The Best Waterproof Mascaras



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Hot, sweaty weather and pool parties mean one thing: You need the best waterproof mascara in your makeup bag this summer. “If you choose a waterproof mascara, you will always create lift, because, [even with] the humidity, it prevents lashes from flopping,” says makeup artist Caroline Barnes. But is it possible to find a holy-grail mascara that really ticks all of your boxes? After extensive research into the many, many products out there, we would argue: yes. And Barnes agrees; it’s possible, but only if you know what to look for based on your needs.

“If you have thick, luscious lashes, then you [want] a mascara that has … a fat wand with big, thick bristles,” she says. “If you have fine, thin lashes, you want to use something that is a little bit tighter in application, so you don’t get a lot of mascara dumped onto your lashes.” A quick summary: Thick brushes are great for long, thick lashes and thin brushes work best for fine, sparse lashes. Keep this in mind as you look through our list of the best waterproof mascaras on the market.

COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Mascara, Very Black
COVERGIRL

Whether your lashes are stick-straight, short or naturally curly, the Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara is an excellent pick. It applies easily and adds dramatic length and volume sans clumps. Reviewers love that this formula is neither runny nor sludgy, and holds a curl all day long

 

Impressively, this mascara passed makeup influencer and YouTuber Zabrena’s shower test — it didn’t smudge, flake or budge as she ran water over her face — and it outperforms other more expensive mascaras. Unfortunately, it is difficult to remove (get your baby oil ready).

Pros

  • Great for swimming
  • Cruelty-free
  • Lasts 10+ hours

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • Not natural
  • Not vegan

Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara - Volumizing Mascara For Up To 12x More Volume & 24H Wear - False Lash Effect - Black
Lancôme

Featuring a buildable formula, the Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara creates clean, separated, sky-high lashes. The thick brush effortlessly fans out eyelashes without creating clumps, and the mascara itself holds a curl for at least nine hours.

 

Though this mascara is not as voluminous as others and does get a little smudgy at the nine hour mark, it holds up during a busy day. Some reviewers also dislike the thickness of the brush.
At $30 for 0.33 ounces (which lasts about three months), the Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara is one of our most expensive recommendations.

Pros

  • No clumping
  • Creates length
  • Holds a curl for 9+ hours

Cons

  • Smudging after 9+ hours
  • Thick brush
  • Expensive

NYX Professional Makeup Worth The Hype Volumizing Waterproof Mascara
Ulta

Why did NYX Worth the Hype beat out other drugstore brands? In addition to being completely smudge-proof, this mascara creates full volume and length in just two coats. The brush is thick, which helps create volume immediately. Plus, buyers love that it lasts during a full day at the beach or water park.

 

While some reviewers say NYX Worth the Hype is clump free, others argue that they experience minor clumps at the base of their lashes. A few complain that it has a chemical smell and is very difficult to remove.

Pros

  • Swim-proof
  • Volumizing
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May clump
  • Chemical smell
  • Not vegan

L'Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara
Ulta

With over 88,000 Amazon reviews at an average 4.5-star rating, the L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara has been tried, tested and approved by the makeup community. This affordable favorite does not clump during application even though it adds impressive length. Clocking in under $11, it’s a steal for everyday use.

 

While some buyers wish they had discovered this product sooner (before spending money on expensive alternatives), others argue that it takes three applications to create enough volume. It may also be overly drying. Note that this product contains beeswax, so it is not vegan.

Pros

  • Does not clump
  • Lengthening
  • Lasts 8+ hours

Cons

  • Subtle volume
  • Not vegan
  • Drying

Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara, Very Black
COVERGIRL

If you have sparse lashes, Covergirl LashBlast should be your go-to waterproof mascara. It creates thicker lashes in just two coats, and the intense, dark black color draws attention to your eyes in all the right ways. You will also get more bang for your buck; a tube of LashBlast is 0.44 ounces, which is nearly double the size of most standard mascaras. Keep in mind that 0.3 ounces is enough for three months, so you’ll need to use this tube daily to get your money’s worth and prevent waste.

 

Oftentimes with a volumizing mascara, you will have to deal with clumps — and LashBlast is no exception. It is prone to smudging during application, which makes applying mascara to the lower lashes even more difficult than usual.

Pros

  • Volume in one coat
  • Dark black color
  • Big size

Cons

  • Clumping
  • May smudge
  • Difficult application

Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Long Lash Mineral Mascara - Abyss Mascara Women 0.25 oz
Pacifica

As someone who applies eye makeup, forgets that it’s there and frequently rubs her eyes, I cherish my tube of Pacifica Aquarian Gaze. It’s completely smudge-proof, has a smooth application and dries quickly. Plus, the formula lifts my stick-straight lashes and creates a natural look.

