Melani Wilson

Best Waterproof Mascara – Buyer’s Guide

Best Waterproof MascaraAs windows to the soul, people do pretty much everything they can to enhance their eyes. People apply eyeshadow around the eyes to accentuate them in contrast to the rest of their face and add eyeliner to make that contrast even starker. To provide a proper frame, people will generally go with mascara.

Best Waterproof Mascara 2018

There is a multitude of different mascaras on the market, but for all-day wear, you are going to want to go with the best waterproof mascara. This type of mascara is designed specifically not to streak or smudge, and when applied properly, is fantastic at preventing flakes as well. Of course, the different types of waterproof mascara are nearly as plentiful as the types of mascara itself.

Figuring out which waterproof mascara is right for you can be difficult. That is why we have put together a list of the 9 best waterproof mascaras, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best waterproof mascara to make your eyes pop.

Product
TypeBrushAmount 
theBalm
(Editor’s Choice)
Waterproof Lash DefiningShort Curved0.27 fl oz
L'Oreal Paris
(Best Price)
Waterproof VolumizingMedium Cone0.28 fl oz
Mia Adora
(People’s Choice)
Waterproof 3D FiberMedium PointedVariable
Waterproof CurlingCurved0.3 fl oz
Waterproof VolumizingHourglass0.33 fl oz
Waterproof 3D FiberHourglass and RectangleVariable
Waterproof VolumizingMedium Tapered0.44 fl oz
Waterproof LengtheningShort Bristle0.35 fl oz
Waterproof Lash DefiningTapered Spiral0.38 fl oz

1. theBalm – Best Waterproof Mascara Sensitive Eyes (Editor’s Choice)

As a company, theBalm has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of makeup that is simultaneously high quality as well as environmentally conscious. With their Mad Lash mascara, theBalm once again continues this trend, though they definitely seek a more niche market than some of their competitors.

Applicator

Specifically, this mascara is made primarily for people who have sparse, short eyelashes. This is most apparent in the brush, which features a curved design and short bristles. While people with thicker or longer lashes can still get great results, they will need to apply more coats. As a bonus, the wand is injection molded-though this benefits all users equally.

Formula

Another way that you can tell this waterproof mascara is meant for people with sparse, short lashes that the formula is more of a lash defining type in addition to its waterproof properties. This means that the Mad Lash both lengthens and volumizes, but it serves to separate and distinguish the lashes more than anything else.

Pros:
  • Features an injection molded wand
  • Curved brush with short bristles
  • Uses lash defining formula
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • The mascara is cruelty-free
Cons:
  • The brush is not appropriate for all looks
  • Requires more applications

2. L’Oreal Paris – Best Waterproof Mascara Cheap (Best Price)

L’Oreal Paris is one of the most well-known brands of makeup in the world, though they are definitely more of a crowd-pleaser than a specialist. As such, it should come as little surprise that the L’Oreal Paris waterproof mascara is both the least expensive as well as the most basic. This does not mean that it is poor, but it will not work for everyone.

The Good

The L’Oreal Paris waterproof mascara actually does a really good job of providing plenty of benefits for a wide range of people. For example, the tapered cone brush with medium bristles should serve more people than not. On top of that, the formula does a great job of laying on the volume with only a single coat and even has lash-softening ingredients.

The Bad

Unfortunately, this waterproof mascara could essentially be contained ingredients you are better to avoid. This mascara includes two type of paraben as well as ethanolamine compounds-both of which can affect body cycles if absorbed. Paraffin and carnauba wax are also on the list and can clog up the pores.

Pros:
  • Extra volumizing formula
  • Least expensive mascara reviewed
  • All-around good brush
  • Requires fewer applications
  • Contains softening agents
Cons:
  • Clumps more than some
  • Contains questionable ingredients

3. Mia Adora – Best Waterproof Mascara for Volume (People’s Choice)

Though the name may not necessarily ring a lot of bells outside of the fashion world, Mia Adora has quietly earned a solid reputation as a brand that can produce great results–especially with their 3D Fiber Lash mascara. That said, you likely need to have a fair degree of skill if you intend to use this product, but the results are difficult to argue against.

