For centuries, women have been finding ways to line their lids and make their eyes pop, with the modern-day woman especially interested in waterproof mascara. It’s actually waterproof mascara that stays put, doesn’t flake or clump, and manages to survive even the most moving drama moments.
The best-known use of eye makeup is the kohl of the ancient Egyptians; of course, that had some very practical uses as well. Today, eyeshadows, liners and mascara especially are the stable of a woman’s makeup case.
Waterproof mascara is the most practical of the eye makeup available, ensuring you keep that sultry look of yours in rain or shine, while wet or dry. It is also one of the more interesting beauty inventions that are just perfect for the summer days and nights. To save your makeup day, we have reviewed the best waterproof mascaras on the market based on their longevity, customer practice and advice.
Best Waterproof Mascaras That Won’t Run: Contents
- 23 Best Waterproof Mascaras to Try
- What Is Waterproof Mascara and When Should You Wear It?
- Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof Mascara
- Tips to Know for Choosing Waterproof Mascara and Using It Right
- Is Waterproof Mascara Bad for Your Eyelashes and How to Prevent Damage?
- How to Remove Waterproof Mascara
Now, before learning how to wear the waterproof mascara and then clean it off, we have compiled a list of some of the best waterproof mascaras out there for you to pick from. Which is your favorite?
1. Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara
Featuring a unique brush that offers precise application and a vitamin-enriched formula that hydrates lashes for a healthy appearance, this waterproof mascara is signed Chanel and it’s one of the best to try. The mascara that is said to give you everything, from volume to length to curl and even separations, all while being perfectly waterproof, is available for a sweet price of $32 USD. It also has a rather high rating on Nordstrom.
2. Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara
While with a lower rating, this waterproof mascara from Sephora even comes in a travel size and delivers a pretty punch. It is intensely black and beautifully volumizing due to the unique hourglass shape of the brush. You can easily layer it for more dramatic lashes. It is also formulated without parabens, sulphates and phthalates.
3. MAC False Lashes Waterproof Mascara
Highly rated and available at Nordstrom, this waterproof mascara is safe for contact lens wearers and lasts up to 12 hours due to its ultra-thickening formula. You can absolutely skip wearing falsies, yet have a dramatic look wearing this mascara, as it delivers magnified, long and perfectly curled lashes with each application. It is a lovely choice by MAC.
4. Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara
Four stars and lots of love for this Dior piece from Sephora. It comes in black, brown and blue, and is meant to be ultra-glamorous on that catwalk. The claim to fame here is a waterproof mascara formula that is lengthening, thickening and entirely too sexy.
5. Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara
Beautifully packaged and highly rated, this Estee Lauder waterproof mascara is definitely something you might want to invest in. Available at Nordstrom, the extreme volume you get from this is well worth the price. Plus, you get 10 hours of waterproof perfection.
6. Lancôme Hypnose Drama Instant Full Volume Waterproof Mascara
Lancome knows its makeup, and this shapely thing is certainly right up its alley. The S-shaped brush perfectly coats each lash for a full, fanned out set of lashes. At Nordstrom, the product comes in an extreme black color, and is meant to give you instantaneous volume.
7. Blinc Mascara
Available in black and brown from Sephora, this Blinc product is made for maximum hold by creating tiny tubes around your lashes instead of your regular coats. During the removal process, you can actually see the tube slide onto your hand. This waterproof mascara is great for sensitive eyes especially, as well as lens wearers.
8. Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
A Clinique beauty, this Nordstrom sell is one of the least expensive waterproof mascaras on this list. Available in black and brown, it is hypoallergenic and flake resistant, giving instant volume and allowing you to enjoy your mascara in the bristling heat.
9. Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara
The name says it all for this one. Meant to really withstand being submersed in water, this waterproof mascara at Sephora is perfectly lightweight and gel formulated by the Japanese. The response has been very positive, and the loves keep coming in.
10. Bareminerals Flawless Definition Waterproof Mascara
At $19 USD, this is a steal of an amazing waterproof mascara by Bareminerals, available at Nordstrom. It includes some nurturing mineral care as well, while steering clear of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, fragrance, synthetic dyes and petrochemicals. It is one of the more eco-friendly waterproof mascaras of the bunch.
11. Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara
Buxom’s $20 USD deal at Sephora definitely is a steal, considering its high reviews and lack of parabens or Phthalates. There are no synthetic fragrances or dyes, as well as no petrochemicals in here, making it safe for those wearing contact lenses or with sensitive skin. It will darken, thicken and volumize intensely, all while keeping out the water.
12. YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof Mascara
Gorgeous packaging in a gold tube makes for one truly lovely Yves Saint Laurent makeup item. At 4.5 stars, the rating says it all at Nordstrom. It comes in charcoal black, and is available for a hefty $32 USD that is well worth it as well. The 24-hour hold alone makes it one of a kind.
13. Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara Catch and Curve
We love this final mascara’s wand. The Eyeko piece is available at Nordstrom, and has a near perfect rating, while also having won Allure magazine’s “Best of Beauty” award for Best Waterproof Mascara, back in 2015. It has been enhanced with fruit extracts and collagen in order to give you that perfect effect. The best part? It lasts 12 hours with ease, meaning you have nothing to worry about throughout the day and night.
14. Covergirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara
This is not just the best waterproof mascara that delivers a dramatic, wide-eyed look, but also the most affordable one you can find online. Getting long, voluminous, fanned-out lashes with this mascara is as easy as pie, as its innovative Lash Blast Volume formula is designed to coat each and every lash from root to tip, boosting the volume ten times instantly. Get one of the cult-favorite waterproof mascaras on Amazon today!
15. Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara
As long as drugstore makeup products go, this is the best waterproof mascara to try if colossal lashes are what you are aiming to achieve. The formula contains collagen to boost volume, while the Mega Brush coats the lashes without clumping. You’ll get 9 times more voluminous lashes that will last longer compared with other mascaras. Pick it up online on Amazon!
16. L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara
Among the best waterproof mascaras that also deliver thicker, more voluminous lashes, this L’Oréal option creates a soft lash look for a more natural appearance without flaking or clumping. Its formula comprises ceramide-R and panthenol to condition and protect your lashes throughout the wear, while the fragrance-free factor makes it perfect for those with sensitive eyes. You can get yours from Ulta.
17. Lancôme The Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara
Looking for the best waterproof mascara that will make you forget about touch-ups throughout the day? Lancôme has you covered with their Monsieur Big mascara that boosts the volume up to 12 times lasting for 24 hours without smudging or clumping. In addition, it feels ultra-creamy and coats the lashes like silk thanks to the polymers and waxes contained. Get dramatic, bold lashes with a single coat using its unique brush of wavy fibers that will reach even the tiniest hair. This waterproof mascara is available online at Nordstrom.
18. Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
Another affordable, yet brilliant waterproof mascara from Maybelline, this little tube works wonders to deliver a full lash look that lasts. The formula has a lash-doubling effect and it’s also hypoallergic, targeting contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes. Pick this one up from Ulta!
19. L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
This is L’Oréal’s first mascara designed to build length and volume and it happens to be one of the best waterproof mascaras too. The wand features over 200 bristles to coat every lash for a fanned-out, feathery look, creating a volumized effect that lasts all day. You can find this pink tube online at Ulta.
20. Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara
This is a four-in-one waterproof mascara, promising to curl, lengthen, condition and volumize while also resisting rain, tears or sweat. This cruelty-free option also contains Tarte’s Skinvigorating ingredients that soften and condition the lashes throughout the day. It’s free from fragrances and synthetic dyes thus also being eye-friendly. Get this luxurious option for you from Sephora!
21. Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Waterproof Mascara
For Japanese makeup fans, we have the coolest waterproof mascara here that provides an intense black color, while lengthening and holding up the curl. Its curved brush grabs each lash creating a lengthening effect while also looking quite natural. Pick this one up at Walmart!
22. Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara
Whether you love a natural look or want to create a dramatic eye makeup for special events, this smudge-proof and waterproof mascara delivers. You just need to apply as many coats as you like for your desired look. It lengthens, curls and lasts a long while without flaking or clumping. Get this elegant option from Sephora!