 

A word of caution: Though this formula lasts me 8+ hours, it does start to flake by the end of the day. It can also lead to breakage or loss of lashes if you don’t clean it off completely — so I recommend using baby oil or a gentle makeup remover when you’re ready to take it off. Aquarian Gaze comes in one size: 0.25 ounces, which should last you between two and three months.

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Smudge-proof
  • Lasts 8+ hours

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • May lead to breakage
  • Flakes after 8+ hours

Maybelline Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara
Ulta

Hate dealing with clumps? A mascara with a thinner brush is usually a good bet, and the Maybelline Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Waterproof Mascara is a great choice. This hypoallergenic formula creates definition and length that lasts for 8+ hours.

 

As with many no-clump mascaras, this product creates less volume than other comparative mascaras. Some reviewers note that it tends to smear during application and isn’t the best for tears or water sports, but they appreciate that this quality makes it easier to remove.

Pros

  • Lengthening
  • 8+ hours
  • Easy removal

Cons

  • Not volumizing
  • May smear
  • Not for swimming

MAC Cosmetics MACStack Waterproof Mascara in 01Black Stack at Nordstrom

There’s a reason makeup artists choose MacStack Waterproof Mascara for wedding makeup: It lasts, and it never smears through the tears. Reviewers love that it doesn’t transfer if they accidentally rub their eyes. Plus, this product creates excellent volume and length.

 

As with all long-lasting waterproof mascaras, however, MacStack is difficult to remove. In addition, it may not hold a curl as well as other products and may start to flake at the end of the day. Plus, it airs on the expensive side at $28 per tube.

Pros

  • Volumizing
  • Lengthening
  • Lasts 10+ hours

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • May not hold a curl
  • Flaking after 10+ hours

Honey Whisper 4D Mascara for Fine Short Eyelash, Waterproof Extra Long Lash Eyelashes,Voluminous Eyelashes, Long Lasting, Smudge-proof,Black (0.1 fl. Oz)
LESITI

It might seem impossible to find a mascara that does it all, but Honey Whisper ticks a lot of boxes. One coat with the extremely thin wand creates a natural, all-day look. To create a volumized, dramatic appearance, simply add one or two more coats. Reviewers note that the precise wand makes it easy to apply product to the lower lashes.

 

Still, the thin wand has its drawbacks. Some users state that the brush is difficult to hold and maneuver. In addition, others argue that the mascara itself doesn’t hold a curl and the color is lighter than they would like.

Pros

  • Clean application
  • Buildable
  • Easy for lower lashes

Cons

  • Wand is difficult to manage
  • May flake
  • Not available at most retailers

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara in After Midnight at Nordstrom

I recently picked up a free sample of Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara at Ulta, and it’s now one of my cosmetic staples. The formula is lightweight, buildable, clump-free and easy to remove at the end of the day. The best part? It doesn’t make my sensitive eyes itchy after long-term wear, thanks to the 99 percent naturally derived formula. The black pigment comes from charcoal rather than carbon black — a known carcinogen.

 

Unfortunately, Ilia’s Limitless mascara is only water resistant, not waterproof. For everyday use, I haven’t had any issues with smudging or clumping, but I wouldn’t wear this to exercise or go to the beach. It’s also not a vegan formula, as it contains ethically-sourced beeswax.

Pros

  • Lengthening
  • No clumping
  • Easy to remove

Cons

  • Water resistant (not waterproof)
  • Expensive
  • Not vegan

Liquid Lash Extension Mascara Crystal Brown, Long-Lasting, Dramatic Extension, Smudge-proof, Hypoallergenic Formula .38oz
Thrive Causemetics

Unfortunately, waterproof mascaras are not always the best choice for contact lens wearers because a few harsh ingredients may irritate the eyes. For this reason, a water resistant formula like Thrive Causmetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara may be a better option.

 

This layerable mascara is smooth and easy to apply, and has an instant lengthening effect. Reviewers love that it doesn’t flake or smear during everyday use, though some mention that it isn’t as dramatic or voluminous as they would like.

Pros

  • Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested and approved
  • Easy to remove
  • Natural look

Cons

  • Water resistant (not waterproof)
  • Not volumizing
  • Black color is lighter than other brands

L.A. Girl Jetsetter Mascara Lash&Go
L.A. Girl

If you need a mascara that can truly hold up to the tears, L.A. Jetsetter Lash & Go Mascara is for you. This is another product that passed YouTuber Zabrena’s shower test with flying colors — it didn’t budge as she ran water over her eyes.