Purpose

It should be noted right off the bat that this waterproof mascara is best suited for people who have thin lashes. This is because this specific type of waterproof mascara applies a layer of green tea fibers to make your lashes look significantly thicker than they are. While this can work for people who already have naturally thick lashes, it is intended to be used by people who need extra volume.

Conscious

This waterproof mascara is one of many we reviewed that only uses all-natural ingredients. Unfortunately, Mia Adora does not provide a list of ingredients, but the only complaints regarding the ingredients are that the fibers can irritate your eyes if they fall in. Even better, this is a cruelty-free waterproof mascara does not test on animals.

Pros:
  • Comes with transplanting gel
  • Fibers made of green tea Campanulaceae
  • A cruelty-free mascara
  • Made of all-natural ingredients
  • Features a solid applicator
Cons:
  • Difficult to apply
  • Fibers may irritate eyes

4. Maybelline – Best Waterproof Mascara to Hold Curl

Outside of L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline likely has the best claim to the most well-known makeup brand in the world. While this is not the absolutely cheapest waterproof mascara on our list, it is still one of the less expensive. Interestingly, this waterproof mascara does not seek to cast as wide of a net as others do and is more focused in its approach.

Curling

Maybelline has outdone itself when it comes to creating a curling mascara that is also waterproof. For one, the formula itself contains a wide range of ingredients that help curl your lashes and keep them in place. Of course, curling lashes are as much about the brush as it is the formula, and this is perhaps the best curling brush we have seen with 10 layers of bristles.

Ingredients

As a larger brand, Maybelline is another company on our list that uses a number of less expensive ingredients that are ultimately less desired than more natural alternatives. For instance, this mascara contains a wide variety of waxes that can clog your pores. On top of that, its preservatives-especially the different parabens-are noted endocrine disruptors.

Pros:
  • An inexpensive waterproof mascara
  • Brush is curved
  • Brush features 10 layers of bristles
  • Provides a full fan effect
  • Offers solid volume
Cons:
  • Not as long lasting as others
  • Contains questionable ingredients

5. Elizabeth Mott – Best Waterproof Mascara Elizabeth Mott

Though the brand may be called Elizabeth Mott, this company was actually founded by Alice K-a renowned jewelry designer who turned to fashion more broadly and eventually make up. The inspiration for It’s So Big was to create a waterproof makeup that could both deliver legitimate volume as well as handle an all-day wear. Though there are caveats, the product definitely succeeded.

Brush

One of the better qualities about this mascara is its brush, which uses the hourglass design. This style of the brush allows it to serve double duty in that it can apply plenty of the formula to your lashes while still offers a subtle curling effect. This gives you the best of both worlds, though it can make detailing a challenge.

Formula

Like a number of mascaras that we reviewed, this product is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the formula. Thanks to the brush, the formula is able to go on thick and provide great volume. It is also one of the more smudge and streak resistant we reviewed. Unfortunately, it does have a tendency to flake by midday and contains numerous ingredients that you would prefer not to see in your mascara.

Pros:
  • Contains more than most
  • Features hourglass brush
  • Provides the best volume
  • Curls as well as volumizes
  • Is a cruelty-free mascara
Cons:
  • Contains questionable ingredients
  • Has a tendency to flake

6. Simply Naked – Best 3D Fiber Waterproof Mascara

As a company, Simply Naked Beauty was made with the explicit purpose of providing a conscience-free product that would not leave you questioning your impact on the world. Of course, the brand also had to make sure that their products were a great quality too. The first goal of Simply Naked Beauty has been achieved with flying colors, but the second will largely depend on your skill level.

Volume

We provided that warning because this is a 3D fiber waterproof mascara. While this is not inherently a bad thing, it means that you will need to be careful when applying this mascara or your lashes may look fuzzier than they do fuller. In fact, there is a multistep process to follow for getting the best results, but those results can be impressive nonetheless. As a bonus, this is the only mascara to use a rectangle brush to lay the fibers on extra thick.

Conscious

One of the best things about Simply Naked Beauty is that all of their makeup product-not just this waterproof mascara-only contain hypoallergenic, non-toxic, all-natural ingredients. This allows virtually anyone to wear their makeup. To further set your mind at ease, all of the Simply Naked Beauty products are cruelty-free and do not test their products on animals.

