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The Best 5 Ways To Remove Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara has long been the go-to beauty tool for a lasting makeup look, keeping your lashes long and luxurious all day long — even if you run a marathon, visit a waterpark, or rewatch Titanic

Yes, the sticking power of waterproof mascara is legendary. But when it’s time to take your makeup off for the night, removing that mascara can be a serious challenge. 

Waterproof mascara is difficult to remove because it contains dimethicone copolyol, a water-resistant form of silicone that prevents sweat, tears, or any other fluid from affecting your lashes. While this keeps mascara from running, it also makes taking it off more difficult.

But don’t leave your waterproof mascara alone. Dimethicone copolyol dries out lashes if left on too long, causing them to fall out over time. Learning how to remove waterproof mascara is essential if you want to get the benefits of this product without adverse effects.

October 14, 2022
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How to remove waterproof mascara

While the best way to remove waterproof mascara is with an oil-based product, there are some easily accessible alternatives. Here are our favorite methods, covering all options. 

1. Waterproof makeup remover 

This is an excellent option for anyone who uses waterproof makeup daily. These products use oil-derived ingredients to remove waterproof makeup safely. Just dab some on a cotton pad and gently wipe over your lids and lashes.

If you have sensitive skin, consider something like the Embryolisse Gentle Waterproof Make-up Remover, which uses coco-caprylate (an emulsion made from coconut oil) and other gentle ingredients to remove makeup without irritation. Cleansing balms, which are thick, cream-like formulas that emulsify on the skin, will also help you massage the mascara off your lashes. The e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Cleansing Balm is a Flip favorite.

2. Baby oil or shampoo

If you don’t wear waterproof makeup often, a whole bottle of waterproof mascara remover is unnecessary. When you need to remove a waterproof product, use something you already own, like baby oil or a gentle shampoo. Both are safe to use near your eyes (if you keep them closed) and effectively remove waterproof mascara.

3. Micellar water

Micellar water is probably the most popular eye makeup remover, for a good reason. This product contains tiny surfactants that bind oil and water together and bypass the water-resistant properties of your mascara. Use a little of this water on a cotton ball to easily wipe your mascara away. 

4. Coconut oil

As mentioned earlier, oil-based products are some of your best bets for removing waterproof makeup. So, why not use oil directly? Coconut oil is an excellent option for removing mascara, as it wipes away makeup and hydrates skin all at once.

5. Cold cream

Cold cream is an emulsion of water and oils that you apply to the skin like a lotion. Because this cream is packed with oils, it’s effective at removing waterproof mascara. Dab some cold cream on closed eyes and wipe it across your lashes to gently remove any waterproof mascara. 

Eyelash aftercare

Once your lashes are makeup-free, it’s time for a little TLC. Your lashes will thank you for adding these aftercare steps to your skincare routine. 

  • Apply a lash serum. We recommend Sugarbear’s LashCare Vitamin-Infused Lash Serum, which uses vitamins, peptides, and natural extracts to promote lash health.
  • Use a lash conditioner. Products like Babe’s Lash Enhancing Conditioner use peptides, panthenol, and biotin to strengthen your lashes, helping them withstand any damage waterproof makeup could cause.
  • Apply coconut oil to the skin around your eyes. It’s highly moisturizing and anti-inflammatory, reducing puffiness and dark circles, and making you look more awake.
  • Wash and moisturize. This simple but effective habit makes a world of difference to your skin’s health. To reap the most benefits, we recommend using a gentle facial cleanser and a moisturizer with SPF during the day. 

Extra tips

Here are a few reminders to make sure you feel ready to take on that intimidatingly long-lasting mascara. 

  • No matter which waterproof makeup remover you use, the product will need some time to work its magic. Dab it onto a cotton pad and let it sit on your lashes (with closed eyes) for about 20 seconds before wiping. Wiping before the product absorbs will result in more lost lashes.
  • Use cotton pads designed for makeup removal. Products like Zero Waste Club’s Organic Cotton Make Up Remover Pads remove makeup more effectively than the typical cotton ball you’d find at a drugstore.
  • The eye area is very delicate, so the more gentle you are, the better. Feel free to go over your lashes 2–3 times with product to avoid rubbing.
  • If you have waterproof makeup close to your lash line, use a Q-tip to remove it. The small tip allows for more precise work without irritating your eyes. 
  • Give your lashes a break — waterproof mascara shouldn’t be used every day. Only use it when necessary, like when expecting to get sweaty on a hot day or seeing a sad movie.
  • Use a lash primer before applying waterproof mascara. Something like LASHFOOD’s Conditioning Collagen Lash Primer will do the trick. This is even worthwhile when using a high-quality, regular mascara to promote lash health.

Final recommendations

Always take care of your lashes — they’re the difference between an “OK” makeup look and an extraordinary one. Now that you know how to remove it, here are some of our favorite waterproof mascaras to practice your skills on. 

To learn more about how products like these look on different skin tones, lash types, and with various makeup looks, check out reviews from the Flip community. Our candid and thorough videos will help you feel confident and excited about your next beauty purchase.

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