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Best 12 Waterproof Mascaras for Smudge-Proof Lashes All Day Long

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At some point in life, every makeup lover needs a quality waterproof mascara. If you live in a rainy city, it’s a daily need. Otherwise, it’s worth picking up before vacation so that you can turn heads on the beach. Waterproof mascaras are useful in helping your lashes hold a curl, so that’s another excellent reason to have one in your arsenal. 

But which mascara to buy? We’ve selected the best waterproof mascaras for every type of look. From ultra-volumizing to natural-looking to perfectly separating, there’s an option here that’ll stay put through tears, sweat, and beyond. 

Best waterproof mascara overview:

How we chose the best waterproof mascaras

To write this guide, we researched manufacturer specifications, including benefits, wand shape, material, and more, to create a short list of the top waterproof mascaras. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best waterproof mascaras for each category.

Our picks for the best waterproof mascara

Best overall
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High

What we love

  • Fibers for added length
  • Very waterproof
  • Volumizes well

What we don’t love

  • Can get clumpy

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High is one of the internet’s favorite mascaras, and we’re big fans, too. It lengthens to the extreme and builds up to a lot of volume, so it’s ideal for makeup maximalists. 

Part of the reason for this formula’s intense cult following is its fiber-enhanced, ultra-elongating effects, complete with a flexible wand that covers every lash thoroughly. That said, some reviewers mentioned that the final result could look a little clumpy.  

In addition to full-on drama, this waterproof version offers serious longevity and total resistance to any water exposure.

Benefits: Lengthening, volumizing | Wand shape: Slim, flexible | Bristle type: Molded

Best budget
CoverGirl Exhibitionist Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Boldly volumizing
  • Long-wearing and waterproof
  • Budget-friendly

What we don’t love

  • Not ideal for natural styles

If you’re looking for bold, dramatic lashes, CoverGirl’s Exhibitionist Mascara is our budget-friendly winner. It has an hourglass, nylon wand that creates voluminous lashes that don’t clump but aren’t too separated either — in other words, it’s definitely not subtle.

The formula is exceptionally long-lasting and waterproof, so you can rely on it to hold up even after a swim. That said, if you have oily skin, it may not be totally smudge-proof. If you don’t need all that drama, Lash Blast is another popular option from CoverGirl. The intense waterproof formula is nearly identical but features a slightly more separating brush.

Benefits: Volumizing, lengthening | Wand shape: Hourglass | Bristle type: Nylon

Best splurge
Lancôme Lash Idôle Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Separating yet volumizing
  • Feels lightweight and comfortable
  • Very waterproof

What we dono’t love

  • Pricey

This top-rated waterproof mascara is a major crowd-pleaser that’s worth the splurge. It has a thoughtful, meticulously molded wand with multi-length bristles that effectively separate and volumize, leaving the lashes looking bold without feeling weighed down. It’s the kind of elegance we certainly expect from luxury products. 

The formula is glossy black and leaves the lashes looking soft and elevated but not over-the-top or clumpy. It’s very waterproof, so you can rely on it even when planning on going for a swim. If you like the sound of this formula but you want more volume, Lancôme’s Monsieur Big is another major bestseller with a similar longwearing formula and fantastic texture.

Benefits: Volumizing, curling, lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Curved | Bristle type: Molded

Best drugstore
L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara, Lasting Volume

What we love

  • Dramatic length and volume
  • Excellent lash separation
  • Longwearing

What we don’t love

  • Large wand can be unwieldy

This stunning mascara is ideal for an open-eyed effect that’ll last all day. Designed with a flexible, spiky brush, Bambi Eye amps up the lashes significantly while separating them for a fluttery, extension-esque result. 

The results are dramatic and long-lasting but still soft-looking and non-clumpy. Plus, you can pick it up at any drugstore for a reasonable price. The brush is a little large, though, so you may find it difficult to use if you have smaller eyes.