Pros:
  • Made from all-natural ingredients
  • Comes with transplanting gel
  • Fibers made of green tea Campanulaceae
  • Is a cruelty-free mascara
  • Offers a great fiber brush
Cons:
  • Takes longer to apply
  • The transplanting gel dries hard

7. COVERGIRL – Best Covergirl Waterproof Mascara

Though COVERGIRL may not have the same storied history or prestige as some of the other, more well-established brands on our list, it is still one of the bigger players in the makeup market and uses that cache to offer one of the best all-around values that we saw. While it is not the absolute best at anything, it offers a great result for most people.

Brush

One of the better qualities about this waterproof mascara is its brush, which is designed to apply the maximum amount of mascara to your lashes without absorbing any. It accomplishes this primarily with silicone bristles that do not hold any of the mascara. On top of that, the brush features a tapered cone shape, which offers excellent coverage as well as some detail functionality.

Formula

The formula of this waterproof mascara is a bit of a mixed bag. First, it goes on extremely thick which can cut down on the application time. However, this also means that the mascara may flake over time. Still, the real issue with this mascara is its use of questionable ingredients that includes numerous waxes as well as endocrine disrupting parabens.

Pros:
  • A less expensive waterproof mascara
  • Features a tapered cone brush
  • Bristles are made of silicone
  • Provides excellent volume
  • One of the most plentiful
Cons:
  • Contains questionable ingredients
  • Has a tendency to flake

8. 100% Pure – Best Waterproof Mascara for Wedding

100% Pure is another brand that was made with the specific purpose of providing makeup that would not cause an allergic reaction and was also more sustainable than some that use undesirable ingredients. While this can get a bit tricky in terms of quality-especially for the waterproof variety of mascara-100% Pure does a reasonable job.

Formula

As the marketing of this brand states, 100% Pure does not use ingredients that have to be synthesized from unnatural sources. As such, this mascara is by far one of the best in terms of sensitive skin. In fact, 100% Pure goes a step further and actually include lash conditioning ingredients like Provitamin B5, Vitamin E, and grain proteins to strengthen your lashes.

Efficacy

Since this mascara only uses all natural ingredients–many of which are directly sourced from plants-the issue of its effectiveness may come into play. This mascara is not truly waterproof, but unless you are caught in a torrential downpour, you should have nothing to worry about. It definitely does not flake and will not smudge even with oily skin.

Pros:
  • Contains all-natural ingredients
  • The brush is short bristled
  • Includes lash conditioning ingredients
  • Provides more formula than most
  • Does not flake or smudge
Cons:
  • Not truly waterproof
  • Is the most expensive mascara reviewed

9. Ecco Bella – Best Eco-Conscious Waterproof Mascara

While a number of brands on our list have made it a point to shift their products towards a more eco-friendly manufacturing process, few have done so quite as well as Ecco Bella. While this may ultimately lead to their products costing a bit more than drugstore makeup, they more than make up for it with an amazing product.

Eco-Friendly

When it comes to being a friend of the Earth, no other brand we reviewed goes further than Ecco Bella in accomplishing this goal does. First, this formula eschews all of the ingredients that might otherwise be questionable earning a toxicity score of 1-the lowest possible. On top of that, this mascara is also cruelty-free and is not tested on animals.

Solid Accessories

Beyond the mascara’s formula itself, this brand further distinguishes itself with an excellent approach to the accessories. For instance, the tube that holds the mascara also has a mirror embedded in one of its faces. This can make reapplying the mascara easier. Also, the brush features a tapered, spiral design for full coverage that can also be used to detail.

Pros:
  • The most eco-friendly formula
  • Features a tapered, spiral brush
  • Is a cruelty-free mascara
  • The tube features a mirror
  • Protects the skin
Cons:
  • Not truly waterproof
  • Has a tendency to clump

Best Waterproof Mascara Review – Buyer’s Guide

Type

While this list is ostensibly about waterproof mascara, it is also important to note that there are numerous other types of mascara on the market. The reason this is meaningful in this context is that many makeup brands attempt to blend or hybridize different types of mascara into a single formula-with mixed results. Regardless of how effectively a brand can blend the different types, it is still a common practice and one worth knowing about.

