Sunshine, sand, the gentle lapping of the waves: There’s nothing quite like a day spent by the sea (or the pool, if you’re not on a coast). And since being outside can make you feel good, it’s only right that you should look good, too. Whether you prefer to bask in the sun or frolic in the water, a bit of careful preparation (read: primer)—and waterproof makeup—can ensure that your beach makeup stands up to the elements.
Here, we’ll teach you what you need to know about beach (or pool) makeup and give you a run-down of what kind of products to use while you’re soaking up the sunshine. Then, we’ll give you some inspo with eight of our favorite beach makeup looks. They’re perfect for Spring Break 2023—or whenever the mood strikes! Next-level seaside selfies await.
What Makeup Should I Wear To The Beach or Pool?
There are a few things to consider when choosing your beach makeup. The look you’re after will play the biggest role in determining which products you need. However, it’s also important to consider the formulas of the products you’re using. Generally speaking, if you’re going to spend a day by the sea, we recommend using gel, liquid, or cream products rather than powders. The reason for this is simple: Liquid and cream makeup can easily be reapplied without looking (or feeling) cakey. Easy touch-ups are particularly helpful if you plan on jumping in and out of the water (which you’ll likely need, even if you’re using waterproof makeup for swimming).
We’d also argue that the best beach makeup products are those that offer long-lasting wear. For foundation, try our iconic Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation. Available in 45 shades, this matte foundation provides up to 24 hours of wear. The vegan formula feels lightweight on the skin and is both transfer-resistant and waterproof, making it a great bet for beach days. If you’d rather forgo foundation, you can spot-cover imperfections like dark spots, redness, or under-eye circles with concealer. We suggest our Bare With Me Concealer Serum, which is lightweight, blendable, and boasts a natural finish.
How Do I Keep My Makeup On At The Beach?
Getting the most mileage out of your makeup means starting with a solid base. In fairness, this holds true no matter where you are, but it’s especially relevant when you’re facing the sun and sea. To help increase the longevity of your look, you’ll want to start your beach makeup routine with a long-lasting primer, such as The Marshmellow Smoothing Primer. The multi-tasking 10-in-1 formula smooths, softens, extends makeup wear for up to 16 hours, hydrates, soothes, evens tone, minimizes texture, blurs lines, adds a soft focus finish, and keeps makeup fresh. Plus, it dries down with a transparent finish, making it well-suited for all skin tones.
Then, when you’re finished with your makeup routine and ready to hit the surf, give your entire face a generous mist of setting spray to help lock your look in place. As for which setting spray to use, we recommend our iconic Matte Setting Spray. The lightweight formula helps absorb oil (extremely useful in warmer weather) and provides long-lasting hold for up to 16 hours. It’s not hard to see why it’s America’s #1 makeup setting spray.*
*Disclaimer: L’Oreal calculation based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Scantrack Service for the Makeup Spray sub segment for the 52-week period ending January 1, 2022, for the US xAOC market according to L’Oreal’s custom product hierarchy. Copyright © 2022, Nielsen Consumer LLC
Makeup For The Pool or Beach: 8 Looks We Love
Now that you know what types of products to look for, keep reading for a few of our favorite beach makeup looks to try during spring break. (Of course, you can also save these ideas for your summer vacation!)
A sun-kissed flush is distinctly beachy, but it’s not worth risking your skin to get one. Instead of skipping the sunscreen (which is never a good idea), fake a subtle sunburn with a creamy blush, like our Wonder Stick Blush. The dual-ended blush stick includes two creamy, blendable blush shades that are designed to pair together perfectly. To achieve this low-effort, high-impact look, swipe the lighter shade along the top of your cheekbones and across the bridge of your nose, then use the darker shade to define beneath your cheekbones (like you would with contour). Then, use your fingers to blend it out for a natural-looking rosy glow.
If you want to emphasize your eyes without committing to a full eye makeup look, try this minimal eyeliner look. Use our Epic Ink Waterproof Liquid Liner to tight-line your upper lash line, then extend the liner just past the outer corner of your eye and flick it toward your temple. You can opt for the black liner pen for a more defined result or the brown for a softer, beachier vibe. Complete the look with lip gloss or balm, if desired, or go natural—the choice is yours.
The best way to fake a glowy tan? Bronzer—specifically, our Bare With Me Luminous Cheek Serum. It’s a lightweight liquid bronzer that delivers a buildable wash of color with a natural-looking finish. Choose from one of three sheer, dewy shades and apply to where the sun naturally hits your skin (specifically, your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and the top of your forehead). Then, blend it out with your fingers until you’re happy with your faux glow.
Fake a bright-eyed look even on the laziest of beach days by lining your upper and lower waterline with white eyeliner, such as our Epic Wear Waterproof Eyeliner Stick in Pure White. As the name implies, this sharpenable eyeliner pencil is waterproof. It’s also smudge-proof, fade-proof, and wears for up to 36 hours. Use it alone, or pair it with a few coats of black mascara for a more amped-up (yet still beach-appropriate) look.
Sparkle like the sea by coating your lids with our Ultimate Glow Shots. These shimmery liquid eyeshadows deliver confident color that wears for up to 12 hours with no flaking, fading, or fallout. Plus, there are 13 playful shades to choose from, so no matter your beach makeup vibe, we’ve got you covered. For a subtle glow, we love the silvery shade Come Thru Coconut or the golden tones of Highkey Lychee. For those who’d rather go bold, we recommend trying Blueberry Baller (a gorgeous, shimmery pale blue) or the unapologetically bright green Kiwi Killa.
What better opportunity to live out your mermaid fantasies than a beach day? (Answer: none). Give your lips the deep sea treatment by coloring them with a bold blue, green, or purple lipstick. You’ll find all of these playful hues—and more—in our Smooth Matte Lip Cream lineup. This full-coverage lip cream comes in 24 vibrant shades that feel smooth and comfortable on the lips all day. Wear them alone, layer them to create your own color, or pair your fave hue with a coordinating lip liner for a bold and beachy lip look.
Full, Fluffy Brows
Being at the beach doesn’t have to mean giving up on your full-brow dreams for the day—but it does mean you’ll want to choose your brow products accordingly. Ditch the pencil for the day and instead fluff up your brows with Thick It Stick It! Brow Gel. The thickening, tinted brow mascara comes in eight buildable shades for an array of brow colors. Plus, the buildable formula can be customized to your liking. Swipe through your brows with the spoolie comb once to add a bit of volume and color to your brows, twice for medium thickness and tint, or three times for ultra-full, luscious-looking arches.
Bold Red Lips
Red lips aren’t just timeless—they're a total lifesaver when it’s simply too hot to wear any other makeup (but you still want to rock a bit of glam). If you’re a matte lip lover, our classic Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick in the crimson hue En Fuego is all you need to complete your beach beat. Prefer a glossy finish? Opt for Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color in Stay Stuntin’ for a punch of color and shine.
Next: Learn how to find your perfect foundation shade (and undertone) in our article Meet Your Match: How To Match Your Foundation and Find Your Formula.