in sensitive, easily inflamed complexions. Soothing extracts may even actively calm redness.
Hydrated skin helps soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dewy finishes reflect light naturally for a brightened, youthful effect.
Of course, those with balanced “normal” skin can also use water-based foundations. There are formulas suitable for every skin goal from coverage to oil control.
How to Tell if a Foundation is Water Based?
With water content in nearly every foundation formula, how do you spot true water based makeups? Check the ingredient list for the following clues:
First 3 Ingredients:
Water will likely be listed first. But if silicones or oils take the top spots, that is the dominant base.
“Hydrating” “Dewy” and “Water Cream” signal a water foundation.
Avoid Ingredients Like:
Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone (silicones) mineral oil, lanolin oil (oils).
Water based foundations feel lightweight, blendable, and hydrating during wear.
Of course, reading reviews can clarify the actual finish and feel if you remain uncertain about the water content.
6 Must-Have Ingredients to Hydrate and Treat Skin
The highest performing water based foundations hydrate while calming and treating skin. Here are the top ingredients to look for:
- Hyaluronic Acid This powerhouse humectant ingredient draws moisture from the environment into the skin’s upper layers stopping dryness in its tracks.
- Aloe Vera With exceptional soothing abilities, aloe vera gel calms inflammation and redness on contact. It provides antioxidant protection too.
- Glycerin Glycerin is a humectant like Hyaluronic acid, trapping moisture inside the skin to fix dehydration.
- Ceramides Natural ceramides strengthen the moisture barrier, preventing water loss and improving hydration intensity.
- Chamomile Extract
- Anti-inflammatory with a delicate soothing effect, chamomile extract calms eczema, acne, and irritated skin conditions.
- Vitamin E Vitamin E is both a nutrient for the skin as well as a protective antioxidant that defends against damage from free radicals caused by the sun and pollution.
Finding these ingredients in water-filled formulas ensures your foundation treats skin concerns while beautifying.
How to Apply Water Based Foundation Like a Pro?
To get the most out of your water foundation, follow these pro application tips:
Prep Skin First
Exfoliate and cleanse skin the night before application to remove dry flakes and oils that can disrupt foundation application. In the morning, mist your skin with a hydrating toner and apply moisturizer before foundation to give moisture a chance to absorb.
Use a Primer
Water based primers increase longevity and create an even base. For best performance, make sure primer and foundation bases match – aka – use a water based primer under water based foundation.
Opt For a Beauty Sponge
Ogee Makeup’s soft sponges gently press foundation into skin instead of sitting on dry flakes. Bouncing and rolling the sponges blends makeup smoothly without irritation. Ogee’s sponges allow flawless, blended foundation application.
Set Makeup With Powder
Translucent setting powder secures makeup in place, preventing fading and transferring throughout wear. Focus on the oiliest areas like the t-zone to lock in oil control.
Carry Blotting Papers
Keep oil at bay and extend wear even longer with blotting papers to quickly remove excess shine without shifting makeup. Tissue off-shine as soon as it appears.
Armed with the right water based foundation and smart prep, application, and touch-up tips, expect your makeup to look like skin and last beautifully.
The 7 Best Water Based Foundations for Gorgeous Skin
Ready to discover your perfect match? These are the top water based foundations for every skin type and concern:
Best for Oily Skin: Urban Decay Stay Naked
Powerful oil absorbers pair with skin-perfecting pigments for a flawless, shine-free look that outlasts other formulas on slick skin types.
Best Medium-Full Coverage: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
This luxurious, smooth foundation feels as weightless as it looks. With a natural radiant finish and skin care ingredients, it’s worth the investment for dry to normal skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Ilia Serum Foundation
Organic aloe and hyaluronic acid pack this serum-foundation hybrid with calming, hydrating ingredients gentle enough for even the most reaction-prone complexions.
Best Drugstore: L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24hr Freshwear
This budget buy provides the perfect blend of smoothing coverage, comfortable hydration, and stay-put wear suitable for combination, oily, dry, and normal skin types – no wonder it has such rave reviews!
Best Anti-Aging: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream
Color-correcting pigments cancel redness as this innovative formula hydrates dryness and plumps away the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – the ultimate multi-tasker. You must read about Dominique Cosmetics.
Best Full Coverage: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation
Get comfortable yet completely customizable full coverage. With a choice of 33 shades and a buildable application, it’s easy to find a perfect tone match and your desired level of correction.
Best Lightweight Coverage: MAC Studio Waterweight
Silky and lightweight, barely-there water based coverage lets skin’s natural radiance shine through beautifully. The mineral-infused formula also protects with SPF 30.
No matter your personal preferences and skin needs, see why water based foundations make the best match for so many. Find your perfect fit today!
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Based Foundations
Still, seeking answers about the ideal water based foundation for your skin? Explore the FAQs below:
Which is better: water based or silicone based foundation?
There is no definitively “better” base. It comes down to your unique skin type and needs. Water based foundations offer exceptional hydration great for dryness. But silicone formulas control oils exceptionally well and give a poreless finish. Assess your personal skin priorities to pick between them. Normal, balanced skin types can be used too.
Should I use an oil free or water based foundation to control oily, acne-prone skin?
For acne and oily skin specifically, oil free water based foundations make an ideal match. They provide hydration and oil regulation without pore clogging ingredients responsible for new breakouts. Using oil controlling primers and powders boosts the staying power even more.
My skin felt tight and dry after applying a water based foundation. What went wrong?
Certain water based foundations still contain a substantial amount of silicones or polymers alongside the water. These “drying” ingredients can counteract the hydrating effects of the water, leaving skin feeling parched. Stick to formulas focused solely on hydration through humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid instead of those trying to achieve multiple finishes.
Should I change my water based foundation seasonally like I do my moisturizer?
Yes! As skin moves between dry winter months to hot, humid summers, rely on your water based foundations to either hydrate dryness or control shine respectively. To save money, consider choosing one best suited for your current season’s needs instead of forcing an unsuitable formula to work year-round.
Why does my water based foundation disappear halfway through the day?
Oil breakthrough causing makeup shifting and fading halfway through wear usually signals a skin hydration issue. Prep with deeply hydrating serums containing glycerin and hyaluronic acid under makeup. Using a water based primer seals in the hydration so your makeup lasts flawlessly.
From smoothing visible pores to softening early wrinkles, water based foundations offer solutions beyond just basic coverage. Containing hydrating, soothing ingredients, they bring skincare benefits to your beauty routine.
Focus on seeking hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera over silicone and other polymers. And be sure to prep your skin properly before makeup application. Do this, and water based foundations give comfortable, water-light coverage that looks subtly perfected yet still uniquely you.