Waterproof

As the type of our list, it only makes sense that we examine waterproof mascara first. Waterproof mascara achieves its desired effect by not including water or an emulsion of water and oil in the formula. This makes the mascara insoluble and thus waterproof.

Aside from being waterproof, this type of mascara is also more resistant to streak, smudges than the other types, and does not flake unless applied improperly. While this is great for an all-day wear mascara, it also has a tendency to make the mascara difficult to take off. Some waterproof mascaras have even started including slight emulsions into their formula to make it easier to remove.

VolumizingVolumizing

As the name suggests, volumizing mascara is intended to make your lashes look thicker than they are. Also worth noting, many volumizing lashes blend their formula with ingredients that also help curl your lashes. This is a natural extension and arguably one of the better unions between different mascara types because both types of mascara rely on formulas that are thicker than pretty much all of the others.

Volumizing mascara does have its limits though and is not a substitute for lengthening mascara, nor does it provide a separating or defining effect. Also, unless it is also waterproof, volumizing mascara is prone to streak or smear and may also clump if not applied properly.

LengtheningLengthening

Lengthening mascaras are perhaps the least noteworthy when it comes to the actual mascara. This is because lengthening mascaras rely just as much on their brush as they do their formula. While this synergy may apply to some of the other types of mascara-especially curling mascaras-none of them require the brush to be quite as involved in achieving the desired effect as lengthening mascara.

That said, this type of mascara generally has some unique qualities to the formula. For one, while there may be a mild curling and volumizing quality to this type, it is far thinner than most of the other types of mascara. On top of that, this is the type of mascara that is most likely to clump, so your application needs to be near perfect.

Lash Defining

Lash defining mascara is a bit of a catch-all term, though there are definitely some mascaras that legitimately fit this bill. Like some of the other types of mascara-especially non-clumping mascara-most brands will advertise that their mascara is lash defining since it is a great marketing tactic.

However, a true lash defining mascara is noted for a balanced formula that is neither thicker nor thinner than average. That said, lash defining formulas would vary a bit in viscous consistency, so be sure you know whether you want a slightly thicker or thinner formula ahead of time. Consequently, the most common type of blended formula for lash defining mascara is to make it waterproof as well.

CurlingCurling

Outside of lengthening mascara, there is likely no other type of mascara made that is more dependent on the brush to achieve its desired result that curling mascara. However, this should not be taken to nearly the same extremes as lengthening mascara since curling mascara legitimately has a far different set of requirements for their ingredients to achieve the desired result.

Specifically, curling mascara will include either waxes or resins or both. These ingredients will both cause the lashes to slightly curl a bit on their own as well as hold them in position once curled. That said, curling mascara would almost always include a curved brush to help achieve this effect.

Non-Clumping

Regardless the type of mascara, most brands will advertise that their formula is non-clumping. However, a specialized non-clumping mascara will include ingredients in their formula that make clumping a near impossibility. That said, a specialized non-clumping formula also does not have ingredients, which will add to the length or volume of your natural lashes either.

As such, this type of formula is far better suited for people whose lashes are already naturally long and thick. This is also true because non-clumping mascara tends to run a thinner in terms of consistency than pretty much every other type of mascara.

3D Fiber

This actually a sharp departure from the traditional formula that most mascaras use. Whereas most mascaras use, some form of liquid or gel to actually coat your lashes, 3D fiber mascaras bridge the gap between mascara and false eyelashes. 3D fiber mascara walks this fine line with the use of two separate product applications.

First, you apply your mascara as you normally would if you want, though this is generally not included. Then you apply a transplanting gel followed by the 3D fiber formula. With the use of mostly green tea Campanulaceae, this formula gives your lashes a more natural, thicker look.

Brush

While the type of mascara and the formula of the mascara is obviously the most important part of choosing a mascara, the brush is not at all unimportant. In fact, the right kind of brush can make applying the mascara a chore or a breeze. On top of that, the different types of mascara brushes can also contribute to the type of effect that the mascara’s formula attempts to achieve.

CombComb

This type of brush is defined by having perhaps the fewest bristles out of any other type of brush. Though, that is a bit of a misnomer as the comb brush technically has firm teeth as opposed to flexible bristles. This allows the teeth, which are spaced evenly apart, to catch and separate each lash providing a far more defined look than any other brush type.