23. Tom Ford Emotionproof Mascara
For the most emotional out there, Tom Ford has created the ideal waterproof mascara that stays put through tears and drama. It coats the lashes in a creamy, highly pigmented deepest black transforming your look instantly. Volumized and longer lashes are other perks of this glamorous option that you can find online at Sephora.
Waterproof mascara is essentially the dark liquid used on your lashes that does not smudge or run when water touches it, making it the perfect piece to use when you know you will either cry or be around a lot of water. Waterproof mascara is especially good to have during the colder months.
What makes this type of mascara waterproof are the waxes used in the making of the product, with beeswax, candelilla wax and carnauba wax discovered in the Dior version of late. While protecting the added ink from moisture, the waterproof mascaras slide on nice and thick, often having the same effects as non-waterproof versions, including lengthening darkening, moisturizing, volumizing, etc.
The best brands of waterproof mascara are made of no-water formulas, to do their job in an optimal manner. The less water contained, the better the waterproof aspect of the product generally.
Waterproof mascara is not something you should wear on a daily basis though. That will be covered later on. However, there are times when waterproof mascara is amazing to wear, particularly since you do not need to worry about the smudging and running in humid or wet conditions.
Waterproof mascara is perfect for a rainy day, as you can imagine, as well as those days you expect to sweat a lot. Special events that may bring tears to your eyes should also be protected with waterproof mascara. Any other time you might expect to come into contact with any amount of water, just grab that tube of waterproof mascara.
While at first glance they both may seem to be the same, water-resistant and waterproof mascaras are different. The difference lies in the resistance to water each offers. While wearing water-resistant mascara, your mascara will easily run when your lashes get wet, which shouldn’t happen with waterproof mascara.
Water-resistant mascara can handle the exposure to water to some degree without being fully waterproof. It can stay put through tears, but definitely not through rain or a dip in the pool.
Waterproof mascara, on the other hand, is completely water resistant with a serious holding power, easily handling any exposure to water, be that tears, sweat, rain or water.
Since waterproof mascara can also be slightly drying to lashes, it’s a great idea to save it for special occasions, and instead opt for either a regular or a water-resistant mascara on a daily basis.
Waterproof mascara, like any other makeup product, needs to be tested on your skin first. Allergies to ingredients are found across the board, and if irritation does occur, it is best to opt for a hypoallergenic brand.
There are also organic and natural mascara brands these days, which allow for less negative reactions to cosmetics, including waterproof mascara. The eyelid skin is, after all, the thinnest and most sensitive part of the body as a whole. Since it is clear that the waterproof nature comes from the use of waxes and lack of water in the mixture, it makes sense to see the natural versions appear on the market.
It might be a good idea to pick up a good wand to use with your waterproof mascara as well, making the application that much easier, and the clumping near nonexistent. We have compiled a small list of tips and tricks for really making the best out of your waterproof mascara.
• You can pick “water-resistant” mascara over waterproof, in order to get the same effects but with a lighter weight to the consistency of the product. The sealants of water-resistant are lighter and gentler on the skin, allowing the pores to breathe more.
• It is important that you steer clear of items that contain silicones in their ingredients, since they are well known to irritate the skin, cause breakouts and even bring about some pretty ugly allergic reactions. It has been found to be too heavy of an ingredient, clogging pores and congesting the skin. Small amounts should be all right, but make sure it is not a main ingredient.
• You will need makeup remover to get the waterproof mascara off properly, since it is resistant to water. Keep your eyes closed and gently dab the makeup remover on with a sponge or cotton ball, refraining from pulling or rubbing. You do not want to irritate your skin, not cause your lashes to fall out. It pays to be careful.
• The makeup remover you grab should be a heavier, oil-free cleanser specifically made to get rid of the waterproof mascara. Improper treatment could damage your skin, or the wrong type of cleanser can leave some of the mascara on, clogging up your pores.
• If you want your mascara look to last longer, layer the waterproof over the regular mascara. This also makes it easier to remove afterwards, giving you less trouble with the makeup remover.
• Grab a waterproof mascara that includes polymers like Acrylates Copolymer and Isododecan, which are very safe and dissolve, leaving a water-resistant film behind, not allowing for the product to smudge or even flake.
• You can opt for a waterproof spray or coat over your regular mascara instead, thus adding a waterproof layer but keeping in the hydration of the regular product. Plus, it is so much easier to clean at the end of the day.
