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10 best waterproof mascaras that are sweat, swim and smudge-proof

Avoid panda eyes and keep lashes looking long with one of these tried-and-tested products

For a lush look that won’t be washed away, try these heavy-duty mascaras ( The Independent/iStock )

Sometimes you just need a mascara that can handle more than the everyday – something for weddings, exercise classes, public transport in summer, holidays, or just if you find you get a lot of smudging and transfer. 

We have tested a range of formulas to find you waterproof mascaras that apply without clumping – the products featured below have been put through their paces in the shower and didn’t budge, flake or smear. 

These are mascaras you could sleep in and wear to work the next day if you wanted to – though we don’t recommend it. 

The brush can make all the difference with a mascara, so if you’re looking to lift and curl straight lashes look for a curved or bubble brush, whereas a fat or hourglass shape is best for thick coating and volume. 

As they’re waterproof, you will need an oil-based remover to get them off without losing half your lashes too; as always, we recommend a cleansing oil or balm and a good old-fashioned flannel.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Bobbi Brown No Smudge mascara: £25, Bobbi Brown

You really can’t go wrong with Bobbi Brown’s unassuming but brilliant no smudge formula, which does what it says on the tin as well as lengthening and separating lashes for a full but everyday look. This is one we reach for all the time.

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Too Faced Better Than Sex waterproof mascara: £19, Selfridges

We’re not prepared to comment on whether this mascara lives up to its name, but it is definitely good. We love the packaging, which feels luxe and weighty compared to most we tested, and has a water splash effect. The brush is hourglass-shaped, which coats and lifts all the lashes evenly at once.

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Bourjois Volume Reveal volumising waterproof mascara: £10.99, Feel Unique

This lengthens and curls lashes with a similar effect to many of the more expensive tubes we tried, and stayed on through a run and a shower after. We love that the tube has a magnifying mirror on one side, too – perfect for make-up on the go. A great choice on a budget.

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YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils waterproof mascara: £26, Boots

YSL’s Volume Effet is one of our go-tos for bridal make-up for its staying power, natural finish and thin brush, which allows you to get right into the base of lashes.

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Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill waterproof mascara: £30, Feel Unique

This has a long but normal-thickness brush with clever bristles that cross over to get on either side of each lash individually as you apply. The formula is smooth and builds long, deep lashes in two coats.

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Eyeko Sport waterproof mascara: £19, Eyeko

Eyeko’s clever curved brush lifts lashes as you apply, making it perfect for those with naturally straight lashes. Living up to the name, we put it though two gym classes and it didn’t smear or transfer with sweat. The squeezy tube means you can get every last bit of product out too.

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Urban Decay Perversion waterproof mascara: £21, Urban Decay

The waterproof version of Urban Decay’s cult mascara is just as good as the original, lifting, separating and volumising even the shortest lashes with a dense, glossy black finish. Our only quibble is that we found it a bit much on our lower lashes, giving us spidery eyes.

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Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof mascara: £26, Estee Lauder

This has a fairly big conical brush that coats lashes evenly with just one coat. Use the slimmer tip of the brush to apply product to the base of lashes in those harder-to-reach corners. It doesn’t give much lift during application, so straight lashes will benefit from curling first, but it’s lovely and lightweight.

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Fairydrops Scandal Queen waterproof mascara: £18.50, Cult Beauty

Our curiosity was piqued by the bubble wand on this mascara, which is quite unlike anything else we tested. It has a great glossy black finish and adds volume and length; just make sure to wiggle the wand from side to side as you apply to get even coverage.

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Diorshow waterproof mascara: £28, Dior

Used on catwalks across the world, this is a perennial favourite for the full, fat, long lashes it gives every time. It’s a fairly dramatic finish, so minimalists might prefer to keep it for evening wear.

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The verdict: Waterproof mascaras

Bobbi Brown’s No Smudge mascara is simple and brilliant, and will suit everyone, while Too Faced’s Better Than Sex comes in a close second for its innovative brush and fun packaging.

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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