Benefits: Lengthening, volumizing, separating | Wand shape: Chubby cone | Bristle type: Molded

Best smudge-proof
Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara Super WP

What we love

  • Incredibly water- and oil-resistant
  • Holds a curl well
  • Lengthening

What we don’t love

  • Difficult to remove
  • Not very volumizing

This waterproof mascara is a major beauty secret with a cult following amongst J-beauty fans. Hailing from Japan, it’s one of the most smudge-proof formulas you’ll ever find, with the ability to resist water and oily lids. You’ll need a strong makeup remover to get it off efficiently. 

It lengthens the lashes effectively, especially if you apply repeated coats, although it could be more volumizing. It’s an excellent option if your lashes tend to stick out straight since it holds a curl well. The wand is very slim with a bit of a curve, so it’s easy to apply without mess, even if you have a smaller lash line.

Benefits: Curling, lengthening | Wand shape: Curved | Bristle type: Nylon

Best natural-looking
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Keeps lashes looking soft
  • Buildable for more volume
  • Clump-free

What we don’t love

  • May be too subtle for some

This Clinique mascara is our top pick if you like soft-looking lashes. Something about this formula makes the eyelashes look feathery and natural even as it amps them up. One or two coats keep things soft, but this formula is buildable should you want more length and volume. 

Though made of nylon, the wand has the perfect density to ensure lashes are fanned out and separated. This waterproof mascara isn’t overly dramatic or intense, so if you like your lashes bold, you may want to look elsewhere.

Benefits: Lengthening, volumizing | Wand shape: Cone | Bristle type: Nylon

Best buildable
MAC Mackstack Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Very longwearing
  • Buildable
  • Non-clumping wand

What we don’t love

  • A little pricey

When you need your mascara to look great for hours and hours on end, Macstack delivers. This waterproof formula guarantees 24 hours of smudge-proof perfection. It’s a versatile option that gives the lashes subtle enhancement with a coat or two but builds to immense length and volume with repeated layers. The molded brush does an excellent job of keeping the lashes clump-free, with a thick-to-thin shape that gives you much control.

Benefits: Lengthening, volumizing, separating | Wand shape: Thick to thin cone | Bristle type: Molded

Best volumizing
Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof

What we love

  • Intensely volumizing
  • Buildable
  • Very waterproof

What we don’t love

  • Can get clumpy

Urban Decay’s Perversion is an excellent option for intense volume. This deep black formula creates major definition with just one coat, but you can build it up to create further intensity. As for waterproof ability, expect it to hold up well through just about any situation.

The wand is a manageable cone, so it’s perfect if you’re not a fan of the oversized hourglass shape. Part of the reason for its volumizing ability is that the texture is a little thick, so watch out for clumps.

Benefits: Volumizing, lengthening | Wand shape: Cone | Bristle type: Nylon

Best for fanned-out lashes
Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Separates and fans out lashes
  • Glamorous volume and length
  • Reasonably priced

What we don’t love

  • Brush requires a learning curve

Choosing only two waterproof mascaras from Maybelline was difficult. Ultimately, we decided to give the original Lash Sensational Waterproof a shoutout. This drugstore mascara creates fanned-out, open lashes with a unique dual-sided curved comb brush. Plus, it comes in a black-brown tone for a softer look.  

Since it’s still volumizing and lengthening, its overall effect is incredibly glamorous. Just make sure to use the longer bristles when you want separation and the shorter ones to build volume.

Benefits: Separating, volumizing, lengthening | Wand shape: Curved comb | Bristle type: Molded

Best separating
CoverGirl Clump Crusher Water Resistant Mascara

What we love

  • Elongates and separates
  • Controllable volume
  • Can work on lower lashes

What we don’t love

  • May not be entirely waterproof

With a name like Clump Crusher, you know you’ve found an ideal non-clumping mascara. This option is famously easy to work with, offering length, separation, and a controllable amount of volume. The wand is the perfect size for most eye shapes, with fairly short bristles that also make it easy to use on the lower lashes. 

There’s some confusion about whether this mascara is fully waterproof, though. Some reviewers found it was more tear-proof than totally waterproof, which you may appreciate if you’re looking for something that’ll be easy to remove but offers some water-resistance.

