Mascara is one of those makeup products that takes some trial and error (hello, raccoon eyes) to find one that doesn’t smudge, clump or flake. The challenge of finding mascara that doesn’t budge is even more difficult in the summertime when you’re spending the day splashing around at the beach or pool, or the hot weather threatens to make you sweat if off.
Your best bet for finding a smudge-proof mascara is trying a waterproof formula, although some long-lasting mascaras can hold up against sweat, tears and oily eyelids too, according to the five professional makeup artists we consulted. And if you’re really struggling to find a mascara that won’t transfer, celebrity makeup artist Adam Breuchaud, who counts Nicola Coughlan, Sarah Paulson and Jennifer Coolidge as clients, suggests avoiding face oil in your summer skin care routine. He also says whether you’re wearing other eye makeup or not, you can “apply a small amount of translucent powder on the lid and under the eye” to help absorb your skin’s natural oils as “our own skin’s oils can start to break up even waterproof makeup.”
Ahead, find the best smudge-proof and waterproof mascaras that will last all day.
This drugstore mascara is a go-to waterproof mascara among professional makeup artists. “It’s easy to apply, layers over itself for a bolder look and doesn’t move,” Breuchaud shares. Carleigh Herbert, the makeup department head for the HBO Max series “Minx,” also loves this affordable option. “It’s a buildable product with great black and brown tones to choose from, depending how dramatic you’d like your lashes,” she says. “It’s also available at most drugstores, which is always a win in my book.”
Created by a board-certified ophthalmologist, this mascara is safe for sensitive eyes, contact wearers and those with dry eyes. And even better, the lightweight and lengthening formula proved to be smudge-proof even on the hottest, sweatiest day (we’re talking over 90 degrees Fahrenheit) thus far this year.
“This mascara thickens and lengthens lashes while looking natural after one swipe, and builds layers nicely for more drama,” says William Scott, a celebrity makeup artist who works with Padma Lakshmi and Rachel Brosnahan. “The formula is not waterproof but holds for hours through humidity without flaking, and it won’t take your lashes with it as you wash it off.”
Makeup artist Daniela Gozlan loves this tubing mascara for her supermodel clients like Karlie Kloss, Candice Swanepoel and Elle Macpherson. “It’s one of my faves for length and an all-day safe option for working out or running around town on a hot summer day,” Gozlan says. “It doesn’t melt, it’s completely smudge-proof and it comes off easily (in tubes) with a foaming cleanser.”
Celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney relies on this waterproof mascara. “I have used this mascara on endless beach and swimwear shoots, including when I have been on set for Sports Illustrated and it does not move,” she says. “I have had models swim underwater and come up for a shot and their mascara is not smudged at all.”
Several reviewers noted that this waterproof mascara is swim-proof and won’t smear even after fully submerging in water, making it an ideal option for beach and pool days.
“This mascara doesn’t budge until you are ready to remove it because of its tubular formula,”says Charlie Riddle, global beauty director of Stila Cosmetics. “While it’s technically not labeled as a waterproof mascara, it is definitely smudge-proof,” he assures. Pair it with Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, our favorite everyday liquid liner, and you’ve got an eye look that will last morning to night.
Herbert likes this Urban Decay mascara personally, and she’s looking forward to putting it to the test on the set of “Minx,” too. “It holds up under a motorcycle helmet all day, and I am excited to try it on set,” she says, adding, “It is a volumizing mascara as well.”
Another pick from Gozlan, this mascara creates clump-free lift and curl thanks to its long-lasting formula and dual sized brush. “There’s no wonder why it keeps getting awards each year,” Gozlan says. “The formula is clean and doesn’t flake. It beautifully creates just the right amount of volume and length.”
Summer means wedding season, so not only do you need mascara that can last through an outdoor wedding under the sun, but one that won’t run if you shed a tear. Henney loves this waterproof mascara from Tom Ford. “This mascara will last you from day to night without moving and gives the lashes extra length and volume,” she says, adding that the chic packaging is an added bonus.
Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara Super Waterproof This Japanese mascara is great for stubborn, straight lashes as it holds a curl all day and has impressive staying power (although we found that it’s one of the tougher ones to remove). One reviewer says, “You won’t cry this off. You won’t sweat this off. Heck, you’re not going to wash this off. This mascara is basically invincible.”
Henney says this mascara is great for those sticky, hot summer days. “This Hourglass mascara does not smudge or flake. It is great in humid weather and gives the lashes the perfect amount of volume and lift,” she shares.
“Finding a good smudge-proof mascara is beyond difficult and finding one that’s vegan is even more difficult. The Deck of Scarlet Big Lash Energy is both of those things,” says Kasey Spickard, makeup artist to TV stars like Melissa Gorga and Kamie Crawford. “What I love about Big Lash Energy is the volume and length that you get that doesn’t budge. I also love the bubbled wand shape, it helps you get into every inch of the lashes to give you full, defined lashes.”
“I’ve recently discovered this wonderful mascara from Byredo,” says Kacey Musgraves’ makeup artist Moani Lee. “It’s not only smudge-proof, but it’s also 100% vegan and formulated with 91% natural ingredients. Highly buildable, it separates and adds volume beautifully and I was happily surprised that after some long, very humid spring/summer days, this mascara did not smudge or run at all. It also comes as a waterproof formula called if you want that added guarantee of long-wear.”
The waterproof version of Byredo’s mascara is another MUA-favorite. Shayna Goldberg, who works with Addison Rae, Hunter Schafer and Tommy Dorfman, loves it for “its ergonomic applicator and weatherproof formula.” She adds, “It holds curl and is a rich black that doesn’t compare to other waterproof formulas I’ve used.”
Chanel’s volumizing mascara fans out lashes and makes them appear thicker. “I love using it as I can get an amazing volume in one stroke, it’s super black and I completely trust its waterproof quality,” Gozlan says.
“I love this mascara for long-wear because it doesn’t smudge and you don’t end up with any under your eyes at the end of the day,” Riddle says. “This is a perfect mascara for summertime.”
“I love the effect this mascara has on the lashes, it enhances volume, length and curl and creates a super bold lash,” Henney shares. “Because it is waterproof it also does not move at all.”
A mascara with lash conditioning and strengthening ingredients like vitamin B5, we loved that the Wunderbrow Volume Mascara cares for your lashes while adding volume and hold that lasts all day.
19 mascaras that won’t smudge or flake this summer, according to makeup artists
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