Which waterproof mascaras are best?

Although the heat and humidity make it challenging to have amazing lashes during the summer, it’s possible with waterproof mascara. These special formulas use ingredients that coat lashes and lock out moisture. Many waterproof mascaras even stay put when you take a dip in the pool, making them essential for summertime. 

In order to find the best waterproof mascara for you, it’s important to take some time to learn about all the different types of waterproof mascara currently available on the market. Just like regular mascara, waterproof mascara comes in various formulas to volumize, lengthen, curl and condition lashes. Additionally, consider the kind of look you are trying to achieve with your waterproof mascara so that you can narrow down your options.

How does waterproof mascara work?

When you swipe on waterproof mascara, you may be amazed at its staying power. You probably also wonder what makes it resist sweat, humidity and the pool. These formulas contain special waxes and a form of silicone called dimethicone copolyol. These two ingredients lock in the mascara and form a moisture-resistant barrier. The result is long-lasting mascara that repels water. 

Premium vs. drugstore waterproof mascara

Just like other types of makeup, mascaras are available by both premium brands and drugstore brands. Premium waterproof mascaras are made by high-end or designer brands and are typically only available from the manufacturer or online retailers. Drugstore mascaras are typically available at local drugstores or retail stores, although you can find them at popular online retailers. 

As you might expect, premium waterproof mascaras are pricier than drugstore options. They are also made with top-quality ingredients and offer optimal performance in wet or humid conditions. However, drugstore waterproof mascaras by reputable brands also contain quality ingredients and work just as well as their more expensive counterparts. 

Types of waterproof mascara

While the main reason you choose waterproof mascara is its ability to resist moisture, these products also perform other tasks. Volumizing, lengthening, conditioning, curling and combination waterproof mascaras are the most popular options. 

Volumizing

Also referred to as thickening mascara, volumizing formulas contain ingredients such as special waxes that make lashes appear fuller. This type of mascara is ideal for sparse lashes. 

Lengthening

Lengthening waterproof mascaras contain polymers or fibers that adhere to the tips of lashes. Because of this ability, they transform short lashes into long, fluttery lashes. 

Conditioning

Some waterproof mascaras also condition lashes. Ingredients such as keratin, peptides and plant-based extracts nourish as they strengthen each lash. 

Curling

In addition to unique polymers that help curl and lift, waterproof curling mascaras also feature curved brushes that amplify the effect. This type of mascara is also sometimes called lifting mascara. 

Combination

Some mascaras serve two or more purposes. Formulas that are both volumizing and lengthening are the most popular. However, some waterproof mascaras deliver a combination of thickening, lengthening, conditioning and curling action. 

Best volumizing waterproof mascara

Top volumizing waterproof mascara

Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara

Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara

What you need to know: This volumizing mascara defines and thickens, plus it stays put in wet conditions. 

What you’ll love: This mascara gives lashes a full appearance and is enriched with vitamins. The highly-pigmented color defines every lash. The curved brush makes it easy to apply to top and bottom lashes. 

What you should consider: This mascara doesn’t hold curl very well and tends to weigh down straight lashes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora and Ulta

Top volumizing waterproof mascara for the money

Maybelline New York Full N Soft Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline New York Full ’N Soft Waterproof Mascara 

What you need to know: This affordable waterproof mascara won’t disappoint when it comes to wear and value. 

What you’ll love: This mascara lives up to its name, giving lashes a fuller appearance while making them feel soft instead of stiff. The waterproof formula stays on lashes even while swimming. It’s available at a reasonable price. 

What you should consider: Care must be taken to close the lid tightly, as the mascara is prone to drying out prematurely. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Best lengthening waterproof mascara

Top lengthening waterproof mascara

Lancome DEFINICILS Waterproof High Definition Mascara

Lancome DEFINICILS Waterproof High Definition Mascara

What you need to know: From a day at the beach to a night on the town, this lengthening waterproof mascara is great for creating noticeably longer lashes. 

