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How to Remove Waterproof Mascara

How to Remove Waterproof Mascara

How to Remove Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is a game-changer for anyone who loves to go big and bold with their makeup–or for anyone who likes to trust that their makeup will stay put all day! Waterproof mascara gives you the kind of peace of mind that can only come from knowing your lashes won’t start disintegrating halfway through the way. Unfortunately, it’s got its drawbacks, and one of them is… removal. It’s pretty logical that a product that was made to withstand everything won’t be easy to remove at the end of the day, but don’t despair. With the right products and techniques, you’ll learn how to remove your waterproof mascara without hassle in no time.

1. Use a cleansing oil or balm

Waterproof mascara is, as the name suggests, resistant to water. To remove it effectively, you’ll need to look away from water-based makeup removers (such as gels), and toward oil-based cleansers (such as cleansing oils and balms).

They’re pretty simple to use: simply apply the oil or balm directly to dry skin, then massage gently. Your mascara will start to break down in contact with the oil, giving you that infamous panda/racoon look. It may look silly, but it’s part of the process! Once you’re satisfied that you’ve dissolved enough of the mascara, add some water and continue to massage the produuct into the skin–the product will transform into a lather that’s easy to wash off and remove. Done and done!


2. Use a targeted eye makeup remover

If you’d rather avoid cleansing balms and oils, a targeted eye makeup remover could be your best bet. Specifically designed to remove waterproof makeup, these makeup removers often come in bi-phase formulas. What’s a bi-phase formula, you ask? It’s a specific type of product formulation that combines two visible “layers”: one with water-based ingredients, and one with oil-based ingredients. Once shaken, the layers combine into a more or less uniform liquid you can use to remove even waterproof makeup. Once the bottle is at rest, the layers will separate again.

To use an eye makeup remover to remove waterproof mascara, begin by shaking the product. Once the layers have mixed, saturate a cotton pad with the liquid; then, hold the cotton pad against your (closed) eyelid for 20 to 30 seconds. This will break down the mascara and make it easier to remove; ideally, you should be able to gently swipe the cotton pad downwards and outwards and remove much of the mascara with it. Repeat for the other eyelid, using a second cotton pad.

Feel free to repeat the process until the mascara is completely removed! Using this technique, you’ll be able to remove waterproof mascara effectively, without having to rub.


3. Use your favorite micellar water

If you don’t like cleansing oils and balms, nor do you want to invest in a specific makeup remover for the eye area, micellar water may work for you. Nowadays, there are hundreds of micellar waters on the market, from every brand imaginable and with all types of formulations–for this reason, it’s possible that some micellar waters will work much better than others to remove waterproof mascara.

Using a micellar water to remove waterproof mascara is quite similar to using an eye makeup remover: soak a cotton pad in the product, hold it against your eyelid for a few seconds, and then wide gently downwards and outwards. Keep in mind that, as we mentioned, some micellar waters may be better at removing waterproof mascara than others: you’ll have to be patient and figure out whether your favorite one works well for this process!


4. Finish up with a water-based cleanser

If you’re a bit of a skincare buff, you know what we’re alluding to when we say “wrap up your cleansing with a water-based cleanser”: we’re advising you to double cleanse.

Double cleansing is a face cleansing technique that relies on using two different cleansers to achieve nice, smooth, thoroughly clean skin. Fans of double cleansing–like us–typically start off with an oil-based cleanser to disolve makeup and impurities, and then follow up with a water-based cleanser to wash everything off and make sure the skin is nice and clean. For the first step, oil-based cleansers, look for cleansing oils, balms, or even micellar waters; for the second step, water-based cleansers, most face washes will do.

Now, back to that waterproof mascara: if you’ve followed our previous tips, you’ve completed the first step of a double cleansing routine. You’ve applied an oil-based product, dissolved your mascara, and wiped most of it off your face. You may have some tiny specks of mascara sticking to your cheeks, but that’s where a water-based cleanser comes in:

To use a water-based cleanser, you’ll have to do something you probably do every day: wash your face. In this case, you ‘ll throw some water in your face–mascara bits and all–, and then apply a pump or two of your favorite cleanser. Wash your face as usual, massaging the skin gently without pulling. Rinse off, look in the mirror, and there’s a good chance you won’t see even the tiniest vestige of mascara on your face. That’s the magic of double cleansing!


5. If all else fails, try a different mascara

If, even with all these tips, you feel that removing waterproof mascara is just too much of a hassle, you don’t have to swear off mascara for good–why not try a different formula? You have two main options: either a washable mascara, or a tubing mascara.

If you’re looking for a mascara that will help you intensify your makeup look and lengthen and volumize your lashes, you don’t necessarily have to opt for waterproof mascara. There are plenty of alternatives out there, and they’re not as bothersome to remove!


Waterproof mascara has its perks, but removing it requires some effort; with these tips, however, you will have no difficulty removing your waterproof mascara without damaging your lashes or irritating your eyes.

Whether you prefer to use cleansing oils, bi-phase eye makeup removers, or micellar water, there are different options to help you achieve effective, hassle-free makeup removal. Make sure to browse through our favorite waterproof makeup removers, and find your favorite!

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