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My Waterproof Make-Up Routine!

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

You might have made it here from that Instagram reel or the TikTok where I show my waterproof make up routine or from my emails. This is one of those questions I get ALL THE TIME! And with reason! Waterproof make up is not easy and it really takes time to find the right products that work with you and that you love. Let's dive into my waterproof make up routine!

Over these 7 years as a professional mermaid I have found products that work and some that don’t work for my shows. Sometimes I like to try new ones but once I trust a product for this it’s part of my waterproofing make up routine forever! I love all of these and most of them are very affordable which is helpful because I go through this make up very fast!

I'm finally posting a video and a blog for this million dollar question. I think I would need a whole episode to cover this so I hope you love to read! One day I will make a new video with this routine or a new one, because over time make up products evolve and so do the make up trends, even for performance make up, studio make up or theater make up. I think this routine totally applies to all of those and I hope it helps you for any waterproof makeup needs.

Watch the full video on my Instagram or on my TikTok

After I pack for my mermaid show I go straight to washing my face and prep it for the loads of make up that I will be using. I will do a skin care routine later on but for now let's talk make-up!

First I start with the Neutrogena® Healthy Skin Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 for my primer and sunscreen. My skin is very sensitive so having this as a gentle barrier, that also protects from the sun is essen-shell for me! I love how smooth it goes on and how supple my skin feels after applying it. I just use my clean hands to spread it everywhere on the face including the eyelids where the eyeshadow and eye liner are going to go. The primer is that first layer that helps set in place the make up that will come after while protecting my skin from the make up itself AND the sun. So mer-mazing!

Next up is my foundation. I like to have full coverage and more of matte look. This is great for studio filming to avoid the shine and to have a very even layer. As a performer I love the full coverage and for that I use the Revlon ColorStay™ Longwear Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin, SPF 15. In fact I use a lot of products from the Revlon ColorStay™ Collection because they are long lasting. This foundation is a great base for the rest of the make-up and I believe that it helps keep the next make up products in place even when I go underwater.

I use a blending sponge to apply the foundation and move straight to the concealer while the foundation is still wet. I apply the concealer under my eyes and also use for my contouring under the check bones, a bit between the eyebrows, a bit under my lips and an exclamation point from the bridge of my nose. I have been using the e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer for many years! I definitely agree with the many 5-star reviews this concealer has gotten. It's hydrating and it blends mer-fectly which is great for the under eyes and for that crazy contouring I do. This next picture shows the area where I apply it then let it sit for a while.

For the contouring I have been trying out this contour stick by FIT ME® SHINE-FREE + BALANCE® Foundation Stick by Maybelline. I bought it when rushing to a gig after realizing I forgot my contour palette which you will see next, but really, it can be any contour stick. I don't have a preferred contour stick yet, I find that most of them are very similar, but I honestly like this foundation stick as a contour stick as well. It's hydrating, shine free and blends well. I apply it along the hairline, under the cheek bones and above the concealer line on my cheeks, and on the sides of the bridge of my nose. I let it sit for a sec then use my blending sponge to blend, blend, blend. Sometimes I use both this stick and the palette on the picture blow and sometimes I choose one or the other.

I have bought this Contour Palette by e.l.f. Cosmetics over and over again. It's just a simple contour palette. For my show make up, I do like how matte this powder contour palette is and love playing with the different tones on different areas. If I am more tan some days than others I can really balance out my make up with this one. To apply it I use a long flat brush and then a blending brush to blend it in. I apply this on top of the contour stick areas sometimes to mattify it or accentuate the features even more. Contouring is so fun! I do not find it totally necessary for my daily make up but for my show make up or for being in front of a camera it is a must for me!

Look how happy I am in the picture to the right! That is how much I LOVE blush. I use the e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Blush Palette because it is simple, afforable and all 4 blush shades are great to match with different make up looks. For example, I use the one on the right lower corner the most for my kid's mermaid shows because it matches the pastel make up colors I usually wear on my eyes and lips. But if I'm doing a smokey eye and a red lip for a night time gig I use the darker shades for a more sultry look. I apply blush on my cheeks while smiling and on the tip of my nose because its cute! See how it looks on the picture below!

Are we done yet? Not even close! One of my favorite make up products I own is the Wisp Super Shock Highlighter by ColourPop! Not only it goes on SO beautiful but it also lasts forever. I said I love a good matte make up, but I don't do any make up without this highlighter in the right places. I apply it on the top of my cheek bones, over that contour exclamation point I did earlier on my nose and just under my eyebrows. It just makes the face look younger and it highlights the right features making a matte look a bit more balanced.

