It’s time to rethink the way you apply foundation, at least if TikTok users have anything to say about it. The great beauty minds of social media have already discovered inventive ways of mixing products and achieving artful brows, but their latest hack is focused entirely on foundation. More specifically, mixing it in a cup with water (yes, really) for maximum glow and staying power. If you’re looking for the perfect base, the answer just may be waiting for you in your sink.
Ahead, find out why people are mixing their foundation with water, how it works, and my honest opinion.
This beauty hack/science experiment has steadily increased in popularity on TikTok thanks to its claims to make foundation more luminous and totally transfer-proof . Creatives, including @rachelrigler, have expressed disbelief at the MUA-approved trick of mixing your foundation with water. “I’m still at a loss for words,” Rigler confessed, after trying the trick herself.
For her test of the trend, Rigler dropped some foundation into a small cup of water. After mixing, she poured the contents onto her hand, letting the water slip out, and then dotted the face with product. Blending the foundation out with a Beautyblender, she then pressed a paper towel against her face. Turning the paper towel to the camera, she demonstrated how little of the makeup came off.
After coming across Rigler’s video, Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty also tried the hack. “It’s supposed to make your skin look more beautiful,” she explains while adding foundation to a glass of water.
Admitting that there was “definitely more luminosity” to the foundation applied with water, Kattan went on to see if the method was transfer-proof. “I do think this works,” she says. “I just think that it’s a little complicated, a little gross, and also a little wasteful, but I will say that this is a hack that works.”
It does appear that creators use quite a few pumps of foundation to get the desired effect. Despite that, those like Steph Hui, have praised the method for how dewy it leaves the skin.
How It Works
As for the exact beauty science behind this hack, celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman tells Byrdie that the addition of water changes the viscosity of a water-based foundation. “If a foundation has water in the formula, it will thin the texture during application, but it will evaporate quickly after applying and likely will not hydrate the skin throughout the day." Basically, it may look lighter and dewier when you apply it, but don't count on this for adding any extra hydration to your skin as the water evaporates through the day.
She also notes that you should only try this with a water-based foundation, since silicone or oil-based formulas won't mix with water, and it can actually make wear worse.
Although you’re welcome to try the hack for yourself, you can also achieve dewy skin through a skincare routine that’s centered around hydrating. “A more effective solution would be to use a serum or moisturizer that has a humectant in it, which will bind water to the skin cells. Look for formulas with hyaluronic acid or glycerin.”
Watching the videos for the first time, I thought this technique took entirely too much effort. I’d prefer to achieve a dewy finish without conducting a science experiment in my bathroom, but with the hack receiving such rave reviews, I wanted to try it for myself.
I used the Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation ($29) for my experiment. Adding a few drops to a small glass of water, I then stirred with a brush. I thought this part was kind of messy and left my brush a bit stained, but I used soap and water to clean up. After stirring, I used the bits of watery foundation as my base and applied. The foundation did feel really light and smooth when applied, and I did notice that it wasn’t as heavy. I blended it out with a blender and liked the way it appeared on the skin. I do think it looked lighter, and after pressing a paper towel to my face, I did notice that there was little in the way of transfer.
I would consider this hack a success, but I don’t love doing it. It took me quite a few drops of foundation to get something to mix with, and this was just too messy for me. I’m very much a minimalist and prefer just dabbing on product and going, so this was a bit more time-consuming than what I personally prefer.