 

Starting at $5.99, this is our most affordable pick. Zabrena notes that this product is also easy to remove compared to other waterproof mascaras, which is surprising considering its staying power. Keep in mind that this mascara may not hold a curl as well as other products.

Pros

  • Our most affordable pick!
  • Easy to remove
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • May not hold a curl
  • Not vegan
  • Product may leak out of the tube

HEROINE MAKE by KISSME Volume UP Mascara Super Waterproof WP 01 Black | with Ultra Volumizing for Even Long-Lasting and Curl Eyelash for Women
Heroine Make

If you have short, sparse lashes, Heroine Make’s Waterproof Mascara is the pick for you. This Japanese brand is well known in the Asian community because it lifts, volumizes and curls eyelashes with just one coat. Plus, most reviewers love that they can add a second coat without creating clumps.

 

Though this mascara holds up for quite some time (buyers say they have gone 10+ hours without smudging or flaking) some note that they have smudged it accidentally by rubbing their eyes. Reviewers also believe that the formula is on the dryer side and takes time to remove.

Pros

  • Holds a curl for 10+ hours
  • Volumizes without clumping
  • Under $15

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • May smudge
  • Not sold at major retail stores

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Waterproof
L’Oréal Paris

As the only other product to past Zabrena’s shower test, the L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Waterproof Mascara is another excellent choice. It encourages curling from the first coat and even holds a curl under water. Plus, it’s both volumizing and lengthening.

 

Though this mascara is one of the tougher ones to remove, buyers say that a cotton pad soaked in baby oil eventually does the trick. Make sure to completely remove it before you go to bed, as left-on product may cause your lashes to break.

Pros

  • Swim-proof
  • Holds a curl under water
  • Volumizing

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • May cause breakage
  • Difficult to apply to lower lashes

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara Makeup, Volumizing, Lengthening, Defining, Curling, Multiplying, Buildable Formula, Brownish Black, 1 Count
Maybelline New York

The Maybelline Sky High Waterproof Mascara was designed to create length, and it delivers on its promise. This product went viral on TikTok for making short, lackluster lashes appear long and voluminous. (Some buyers say they’ve even been asked if their lashes are fake.)

 

Though many waterproof mascaras are prone to hardening, Sky High stays softer throughout the day — a plus if you don’t like the feeling of stiff, plastic-like lashes. A few common complaints: The formula is difficult to remove, and may irritate sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Buildable formula
  • Lengthening
  • Stays soft

Cons

  • May clump during initial application
  • May not hold a curl
  • Hard to remove

Eyeko Lash Alert Mascara - Travel Size
Eyeko

If you’re looking for a waterproof mascara which easily comes off at the end of the day, your best bet is a tubing mascara instead. (Tubing mascaras work by wrapping a “tube” of polymers — plastic-like materials — around each lash.This creates natural thickness that resists smudging and flaking.) The Eyeko Lash Alert is one of our top picks because it looks natural, builds easily with multiple coats and resists flaking and smudging throughout the day.

 

In addition, this formula contains caffeine to help “wake up” lashes and biotin to encourage growth. It is also less likely to clump than other brands, thanks to the castor oil in its ingredient list. To remove this mascara, apply warm water and a gentle makeup remover.

Pros

  • Easy to remove
  • No clumping
  • Smooth application

Cons

  • Water resistant (not waterproof)
  • May smudge
  • May lead to breakage

Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara Black
Clinique

Don’t like the feeling of heavy lashes? Try Clinique’s High Impact Waterproof Mascara. One coat creates long, fluttery and evenly-separated lashes. Buyers appreciate the anti-clumping and anti-flaking formula, and state that one coat lasts all day.

 

This product comes in two sizes: 0.28 ounces, which should last a month, and one ounce, which should last an impressive six months. A few reviewers mentioned that the mascara irritated their eyes, and the product dries and crusts too quickly around the tube opening.

Pros

  • Lengthening in one coat
  • Smudge-proof
  • Lasts 10+ hours

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin
  • Hard to remove
  • Expensive

Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara, 0.27 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Eyeko

We’ve written about this mascara before, and for good reason: It’s so waterproof that reviewers say they have worn it while swimming, sweating, and walking through downpours without a smudge. What makes it perfect for swimming? This vegan, quick-drying formula is infused with coconut oil to help counteract the effects of salt water and chlorine, and it lasts 9+ hours.

 

Buyers note that Eyeko is a little too good at its job, because it dries very quickly and can be difficult to remove. Most reviewers agree that baby oil does the trick, and a piece of paper towel helps eliminate any dried-out clumps on the wand. The Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara comes in two sizes: 0.27 ounces, which should last you about three months if applied daily, and 0.1 ounces, which should last about one month if applied daily.

