Mascaras are great – they add instant and easy oomph to any look by lengthening our lashes. But when they start running, whether it’s because of a particularly humid summer day at the beach, or, well… a cathartic cry? Not so great.
Enter: waterproof mascara.
So, what is this magic makeup product that promises not to run down your cheeks and give you racoon eyes at the first sight of water?
“Waterproof mascaras contain specific ingredients that make them resistant to water and moisture,” says Tania Jolley, founder of Lashes of Change. “These ingredients work together to create a film or barrier around your lashes, preventing the mascara from smudging or running when exposed to water.”
Waterproof vs Water-resistant mascara
Waterproof mascara is often conflated with water resistant mascara, but the two formulas are different. Water-resistant mascara repels water to some extent, but it is not entirely waterproof, Tania explains.
A waterproof formula can be applied with fewer coats, has a dramatic finish and will hold curl very well, but is difficult to remove and is prone to clumping. A water resistant formula is gentler on the eyes and is easier to remove, but it may take multiple coats to achieve your desired look.
Waterproof mascara ingredients
When shopping specifically for a waterproof mascara, Tania suggests choosing products with water-resistant polymers, wax, silicones and emulsifiers. You should avoid products with parabens, fragrance, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, heavy metals, petroleum-derived ingredients and sulfates.
“Keep in mind that individual sensitivities and allergies can vary, so it’s essential to read the ingredient list on mascara packaging and choose products that align with your personal preferences and any known sensitivities or allergies,” she says.
How to remove waterproof mascara
“It is paramount to be mindful of your technique when removing waterproof mascara, as any aggressive rubbing can damage your lashes and the delicate skin around your eye area,” Tania explains.
“To remove waterproof mascara effectively, use a dedicated waterproof makeup remover such as a cleansing balm or an oil-based makeup remover to provide some nourishment to the skin and lashes. Simply apply your chosen makeup remover product on a cotton pad or ball and close your eyes and hold the moistened cotton pad over your closed eyelid for a few seconds to break down the mascara. Gently wipe away the mascara from the base of your lashes towards the tips, repeating if necessary.
“Water-resistant mascara can be removed with a regular makeup remover like micellar water with an eco-cloth or warm water and a gentle cleanser. An oil-based cleanser will also do the job, if you have a full face of makeup you wish to remove with ease.”
What are the best waterproof mascaras?
We’ve compiled a list of the best waterproof and water-resistant mascaras from some of the world’s biggest beauty brands.
Clinique, High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Resistant to clumping and smudging, this formula can stand up to heat and humidity while providing instant volume and length. Safe for sensitive eyes.
Bobbi Brown, No Smudge Waterproof Mascara
This long-wearing, waterproof mascara gives volume, length and curl to your lashes without smudging, clumping, or flaking.
Poni, The White Knight Mascara
This waterproof mascara has two modes, length and volume, pretending on your lash needs. It is also free of fragrances, oils, peptides and sulphates.
Lancôme, Lash Idole Waterproof Mascara
Achieve fanned out volume and an intense eye-opening effect with this clump-free, easy to remove mascara. It’s water and smudge proof and leaaves you lashes feeling soft!
Estēe Lauder, Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Mascara
With 10-hour wear, this smudge and flake proof mascara is also clumb-resistant. Eyes look brighter, wider, and more seductive. Perfect for any beach crushes.
Maybelline, Lash Sensational Sky High Water resistant Mascara
It’s the high impact mascara that’s all over TikTok. This water resistant formula provides full volume and dramatic length. Its flexible brush can reach even the smallest lashes.
Nudestix, Vegan Splashproof Mascara
This water and sweat resistant, high-performance mascara contains multivitamins and plant-based oils to moisturise, strengthen and protect your lashes.
Lashes of Change, Customise your own Water resistant mascara
Can’t find your perfect mascara? Why not build you own water resistant, vegan mascara. Choose your preferred brush, formula and colour, and case. This way, you know exactly what’s going into your mascara, and you can refill it as necessary!