Photo: Chaunte Vaughn
Purchasing a new mascara isn’t so simple, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. In your defense, makeup brands don’t make it easy to make a decision because there are so many different mascara options to choose from, and small intricacies in formulas exist that make the choice even more difficult. Take, for example, the subtle nuances of waterproof mascara and water-resistant mascara. 

It may sound trivial, but you should probably stop and think about which one is right for you. For starters, you should know that they’re definitely not the same thing. “The main difference between water-resistant and waterproof mascara is how much exposure to water your mascara can handle,” says celebrity makeup artist Nina Soriano. “For example, if you submerge your lashes in water with water-resistant mascara, your mascara will run. With waterproof, it will not.” While that may seem rather obvious, it’s important to consider that you might not always need that waterproof formula, especially if you don’t want to put in the work to take it all off at the end of the day.

“Waterproof mascara is also great for when you need serious holding power,” explains Soriano. “I personally like to use a waterproof for stubborn lashes that don’t hold a curl with just regular mascara. I will also use the waterproof after curling the lashes and finish the tips with regular mascara.” 

On which way you should go when it comes to waterproof vs. water-resistant mascara, it’s really a matter of personal preference and how long you need your mascara to hold. “Using either a waterproof or water-resistant mascara is fine for everyday use as long as you remove it with care,” Soriano says. “Use a proper eye makeup remover and gently remove your mascara.” If you don’t remove your mascara properly, she warns, it can lead to eye damage, as your lashes are designed to protect your eyes. 
 
So if you’re making that final decision, keep this in mind: Although waterproof mascara is a godsend for when you need that extra protection against the elements (read: your wedding, a situation in which you definitely might cry,  a day by the pool, etc), you might not need to use it every day. We recommend saving the waterproof formula for when you need it most, and other times opting for water-resistant mascara — but ultimately the choice is yours. Ready to make a decision? We like the waterproof Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Mascara and water-resistant Pacifica Aquarian Glaze Water Resistant Mascara.

Read More:

The Best Colored Eyeliner for Your Skin Tone, According to Beauty Editors 

Trade in Your Eyelash Curler for the New NYX On the Rise Mascara — You’ll Thank Us Later 

What Really Happens When You Get Eyelash Extensions

 

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