Benefits: Separating, lengthening | Wand shape: Curved | Bristle type: Molded

Best for sensitive eyes
Almay Length & Lift Mascara

What we love

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Lengthens well
  • Longwearing

What we don’t love

  • May smudge with oily skin

This is our top waterproof mascara if you have sensitive eyes. It’s hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested, and fragrance-free, so it’s less likely to sting or irritate the eyes. It’s designed to build up and lengthen the lashes, but it also offers some natural-looking volume. 

The brush is conical and slim with nylon bristles for a clean and non-clumpy application. And the formula is solidly waterproof and longwearing, although some reviewers noticed a bit of smudging, likely due to oiliness rather than water.

Benefits: Lengthening | Wand shape: Cone | Bristle type: Nylon

Best slim wand
L’Oréal Telescopic Original Waterproof Lengthening Mascara

What we love

  • Slim, easy-to-control wand
  • Elongating
  • Excellent for lower lash line

What we don’t love

  • Not very volumizing

You’ll love Telescopic’s slim wand if you find large mascara wands messy or hard to control. It’s easier to apply (even to shorter lashes) without having to worry about black smudges on your eyelids. 

Despite the small size of the wand, this mascara still has impressive results — L’Oréal promises that it makes the lashes up to 50% longer. That said, it’s not too volumizing. Wipe off the brush, and it’ll make enhancing your lower lashes a breeze.

Benefits: Lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Slim | Bristle type: Molded

Bring on the rain 

Whether dramatic or natural, luxurious or budget-friendly, what all of our top waterproof mascara picks have in common is incredible water-resistance. Maybelline Sky High, our Best Overall pick, is one of today’s most popular mascaras, thanks to the bold length it creates, but rest assured, any mascara you choose will keep your lashes looking fabulous all day long.   

How to pick the right waterproof mascara for you

Take your time when deciding on a waterproof mascara, and consider factors like its benefits, wand shape, and bristle type. 


  • Volumizing. If you want your lashes to look thicker and bolder, look for a volumizing mascara with a thicker formula. Just apply cautiously since volumizing formulas can often look a little clumpy. 
  • Lengthening. Lengthening mascaras extend the lashes to fluttery lengths, so they’re ideal if your lashes are shorter than you’d like.
  • Separating. Separating mascaras often don’t provide as much volume, but they help to fan out the lashes for a clump-free, eye-opening look. 
  • Curling. If your lashes tend to stick out straight or downwards, you’ll be happy to know most waterproof mascaras do a wonderful job of holding a curl. 

Wand shape

  • Conical. The classic cone shape is easy to use and tends to give the lashes a good balance of volume, length, and separation. That said, reaching small corner lashes can be a little tougher. 
  • Hourglass. Hourglass wands often correspond with very volumizing formulas. In some cases, they can also offer an easier application to those with a rounded lash line. 
  • Curved. Curved ones are associated with curling mascaras. But the best thing about a curved wand is that it’s usually a little shorter with a few types of bristles, giving you more control. 
  • Slim. Slim wands are ideal for smaller eyes or shorter lashes since they can still offer dramatic results but with less mess. 
  • Flexible. Flexible mascara wands are often excellent for volume. They move with your lashes, which helps ensure full lash coverage.

Bristle type  

  • Nylon. This classic bristle material is a solid choice if you want a lot of volume, thanks to the density and flexibility of the nylon spikes. These bristles are often not as effective at separating the lashes. 
  • Molded. This bristle type is made of silicone, plastic, or similar polymers and is molded into a specific, thoughtful shape. In general, molded designs are better for lash separation and come in a broader range of shapes. 


Which mascara stays on the best? 

Almost all of the mascaras on our list stay on incredibly well, but Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara has a reputation as being almost too unbudging — to the point where it’s challenging to remove. 

What’s the difference between waterproof and smudge-proof mascara?

The term “waterproof” means that a mascara won’t break down or dissolve in water, which can lead to running or smudging. Smudge-proof refers to whether a mascara will run or transfer to the eyelids for any reason, especially with friction from rubbing.

Is waterproof mascara actually waterproof?

Yes. Waterproof mascaras are formulated with water-repelling waxes and polymers that make them completely water-resistant. That said, they can still smudge if the wearer has oily skin, or they may flake off throughout the day.