The Waterproof Mascara Test

Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara
Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara
L'Oreal Voluminous Hydrofuge Waterproof Mascara
L'Oreal Voluminous Hydrofuge Waterproof Mascara
YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Waterproof Luxurious Mascara
YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Waterproof Luxurious Mascara
Bare Minerals Lock & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat
Bare Minerals Lock & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat

There comes a moment in every girl’s life (or, rather, every mascara-wearing person’s life) where she finds herself sporting some eyelash-coating goo well below her lash line, and, moreover, finds herself looking like a raccoon. Blame it on a tear-inducing event (hashtag wedding season), a generally fragile temperament (we don’t judge, you do what you need to), or a quick plunge in a body of water, but the fact remains that rocking an unintentional smoky/drippy eye is plain embarrassing. These are the moments waterproof mascaras were made for, but who has the time to figure out which of them work? And then, which you can actually take off without resorting to power-scrubbing? Well, I do.

So, to the bathroom sink I went to very scientifically test 10 of these so-called "waterproof" mascaras. Step 1: Application. Step 2: Splash water on my face. Step 3: Gently rub my eyes and wipe away excess moisture. Step 4: Take selfie. The winning formulas below:

Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara passes my makeshift test with flying colors. After a few splashes of water and a couple of good old-fashioned eye rubs, Buxom held onto my lashes and not my under-eye circles. Success! And, just as importantly, the long and wide plastic bristle brush fights against clumps and provides a smooth, extra-black coating to my naturally light lashes.

Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara also earns a winning grade. While this mascara has the challenge (or perhaps, benefit?) of going up against its bestselling, non-waterproof sister-version, it stands up. Featuring Chanel's innovative plastic spiked applicator and silky formula, this mascara goes on smoothly to get you one step closer to optimum lash-batting glory, which lasts even post-pool.

L’Oréal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara is a surprising winner. Again passing my scientifically certified, 100%-guaranteed-accuracy test, L’Oréal's is an economic option that doesn't sacrifice quality. Employing a traditional soft bristle brush, the thicker formula (and slightly less ultra-black) means a moderately fuller coat on my god-given barely-there lashes.

YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Waterproof Mascara is yet another waterproof option worthy of its name. It creates a delicate effect via its narrow, spiraled applicator—not too thick on your now clump-free, longer, darker, and fuller lashes—and really does last all day.

bareMinerals Lock & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat does not hold up to its comrades in waterproof-ness, but I  chalk up its failings to insufficient wait time. Unlike the rest of the bunch, bareMinerals' is a waterproofing topcoat for those of you who can't bare to abandon your new favorite Alber Elbaz Lancôme Show mascaras but are dying to get wet. I splashed myself only a few seconds after application and things got a little runny, so I recommend applying a good five minutes before the waterworks begin in order to harness its true potential.

In conclusion, waterproof mascaras may have their drawbacks—they tend to clump easier, spoil quicker, and are prone to flakes—but they certainly come in handy. And make for interesting bathroom-mirror selfies.

–Elizabeth Brockway

P.S. Your Cle de Peau (the greatest under-eye concealer in all the land) is not waterproof. I would recommend trying another concealer if you’re concerned about revealing dark circles and streaking, beige-ish lines around your eyes. But which one? Suggestions? As always, we're eager to hear your ideas on how to moisture-proof your makeup.

Selfies by Elizabeth Brockway.

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  • nicolecontrol

    I feel the need to promote the absolute greatest mascara in the world: Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl. This stuff is from Japan and is cheap and looks like something a 13 year old would buy. But it is hands-down the greatest mascara I've ever tried. Buildable, holds a curl like no one's business, and never clumps. And you could wear this stuff during a torrential downpour and it would still be on your face. (Seriously, you have to use a hardcore oil-based remover to get it off.) And it's CHEAP! There are also some killer Korean brands. In my opinion, many Asian brand mascaras dominate all of the stuff we buy in America.

  • Aubrey Green

    Your lashes looked the best with the L'Oreal mascara. I haven't found a good concealer that I really, really love. I have naturally dark circles (thanks mom) - NOTHING works that great, I mean better than nothing, but better than nothing really isn't good enough when we're talking under eye darkness, also known as, you look like you didn't get sleep, or are possibly a drug addict. Any suggestions would be great - all of the concealers I've tried from reading this blog haven't really been up to par, unfortunately. Maybe I am applying them wrong? Anyone know of a treatment, eye creams, or otherwise that ACTUALLY work to help remove/get rid of the darkness. ITG, maybe another testing to Dermatology offices?!? Please. Thanks.

    • murt

      Have you tried a peach colour corrector? I know Bobbi Brown makes one, but Ben Nye also has a bunch of different shades. If your undereye circles are blue or purple, a peach, orangey or pink colour on top should help cancel out the blue a bit. Then, depending on what colour corrector you choose, you can put a regular concealer over the top. (just use very light layers of both, and I find using an eyeshadow blending brush to buff in the concealers helps)

      As far as concealers, I've tried Cle de Peau, but the Tarte Maracuja concealer is very pigmented, doesn't crease and is still moisturizing - I like it better.

      • Aubrey Green

        Thank you. I do have the Bobbie Brown corrector - which I think does a fine job at what it's suppose to do (help with discoloration/darkness that is there - at-least I think that is what it's suppose to do :)). I do still have the blueness after applying that - I will try the Tarte. I could also just be thinking that they are way worse than they are - here's hoping anyway. Do you (or anyone else) think that a highlighter formula would be better over the corrector?