While you definitely should have waterproof mascara in your life, you have to be careful. You should not be using waterproof mascara every day because the ingredients do not hydrate for the most part.
They do not include the meadow foam, seed oil or argan oil found in the regular formulas of top brands. It is preferable to let your lashes breathe between uses. Keep the waterproof mascara for the rainy and emotional days if you can.
In order to prevent damage from your waterproof mascara, use a conditioning primer first, coating it beautifully before swiping on the product of your choice, starting from the base and wiggling to the tips.
As to the question of whether or not the waterproof mascara is bad for your lashes, the answer is not so black and white. It all depends on how you use it. If you make sure that you have used a primer, have an oil-based powerful makeup remover, and are careful in the process of removing your waterproof mascara at the end of the day, you will have very little if not nothing to worry about.
Now, we already mentioned that you have to be careful in removing the waterproof mascara to prevent irritation and lash loss. How exactly do you go about doing that?
• Think commercial makeup removers with an oil base (not water, since that will manage to do nil damage to the mascara), and definitely of the hypoallergenic sort, even if you do not have sensitive skin. Well-known brands are your best bet here, specifically Lancome, Clarins, and Elizabeth Arden, as they are of higher quality in general and receive high reviews.
You will need a cotton pad to remove the waterproof mascara. Close the lids and rest the pad on the lashes for a few seconds before gently wiping down towards the tips and repeating, using fresh pads as needed until it is all clean.
• Baby shampoo is an unexpected waterproof mascara remover, particularly since it is generally a fairly safe option to utilize; the lack of fragrance and a hypoallergenic solution ensure you won’t be getting any irritations. Regular shampoo is a huge no-no though.
Use a very small amount and apply it to your lashes with a damp cotton ball, before using a cotton pad to wipe away the shampoo with the mascara. Wipe gently until it is all clean.
• Baby oil is equally effective as the baby shampoo and often used alongside the more natural oils in helping remove the stubborn waterproof mascara you put on that day. However, most specialists recommend you stay away from this one due to its inclusion of petroleum jelly.
• Cold creams are an interesting choice as well to use in removing waterproof mascara, as well as the rest of your makeup. It should be rubbed carefully onto the lashes after washing your face and patting it dry. Wipe away gently, without pulling on your lashes.
• As a last resort, you can use petroleum jelly like Vaseline to remove the mascara, but it is not ideal for your eyes. It does keep you hydrated and soft though.
• In terms of natural makeup removers, olive oil comes in pretty handy. The fact that it is oil should already say that it will work on a waterproof formula. It helps break down the mascara, making it easier to wipe off. Just use a finger to rub some of the oil onto the lash lines, coating them completely before wiping off. Use a clean and dry cloth at the end to get rid of the oil residue.
• Coconut oil is another great natural product that breaks down the waterproof properties of the mascara and then leaves your lashes beautifully hydrated. Just dab on some of the coconut oil and gently wipe. Do what you would do with the olive oil.
• Almond oil mixed with water and witch hazel has the ability to clean up the waterproof mascara without stinging your eyes. The solution requires you to combine two tablespoons of witch hazel with two tablespoons of almond oil and two tablespoons of water, shake it up and apply onto the lashes before wiping it off. It can last up to 6 months before you need to make a new solution.
In order to properly remove your waterproof mascara, you will need cotton balls, makeup mads and/or Q-tips to do the job right. Hypoallergenic makeup wipes might also come in handy, as well as a clean and damp face cloth.
When closing your eyes, keep the cotton ball on the bottom side of the lashes where you have applied the mascara and gently apply pressure for around 30 seconds to dissolve it better, before removing the waterproof mascara carefully by slowly moving it in a soft wipe. You neither want to pull out your lashes, irritate your skin, or cause an eye infection.
Q-tips are great to remove the mascara from the roots of your lashes. You can also use a sponge and Q-tip to clean it off by placing the sponge underneath the lashes, dipping the Q-tip in oil or makeup remover, and gently rubbing it on. It offers a beautifully smooth look at the end this way.
Finish up the process by washing your face with lukewarm water and moisturizing before bed.
Photos via @inbal_eitan, @thetiafox, @diormakeup