A Cosmetic Chemist Says TikTok’s ‘Water Foundation’ Hack Is Total B.S.—Here’s What To Try Instead

Photo: Stocksy / Ivan Gener
Dewy skin is in, and in a sea of nourishing skin tints and foundation-moisturizer hybrids, TikTokers are looking to make their typical foundation more hydrating by adding water. You put a few drops of your foundation in a glass of water let it "marinate" for a minute or two and then supposedly, apply it to your face for a look that's drenched in hydration. But according to cosmetic chemist Javon Ford, the water foundation hack isn't all that practical.

"Frankly, it does make it more hydrating because you're mixing it with water, but so would spraying water on your face before you apply makeup," says Ford. "That's a little bit neater than mixing your foundation with water."

Experts In This Article
  • Javon Ford, cosmetic chemist and founder of Éclat Naturals

The effect isn't much different because you can't actually mix foundation with water. "Most of the foundations now are silicone-based. They don't mix with water naturally," he says. "You can tell in the videos they have to force it because the foundation is immediately floating to the top."

@helinndoski Foundation in WATER?!! Ib: @Rachel Rigler #makeuphack #makeuptips #makeup ♬ original sound - Helin Doski

So I decided to put Ford's advice to the test. I squirted a few drops of the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 ($52) into a cup of water and let that sit. Then, I sprayed half of my face with the Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($12 to $28) and used a damp makeup sponge to apply the full-coverage foundation. Then, I used a small brush to remove wet globs of foundation from the water, plopped them on my face, and blended them with the same sponge. Both sides of my face looked exactly the same.

That said, the two sides felt much different. The side where I used the water hack actually felt drier, tighter, and cakier than the side where I applied normal foundation to a misted face. So if you're looking for a hydrating foundation, your best bet is to buy a hydrating formula and mist your face before you apply. Not only did this hack make my foundation feel worse, but it could also actually make the application less seamless.

"I question if this hack actually disrupts the integrity of the foundation and makes it wear patchier," says Ford. "It looks fine on video, but it just feels like, 'Oh, hey, here's this cute little trend I want to do for views.' It's not a practical thing."

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