18 Waterproof Mascaras That Won’t Smudge No Matter How Much You Sweat, Or Let’s Be Honest, Cry

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It’s about time we give waterproof mascara the standing ovation it deserves. Supporting us through allergy season, wedding ceremonies, pool dips and humidity, in general, is no small feat. But are we ready to say goodbye to regular mascara for good (and be team waterproof from now on)? Seriously, we’re tired of looking like a raccoon when we’re crying over the latest episode of This Is Us.

OK, so what's the difference between waterproof mascara and regular mascara?

On the surface, waterproof and regular mascara are basically the same. They both vow to make your lashes defined, voluminous and overall more full so you don’t have to spend time putting on faux lashes or extensions. However, they each have distinct key features that might entice you to take a closer look at your go-to.

  • The formulas: Waterproof mascaras must have little to no water-soluble components (hence how it can prevent any smudges or smears from happening). Instead, they rely heavily on waxes and silicones to enhance your lashes.
  • When you should wear them: While waterproof mascara’s selling point is the smudge-free feature, it’s not recommended to wear it daily. If you’re going to spend every single day swimming, sweating or crying (Grey’s Anatomy marathon?) then go for it. However, you should be taking care of your lashes in-between with lash primer (or vaseline). In the long term, waterproof mascara can leave lashes dry and brittle. For everyday use, consider regular mascara since it’s more lightweight and gentle on your lashes.
  • The removal process: When we say waterproof mascaras don’t budge, we mean it. But that means the removal process can be tricky. The last thing you want to do is rub your eyes and cause irritation. Instead, consider double cleansing and gently remove traces of it with ease. (And luckily, we have a step-by-step to get you started.)
  • A winner for oily skin, watery eyes or active people. Waterproof mascara is typically a better choice for those with oily skin, watery (or sensitive) eyes and active people who are prone to sweating. The formula is better suited to deal with any moisture that may enter the eye area. But, again, remember to give your lashes a break every once in a while.

Now that you know the difference (and are 100 percent ready to make the switch), here are the 18 best waterproof mascaras that won’t smudge, budge or matter how much you sweat (or cry).

best waterproof mascara too faced

1. Toofaced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

Best Overall

With over 13,000+ reviewers, it’s no surprise this mascara is on everyone’s radar. The hourglass-shaped brush makes your lashes more defined and voluminous (with one coat we might add!) so no need for falsies.

best waterproof mascara covergirl

2. Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara

Best Drugstore

FYI, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good quality mascara. This $6 pick promises your lashes the volume it’s craving—with no clumps or flakes. Plus, you can choose between four different shades (black, black brown, brown and translucent) to match any beauty look.

best waterproof mascara maybelline

3. Maybelline Sky High Mascara

Best Internet Favorite

With over 17,000+ 5-star reviews, this drugstore find is taking the Internet by storm thanks to TikTok, who has has deemed it the mascara to have in your beauty bag. Why? The bamboo extract-infused formula alone gives full, long lashes (so you can put away your lash curler now).

best waterproof mascara loreal

4. L’oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara

Best Brush Applicator

A mascara’s brush shape is very important especially if you want voluminous lashes. Thankfully, this one glides smoothly. The secret? The 200+ bristles creating the popular brush.

best waterproof mascara tarte

5. Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara

Best for Curled Lashes

Say goodbye to lash curlers when you introduce this $23 pick. The beeswax and carnabua wax blend smooths and softens your lashes while providing maximum length. One PureWow editor put this mascara to the test and can vouch for its curling magic.

best waterproof mascara nyx

6. Nyx Worth The Hype Waterproof Mascara

Best Clump-Free Formula

While we’re always looking for non-smudging products, finding a clump-free mascara is key. Whether you’re going for a minimal or dramatic look, the buildable formula is not going to leave you with flaky, dry or brittle lashes.

best waterproof mascara lancome

7. Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

Best Long-lasting

The minute you apply this guy in the morning, expect no smudging or dryness for the rest of the day. It can last for 24 hours without reapplying so sweat (or cry) away.

best waterproof mascara clinique

8. Clinique Lash Power Waterproof Mascara

Best Removal

Thanks to its stay-hold formula, you can expect this $20 find to keep lashes bold and big all day. However, with warm water, it promises to remove any ounce of the mascara with ease (so no painful removal in sight).

best waterproof mascara eyeko

9. Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara

Best for Active Days

Made to last through sweaty workouts, this guy will stay smudge-free for up to 24 hours while simultaneously nourishing your lashes thanks to 11 different fruit extracts.

best waterproof mascara dhc

10. Dhc Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection

Best for Strengthening Lashes

Natural beauty gals might not think waterproof mascara exists for them, but DHC created a strengthening and stay-put formula by incorporating beeswax and vitamin E together.

best waterproof mascara chanel

11. Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara

Best for Definition

While known for its serious staying power, this cult favorite is also a straight-lash girl’s dream. It lifts and separates lashes like no other. Plus, the vitamin B5 component hydrates and strengthens lashes for a fuller look.

best waterproof mascara estee lauder

12. Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Mascara

Best Volume

With a name like that, you would expect this formula to perform and that it does. But bonus: The wand also boasts multiplying fibers that are buildable to give the look of lash extensions.

best waterproof mascara it cosmetics

13. It Cosmetics Tightline Waterproof 3-in-1 Mascara

Best Triple Threat

A waterproof primer, mascara and eyeliner all in one, this product is a true game-changer. And the long-list of ingredients (like proteins, biotin, aloe and jojoba oil) make it healthy enough for daily use.

best waterproof mascara almay

14. Almay Length & Lift Mascara

Best Clean

If you’re looking for a cleaner alternative, look no further than this sustainable pick. The formula and brush’s bristles are 100 percent plant-based. You’ll find no parabens and mineral oil, so it’s great option for sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers.

best waterproof mascara buxom

15. Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara

Best for Buildability

The common consensus: Wearers love the buildable feature without the clumps (or worst lashes lumping together). The vitamin-enriched formula makes it easy to do one coat for a natural look, or three coats for a night out without ever getting spidery. The mascara's hourglass-shaped brush certainly helps, making it easy to define and separate your lashes to the fullest.

best waterproof mascara essence

16. Essence Lash Princess Waterproof Mascara

Best Budget

You simply can’t beat the price tag. The $5 mascara can improve definition and volume while curling even the straightest of lashes.

best waterproof mascara la roche posay

17. La Roche-posay Toleriane Waterproof Mascara

Best for Sensitive Eyes

Regular mascaras can be a nightmare for sensitive eyes (especially with a higher chance of smears, tears and irritation). This waterproof mascara put those woes to rest. It has waxes, polymers and jojoba oil that make it a lightweight, comfortable and smoother choice.

best waterproof mascara elf
E.l.f. Cosmetics

18. E.l.f Cosmetics Waterproof Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara

Best for a Natural Look

If you’re going for a no makeup-makeup look, give this $4 pick a try. The brush head glides easy on lashes to give off the impression that you put more effort than you actually did.

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Katie Maguire

Blue jean baby, LA lady (NYC transplant)

An avid bargain hunter, SoulCycle-goer, and vacation-planner, Katie has somehow turned her online shopping addiction into a full-time job for PureWow.
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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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