    • sashi

      Find the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch concealers. I have the same super dark undereyes as you describe, which have been there my entire life. This is around $8. I love this one because it's light textured but stays, and covers, and makes a little light effect, so it doesn't look unnatural. Very easy to use, and quick. I am scared that it will be discontinued and have just bought a small stockpile, but believe there's some left for you :)
      One thing I learned is to not put foundation etc or even too much moisturizer under the area you'll conceal. The more bare the skin, the more concealer seems to set into the skin nicely. I use my fingers then blend out with a small soft brush. Also you could try Amazing Cosmetics conc, this is a bit heavier and for me, not for summer. Or Kevyn Aucoin's SSE is one that does last as well.
      As for a concealer that stays there and is waterproof, no it's not possible I think! Sunglasses are the answer there.

      • Aubrey Green

        thank you.

    • Lana

      What about MAC? I know this lady who has extreme under eye circles, and they disappear after she puts on her MAC foundation and under eye concealer! :)

    • Sam

      Have same problem and found it is better to "correct" with something like Benefit's "Erase Paste" than using concealer. Also only use in the darkest areas to lighten, not all over.

    • Alissa from ChicPeek

      I absolutely love the Garnier dark circle corrector! It's a drugstore price and is completely brightening. It's mainly meant for lighter skintones to wear by itself but you can simply apply your powder foundation or liquid foundation over it to darken it up. The color is so brightening and looks like you are wide awake, no shadows what so ever to see! It also has a cooling roller ball so when you apply it, it feels soothing to the skin. I'm not sure if it has caffine but it has something because it makes my skin look so bright and radiant after a day with little sleep or just on days when I want my skin to look extra perky! It's 8-9$ at drugstore, I definitely recommend it.

    • mimi

      Have you tried Kevyn Aucoin sensual skin enhancer? I can't live without it for the same reason..

      • Aubrey Green

        I haven't tried that - thank you for the suggestion.

  • Kristina

    I'm impressed that you were able to find so many that stood up to the challenge! I sometimes have a hard time finding a good waterproof mascara.

  • murt

    hmmm your lashes looked by far the best with the L'Oreal mascara, followed very far behind by the Chanel. I'm not so impressed by the look of the others - a bit spidery for my taste.

  • megm115

    Lancôme Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer. I started wearing it in high school to diving practice and meets - this stuff withstands being hit in the face forcefully and repeatedly with water (I wasn't very good) and the scary effects of pool chemicals on skin. The fact that it covers well and never cakes/creases is just damn miraculous.

  • promtheme

    I wear Kevyn Aucoin's volume mascara (on top of his curling formula, but hey, I'm pedantic) and although I know it's not waterproof, but water-resistant, I love the fact you DON'T need an eye makeup remover to get it off. As for concealers, I swear by By Terry Touch Expert Advanced - it is peachy and colour-correcting, has a powder sphere in it so it dries down and doesn't continue to crease during the day and the light-reflecting pigment in it will keep you looking bright and alert well into the night. Although Terry created YSL's touché éclat for them in the 80's, don't confuse it for that- this baby actually conceals.

  • Lana

    I wish Guerlain created an identically amazing waterproof version of their Cils d'Enfer or "Maxi Lash" mascara. It is my absolute favorite. And the packaging is so chic! I am a sucker for awesome packaging!

  • Rona Maglian

    OMG thank you for posting this! I have been looking for a good waterproof mascara foreverrrrr! Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Sylvie

    I don't really like the spidery look of these either. Honestly, I have been using Dr. Hauschka volumizing mascara for years, and whenever I go back to any "conventional" mascara, I'm disappointed to have it running down my face two hours later. Dr. H certainly isn't waterproof, so I just don't wear mascara if I'm going to the beach or something, but for every day, it doesn't budge. Maybe it's the wax or something. Will never use anything else.

  • Isabel

    Just curious, what were the other five mascaras that you tried?

  • KatInEurope

    GA Eyes to Kill is what Lisa Eldridge uses - she's right, it looks way better than any of these do on, sorry!

  • Amanda Raponi

    lancome effacernes is the best waterproof concealer!

  • Lilly

    I like another bareMinerals waterproof mascara that is called Flawless Definition. It works really great: defines, lengthens, holds the curls beautifully and never flakes nor smudges. I have been using it for a very long time and it never disappointed me. I don't use waterproof makeup every day, but when I need it, Flawless Definition is my go-to.

  • Alissa from ChicPeek

    I've tried to love waterproof mascara but I simply can't. It's such a pain to remove at night and I usually end up waking up with huge amounts of black under my eyes in the morning and my lashes all clumped together. I've noticed that when I've cried with regular mascara on, it will only smear slightly because as long as you don't rub your eyes, it will not look runny (maybe it's the mascaras I've been using and that I haven't had a huge sob fest in awhile). It will run slightly but I can easily fix it. If anything my foundation is the thing that slides off when I cry!

    My favorite moisture proof products are always a primer, a strong concealer (I've been loving the Hard Candy glamouflage) I found that it has such a strong stick to your skin because of it's heavy consistency. I only apply a very small amount on problem areas with my fingers and then set it with some powder. Of course some will wipe off your face but you'll still come out looking covered and natural. I love the L'Oreal Infallible liquid liner. Liquid liners will last in water if you put two coats and don't wipe! Usually comes out still looking great.

    I'm a huge drugstore junkie so, sorry that these aren't higher end products but I thoroughly enjoy a good steal! Especially with makeup :)

  • MyLuciteDreams

    The IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under-eye concealer is waterproof as long as its set. It's big on coverage, super creamy and completely natural looking! Oh, and I second L'Oreal Waterproof Voluninous waterproof, it's also the best for holding a curl!


L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof Mascara
bareMinerals 'Locked & Coated' Waterproof Lash Topcoat
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara