Which waterproof mascaras are best?

Mascara is an essential component in even minimal makeup routines, but it can also be the most high-maintenance part of your look. Rain, humidity and sweat can result in under-eye smudging, and a day at the beach or the pool will turn standard mascara into a streaky disaster.

Luckily, waterproof mascara can prevent running makeup, thanks to additional ingredients that shield pigment from moisture and help it grip lashes.

What to look for in waterproof mascara

Waterproof mascara ingredients

Mascara is made waterproof thanks to the addition of ingredients, such as waxes and polymers, that help the mascara bond to eyelashes while creating a barrier against moisture.

  • Waxes: Beeswax is a popular choice for making mascara waterproof, but other botanical waxes, such as carnauba, may also be used.
  • Polymers: Dimethicone copolyol, a silicone commonly found in cosmetics and hair care products, is the most popular choice for waterproofing mascaras.

To get a feel for just how waterproof your mascara formula is, look at the ingredients list and see where “water” is. The further down the list it is, the more waterproof your mascara will be.

Mascara brush

Waterproof mascaras come with brushes of all sizes, shapes and materials, and they all offer different benefits. For example, classic bristle brushes are good at delivering length and volume, but silicone bristles are better at preventing clumping.

When it comes to brush shape, curved or fan-shaped mascara brushes can help give your lashes some curl, but they tend to require more trial-and-error than the classic cylinder shape. If you’re looking for tons of volume from your mascara, try an hourglass-shaped brush.

Is waterproof mascara safe?

The main disadvantage of waterproof mascaras is their drier formula. Waterproof mascara dries quickly on your lashes, and frequent wear can lead to dried-out and damaged eyelashes or even shedding. Plus, since waterproof mascara is formulated to stay on so well, it must be removed with care so as not to damage your lashes or the delicate skin around your eyes.

However, as long as you don’t reach for your waterproof mascara every day, it’s not considered bad for your eyes.

How to safely remove waterproof mascara

Long-wearing and waterproof mascaras are tougher to remove than their nonwaterproof counterparts, which can be bad news for the delicate eye area. To avoid stinging eyes, irritated skin and lost eyelashes, it’s important to use an eye makeup remover that’s gentle but effective enough to wash away makeup without scrubbing.

An oil-based makeup remover will work best on waterproof mascara, but cold cream or mild hypoallergenic face lotion can also work.

  1. Apply the makeup remover generously to a cotton pad, and gently press it against your lashes for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Lightly massage the area as needed to loosen makeup, then swipe the pad in a downward motion to wipe away mascara.
  3. Clean your eye area with a second pad that’s been moistened with water, or rinse with warm water.

Natural makeup remover

If all else fails, it’s possible to remove waterproof mascara with something found in your pantry: olive oil. Apply a couple of drops of quality olive oil to a makeup pad or cotton ball, then apply it to lashes as you would a makeup remover to let the oil loosen the mascara. Rinse it away with warm water.

Best waterproof mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

This pink-and-green tube has been a makeup stash essential for decades. The tried-and-true formula applies evenly with a classic cylindrical bristle brush, thickening and lengthening lashes while keeping a natural look. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and safe for contact lens wearers.

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Tarte Lights Camera Splashes Waterproof Mascara

Tarte Lights Camera Splashes Waterproof Mascara

This four-in-one formula can condition lashes as well as lengthen, curl and volumize them. Its cylindrical brush features long, thin classic bristles. It’s cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes and synthetic fragrance.

Sold by Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Covergirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara

Covergirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara

With its oversized, tapered silicone brush and volumizing formula, this mascara gives lashes dramatic body with up to 10 times more volume. This mascara is hypoallergenic and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara

Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara

This ophthalmologist-tested formula is a good pick for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes. It helps lengthen, volumize and define lashes while keeping your look from smudging through a workout or a day at the beach. It is available in black and black-brown and features a slightly tapered cylindrical brush.

Sold by Sephora, Macy’s and Ulta Beauty

LOreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara

The soft, hourglass-shaped bristle brush in this mascara gives lashes impressive length and volume. Its formula lasts up to 36 hours and includes flower oils to help condition lashes.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

This long-wearing mascara can give lashes up to 12 times more volume. The soft, spaced-out bristles in the oversized cylindrical brush smoothly coat lashes for up to 24 hours of flake-free wear. The formula is free from phthalates and parabens.

Sold by Sephora and Macy’s

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascaras formulated to avoid drying out your lashes can also result in the dreaded raccoon-eyes look. This formula contains olive oil to nourish and condition lashes without flaking or smudging. Promising 400% fuller eyelashes, it’s a great pick if you have thin eyelashes. It’s also dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested.

Sold by Amazon

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

For runway-worthy volume and length, try this long-lasting, clump-free waterproof mascara. It features a classic tapering brush with long bristles to help fully coat lashes. Along with black and brown, this mascara comes in a bright cobalt blue.

Sold by Sephora

 

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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