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Waterproof Mascara vs. Water Resistant Mascara: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 29, 2024
Waterproof mascara is completely impervious to water, while water-resistant mascara can withstand water to a lesser degree but is not fully waterproof.

Key Differences

Waterproof mascara is designed to provide a complete barrier against water, making it ideal for situations involving heavy water exposure like swimming. In contrast, water-resistant mascara offers a degree of protection against water but can still smudge or run under extended exposure to moisture or tears.
The formulation of waterproof mascara includes waxes and silicones that repel water effectively, ensuring that it stays intact even under water. Water-resistant mascara, on the other hand, is made to withstand light water contact, such as humidity or light rain, but it lacks the full waterproofing components.
When it comes to removal, waterproof mascara requires a specific makeup remover, as it adheres strongly to lashes to prevent smudging. Water-resistant mascara, while more durable than regular mascara, can typically be removed with less intensive cleansers.
For sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers, waterproof mascara might be too harsh due to its strong formulation. Water-resistant mascara offers a gentler alternative, providing durability without the harsh chemicals found in waterproof versions.
In terms of everyday use, waterproof mascara is ideal for events where crying or water contact is expected, like weddings. Water-resistant mascara, being less heavy-duty, is better suited for daily wear where major water contact is not a concern.

Comparison Chart

Water Exposure

Can withstand complete submersion in water
Handles splashes or light rain, not submersion

Removal Difficulty

Requires specific, strong makeup removers
Easier to remove with regular cleansers

Ideal Usage

Suited for swimming, heavy tears
Suitable for humid conditions, light moisture


Contains waxes, silicones for repelling water
Less intense, handles minor moisture


May not be ideal for sensitive eyes
Gentler, better for daily use, sensitive eyes

Waterproof Mascara and Water Resistant Mascara Definitions

Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is a cosmetic product designed to coat eyelashes with a water-repellent formula.
She wore waterproof mascara to the beach, confident it wouldn't smudge in the water.

Water Resistant Mascara

Mascara formulated to be less susceptible to water, suitable for everyday use where complete waterproofing isn't necessary.
For her daily routine, she preferred water resistant mascara for its balance of durability and ease of removal.

Waterproof Mascara

A cosmetic formulation specifically created to withstand water exposure and maintain lash appearance.
For her scuba diving adventure, she chose waterproof mascara to keep her lashes looking great underwater.

Water Resistant Mascara

Water resistant mascara provides a moderate barrier against water, ideal for average exposure to moisture.
Her water resistant mascara was effective in protecting her lashes during a light workout session.

Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is a lash-enhancing beauty product that resists water, sweat, and tears.
At the gym, her waterproof mascara proved its worth by not budging during an intense workout.

Water Resistant Mascara

Water resistant mascara is designed to withstand minor water exposure while maintaining lash aesthetics.
Caught in a light drizzle, her water resistant mascara prevented any unsightly smudging.

Waterproof Mascara

A type of mascara that remains unaffected by water, ideal for emotional events or aquatic activities.
During the tearful wedding ceremony, her waterproof mascara stayed perfectly intact.

Water Resistant Mascara

A type of mascara that offers some degree of protection against moisture but is not fully waterproof.
On a humid day, her water resistant mascara was the perfect choice to avoid under-eye smears.

Waterproof Mascara

Mascara that provides full resistance to water, ensuring long-lasting wear without smudging.
Despite the heavy rain, her waterproof mascara kept her lashes looking flawless.

Water Resistant Mascara

A cosmetic product that can resist light moisture, making it a practical choice for emotional or damp conditions.
During the sentimental movie, her water resistant mascara stayed in place, avoiding any tear-induced streaks.


Is water resistant mascara easier to remove?

Yes, it generally requires less intense cleansers for removal.

How do I remove waterproof mascara?

Use a dedicated makeup remover designed for waterproof cosmetics.

Is water resistant mascara the same as waterproof?

No, water resistant mascara can withstand some water but isn't completely impervious like waterproof mascara.

Can waterproof mascara be used daily?

Yes, but it might be too harsh for sensitive eyes due to its strong formulation.

Is water resistant mascara suitable for sensitive eyes?

Generally, yes, as it's less harsh than waterproof formulas.

Will water resistant mascara run in the rain?

It can resist light rain but may run in heavy downpours.

Does waterproof mascara damage eyelashes?

It can be drying or damaging if used excessively without proper removal and lash care.

Does waterproof mascara cause allergies?

It can, especially for those with sensitive eyes or skin.

What makes mascara waterproof?

Waterproof mascara contains special waxes and silicones that repel water completely.

Can I swim wearing water resistant mascara?

It's not recommended, as it may not withstand complete submersion like waterproof mascara.

Is waterproof mascara good for weddings?

Absolutely, it's ideal for emotional events where tears are expected.

Is water resistant mascara good for hot climates?

Yes, its resistance to humidity makes it suitable for hot conditions.

Can I sleep in water resistant mascara?

It's not advisable to sleep in any mascara, as it can harm your lashes.

Is waterproof mascara more expensive?

It can be, due to its specialized formulation.

Does water resistant mascara flake?

It's less likely to flake compared to regular mascara but more so than waterproof versions.

Does water resistant mascara hold curl better?

Yes, it generally holds curl better than regular mascara but not as well as waterproof.

How often should I replace waterproof mascara?

Every 3-6 months, to prevent bacterial growth and ensure effectiveness.

How long does waterproof mascara last?

It's designed to last all day, even in wet conditions.

Can I use oil to remove waterproof mascara?

Yes, oils like coconut or olive oil can help break down waterproof formulas.

Is waterproof mascara vegan?

It depends on the brand; some offer vegan formulas.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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