Have you noticed something interesting here? Most of these products so far are not even labeled as waterproof, and that is okay! You will see later how I keep these intact in the water. Now let's dive into the fun part! This beautiful Morphe X Abby Roberts Eyeshadow Palette comes with all the colors a mermaid could ever need! A little bit goes a long way. Remember we're doing waterproof make up, so a high pigmented eye shadow is essen-shell. I'm excited to try the other palettes they have when this one is done. However, this one has lasted me for a while now and it's still holding up strong. (Don't mind my messy powdery palette in this picture here. I feel like an artist sometimes dipping my brush in these!)

This make up is for a night-time mermaid show wearing my gold costuming so I went for smokey gold eyes with the eyeshadow. For the eyeliner, I absolutely LOVE the EPIC INK WATERPROOF LIQUID EYELINER by NYX. Trust me, I have tried MANY waterproof eyeliner but this one is king! It has been my go-to for a while and so far it is my favorite! I love a good doe-eyes look and good sultry look so the way that I apply it is very specific. See the picture below! Stay tuned for a full video just on waterproof eyeliner. I'll cover how to steady your hands (no shaky hands allowed!) and how to apply it in a very easy way)

Lashes! Oh, I am a sucker for lashes! I actually do my own eyelash extensions at home that ARE waterproof! But I will make another blog post just for that! I do however, still use waterproof mascara for my lower lashes. The Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Waterproof Mascara does an okay job. Mascara is truly a struggle because it does start dissolving and running eventually even when labeled as waterproof. I will try some other options soon but this one has been great so far for pool gigs, however, I would not recommend it for salt-water environments. This is why I rather have the eyelash extensions for my upper lashes instead of using mascara!

Okay, almost done, fishies! I am a 90s baby and the thin eyebrow trend back in the day ruined my natural full brows. Because of that I fill them in and this Milani Stay Put® Brow Pomade is absolutely fin-tastic. Again, a little goes a long way! I love when make up does that! The "stay put" aspect of this brow color is 100% true. It has a 16 hour wear so I trust it with my mermaid life. Eyebrows frame the face so having beautiful full eyebrows is so important to me for my mermaid show looks.

See the next picture for the fuller eyebrows I once had!

So now for the lips! I have so many shades of this Revlon ColorStay Suede Ink™ Lipstick. It is long lasting and so bright in every shade. Mer-fect for standing out at an event, as if wearing a mermaid tail wasn't enough! The shade of the lips kind of sets the mood for the whole look. For kids parties I may go for a pink-ish tone, and for night-time parties I would do a reddish or plum-ish color. Because this is a long wear, almost waterproof lipstick, it is again matte. See the theme here! Most waterproof make up is matte and also very dry. The downside of this lipstick is that it makes the lips very dry after, so a good lip balm after removing this lipstick is recommended.

AND WE'RE DONE! The last product is the best waterproofing product I have ever used in my entire mermaid career! No joke! I am in love with this waterproof setting spray. It is the ON 'TIL DAWN MATTIFYING WATERPROOF SETTING SPRAY by One Size.

I once saw a video of Patrick Starr coming out of a pool with a full face of make up and patting his face with a towel and NOTHING coming off. I new I needed to try it. It is worth the sand dollars. And I actually discovered it before Beyonce did! So it is absolutely mermaid-approved! Good luck taking all of this off. I will de-fin-etly do a make up removal routine soon!

So there you have it mers! My entire waterproof make up routine. I do this every single time I get ready for a mermaid show. I get tons of compliment on my make up looks and it's all thanks to this routine.

On my Allure interview and on the Refinery29 episode I call it my mermaid make up sandwich: a good primer, regular make up in between, and a good setting spray does the job. It is in the process that the waterproofing magic happens and that magic can definitely be affordable.

Hope it helps!

-Mermaid Kisses, Starfish Wishes

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3 comentários

Ashlynne Doidge
Ashlynne Doidge
06 de fev.

Good to know, thanks!


Ashlynne Doidge
Ashlynne Doidge
06 de fev.

Is the primer sunscreen reef safe? I know some sunscreen is reef safe and some isn't

Mermaid Elle
Mermaid Elle
06 de fev.
Respondendo a

Hi Ashlynne,

The primer itself is not labeled reef safe, sadly make up is not labeled as reef safe ever, so I assume no make up is reef safe. For that reason, I do not recommend wearing make up while diving or swimming in natural bodies of water. I never wear make up on my ocean dives or content, other than reef safe sunscreen by itself. I personally love the sunscreen by Stream2Sea. This waterproof routine only applies to show make up for land and pool events. Hope this helps!


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