everything guide

The Best Waterproof Mascara According to People Who Would Know

Photo: Florent Tanet

Eyelashes have the impressive ability to transform your face. The Everything Guide to Eyelashes is a week of stories on the Cut about lashes, from all the mascaras we’ve obsessively tested to our personal feelings about why eyelashes matter.

It’s the third day of a heat wave, meaning it’s the third day for mascara to stream down your face from the heat. Waterproof mascara can make sure that doesn’t happen. How so? CoverGirl director of scientific communications and global consumer beauty R&D Anke Ginzburg says that waterproof mascara formulas contain a water-in-oil emulsion, along with different waxes and polymers to make them impervious to water.

To find the best ones, the Cut talked to people who would know from being constantly put in high-humidity situations. Here’s an Olympic synchronized swimmer, a workout instructor, a head makeup artist on an emotionally fraught, Emmy-nominated TV show, and more on their favorite, indestructible mascara picks.

Mariya Koroleva, 2012, 2016 U.S. Olympian for Synchronized Swimming

The first mascara I fell in love with was Diorshow Waterproof Mascara. A friend recommended it to me. During practice, synchronized swimmers typically wear goggles, but in competition our eyes are completely exposed to the water. This makes it vital that our makeup, especially mascara and eyeliner, are waterproof.

At competition, we do our makeup in the morning before warm-up, and then reapply as needed right before. The good thing about this one is that it didn’t need to be reapplied very much, even after warming up without goggles. Unlike other mascaras, it didn’t make my eyelashes look and feel chunky, and gave me a natural look of full, long, and healthy lashes.

Zoe Hay, Makeup Department Head for ‘This Is Us’

I was working on a project a few years ago when the actress requested this mascara. This is my go-to mascara on the show for all my leading ladies, because we know at some point throughout the day we will inevitably be shooting an emotional scene. I really like the texture of the product and the way it moves across the lashes, separates them and coats them without making them clumpy. And it’s at an amazing price point — the most expensive product isn’t always the best.

On the show, I apply it after curling the lashes with a small fan brush, coating both sides of the lashes, top and bottom. For a more dramatic look, I allow each coat to dry before applying more. If I’m applying fake lashes, I’ll use it to marry them with the natural lashes.

Linden Wolbert, Professional Mermaid

Professional mermaid and performer Linden Wolbert swears by the same mascara as Hay. Except for one key distinction — she told us in an interview, “I’ve tried just about every waterproof mascara brand out there, from the most to the least expensive. And the best is L’Oréal Paris’s Voluminous Waterproof Building Mascara in Black Brown. And oddly, the Carbon Black color of this brand totally runs and smears in water. The Black Brown does not! It’s the only one that stays on and doesn’t do crazy clumping; and it lengthens incredibly.

“To find the best mascara, I went to Rite Aid and Walgreens and bought every single brand of mascara that was waterproof. Shortly thereafter, I did an underwater shoot and [the makeup artist] said, ‘Time for mascara!’ And she pulled out L’Oréal Paris’s Voluminous Waterproof Building Mascara! I was like, ‘You have the right one!’ And she said, ‘It’s the only kind that stays on!’ Proof!”

Emma Lovewell, Peloton Instructor

As a fitness professional and former professional dancer, I’ve been using this mascara for years, and love it! I’ve tried all the fancy brands, and I keep coming back to this one. It’s definitely very waterproof, as I use it when I teach class, and it never runs. I also have pretty straight eyelashes and find that when I curl them and then use this mascara my eyelashes hold the curl for much longer.

Mario Dedivanovic, @MakeupByMario

The Strategist asked the makeup artist behind Kim Kardashian’s smudgeless crying face which mascara he recommends. Dedivanovic and I actually both have the same favorite. He loves this mascara from Chanel, and tells the Strategist it’s “waterproof but also curls, lengthens, and gives volume in just one coat. A lot of waterproof-mascara formulas tend to be drying, but this one feels soft and is conditioning.”

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Waterproof Mascara According to People Who’d Know