Hedy PhillipsUpdated: Jan. 19, 2023
High temperatures and humidity are no match for these waterproof mascaras that makeup artists and online shoppers swear by.
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rd.com, via ulta.com (2), via bloomingdales.com
Mascara that actually stays put
As the temperatures rise, our makeup routines have to change. We need to put aside our favorite formulas and swap them with long-lasting makeup products that can withstand heat, humidity, water-based activities, and so much sweat. After all, sweat-proof makeup was created for a reason, and summer is definitely the time to try it out. Waterproof mascara, in particular, can come in incredibly handy on a hot day or when you know you’ll be shedding some tears. But according to makeup artist Cara Lovello, those are the only occasions it should be used. “Waterproof isn’t for every day unless your mascara bleeds onto your skin,” she says, noting that waterproof formulas are a little bit harsher on eyelashes and can be difficult to remove. Using a high-quality, gentle makeup remover will help clean you up at the end of the day, but to protect your lashes from breakage and other damage, stick to regular mascara most of the time (or, you could try out these doe lashes that reviewers can’t stop gushing about!).
Worried about everyday sweat? Try some of these natural makeup looks, or go au naturel! We love using our favorite makeup secrets and mascara hacks as much as the next person, but a bare-faced day is a lovely day, too. But if you’re looking for a little oomph, check out this list of the best waterproof mascaras on the market.
Maybelline Sky High Waterproof Mascara
Maybelline’s Sky High Waterproof Mascara, which has more than 32,000 glowing five-star reviews on Amazon, does it all. It’s a great drugstore pick at a budget-friendly price, and makeup artist Mary Wiles considers it one of her faves. The main reason she loves it? Because it’s one of the easier-to-remove waterproof mascaras. Plus, she says, quite simply, “I love the brush!” It’s flexible, so you’ll be able to hit every eyelash when you swipe on the mascara. Wiles loves the Blackest Black shade, but it also comes in Very Black and Brownish Black.
Essence Lash Princess False Lash Waterproof Mascara
This Essence mascara is an Amazon favorite. Not only is it well-loved by thousands of shoppers, but we love it, too. Our full review gives you every detail of wearing the regular version of this mascara, but we also highly recommend Essence’s waterproof version. What we really love about this mascara—aside from its bold black and blue packaging—is the shape of the brush. It’s a conical shape that wiggles between your lashes and wraps around them to coat each one. We’re talking long, bold lashes every single time. And it won’t flake off or run in even the stickiest weather. By the way, do you know the most popular makeup brand in America?
Palladio Aqua Force Waterproof Defining Mascara
For a brown mascara option, try the Palladio Aqua Force Waterproof Defining Mascara. It will give your lashes a more subtle pop but still give them a little glam all the same. The brown shade more naturally adheres to lashes, providing definition and punching them up to the next level without making them appear too heavy. Even better? This formula is made with olive wax to protect and strengthen lashes. That means your eyelashes are getting healthier while you wear this mascara! Using beauty products that pull double duty is one of the makeup rules you should know by the time you’re 40.
Tetyana Naturals 4D Silk Fiber Mascara
One of the best natural waterproof mascaras is this one from Tetyana Naturals. As the name suggests, it’s non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and gentle on your eyes. But beyond that, it gives you so much volume, you won’t even know what to do with yourself. In fact, some reviewers say that people ask them if they’re wearing lash extensions after they’ve applied it. This mascara is perfect for the hottest summer nights when you want to do full glam and not worry about sweating it off. This mascara won’t flake, it won’t crack, and it won’t budge when the humidity sets in. Don’t forget to check out these natural makeup brands your skin will love.
Wet n Wild Mega Length Waterproof Mascara
For an extremely budget-friendly waterproof mascara, you can’t go wrong with this Wet n Wild tube. At under $3, this mascara is a no-frills, reliable choice for a hot day, but it’s still packed with vitamin E to condition and protect lashes. Bonus: It’s ophthalmologist-tested and safe for those who wear contacts. When you don’t have your contacts in, make sure you know these makeup tips for glasses.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara
Too Faced’s Better Than Sex moniker is synonymous with a top-of-the-line lash experience, so it only makes sense that the waterproof version would be just as good. Celebrity makeup artist Lauren D’Amelio swears by this one for long-lasting performance—no matter how much you sweat. “This mascara is sweatproof, humidity-proof, and waterproof,” she says. “It will not transfer onto the skin or flake off, so it’s perfect for all-day wear.” Lovello feels the same about this Too Faced mascara and always has it on hand for pool days. That said, no matter which mascara you choose for your summer fun, promptlythrow it out when it expires.