That said, this brush is better suited for people with short, sparse lashes that require more definition than most to simply get any desired effect from their mascara.

Long BristledLong Bristled

This is one of the most common types of brushes used for mascara and with good reason. The long bristled brush features the longest bristles, but it also often features the most bristles as well. With a plethora of tightly packed bristles, the long bristled brush is able to provide the most volumizing effect to your lashes.

That said, this brush will also often require the most applications and is best suited for lashes that are already fairly thick and prominent. Also, this type of brush can increase clumping in not properly cared for, so be sure not to keep it exposed to the air for too long-and make sure to clean this type more regularly than the others.

CurvedCurved

This is a popular type of brush, but that is mostly a result of the type of mascara it accompanies also being popular. Curved brushes are the second component of any capable and worthwhile curling mascara. The arched shape of this brush will help catch and shape your lashes into the desired curl.

Though, you should be forewarned that a curved brush and curling mascara alone will not really provide much additional curl to your lashes. You should still curl them separately ahead of time, but a curling mascara with a curved brush will go a long way in keeping the curl set throughout the day once you have applied the mascara.

SphericalSpherical

This type of brush is another non-brush–though it is distinctly different from all of the other types of brushes and is definitely not a comb. Instead of the longer, narrow brush shape, the spherical brush has a nubbed ball at the end of it. It should be noted that this type of brush is not meant for quick and easy applications.

Instead, the spherical brush is a precision tool meant for those people who are willing to sit in front of a mirror for 10 to 15 minutes at a time per side to painstakingly sculpt and craft their lashes to perfection. That said, you could get some of the best definition and full coverage from this brush if you are skilled enough.

TaperedTapered

Outside of the long bristled brush, the tapered brush is likely the next most common type. This is because the tapered brush offers a great range of options when it comes to applying mascara. With its tapered tip-whether cone or pointed–the tapered brush is able to provide solid coverage to your lashes in general with its body but can then use its tip to get at those lashes at the inside corner of your eyes.

This type of brush is usually packed with bristles, but not so much as long bristled brushes. This makes them a veritable jack of all trades, usable for most types of eyelashes.

Small BristleSmall Bristle

The small bristled brush comes in a couple of varieties, but they all have a tendency to serve a specific purpose. The most common type of small bristled brush is that which is used for bottom lashes. Keep in mind, not everyone should apply mascara to their bottom lashes-especially women advancing in age as this can make your face appear pulled down.

The other purpose for small bristle brushes is to be used as a detail brush once you have already applied your primary mascara. Keep in mind, if you do not consider yourself a makeup expert, you probably should not opt for a small bristle detail brush.

AsymmetricalAsymmetrical

Like the small bristle bush, there are a couple different types of asymmetrical brush. While the tapered brush is technically asymmetrical, it is so popular and commonplace that it deserves a section on its own. Still, the two most popular types of asymmetrical brushes are the hourglass and spiral brush. The hourglass brush is an attempt to blend a volumizing brush with one that curls.

This provides added versatility depending on what look you are going for. The spiral brush actually works similarly to the hourglass brush with the difference being a matter of degree. The spiral brush curls more but also provides volume, while the hourglass brush lays on the volume thick with a mild curling effect.

Conclusion

As we can see, there are a dizzying number of different waterproof mascaras that all serve slightly different purposes. Which waterproof mascara is the best waterproof mascara for you will depend as much on what kind of effect you want to have as it will on the natural state of your eyelashes–and no waterproof mascara will be the best for all people.

If you are looking a great all-around waterproof mascara, we recommend theBalm’s Mad Lash Mascara. The short bristled curved brush on an injection- molded wand provides the precision necessary for applying the perfect amount of mascara. On top of that, the formula is mildly volumizing so that, when combined with the brush, you will have a look that can go anywhere and stay put through the duration.

If you are looking for a waterproof mascara to give you a little bit more oomph, then the Mia Adora’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara is what we would recommend. This waterproof mascara seals your mascara in with a transplanting gel and adds plenty of volume and length with the green tea fibers. The brush is made of silicon while its pointed design allows you to reach even the most stubborn of inner eyelashes.

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