14 Best Waterproof Mascaras 2024 That Actually Stay Put—Rain, Cry, or Shine

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Editor Tip: We love how this formula is both super creamy and non-clumping — a combination you don’t find every day.

Key Ingredients: Eicosene copolymer, beeswax, rice bran wax | Number of Shades: 1

Frequently Asked Questions

How are waterproof mascaras different from standard mascaras?

While standard mascaras do the trick in lengthening, volumizing, darkening, and separating your lashes, waterproof mascaras are better suited for long-wear and durability. “Waterproof mascaras are designed to be more resistant to running and smudging with tears and sweat, and some can even a day at the pool,” cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos tells Allure. “They often contain ingredients polymers that adhere strongly to lashes and create a water-resistant film.” Waterproof mascaras rely on film-forming copolymers, which help with flexibility, holding the eyelash’s curl, and boosting temperature resistance.

“Some waterproof mascaras are totally anhydrous, meaning they contain no water, so they dry differently and sometimes can take longer,” continues Dobos. “The unique, natural composition of beeswax makes it a useful ingredient in all mascaras but especially waterproof formulas.”

Are waterproof mascaras safe for your lashes?

Waterproof mascaras are always safe regarding their formulas, but they tend to be more challenging to remove, causing potential distress to your lashes. Dobos explains, “Your usual micellar water might not cut it. Rubbing and pulling at lashes can cause breakage or already loose lashes to come out.”

Despite the difficulty of removal, you can curb damaging effects through the technique you choose to take off your eye makeup. “Using a bi-phase or oil-based eye makeup remover helps reduce pulling or tugging at the delicate eye area to remove. Isohexadecane and silicones work to dissolve the tenacious polymer films,” Dobos adds.

How should I choose a waterproof mascara?

Additionally, the best choice for a waterproof mascara depends on what you’re trying to get from the product. Do you want a waterproof mascara that prioritizes lengthening? One that is especially heat-resistant? One that can withstand a day of water-sport practice? Look at the product’s description and ingredients before you head to checkout. “Some examples of ingredients to look for are Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, and VP/Eicosene Copolymer,” Dobos advises.

Dobos suggests that, beyond examining the formula, consider the mascara’s brush and the “wiper” at the mouth of the tube. “There are some tradeoffs in using waterproof mascaras; some might take a little longer to dry, meaning lashes coated with the product that touch each other might stick together,” says Dobos. “A good wiper — that separate ring you can see at the opening of the mascara tube — and silicone bristles that are stiff and on the shorter side can help separate lashes reduce the amount of product applied, reducing clumping potential.”

How we test and review products

Before reviewing any makeup, we ask questions about a number of factors: What ingredients are in it? Does the brand offer a wide shade range inclusive of consumers with all skin tones and undertones? Is it safe for readers who have sensitive skin or wear contact lenses? Is it on the affordable side or more of a splurge? Is its packaging consciously designed or needlessly wasteful?

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