Best waterproof mascaras for perfect smudge free lashes

·9-min read

Do you ever get to that point, midway through the day, when your makeup starts to rub off and you end up resembling something from The Exorcist?

The trouble with makeup, as much as we love it, is that it was never really designed to last a whole day. That means for most of us who can’t face leaving the house in the morning without adding a little something to make us less zombie-like, some concealer, eyeshadow or mascara is a must.

But it also means that come lunchtime, most of that time spent on the face is gone - poof! - leaving you wondering why you bothered in the first place. This is particularly the case with mascara. We touch our faces more than we realise, leaving behind a smudged mess in its place. In fact, scientists last year revealed we touch our faces an average of 23 times an hour, so no wonder makeup struggles with staying power.

But put your worries aside because thanks to some in-depth research, we’ve compiled a list of the best smudge-proof mascaras out there which we’re confident will take you right through from dawn to dusk.

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Chanel Le Volume de Chanel

This is a mascara on the slightly higher end of the spending spectrum but once you check out the results, you’ll soon see it’s well worth the investment.

For those worried about precision, the Volume de Chanel’s wand is slim and lends itself to easy application. But don’t let that fool you, the result is bold lashes to the max.

The reason why this mascara delivers is thanks to the thoughtful brush and formula combination. The brush sculpts volume due to stacked and oriented disks to leave lashes longer and thicker, meanwhile the formula is made with a blend of waxes for volume, acacia gum for quick drying and film-forming agents to preserve lash suppleness.

All in all, an excellent mascara with serious staying power.

Buy now £30.00, FeelUnique

Glossier Lash Slick

Glossier’s Lash Slick garners consistently good reviews thanks to its natural effect but also sticking power.

Its weightless and flexible mascara visibly lengthens and lifts lashes thanks to the tiny fibres that coat each hair, giving maximum definition. Not only this, because of its water-resistant (not waterproof) formula, it will stay in place for the whole day without smudging or flaking but is easy to remove, without the need for rubbing which can often irritate the delicate eye area.

If you’re after that subtle looking-great-without-looking-like-you-made-an-effort look that is currently in vogue, this mascara definitely the one to go for.

Buy now £14.00, Glossier

Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara

True, it’s one of the more expensive ones out there, but once you get your hands (or eyes) on the Faux Cils Mascara (for those who don’t speak French, that means false lashes), you’ll see why.

The reason it delivers such great volume is due to the natural wax formulation, which adds length and gently curls lashes. This is then enhanced by the rosewater base and mineral salts to condition, while red seaweed extract promotes regeneration. And all this is wrapped up in a water-resistant formula that stops smudges in their tracks.

This is a mascara that does more than your average, providing long-lasting effects for a gorgeous false lash look.

Buy now £40.00, Space NK

DiorShow Iconic Overcurl

If you’re looking to get your eyes on a mascara that lasts, this is the one to opt for. Many mascaras claim to last 12-plus hours but simply don’t but with this; when the Iconic Overcurl says it offers 24-hour wear, it’s no word of a lie.

Thanks to the curved wand shape the volume it provides is also fantastic, defining, lengthening and fanning out lashes to give a full false-lash effect that is next to none, and with no smudges in sight.

As an added bonus, the formula is also enriched with cotton nectar to protect and soften lashes whilst also delivering shine.

For that doll-eye look without the faff of falsies, it’s got to be Dior.

Buy now £26.10, Boots

Victoria Beckham Future Lash

When a mascara claims to deliver excellent, lasting results that can removed with warm water alone, call us cynics but questions are asked.

Needless to say, our doubts were unfounded. Thanks to the water-activated instant removal technology, the Victoria Beckham Future Lash transforms to water-soluble filaments that gently rises away and won’t build up in the environment, for effortless removal and no harsh scrubbing.

Added to this is the formula, which contains a plant-derived C2 complex that nourishes and protects lashes from breakages. Inside the mix is Shea butter and vitamin E to condition and support the growth of healthy hair, niacinamide to prevent breakage, panthenol to hydrate and pistacia lentiscus gum to add lift. What’s more, it’s also vegan and cruelty free.

This humidity and sweat-proof mascara gives you major volume, without flaking or smudging, whilst simultaneously protecting and strengthening lashes – what’s not to love?