What you’ll love: With its ability to define and lengthen even the shortest lashes, this mascara is ideal for anyone who has sparse, short lashes. The buildable coverage allows you to create subtle to dramatic looks. The color wears all day without smudging. 

What you should consider: The price of this mascara falls on the high end of the spectrum. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s, Sephora, Ulta and Amazon

Top lengthening waterproof mascara for the money

L'Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara

What you need to know: If you are looking for a waterproof lengthening mascara that’s ideal for tiny lashes, this is the one to get. 

What you’ll love: This waterproof mascara’s flexible dual-sided brush grabs every lash and produces long, clump-free lashes. The rich formula creates outstanding definition while making lashes appear dark and bold. The price falls in the middle of the scale. 

What you should consider: It may take several attempts with a quality eye makeup remover to completely remove this mascara. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Best conditioning waterproof mascara

Top conditioning waterproof mascara

Grande Cosmetics GrandeMASCARA Waterproof Conditioning Peptide Mascara

Grande Cosmetics GrandeMASCARA Waterproof Conditioning Peptide Mascara

What you need to know: Long-wear in a mascara that resists moisture is possible with this conditional waterproof formula. 

What you’ll love: It’s the peptides in this waterproof mascara that nourish lashes during wear. It also does a great job standing up to moist conditions and doesn’t tend to clump or flake through hours of wear. 

What you should consider: This mascara is a little challenging to remove, but an oil-based eye makeup remover will help. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta

Top conditioning waterproof mascara for the money

Almay Multi-Benefit Waterproof Mascara

Almay Multi-Benefit Waterproof Mascara

What you need to know: This is the mascara to choose if you want a formula that’s waterproof, ideal for sensitive users, conditioning and affordable. 

What you’ll love: Infused with keratin, this mascara strengthens while it nourishes lashes. It’s a hypoallergenic option made by a brand known for making gentle makeup products. It’s also fragrance-free and suitable for consumers with sensitive eyes. 

What you should consider: This mascara occasionally makes clumps and flakes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Best curling waterproof mascara

Top curling waterproof mascara

Lancome Lash Idole Lash-Lifting and Volumizing Mascara

Lancome Lash Idole Lash-Lifting and Volumizing Mascara 

What you need to know: This is a lifting mascara that also conditions and provides all-day wear. 

What you’ll love: The angled wand of this mascara is designed to lift and push lashes up for a wide-eyed look. It’s also tapered to reach even tiny lashes. The waterproof formula can last as long as 24 hours and contains white tea extract that nourishes lashes.

What you should consider: The claim that this pricey mascara is clump-free is questionable. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta and Macy’s

Top curling waterproof mascara for the money

Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Waterproof Mascara 

What you need to know: We love that this mascara curls, conditions and increases lash volume and length for a budget-friendly price. 

What you’ll love: This affordable waterproof mascara has a contoured brush that creates impressive lift and curl. It is packed with fibers that pump up and extend lashes and contains plant-based ingredients for a nourishing effect. 

What you should consider: Some users may find the unique brush awkward to use. The mascara may dry out fairly quickly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Best combination waterproof mascara

Top combination waterproof mascara

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

What you need to know: This popular multitasking mascara stands out for being available in a vibrant blue shade. 

What you’ll love: Repeat customers love that this waterproof mascara lengthens, thickens and curls. It has a thick yet tapered brush, making it practical for top, lower and tiny lashes. It’s available in classic black and bold azure blue. 

What you should consider: The high price of this mascara may be a deal-breaker for some consumers. It’s also not quite as water-resistant as some competing brands. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Sephora

Top combination waterproof mascara for the money

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara

What you need to know: This is a multipurpose mascara that stands up to moisture while it curls and adds volume and length. 

What you’ll love: Although reasonably priced, this versatile mascara lifts, thickens and lengthens while holding up well to wet conditions. The tapered brush makes it simple to apply to every lash. 

What you should consider: This mascara is quite wet when first applied, so it takes a while to dry. It also takes a little extra effort to remove. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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

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