Makeup Artists Share Their Top Tips On Removing Waterproof Mascara Correctly

Because full lashes are always the goal.

by Natasha Marsh
Waterproof mascara tips that don't damage your eyelashes

Do you find one, two, or even three of your eyelashes going down the drain during your makeup removal routine? Sadly, one of the easiest ways to lose eyelashes is by removing mascara – regular or waterproof. “Waterproof mascara, while not damaging as you wear it, requires patience as you remove it, as hasty rubbing can definitely damage your lashes,” says Bina Khan, makeup artist and co-founder of cosmetic brand, Just B. “Removing mascara is essential, or you can get lash breaks that can irritate the root.”

Formulated to withstand water and sweat, waterproof mascara is a lifesaver in summer days and keeps lashes curled throughout the day. But due to this formulation, removing waterproof mascara can be more challenging than traditional mascara. To make matters worse, scrubbing the mascara too harshly may cause fallouts and black gunk around the eyes.

And yes, there are loads of treatments, products, and tricks to volumizing and lengthening your eyelashes, but wouldn’t it be great to hold onto as many of them as you could, from the beginning? Luckily, with the right technique and products, you can. In an effort to preserve your eyelashes and be more gentle of your eyes when removing waterproof mascara, ahead — top makeup artists break down five main steps. Bonus: this guide will also help with irritating, tugging, and pulling at your eyes.

Step 1: Select The Right Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara can hold its own against an unexpected teary-eye, dip in the water, or a sweat-induced day. It does its job well, sometimes too well with its wax formula that stays on the eyes – making it hard to remove. Which is why the actual formula you select is important. Emma Peters, makeup artist and founder of clean beauty brand Aleph Beauty recommends staying clear of formulas made with mineral oil that can lead to breakouts; sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate skin around the eyes; and diazolidinyl urea, which can cause red, irritated and itchy eyes. “Ingredients like water repellant polymers can dehydrate lashes and make them brittle,” agrees Bruce Grayson, celebrity makeup artist and 2022 Oscars makeup department head. “Since waterproof mascara is harder to remove, the constant tugging at lashes can cause them to fall out.”

Step 2: Avoid Fragrance Makeup Removers

Like most skin care products, fragrance-infused makeup removers tend to be irritating on the skin — especially the eye area that has the thinnest of skin. If you opt for a fragrance makeup remover you have a greater chance at experiencing redness, itching, hives, and eczema flareups.

Step 3: Grab A Cotton Round For Removal

Khan recommends soaking a cotton round in a natural oil (Dermalogica Precleanse or micellar water, will work great) and with eyes closed, gently press and release (never rub) till you feel the mascara start to loosen. Next, “stroke along the lash line from root to tip, gently helping the formula slide off the hair shaft,” the pro tells TZR. The top tip in this initial step is to be patient and only start to rub along the lashes as you feel the formula soften. Repeated friction can be damaging to the thin skin around the eyes, so try to avoid the constant rubbing with a cotton pad soaked in makeup removal.

Step 5: Wash Face

To help ensure there is no lingering residue, wash your face with warm water and cleanser. “Make sure your lashes are soft and moving freely,” Khan tells TZR. Vincent also suggests patting your face dry with a face towel. If your regular cleanser doesn’t fully take off the residue, tidy up any post wash smears with a micellar water soaked cotton bud.

Step 5: Condition Lashes

When you have fully removed the waterproof mascara, Grayson can’t stress enough the importance of a lash conditioner with oils to restore hydration. “Coated lashes are brittle and may even snap in bed while rolling over sleeping,” he states. The expert recommends Bbrowbar Luscious Lash Oil, to bring the lashes back to life.

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