Buy now £26.00, Victoria Beckham Beauty

Nars Climax Mascara

Sitting middle of the cost scale, Nars’s Climax Mascara encapsulates great results at a decent price.

Starting with the brush, it is full-bodied with ribbed bristles to offer precision and easy application, whilst also allowing you to build volume to your preferences, meaning it’s just the thing for those who like to vary definition depending on the occasion.

As for the formula itself, the lash moisture complex contains whipped pigments for lift and leaves lashes feeling soft - never heavy - making it the perfect day-to-night solution. What’s more, the lightweight formula stops smudging and clumping, for lasting coverage all day long.

Buy now £22.00, Space NK

Flower Beauty warrior princess

Drew Barrymore’s brand Flower Beauty has hit on something special with its warrior princess mascara.

Thanks to its hourglass shape, the fantastically thick brush allows for quick application from root to tip – it really is one of the easiest out there to put on.

In terms of results, it truly is a mascara that delivers (in fact, 100 per cent of participants in a clinical trial reported lush, thick lashes after use).

The rich, clump-free formula curls and adds volume without going overboard. Providing a subtle lift to lashes after a single application, it is great for anyone after a more natural, less false-eyelash look but is also buildable for those after a bit more oomph. As an added bonus, it’s also cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan.

Buy now £32.40, Ninth Avenue

Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara

When the very name of your product reflects your intentions for it, certain expectations are set. Luckily, Bobbi Brown totally nails it with their No Smudge Mascara.

Despite being the brand’s smallest mascara, at just 5.5ml, it certainly goes a long way to prove that small is mighty by providing heaps of volume in just a few sweeps.

We have a soft spot for a short wand as it gives you great control even when reaching the outer edges of lashes. It’s also a great buildable mascara, giving an open-eyed and lengthened effect that looks lovely and natural. It can also be layered over the top of most other mascaras for instant waterproofing.

Buy now £26.00, Bobbi Brown

Too Faced Better than Sex

Too Faced recently released a waterproof version of once the UK’s bestselling mascaras, Better than Sex, and we think it rivals the OG.

What makes it so great, you ask? It starts with the formula. Enriched with porcelain flower extract to condition lashes without any flakiness, peptides for intense black colour, as well as film-forming polymers and collagen, this is a mascara that’s designed to be put through its paces. From a sweaty gym session, hot shower or teary moment, it provides smudge-proof, all-day wear no matter what’s thrown at you.

This works alongside the hourglass-shaped brush – which is allegedly designed on Marilyn Monroe’s form – that ensures every single lash is covered, and lengthens, curls and lifts for a full doll-eye look.

Buy now £24.00, Look Fantastic

Huda Beauty legit lashes

As if one mascara wasn’t enough, Huda Beauty’s legit lashes give you two! Yes, you read that correctly.

Whether you’re looking for volume or to curl and lengthen – or why not both? – this 2-in-1 mascara covers all the bases. On the volume side of things, the wand has intertwined bristles to ensure lashes are fully coated, with low-gravity fibres to add volume without any weight. The effect is unbelievable lift with minimal effort.

On the other side, you have the curl and length, which has gripping waxes and 5mm fibres to provide instantaneous elongating. The curved brush means even those pesky corner lashes are reached, resulting in fabulous shape and definition.

Still not certain? The before and after pics on the packaging speak for themselves.

Buy now £20.00, Feel Unique

Bite Beauty upswing

For those after an eco-friendly alternative, Bite Beauty’s upswing mascara is both vegan and cruelty free, whilst also delivering the goods.

I’m always on the lookout for great natural makeup brands, and Bite Beauty is certainly one to keep on the radar.

What’s so great about it? Well for starters, it’s powered by tree berry wax. This vegan alternative to bees wax, which is often unknowingly in many makeup products, grips lashes for a buildable but lightweight look. This is joined by an hourglass brush that loads formula in the centre of the lashes to maximise lift and give lashes the length and volume we’re all craving.

On top of this, it’s also smudge and flake resistant for fuss-free wear from dawn ‘til dusk.

Buy now £26.00, Feel Unique


With its huge levels of volume and a formula that delivers faultless results and all-day stay, Chanel’s Le Volume de Chanel is a top contender for best smudge-proof mascara. But it’s closely followed by Victoria Beckham’s Future Lash thanks to the effortless removal, which is a real eye-opener.

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