We Tested 29 Waterproof Mascaras, These 9 Won Our Affection

Our Favorite Is the CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara

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Waterproof Mascara Group Shot

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Finding an outstanding mascara that gives you the eyelashes of your dreams can take lots of trial and effort—but finding one that does this and stays intact through tears, rain, and allergy season is downright challenging. And considering that smudged, runny, or flaky mascara can immediately ruin your makeup look, having a go-to waterproof favorite is a makeup bag must-have.

Byrdie Tested & Approved

Our top pick is the CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara thanks to its incredible curved brush and buildable formula. But if you’re looking for a waterproof mascara that creates a bold lash look, we recommend giving the L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara a go. 

So, we scoured the internet to find the most popular waterproof mascaras—and we put them to the test. There was sweat and rain stimulation, artificial tears, and more that went into finding the cream of the crop, but we’ve narrowed it down to our absolute favorites. 

Keep scrolling to find the best waterproof mascaras tested by Byrdie.

Best Overall: COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara

5
Covergirl Clump Crusher by LashBlast Mascara

Amazon

What We Like
  • Nice amount of product on the brush

  • Curved brush allows for maximum coverage

  • Defined but natural-looking end result

What We Don't Like
  • Can take a few coats to build volume

Covergirl is known for some iconic mascaras, and if you ask us, this should be one of them. It features a curved brush with fine bristles that work to separate the lashes and provide a natural-looking definition. The brush has two sides: one to load product onto the lashes and another to comb away any clumps. 

Unlike many volumizing mascaras, our tester found that there wasn’t too much product loaded onto the brush, meaning she was able to avoid messy and clumpy mascara application. While some online reviewers say it can take several coats to achieve significant volume, this isn’t a bad thing if you’re looking to achieve a more subtle voluminous look.  

Benefits: Volumizing | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"The mascara performed amazingly! It extended my lashes, they looked fuller, and I loved the results!” —Makayla Campbell, Tester

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara

5
 Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara

Amazon

What We Like
  • Thin wand is great for targeting bottom lashes

  • Provides clump-free definition

  • Even application

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most buildable formula

Chances are you’ve heard of or tried some of Maybelline’s most popular mascaras, but this one seems to fly under the radar. If you’re looking for a lengthening mascara that won’t budge regardless of the elements, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with this pick. 

It has a lengthening formula and a long, narrow brush that pretty much resembles an eyebrow spoolie. Because the brush is so thin, it makes targeted application a breeze—especially on the lower lashes. Our tester fell in love with it, saying she couldn’t get over how easy it was to apply and how well it held on as she wore it. If you struggle with smudging on your lower lashes, or you find that most mascara wands are too large for the area, this one is perfect for you. 

There’s no doubt that it creates gorgeous, lengthened lashes, but some online reviewers found it wasn’t very effective for building up volume.  

Benefits: Lengthening | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

“The mascara doesn't smudge at all—[holding] true to its waterproof name. It gave my lashes a very natural but long enhancement!” —Naomi Sempher, Tester

Best Splurge: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara

5
Lancome Hypnose Drama Waterproof Mascara

Ulta

What We Like
  • Curved brush makes gripping the lashes easy

  • Provides buildable volume

  • Easy to remove

What We Don't Like
  • Has a strong fragrance

If you’re looking for a mascara that allows you to build volume with minimal effort, this is a great option. The long, curved brush makes coating every lash possible, and our tester noted that the tip of the brush helped cover hard-to-reach lashes. 

In addition to how impressed she was that it remained completely smudge-proof and flake-free during the test, our tester loved the voluminous lash look that it helped her achieve. While she found the brush helpful for coating every lash, she noted that it was a bit long—so that’s something to keep in mind if you have small eyes. She also shared that she noticed a pretty strong fragrance which isn’t ideal, but it is very common—especially with waterproof formulas. 

Benefits: Volumizing | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Lengthening: MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Lash Mascara

4.8
MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara

Amazon

What We Like
  • Brush handle has a nice grip to it making application easy

  • Easily buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Messy removal

  • Slightly heavy on the lashes

Created to define the lashes by lengthening, volumizing, and curling, this waterproof formula works to build a bold look that lasts. It features short bristles which can be helpful if you struggle with messy mascara application, as well as rounded bristles at the tip of the wand to help you reach the lashes at your inner and outer corners. 

Our tester was worried that the unique wand and curved handle would be challenging to work with, but she found that this design helped her maintain a steady hand. She appreciated that her lashes looked full and lengthened, although she noted that they were slightly droopy and not as curled as she would have liked. 

The formula held up beautifully through testing, but our tester shared that the process of removing it was messy.  

Benefits: Lengthening, Volumizing, Curling | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Lash Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Volumizing: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Waterproof Mascara

4.7
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara Waterproof

Neutrogena

What We Like
  • Tapered wand

  • Bold volume in just one coat

  • Easy to remove

What We Don't Like
  • Some may find it too clumpy

It’s not often that a brand groups a moisturizer and a mascara under the same line, but considering that Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost line is all about plumping and replenishing, it makes sense. Just like the iconic moisturizer, this mascara utilizes the power of hyaluronic acid for its hydrating and plumping benefits. It provides extreme volume in just one coat, and the formula’s nourishing ingredients help maintain the lashes' soft and silky feel.

Our tester found that the tapered wand helped her reach her inner and outer corner lashes, and she loved that she was able to achieve dramatic volume in one coat. Even though it created thick, bold lashes and stayed put through the tests, it was easy to remove which earned it a top score in the performance category. 

While our tester loved her experience using this mascara, some online reviewers found it too thick and clumpy, so if you’re looking for a volumizing mascara that you can build slowly, keep this in mind.  

Benefits: Volumizing | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“The mascara survived eye drops and enthusiastic sprays of water without any black smudges or runniness.” —Michele Corriston, Tester

Best for Everyday Wear: Innisfree Skinny Waterproof Microcara Mascara

4.7
Innisfree Skinny Waterproof Microcara Mascara

Amazon

What We Like
  • Creates natural effect

  • Great for the lower lashes

  • Mess-free application and removal

What We Don't Like
  • Long, skinny wand is tricky to hold

If you love the look of naturally defined lashes but you struggle with smudging and flaking, this mascara could be just what you need. It has a micro-fine brush which allows you to target each lash while slowly building up the product to your desired look. The formula works to lengthen the lashes, and the narrow brush helps to curl them by allowing you to get super close to the roots. Our tester shared that when she first looked at the brush, she was doubtful that it would be able to fully coat her lashes, but was pleasantly surprised by how easily it applied the formula.

She did note that because the wand is so long and skinny, she found it a bit difficult to hold at first. However, the beautiful, natural-looking results quickly made that minor inconvenience worth it. She also loved that because there isn’t an overabundance of product on the brush, application and removal were effortless.  

Benefits: Curling, Lengthening | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Innisfree Skinny Waterproof Microcara Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“I would definitely recommend this mascara for everyday wear as it will stand up in the rain or if you're particularly sweaty.” —Mariah Freire, Tester

Best False Lash Dupe: L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara

4.6
L’Oreal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara

Ulta

What We Like
  • Can be built up quickly

  • Completely budge-proof

  • Easy to remove

What We Don't Like
  • Large brush can make detail work difficult

L’Oréal has plenty of outstanding mascara formulas in its line, but if you ask us, this one is underrated. The brush features a combination of long and short bristles that help separate the lashes for a fanned-out look—and the formula provides clump-free volume that lasts. 

Our tester explained that while the brush was a bit big for targeting tight areas, it did a great job at building on volume quickly without looking or feeling goopy. She loved that the results looked like falsies, but the tedious task of applying fake lashes wasn’t required to achieve the look. She also noted that in addition to our tests, she tried to smudge it with her fingers—and it still didn’t budge. 

While some waterproof formulas can be nearly impossible to remove without harsh rubbing with makeup remover, she shared that this one came off surprisingly well with just a few swipes of a cotton pad soaked in makeup remover. 

Benefits: Volumizing | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Easiest to Remove: Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

5
Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

Ulta

What We Like
  • Creates dramatic volume

  • Removes easily with micellar water

  • Brush makes gripping each lash easy

What We Don't Like
  • Can look a bit heavy

After the washable formula reached top-shelf status for many beauty enthusiasts, it only makes sense that Lancôme released the Monsieur Big Mascara in a waterproof formula. And just like the original, this one creates an incredibly full, dramatic lash look. 

According to our tester, one of the best attributes is that the brush effectively provides intense volume without missing any of the lashes. Despite how thick it can be built up, she shared that she was able to remove it quite easily with micellar water. 