Pros

  • Lasts 9+ hours
  • Vegan
  • Swim-proof

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • Drying
  • Product may clump on wand

Maybelline New York Volum' Express Colossal Curl Bounce Waterproof Curling Mascara, Very Black, 1 Count
Maybelline New York

When it comes to sandy beaches and salty waves, the Maybelline Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara stands up to the task. Reviewers rave about the product’s ability to withstand eye rubbing, sweat and a long day of activities. Plus, it holds a curl and lasts longer than 10 hours without smudging.

 

As with the toughest waterproof mascaras, this product is difficult to remove and requires an extensive cleaning process. However, most reviewers say this is par for the course and they appreciate the longevity of the formula.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Comes in two colors (black and brownish black)
  • Lasts 10+ hours

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • Tube dries out with frequent use
  • May lead to breakage

MILK Makeup KUSH Volumizing Waterproof Mascara - Vegan, Clean, Cruelty-free - Fuller, Healthier Lashes - 0.12 Fl Oz
Milk Makeup

It’s not always easy to find a cruelty-free and vegan product, but Milk Makeup’s KUSH Waterproof Mascara is both. This formula contains vegan “beeswax” which helps lock the mascara onto the lashes. Additional waterproof ingredients reduce smudging and transferring.

 

Another plus: Reviewers note that this paraben-free mascara does not irritate their eyes. However, the product inside the tube tends to dry out after frequent use, and the formula doesn’t have the same staying power as other mascaras at similar price points.

Pros

  • Volumizing
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • May smudge
  • May clump
  • Tube dries out with frequent use

HEROINE MAKE by KISSME Long UP Brown Mascara, Super Waterproof w/ Super Lengthening & Tubing Fiber for Long and Curl Mascara Makeup WP 02 Brown
Heroine Make

Not all of us want the dramatic look of black mascara, so the Heroine Make by KissMe Brown Waterproof Mascara is an excellent alternative. Its rich brown color creates a soft, natural appearance, while the waterproof formula maximizes staying power. Indeed, one reviewer wrote that she bawled her eyes out while wearing it, but didn’t have a single smudge.

 

Unfortunately, KissMe products are not as widely available as other brands in the United States. In addition, a few buyers didn’t think this mascara adequately lengthened and volumized their lashes.

Pros

  • Soft, natural look
  • Lasts 10+ hours
  • Cry-proof

Cons

  • Not volumizing
  • May irritate sensitive skin
  • Not available at most retailers

Diorshow Mascara Waterproof
Ulta

Looking for a blue, waterproof mascara? The pickings may be slim, but the Diorshow Waterproof Mascara in blue is an excellent choice. Buyers report that this thin, lightweight formula feels luxurious during application. The Diorshow Waterproof Mascara does not flake or clump, and the wand separates each lash to create a clean, beautiful look. A huge plus? This mascara does not usually irritate the eyes.

 

On the other hand, reviewers note that the product doesn’t create much volume and the price point is high. A few unhappy customers vented that they can get the same satisfaction for half the price with other brands.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Noticeable, electric blue
  • Smooth application

Cons

  • Not volumizing
  • Multiple coats to see the blue
  • Expensive

Finding the Best Waterproof Mascara: A Buyer’s Guide

With its ability to instantly transform your appearance and draw attention to the eyes, waterproof mascara is one of the most important products in your makeup bag. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with information in the hunt for an excellent product. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you weed through the marketing lingo and find what truly works for you, but only if you first understand what kind of lashes you have and what your goals are for your mascara.

For instance, if you have straight lashes, your top priority is to keep them curled as much as possible. Look for waterproof mascaras that receive praise for “holding a curl” throughout a long day. It’s also important to look for a formula that isn’t too runny and dries quickly, as lashes are most likely to droop during the application process when the product is still wet.

If you have short lashes, however, you want to look for a mascara that creates the illusion of length. Pay attention to brands that receive good reviews for “lengthening,” and look for brushes that are thin and have wide-apart bristles. Ultimately, once you know your goals for your mascara, you can look into other important factors before purchasing.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Waterproof Mascara

When choosing the best mascara based on your goals, it helps to consider these factors:

Smudginess

This is arguably the most important feature, as the goal of a waterproof mascara is to avoid smudging even if you cry or jump in a pool. To find out whether a product will smudge before you buy it, first make sure that it is marked waterproof, rather than water resistant. Second, check out the reviews. If buyers rave about the product’s ability to stay glued to lashes through sweat and tears, you know you’ve got a winner.

