Waterproof Mascara: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

With summer less than a week away I wanted to spend a little time talking about waterproof mascara – what is great about it, what’s not great about it, and which are the better formulations available on the market.



First, lets talk about the good stuff waterproof mascara can do.

  1. It makes your mascara stay put through a good cry (think weddings and births)
  2. It will hold up during swimming
  3. You can wear it to the gym (go ahead and flirt with that beef cake – you know you want to 😉 )
  4. It will wear well in humid or rainy days
  5. No raccoon eyes after a night out on the town
  6. It can help sensitive eyes to some extent as it will not get in your eyes and irritate you while doing any of the above
  7. Waterproof mascara formulations will hold a curl to your lash better than regular mascara due to it’s extra staying power

Now, let’s talk about the bad part of waterproof mascara

  1. It can be very difficult to take off
  2. You must use oil based eye makeup remover to get it off, for those sensitive to oil, this can cause break outs
  3. Waterproof mascara is so difficult to take off completely every night that bacteria can grow in between the layers and cause eye infections (So really make sure you get it all off!)
  4. It dries very quickly, so if you make an error during application you better move just as quickly to fix it
  5. Many formulations can dry out your lashes and cause them to become brittle
  6. Because waterproof mascara dries so quickly on the eyes, it also dries so quickly in the tube and will not last nearly as long as a tube of regular mascara

Now, here’s the ugly part about waterproof mascara

  1. It is waterproof, not smudge proof or flake proof, so despite your best efforts, improper application, choosing the wrong formulation, or constant eye rubbing means that you will get smudges and flakes
  2. Because the formula is waterproof getting those smudges out is impossible without oil based eye makeup remover, so, you’re not going to look so cute until you have access to some
  3. Most folks tug and pull at their delicate skin in the eye area when trying to thoroughly remove waterproof mascara – this can cause irritation, dryness, more exaggerated  dark circles, bruising and premature wrinkling.

I’ve listed a lot of negative things about waterproof mascara, however, most of these negatives are a product of repeated and daily use, and are not the product of the occasional wearer. Think in moderation, i.e. wear once every few weeks to a wedding, on a rainy night out, etc. I do not recommend daily use. If you have very watery eyes and really can’t skip the mascara, then I would at the very least put a lash conditioner like, jane iredale ‘PureLash’ Lash Extender & Conditioner, or Trish McEvoy ‘Lash Enhancer’ Nighttime Conditioning Treatment on them every night before you go to bed. You can also use CocoTherapy Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (8 oz), this will not give you the priming benefit, however, will really moisturize your lashes and surrounding delicate eye skin, also, it costs a lot less and is 100% virgin organic.

Now, below, please find a list of the best waterproof mascaras that I’ve tried, for more information, or to buy, click on the photo:

If you have tried any other great waterproof mascaras that you think belong on this list let us know in the comments below.

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