Skip To Content

    The Best Waterproof Mascaras That Will Keep You Smudge-Free

    You don't have to wait till the day's over to cry (happy tears)

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    While we appreciate the dramatic effect of a single smoky tear rolling down a cheek, for the most part, we prefer it if our mascara stays put.

    Done and Done Productions / Via

    We rigorously (and sweatily) tested some of the top-rated waterproof mascaras out there to see which ones lent our lashes the best clump-free length, volume, curl — and, of course, water resistance.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating these picks! Check back soon for more.

    L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara

    This category was a toughie. While there are plenty of legit drugstore beauty products out there, many of the highly rated “cult favorites” we tried were pretty disappointing. With a lot of the products we tested, the effect was basically like drawing on our eyelashes with a permanent marker. Sure, they were blacker, but that was about it. But not so with our pick for this price tier, L’Oreal Voluminous Lash!

    Far be it from us to use the word “dupe” with any authority, but this stuff strikes us as a pretty good dupe for Buxom, our mid-range favorite. The brush and the effect are almost identical — though it does suffer a bit by comparison in its layerability and curling power (on the other hand, a fair number of reviews praised it for its layering prowess, so IDK!). It did do an undeniably great job separating, lengthening, and volumizing, and honestly, it looked pretty dang good with just one layer. This mascara definitely lives up to the “voluminous” in its title — nearly 400 Ulta reviewers praise its volume-adding abilities. So if you’re looking to pad out sparse lashes, look no further!

    Reviewers also call it out as a solid dupe for our runner-up $$ pick, Too Faced’s wildly popular Better Than Sex, and some even gave the edge to L’Oreal for being less likely to clump and flake. Ulta reviewer pris writes, “The Better Than Sex has a brush that tends to clump product more this one [L’Oreal] — [which] has a great brush that separates and lengthens.” (We agree.)

    Like our other two picks, the L’Oreal mascara stayed put all day. We didn’t go snorkeling in the stuff, but when it comes to everyday wear — even fairly swampy everyday wear — you’ll be golden. A number of reviewers have noted that it’s one of the few mascaras that can stand up to oily eyelids. It was medium-hard to remove; some reviewers recommend coconut oil, but any oil-based makeup remover should do the trick.

    Perhaps our favorite thing about this mascara is that it costs less than $6! Think of all the mascara you can buy with the money you’ll save.

    Get it from Walmart for $6 or from Ulta for $9.

    Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara

    The great thing about mid-range beauty products is that they look and feel fancy-ish, but by hovering around the 20-dollar mark, they’re also reasonably affordable. In this mid-priced category, our seal of approval goes to Buxom Lash Mascara. First things first: Its look is very vampy, very glam, and very lash-defining. A major selling point for this one is the brush (more than half of the Ulta reviews specifically call it out); its hourglass shape allows it to coat lashes evenly and in one fell swoop, so you’re not doing that classic mascara dance where you accidentally coat the left side of your eye way more than the right. The brush is also very toothy, so it does a good job of coating each individual lash. The result is seriously long, thicc eyelashes.

    One of the mascaras we tried in this price tier was the top-selling Too Faced Better Than Sex (did you know that a tube of that stuff sells every seven seconds?), which was neck and neck with Buxom until it came to the all-important question of clumping: Better Than Sex got clumpy pretty fast, resulting in spider lashes, while Buxom was clump-free all day. Reviewers were split on the Buxom brush’s curling abilities, and we found that Better Than Sex gave a slightly more dramatic lash swoop. Better Than Sex and Buxom have similar brushes, but Buxom’s is just thinner enough to make it conducive to curling without clumping, which we believe is reason enough to award it the crown.

    And lest you think we forgot about our chosen modifier, this stuff also stays on, moisture be damned. Unlike our $$$ pick, Eyeko Sport, Buxom doesn’t seem designed for actual submersion, but it’ll outlast humidity and watery eyes easily. Sephora reviewer cmt4wa reports that it “lasts through 100% humidity and 100-degree heat in a Mexican jungle without smearing or budging” and leaves “no raccoon eyes, not even when crying, and no smudging.” And despite its heroic staying power (it remained perfectly intact through another very active — and humid! — summer day), we found it pretty easy to remove.

    Buxom mascara is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for contact wearers, and it contains no synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, or petrochemicals. According to a bunch of sensitive-eyed reviewers, it’s not irritating. And for those of you living that cruelty-free life, please note that while the Buxom brand is cruelty-free, its parent company, Shiseido, does test on animals.

    If you’re a fancy human who’s still on a budget, Buxom is your best bet for big, beautiful, buxom (??) lashes that won’t irritate your eyes and will actually stay put.

    Get it from Ulta for $22 or from Macy's for $22.

    Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara

    “Sport” is not a word traditionally associated with cosmetics, but when it comes to waterproof mascara, Eyeko Sport is our MVP. It lengthens, separates, and curls, which was not the case for other contenders in this category. Compared with the other mascaras we tried, Eyeko Sport had a subtle (read: non-clumpy) look. (Competitors Lancôme Definicils and Diorshow had, respectively, a skinny, straight brush that helped define and separate the lashes, and a serious clumping problem.)

    It dries quickly (and securely — more on that later), so it’s easy to add layers until you reach your optimal length. And if you want lid-grazing lashes but can’t be bothered with the medieval torture instrument that is the eyelash curler, Eyeko’s curved brush will give you a nice curl in one step. Its curling and lifting abilities are especially beneficial for glasses wearers who want their long lashes to rest against their eyelids rather than their eyeglasses.

    This stuff is high-gloss black, but still looks fairly natural (maybe because it goes on so evenly and non-clumpily). It’s available only in black, so if you’re looking for something a little lighter, you’re out of luck with Eyeko. But if black mascara is the alpha and omega of your eyelash needs, this one is a real eye-opener.

    Given that this review purports to crown the best waterproof mascara, I’m sure you’re wondering how Eyeko Sport stands up to moisture. The answer, of course, is extremely well. Some reviewers noted that they were able to go full-on swimming in the stuff without a single smudge. And while we didn’t actually submerge while wearing it, this mascara didn’t budge during a trip to the weightlifting gym or a rainy walk with a dog. It was, in fact, a little hard to take off after said activities. (But not so hard that it wasn’t worth it. Beauty is pain!! Though you might want to take the advice of some reviewers and pick up a bottle of oil-based makeup remover.)

    It’s $26 a tube, which isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than many of its peers and much more impressive. (And good news for animal lovers: All Eyeko products are 100% cruelty-free.) If you need a second (or third, or fourth) opinion, you’re in luck, because this stuff has a lot of loyal users who are anxious to convince you.

    Get it from Dermstore for $23, from Ulta for $26 or from Birchbox for $26.