Wear

A waterproof mascara is only as good as its staying power. How long does the brand claim its product will last before it begins to flake or smudge, and how long do reviewers say the product has lasted them? In addition, look for mascaras that are marketed as “long-lasting” or “8+ hours.”

Keep in mind that the longer you leave a waterproof mascara on, the more susceptible your lashes will be to breakage. Waterproof and water-resistant formulas tend to be drying, and with prolonged use, they can dry out lashes enough to make them snap.

Flakiness

Many waterproof mascaras flake at the end of the day because their formulas are drying. To counter this effect, look for ingredients that hydrate, such as hyaluronic acid, amino acids, castor oil, jojoba oil and argan oil. Biotin is always a plus, as it may promote growth and strengthen lashes.

Removability

The more smudge-proof a mascara is, the more difficult it will be to remove. Some makeup artists recommend pressing a cotton round soaked in baby oil to the eye and holding it there for a minute or two. Then, try to gently rub off the product. This method softens the mascara and may help reduce irritation — so you don’t have to scrub your eyes for 20 minutes.

If ease of removal is important to you, consider purchasing a water-resistant mascara instead. Water resistance will prevent smudging and flaking for a normal day at the office. In addition, it may be safer to use, as waterproof mascara tends to strip eyelashes of protective moisture they need.

Sensitivity

If you have sensitive skin or wear contacts, it’s important to look through a mascara’s ingredient list before purchasing. Common ingredients that may cause irritation — which you may want to avoid — include: benzalkonium chloride, BHA, carbon black, parabens, titanium dioxide, retinol acetate and fragrance. If you don’t want to look through the ingredient list every time before purchasing, look for products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

What Are the Different Types of Waterproof Mascaras?

It’s important not to confuse waterproof mascara with water resistant and tubing mascaras. This is the difference between each kind.

Water Resistant

In simple terms, a water-resistant mascara is one that doesn’t allow water to penetrate through to the lash immediately, but eventually breaks down in water. “if you submerge your lashes in water with water-resistant mascara, your mascara will run, but with waterproof, it will not,” celebrity makeup artist Nina Soriano tells Makeup.com.

This might seem like an instant downside, but water-resistant mascara may be the best of both worlds. It won’t smudge or flake throughout the day, but you can wash it off at night without an extensive cleaning process. Still, a water-resistant mascara may not have the same curling abilities as its waterproof contender, and it certainly won’t hold up after a long bout of tears.

Tubing

As mentioned above, a tubing mascara is one that forms a “tube” of product around each individual lash. This creates a layer of mascara that is difficult for water to penetrate — but not impossible. Like water-resistant mascara, tubing mascara will wash off with a good makeup remover or oil-based cleanser.

Tubing mascara is different from waterproof and water-resistant mascara because it contains polymers, or plastic-like, synthetic ingredients that block water. In contrast, waterproof and water-resistant formulas contain oils, waxes or silicones.

Waterproof

A true waterproof mascara repels water because it contains ingredients that repel water, such as oils, waxes or silicones. Unfortunately, water-repelling ingredients aren’t the best for the health of your lashes.

“The ingredients that are used to cause the formula to be waterproof can have the effect of drying out lashes, which can lead to them falling out,” Dendy Engelman, M.D., tells SELF. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up waterproof mascara completely. Still, you may want to consider washing it off as soon as you no longer need it, and swapping it out with a traditional, wash-off mascara every so often.

Additional Questions and Tips to Choose the Best Waterproof Mascara

Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down your choices before purchasing a waterproof mascara.

1) How much do you have to spend to get a good waterproof mascara?

A higher price doesn’t always mean you’re getting a better product, and that is especially true for waterproof mascara. You need not spend more than $30 on a tube, and you can get an excellent formula for under $15. In fact, many products on our list are less than $10.

2) How should you remove waterproof mascara?

As mentioned above, you will need a makeup remover, oil-based cleaner or face-safe oil to help you remove waterproof mascara. Cotton rounds may also be helpful in preventing the mascara from leaking down your face as you clean your lashes.

3) How long does one tube of waterproof mascara last?

About 0.1 ounce will last you one month, so a standard 0.3 ounce tube should last you about three months. If you haven’t yet used all of your mascara in three months, it’s best to get a new tube regardless to prevent the buildup of bacteria. (Plus, a tube of waterproof mascara dries out more quickly than a standard wash-off formula.)

4) How can you take care of your lashes after using a waterproof mascara?

Once you have finished cleaning your lashes, replenish their moisture by applying a lash serum. Key ingredients to look for include collagen, biotin and moisturizers like hyaluronic acid. (Check out our list of the best eyelash serums here.)

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Check out these related product articles below:

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