We put more than 45 mascaras through their paces, from rainy school runs and tearful weddings, to sweaty boxing sessions and steamy summer afternoons. And a final test – in the shower. All the brands that made the final cut stayed put on the lashes. Smudge-proof, budge-proof and sweat-proof, these 13 brands really do deliver a waterproof mascara. Out of all your beauty buys, I don't believe mascara is something that needs to be expensive. It’s far better to buy inexpensive and change regularly, than try and eek out every last smudge of colour from an expensive wand.
1. Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara Catch & Curl: £18 for 8ml, Eyeko
A flattened out and curved wand gives this mascara the edge when it comes to separating and catching every last lash and sweeping them up into the perfect curl. "The triple gel coating adheres to lashes to prevent smudging and flaking under extreme sport conditions" claims the brand. This blacker than black, high shine nourishing mascara really does last the distance and hold its own in hot, humid, sweaty and watery situations.
2. Rimmel Wonder'Full Mascara Waterproof with Argan Oil: £7.99 for 11ml, Boots
Ultra-defined and relatively long bristles on this brush tease out every last lash. It's a rubbery silicon style wand, but behaves more like a normal bristle brush picking up just the right amount of product, without feeling too wet. The flexible brush keeps hold of lashes from root to tip. No budging under watery conditions at all.
3. Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara Waterproof: £9.99 for 8.5ml, Boots
These new Revlon mascaras come in several variations including Dramatic Definition, Super Length, Ultra Volume and Ultimate All-In-One. The waterproof version of Volume + Length Magnified has a wide, full, bristly brush that picks up just enough product without feeling too wet and separates lashes perfectly, with no clumping.
4. Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara: £20 for 5.5ml, Bobbi Brown
Another one with a wide thick bristle brush, this one boosts volume and length and curls the lashes. It has serious staying power too – the brand says 10 hours and mine lasted even longer. So you will need a decent cleanser to remove it, oil-based ones are very good. You can apply it over any other Bobbi Brown mascara to make other mascaras instantly waterproof too. A combination of soft bristles to volumise and stiff bristles to act like a comb and separate lashes, makes this quick and easy to use – just a couple of sweeps and it's done.
5. Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Waterproof Mascara: £7.99 for 9.7ml, Boots
A long wide comb wand with relatively short rubber bristles – it doesn't appear to be anything special, that is until you start using it. This one picks up a lot of product (and it's an intense full-on black) but manages to distribute it incredibly evenly over the lashes for gravity-defying volume and length. This is Maybelline's first Push-Up brush - the cup-shaped bristles boost and thicken, while a styling wax ingredient keeps lashes lifted and in place.
6. Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara: £17 for 8ml, Too Faced
The eternally popular Better Than Sex, now comes in a waterproof option. The hourglass-shaped brush thickens lengthens and curls for extreme, dramatic lashes. You can layer up to three times without clumping or clogging if you want to go for an intense false-lash effect.
7. Max Factor 2000 Calorie Waterproof Volume: £7.99 for 9ml, Superdrug
This one has a simple, but extremely effective, ultra-volumising bristle brush. It's actually slightly slimmer than normal wands – making easy work of getting into the corners of the eyes and defining tiny lashes. Pull out those lashes from the outer corners to give an elongated, wide-eyed, feline look – great for small or close-together eyes.
8. Lancome Hypnose Waterproof Custom-Wear Volume Mascara: £23.50 for 5.2g, Lancome
An award-winning cult classic, the Hypnose brush looks extra bristly and according to Lancome has a whopping 1,000 bristles for a full-on volumising effect. The product itself is fairly light, which means you can build it up – each layer can intensify lash volume by six times – without clumping or clogging. And it picks up the right amount of product and distributes it evenly – separating and defining even tiny lashes.
9. MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Lash: £19 for 13.39g, MAC Cosmetics
Non-clumping, flake-proof, smudge-proof and good for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers, this lengthening, volumising, curling mascara has tiny evenly spaced bristles for great separation and definition. The long wand and short bristles also keeps the product near the base of the lashes for extra volume.
10. Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara: £21.50 for 7ml, Boots
We think this is the perfect summer mascara. It’s made with bitter orange tree wax and squalene from olives to protect lashes from the damaging effects of salt water and chlorine, and to nourish and condition. It has a soft and wide wand – the ultra-supple bristle fibres grip the lashes from root to tip to define each and every one without clogging.
11. Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Waterproof: £25 for 8g, Debenhams
This is enriched with resin and polymers to create a supple and water-resistant film that prevents the colour shifting. The wide barrel brush creates volume and length, while the tapered end means you can get into tiny corner lashes and pick out and define individual lashes – great for small eyes and pale (or not very many) lashes. This is the perfectionist's wand for those who spend a long time perfecting every lash.
12. Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara: £17.50 for 8ml, Clinique
This one’s lash-lengthening polymer base immediately builds volume, while the solid, stiff fibres that are widely spaced apart help comb through the lashes for a dramatic lash look. No flaking, clumping or smudging here and this one is good for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
13. Topshop Party-Proof Intense Mascara: £10 for 10ml, Topshop
A slightly conical wand creates a narrow end of bristles that can get right into tiny corner lashes for a flicky cat's-eye look. Party-Proof delivers volumised, water and smudge-resistant lashes that last all day and night.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing
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