Ere Perez Natural Avocado Waterproof Mascara
If you have sensitive eyes, waterproof mascaras can sometimes be harsh. Because of the staying power they have, they can lead to tearing or irritation. If that sounds familiar, you’ll want Ere Perez’s all-natural avocado mascara. Makeup artist Beth Follert, who specializes in eco-friendly beauty, is a fan. “It’s a waterproof volumizing mascara made with mamey and avocado oils—great for sensitive eyes!” she says. These plant-based oils also nourish your eyelashes while giving them volume and oomph, so you’ll end the day with healthier lashes than you started with.
Tom Ford Emotionproof Mascara
Sometimes life calls for a splurge, and Tom Ford’s Emotionproof Mascara is one of the products that will make it all worth it. Though it clocks in at nearly $50, this mascara comes from a brand known for its quality (and its sleek, attractive packaging). The formula, with its lash-filling powders, will lengthen your lashes, and the pigment will last all day. It’s called “emotionproof” for a reason—you can cry your eyes out and this mascara won’t go anywhere. If you’ve been on a crying jag, you’ll also want to know these tricks for getting rid of puffy eyes ASAP.
L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
There’s no shame in wanting to have a glam look at the beach or the pool. That’s where L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara comes in. It’s an affordable, drugstore mascara that stays put, even if you go swimming. D’Amelio says this mascara “applies beautifully” and stays put “even if you are underwater for extended periods of time.” That means you can swipe on this lash-loving formula, dive right in, and not worry about what happens when you get back to your beach towel.
Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara
You already know Buxom mascaras give you the boldest of bold lashes (and if you didn’t, you do now), and the waterproof version doesn’t skimp on volume either. The brush’s bristles are spaced just right to get between even the smallest lashes and get pigment on each and every side. This Buxom pick is an overall top choice for waterproof mascara because the brand simply took its beloved formula and made it waterproof—and it truly lasts through just about anything. Don’t miss these other cult-favorite products that are 100 percent worth it.
Pacifica Beauty Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Long Lash Mineral Mascara
Vegan waterproof mascaras are a little harder to come by, but Pacifica Beauty’s Aquarian Gaze mascara is a water-resistant formula that we like. As part of Pacifica Beauty’s commitment to being vegan and cruelty-free, even the mascara brush in this tube is vegan! This non-toxic mascara is made with nourishing coconut oil and vitamin B to enrich your lashes and keep them hydrated and healthy. Plus, you’ll get full, thick lashes that will last for hours, even in intense summer sun.
CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara
This $5 CoverGirl mascara has nearly 18,000 five-star reviews on Amazon for a reason. It glides on smooth for all-day wear, no matter how humid or sticky the weather gets. And you’ll get an instantly voluminous lash line—without clumps. One verified Amazon reviewer writes: “I have spent an ungodly amount of money over the years trying to find my holy grail mascara, and this it. This is buildable, with zero clumping, smudging, or transfer at all, even after a really intense workout. Most importantly for me is the fact it keeps my lashes curled all day long…and it doesn’t make them feel heavy or crispy despite being waterproof. You can’t go wrong with this price point, so if you’re on the fence, just buy it!” While you’re on Amazon, you might also want to pick up a few of these other products you’ll use every day.
Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara
When you’re heading out for a steamy night of fun that calls for more color than just black, try Dior’s waterproof mascara in blue. (Though it also comes in black and brown.) Sephora reviewers rave that the pigmented formula clings to eyelashes to give your face a bright pop of color that won’t smear or smudge when you start to sweat or cry. Plus, the soft brush bristles encourage your lashes to curl, curl, curl for an even bolder effect!
Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Waterproof Mascara
Both a splurge and an overall favorite, Chanel’s banner mascara in waterproof form takes the formula you already know and love and turns it into a long-lasting, sweatproof beauty product. The brush has a unique structure, with bristles in differing sizes, to coat each lash with just one swipe. Yes, just one swipe is all it takes to get the perfect wide-eyed look that will last until you’re ready to take it off.
Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara
There are so many solid drugstore brands to choose from when it comes to makeup, and for that, we are grateful. Revlon makes a top-notch waterproof mascara that’s not only super affordable but will effortlessly give you fuller, more beautiful lashes. Spending a day at the pool? Swipe it on and dive right in. It can handle swimming, sweating, crying, and everything else that usually ruins your makeup. Blackest Black is the shade that’s available in a waterproof formulation, by the way, but it also comes in three non-waterproof dark colors. Now that you don’t have to worry about raccoon eyes, check out the other makeup secrets of women who always look put together.
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- Cara Lovello, bridal and celebrity makeup artist
- Mary Wiles, makeup artist
- Lauren D’Amelio, celebrity makeup artist
- Beth Follert, makeup artist
Originally Published: July 14, 2021
Hedy is a lifestyle writer covering beauty, shopping, and pop culture. She devotes 99% of her time to snuggling with her cats and 100% of her money to following Harry Styles around on tour. She's always on the lookout for another slice of New York pizza and she's never met a Starbucks drink she doesn't like.