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Summer is almost officially here — though recent streaks of high temperature days could argue it's already here — which means it's time to ditch your current mascara and upgrade to a waterproof formula that will stand up to beach days, outdoor activities and a little sweat.
Makeup artist Jeannia Robinette told Shop TODAY that the best waterproof mascaras are long-lasting and don't require a touch-up. “You can go to work, to the beach, workout and you’ll be set all day," she said. "You don’t have to worry about your mascara running, getting in your eye or smudging; you can just go about your day, and it won’t move.”
We turned to Robinette and other professional makeup artists to get the scoop on the best waterproof mascaras that you can rely on for the summer and beyond. The best part? They start at just $6.
After trying dozens of different waterproof mascaras for an underwater photoshoot in Antigua, Robinette found that the L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara worked best. “I tested and tried so many different mascaras, even dunked my own face in the water for research and this mascara was the best,” she said.
“This has been one of my favorite waterproof mascaras for years,” she added. “I like it because you can build your lashes up and make them look full without getting that sticky feel that waterproof mascaras can sometimes give.”
Makeup artist Jessica Payne is also a fan of this L'Oréal mascara because it also lengthens and boosts volume.
“There aren’t too many waterproof mascaras that are good at length, but this one is,” Payne said, noting that the formula tends to coat lashes better than most. “It’s also buildable, so you can still get that thickness.”
Amazon shoppers are also fans of the makeup artist-approved waterproof mascara — it has almost 50,000 verified reviews on Amazon and a 4.5-star rating. It comes in classic shades like carbon black and fun colors like electric blue.
If you’re willing to splurge, this waterproof mascara is worth it, according to Payne. “This is my holy grail waterproof mascara. It’s truly fantastic,” she raved.
This Lancôme mascara claims to deliver volume for up to 24 hours with a sweat-proof formula that seamlessly glides onto lashes.
“It gives you great length, great volume, and it’s not drying or flaky, which a lot of waterproof mascaras can be," she added. "This one gives you great, full lashes and it’s also smudge-proof and budge-proof, so it’s great for oily eyelids.”
“This is probably my favorite drugstore waterproof mascara,” celebrity makeup artist Megan Lanoux told Shop TODAY. “While a lot of waterproof mascaras leave your lashes feeling dry, this one does not. It also gives my lashes a very natural look.”
Lanoux isn't the only one who loves the L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara. It has over 50,000 verified reviews on Amazon and an impressive 4.4-star rating.
One impressed reviewer said, "I have worn it all day on multiple occasions with no flaking. I have purposely left it on overnight, and there was the smallest amount of flaking but still looked amazing even after a full 24 hours of wear."
Too Faced's Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara is a volumizing formula that boasts high-performance, water-resistant polymers.
“People love the regular version of this mascara because it gives great intense black color and very dark lashes and the waterproof one does the same thing,” explained Payne. “This mascara won’t be super lengthening, but you still get great volume, the same intense color and it’s waterproof.”
Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara is the waterproof version of the brand's bestselling mascara, Lights, Camera, Lashes.
“I use the non-waterproof version of this mascara daily, which is why I have turned to this whenever I need a waterproof makeup look,” said Lanoux. “This mascara is buildable, so you can make your lashes as dramatic as you wish.”
Payne is also a fan of this Tarte waterproof mascara for those with straight lashes. “If you have straight lashes, this mascara really helps because it lifts the lashes,” said Payne. “It also has a nice conditioner in it, so it’s going to help maintain the quality of your lashes.”
The mascara delivers dark, defined lashes with volume and curl with the help of its unique wand. It's also been ophthalmologist tested, so it's safe for contact lens wearers.
Many makeup artists agree that waterproof mascaras can be drying, but this Maybelline mascara counteracts it with a collagen formula.
“The reason waterproof mascaras can dry out the lashes is because they kind of have to. It needs to be waterproof to adhere to lashes, so the formulations need to be a little bit harsher,” Payne explained.
“So, if you’re someone who needs to be wearing waterproof mascara all the time, I recommended buying one that contains collagen or some type of conditioner,” Payne explained. “It’s going to be the best thing you can do for your lashes.”
If you're looking for serious volume, consider this L'Oréal mascara. The dual-ended tube comes with waterproof mascara and a lash primer.
Payne, who is a huge fan of lash primer, calls the extra step a game-changer. "I don’t put on mascara without my lash primer. I won’t even go to the grocery store without wearing it. It makes such a huge difference.”
She also adds that the fiber-packed formula “gives you a really intense, faux-lash look.”
The name says it all with this formula, made with natural oils and nylon fibers to define your eyes and lengthen lashes.
“It actually mimics doll eyes," said Payne. "It makes your lashes look long and it looks like you have fake eyelashes on.”
You can't go wrong with a classic like this one. The beloved Maybelline waterproof mascara has a unique spoon-like brush designed to lift and separate to create fuller lashes with zero clumps.
“This mascara gives a nice lift and curl to the lashes,” said Robinette. “The brush allows you to get a great dramatic lash without any flaking. It keeps the lashes plump all day and it’s cheap too.”
This iconic Dior mascara is a splurge-worthy pick the pros love.
Diorshow was created by makeup artists backstage at fashion shows for models and celebrities going to red carpets so that it would be long-lasting and smudge-proof. It features an oblique-cut brush that gives extra curl and coats each lash to create a defined, fanned effect in just one swipe.
“I love the quality of this mascara. It’s a higher price point, but totally worth it,” said Lanoux. “My lashes look and feel hydrated, never dry. It’s also perfect for achieving a natural look without clumping."
“I like this mascara because it does it all,” Lanoux said of this affordable find. She said it opens up her eyes and delivers on curl, length and volume.
The Pixi Beauty waterproof mascara delivers a "push-up" effect that will last all day long. The cone-shaped brush evenly coats each lash, and the formula is available in various shades, including "blackest blue," which helps the white part of your eyes pop.
Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara isn’t necessarily marketed as a waterproof mascara, but Robinette raved about how well it stays on.
“It gives you very dark and deep lashes — kind of like dramatic doll lashes,” she explained. “The brush allows you to perfectly separate your lashes, but make sure when you put it on you’re ready to go because this stuff is no joke. When it dries, your lashes will stay exactly how you put it on, all day.”
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