The 8 Best Waterproof Mascaras for Beautifully Defined Lashes That Last

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara has a formula and price point that’s tough to beat.

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InStyle / Tamara Staples

Whether you’re planning a waterside vacation, enjoy wearing makeup to your studio sweat seshes, or know you’re bound to cry at that upcoming wedding on your calendar, it helps to have a high-quality waterproof mascara in your makeup collection. Whatever you do though, don’t just trust any old marketing scheme and buy the first one you see. After all, there are so many waterproof mascaras on the market that hardly live up to the hype. Lucky for you, we had the time to sort through the oversaturated market to test and find the best waterproof mascaras.

After researching what makes a reliable formula and testing the 29 most-beloved waterproof mascaras that fit the bill — evaluating each based on how easy they are to apply, how well they wear, and how much they live up to their performance claims — we found that CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara reigns supreme thanks to budge-proof wear, and stellar volumizing and separating abilities — not to mention its lower price point. 

Keep reading to uncover the eight best waterproof mascaras for a smudge-proof flutter.

Best Overall

COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara

COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara


What We Like: The brush holds the perfect amount of mascara, so you won’t experience any clumping.

What We Don’t Like: The bristles of the brush could be a bit longer to make application more comfortable for those with short lashes. 

This cult-favorite drugstore mascara is our number-one pick for a few reasons: In addition to being very easy to use thanks to the scooped brush that olds just enough mascara, the product lives up to its claims — ensuring voluminous, separated lashes with every stroke. 

“The mascara performed amazingly! It didn’t smudge at all, and efficiently extended my lashes,” one tester shares. “They looked fuller and I loved the results.” Despite how well the product performed, she does admit that she wishes the brush’s bristles were longer, as their short nature is noticeable along the lash line. (That said, it’s the brush's short bristles that are said to expertly comb through lashes for a separated lift.) Still, she loves the brush overall. “I loved the shape of the brush,” she exclaims. “The curved design allowed for maximum coverage.”

Another gold star for this waterproof mascara? It’s part of Ulta Beauty’s Conscious Beauty initiative, so you know that it's made with high quality ingredients and sustainability practices in mind.

Price at time of publish: $9

Benefits: Volume and Separation | Shades: Very Black | Longevity: All-day wear

Best Value

Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara

Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara


What We Like: The skinny wand makes distributing product easier than ever.

What We Don’t Like: It’s not very buildable — at most, you can expect longer but still natural-looking lashes.

This drugstore best-seller is great for folks looking for a high-quality mascara at a more affordable price, as well as those craving a natural look. According to one InStyle tester, it’s particularly great for coating bottom lashes, too, as the brush is so slim that it’s easy to accentuate each lash without worrying about smudging mascara all over your lashline. 

“The mascara doesn't smudge at all,” our tester reveals. Beyond its smudge-proof nature, she applauds this product for its natural-looking enhancement and just how easy it is to remove. “It coated my lashes perfectly without clumping or getting on my eyelids,” she says. “Unlike other waterproof mascaras, this product was easy to [remove] without leaving a black ring around my eyes, too.”

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the size of this mascara is notably smaller than other waterproof tubes on this list. Still, given it makes applying mascara a neater process, it’s still a worthy option.

Price at time of publish: $7

Benefits: Defines and Lengthens | Shades: Very Black | Longevity: All-day wear

Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara


What We Like: The oversized brush amplifies volume to create dramatic, smudge-proof lashes.

What We Don’t Like: It has a notable smell upon opening.

15,000 Sephora shoppers agree that Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara is a dream come true for smudge-proof lashes — and InStyle testers agree. Made with a fluffy, S-shaped brush, this mascara enables users to adequately coat their lashes from base to tip in one swoop. “I loved the shape of the brush which made it easy to grab every lash,” one tester says. “The tip of the brush was very helpful as well.” While the tip isn’t notably smaller, it’s angled inward, which makes targeting teeny bottom lashes and those around the inner and outer corners of the eyes that much more manageable. 

Beyond how easy it is to apply, our testers are impressed with just how well it stays put. “This mascara wore very well; it didn’t smudge or flake,” one tester reveals, noting that she tried it while using eye drops and a water spritzer.  In addition to living up to its smudge-proof claims, this mascara goes above and beyond to create dramatic volume. “But I did not notice my lashes looking curled,” one tester admits, noting that this mascara is best for volume and length, not curling power.

Price at time of publish: $33

Benefits: Clump-free volume | Shades: Excessive Black | Longevity: All-day wear

Best Curling

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara


What We Like: The hourglass wand makes accentuating each and every lash a cinch.

What We Don’t Like: It flakes a little bit with wear.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is a cult-favorite due to its hourglass brush that introduces va-va-voom lash volume in just a few swipes. Since the original formula isn’t meant for wet activities, the brand released its waterproof formula, which has now amassed nearly 93,000 likes at Sephora. Needless to say, we knew we had to give this best-seller a try and we’re so glad we did. 

“Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara gives my lashes dimension and lift,” one tester shares, noting that despite the applaudable volume, the mascara doesn’t make her lashes feel heavy in the slightest. Another pride point for the mascara is its packaging, which is especially creative. The metallic blue tube is heavy, making it feel luxe, and designed with raised water droplets to help make it clear that it's the waterproof version, should you have both and go simply off touch, as opposed to sight. 

The one downside is that the formula does flake a bit after a few hours of wear, typically when used on the lower lash lines. Still, if you plan on only wearing it for a few hours at a time, say to the beach, gym, or a tear-jerker event, it’s well worth giving a try.

Price at time of publish: $25

Benefits: Clump-free volume | Shades: Black | Longevity: Quarter to half-day wear


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Lengthening

MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Lash Mascara

MAC in Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara


What We Like: The wand’s unique shape makes for a steady application.

What We Don’t Like: It doesn’t lift lashes as much as it claims.

MAC in Extreme Dimension Waterproof Lash Mascara claims to expertly lengthen, lift, and curl lashes with its silky-smooth formula that goes on easily from root to tip. One InStyle tester can attest to much of this. 

“This mascara glided on easily, and it had an interesting grip to it,” says our tester. “The wand has a funky shape, so I was a bit worried at first, but it was able to accurately coat all of my lashes, and steadied my hand more than a traditional wand.” That said, while the mascara works well to lengthen lashes, she found that she didn’t experience much curl or lift. “My eyelashes looked a bit weighed down,” she admits.

Still, if the waterproof aspect is your biggest criteria, she assures us that it does its job. “It survived the cry test and the water spray test with ease,” she shares. “I didn't notice any smudging during any part of the test — only when trying to take it off was it messy.”

Price at time of publish: $26

Benefits: Volume, Length, and Curl | Shades: Black | Longevity: All-day wear


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Volumizing

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Waterproof Mascara

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara Waterproof


What We Like: It doesn’t smudge or flake with wear — even when water is introduced. 

What We Don’t Like: The packaging is very plain.

If your goal is to achieve natural-looking volume that won’t fall flat when you jump into the pool, sweat your bum off, or shed a tear, you can’t go wrong with Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara. Although it doesn’t offer dramatic lift, it works beautifully to lengthen, define, and curl lashes with just a few swipes, thanks to its slightly tapered, fully-bristled brush. 

“This is a classic Neutrogena product,” one tester shares. “It gave my lashes an elevated, natural look, which is what the company is famous for; it goes on light, feels clean, and there are no bells and whistles to it, but I trust that I could wear it all day and it would stay on my eyelashes.”

To ensure that she could, she put it to the test with tears and water. “It didn’t smudge at all,” she marvels.

Price at time of publish: $10

Benefits: Hydrates and Lengthens | Shades: Black and Black/Brown | Longevity: All-day wear


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Dramatic Lashes

Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara


What We Like: It’s totally waterproof and stays put for up to 24 hours. 

What We Don’t Like: The wand tends to pick up more product than necessary, which can lead to clumping.

Now, if your goal is dramatic volume, your best bet is Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara. The bushy, medium-length bristled brush is designed to latch on to each and every lash to lift it to the high heavens. 

Although it works to expertly coat each and every lash, the application itself is very light, one tester assures us. “It’s extremely long lasting and gives drama,” she says. “That said, it’s not for the subtle wearer. It gave a lot of definition and visible volume, so with more than two coats it can look a little heavy, but it doesn't feel heavy.” Even though it deposits plenty of formula with each swipe, our reviewer found that this waterproof mascara is particularly easy to remove with both makeup wipes and micellar water. “It doesn’t need too much elbow grease to remove,” she assures us. 

The one downside is that, while this mascara feels lightweight and does bring the drama, it can also introduce clumps into your flutter. With that in mind, our tester says that it’s best for folks looking to achieve TikTok’s doll eye trend, but not for something more subtle.

Price at time of publish: $30

Benefits: Volume | Shades: Big Is The New Black | Longevity: All-day wear

Lancome Hypnose Drama Waterproof Mascara

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Short Lashes

L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara

L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara


What We Like: The mascara creates falsie-like results.

What We Don’t Like: Because of the brush’s design, it can be difficult to fully coat your bottom lashes.

If you have short lashes with high hopes of a lengthened flutter, look no further. L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara is highly rated for its lengthening abilities that last all day long. “I like the way that my lashes look big — like false lashes without glue,” one tester reveals, noting that it takes just a few swipes to get a wide-eyed effect.

Beyond the lengthening abilities of this mascara, our reviewer was truly impressed by just how well it stayed in place. “This mascara did not budge. Period. Tears, rain, squint, sneezing, smudging, even purposefully trying to smudge it with my hands and fingers — nothing,” she reveals. Although it's able to really hold its ground, it’s incredibly easy to remove. “It only took two swipes with a makeup remover pad to come off,” our tester adds. 

The one shortcoming is its bulbous brush, which, while great for pumping up the volume, isn’t so fab for targeting lower lashes. “The only thing I would change is the brush size so I can apply it to my more delicate lower lashes,” our reviewer says.

Price at time of publish: $12

Benefits: Volume | Shades: Blackest Black | Longevity: All-day wear


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Our Testing Process

The InStyle beauty team spent weeks researching and reviewing dozens of the most highly-rated waterproof mascaras the market has to offer. Once narrowing it down to the top 29 mascaras, the team spent days testing each product's ease of use, wear, and performance. They then rated each mascara on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of these categories, which was then averaged to determine the overall score. At the conclusion of testing, our reviewers found that eight waterproof mascaras stood out — the eight best waterproof mascaras. 

What to Keep in Mind 


Whether you want to volumize, lengthen or lift your lashes, the shape of the mascara brush plays a part in how your lashes will look. For example, curved brushes, like the one found on our best overall winner, CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara, helps to lift lashes for a wide-eyed effect. If you’re after volume, your best bet is to use a mascara with a big, fluffy brush like Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara. As for extreme length, look for skinny, precise wands like the one that comes with Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara.

Wear Time

Waterproof mascaras differ from non-waterproof mascaras because they are formulated to stay put when sweat, tears, and/or water come into play. While waterproof formulas typically last longer than others, wear time should also be considered when selecting a waterproof mascara. Most of the picks on this list are designed to last through all day wear, but if you only plan on wearing mascara for a few hours, you may want to try the Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara because it will remove easier than others. Wear time is a personal preference, so be sure to check the packaging of each to determine the typical longevity when deciding if it’s right for you. 


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Your Questions, Answered 

 How do you remove waterproof mascara?

One of the biggest complaints about waterproof mascara is just how difficult it can be to remove. While classic cream and foam facial cleansers may not be able to make it budge, makeup artist Marsha Page says the cleansing oil will. 

“I prefer to use oil to remove waterproof mascara,” she says. “My go-to is MAC Cleanse Off Oil because It’s gentle and rinses off cleanly and easily.”

Another option? Cleansing balm. “I gently massage a cleansing balm into my lashes to remove my waterproof mascara, as well as my other makeup, and then follow with a microfiber towel once the product breaks down,” makeup artist and TikTok sensation Rose Siard shares. “It can then be wiped away easily without damaging my lashes.”


Can micellar water remove waterproof mascara?

Notice how we didn’t mention micellar water? While micellar can work wonders for long-lasting lipstick and face makeup, Siard, who is the co-founder of Rose and Ben Beauty, says that it’s not as effective on waterproof mascara. “Micellar water can be used to remove waterproof mascara but since it’s generally water-based, it can have a hard time breaking down the silicone,” she admits. “This means you might have to apply more pressure when removing it with a microfiber towel. This can easily damage or even pull out your lashes.”


InStyle / Tamara Staples

What makes mascara waterproof?

As Siard briefly mentioned above, waterproof mascara is made of a specific type of silicone that gives the formula water-resistant properties. Page tacks onto this, noting that most waterproof mascaras are made with wax and silicone-based ingredients. “These ingredients make for a smooth application and keep the eyelashes more resistant to sweat, tears and water,” she explains.

What Is InStyle Picks?

Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it’s really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle Picks are products we love, and we’ve put them to the test to be sure you will too. 

Want more product recommendations? From best-in-class concealer to the black pants you need for work, check out all of our InStyle Picks content

Why Shop With Us

InStyle beauty writer Rebecca Norris has been honing her beauty knowledge for over eight years. She forever has her finger on the pulse of the trendiest and most innovative products and formulas, which allows her to sort through the many, many launches that inundate the beauty market. For this particular story, she spoke with two makeup artists, as well as over half a dozen other InStyle beauty writers and editors for everything there is to know about waterproof mascaras. With their help, she was able to rank eight of the most popular waterproof mascaras based on how each rated on a standardized scale. The scale took into account ease of use, wear, and performance. 

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