While she loved the results, she did note that after two coats her lashes looked slightly weighed down—so if you worry about droopy lashes, this is something to keep in mind. 

Benefits: Volumizing | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Applicator: Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

5
too faced better than sex waterproof mascara

Ulta

What We Like
  • Hourglass wand makes for even application

  • Not too heavy on the lashes

  • Delivers lift and volume

What We Don't Like
  • Slight flaking

Just like the original, the waterproof version of the beloved Better Than Sex Mascara delivers intense volume and lift for the ultimate dramatic lashes. The hourglass-shaped brush helps to separate and coat the lashes, while the intense black pigment adds striking definition. 

In addition to delivering on its lifting and volumizing claims, our tester appreciated that the formula didn’t weigh her lashes down. She shared that while it remained completely smudge-free throughout the tests, she did experience a bit of flaking, which prevented it from receiving a perfect score. 

Benefits: Volumizing, Curling | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara thanks to its incredible curved brush and buildable formula. But if you’re looking for a waterproof mascara that creates a bold lash look, we recommend giving the L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara a go.

How We Tested

Byrdie editors thoughtfully researched popular waterproof mascaras, taking expert recommendations and consumer reviews into account before selecting 29 to put to the test. Each one was evaluated by our testers on ease of use, wear, and overall performance, and then given a score from one to five in each category. 

Testers applied mascara to clean lashes, let it dry, and then simulated tears and rain using eye drops and misters to test for smudging, flaking, and running. They also took application, end result, and ease of removal into consideration when scoring. Those that scored highest made our list. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product testing facility.

Waterproof Mascara Test

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Other Options We Tested

essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara

Aside from the rubber design on the handle which made gripping this affordable mascara incredibly easy, our tester appreciated that it delivered on its false lash-effect claim. Her lashes looked longer and fuller, and she said she would love to use it for a night out, but she did note that it was just a bit clumpy for her liking. 

essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

Byredo Waterproof Mascara 

It’s safe to say that the packaging of this luxe mascara is chic, and according to our tester, the curved handle even helps to grip the product and make application effortless. But while the results she achieved were beautiful, it failed the smudge test making the waterproof claim hard to substantiate. 

Byredo Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara

While this vegan mascara creates an elongated, wispy effect, our tester found that it flaked a bit and was very difficult to remove.

Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What to Look For in a Waterproof Mascara

Benefits

Just like you would want to look for specific benefits in a washable formula, the same holds when trying to find your go-to waterproof mascara. Of course, the smudge-proof aspect is essential, but keep an eye out for one that promises to deliver the end results you’re looking for, too. For example, if you want subtly defined lashes, choose something like the Innisfree Skinny Waterproof Microcara Mascara which won’t build up too much volume too quickly. If you want bold, dramatic lashes, try a volumizing formula, like the L’Oréal Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara.

Conditioning Ingredients 

Waterproof mascara can be drying on the lashes, not to mention stripping if you need to scrub hard to remove it. Because of this, it can be worthwhile to look for formulas that contain nourishing ingredients to help counteract the potential damage to your lashes. If you have dry or brittle lashes, to begin with, look for formulas that include such ingredients, as hyaluronic acid, peptides, nourishing oils and waxes, and more. If you’re looking for a drugstore option with conditioning benefits, try the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara Waterproof

FAQ
  • How do you remove waterproof mascara?

    The main downside to using waterproof mascara is that it tends to be more difficult to remove than washable formulas. However, removing waterproof formulas without impairing your lashes is possible. Start by soaking a cotton pad in your makeup remover or micellar water of choice and gently press it on your lashes for thirty seconds allowing it to loosen the mascara. Then, gently swipe the cotton pad across your lashes to remove the bulk of the formula. You can then cleanse your face to remove the excess and use a cotton swab and makeup remover afterward to remove any traces from hard-to-reach areas. If you find that traditional makeup remover or micellar water isn’t doing the trick, try using a cleansing balm as the oils could help further break down the mascara. 

  • How long does waterproof mascara last?

    Like regular mascara, you’ll want to be sure to reach for a new tube every around every three months. Being diligent about getting rid of old mascara is important in order to avoid eye infections and skin reactions. Makeup can gather bacteria over time, and when it comes to your eyes, you want to avoid contamination as best you can. 

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology where she studied marketing and product development in the cosmetics industry. She has tested countless washable and waterproof mascaras, including several on this list. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty.

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