How to Remove Waterproof Mascara

how to remove waterproof mascara featured photo

We’ve all been there – wearing waterproof mascara and knowing for sure it’s going to stay on all day, no matter the weather or how much you cry. Sure, waterproof mascaras are great but they are a pain in the ass to remove after a long day.

The most effective way to remove mascara is to use an oil. Of course, there are different types of oil, and waterproof mascaras come in different formulations and have a variety of ingredients. The same goes for other makeup removal and cleansing products. 

Picking up a makeup removal and cleansing routine that works for you is key to ensuring you won’t damage your lashes and surrounding eye area.

Below, we explain what mascara is made of and the most effective methods you can use to remove it, including some tips to prevent damage and falling out lashes. 

What is Waterproof Mascara?

Not everyone was born with naturally long and voluminous lashes. This is why mascaras as a cosmetic product are one of the more popular in the beauty industry.

Though regular mascaras are effective, they don’t fare well in the heat, humidity, and any kind of water. This is where waterproof mascaras come into the rescue.

Waterproof mascaras, eyeliners and waterproof eyebrow pencils are smudge-proof and waterproof. These stick on the lashes and stay there without budging. They’re a life saver during the summer; if you’re going somewhere hot and humid, to the beach, or if you know you’re going to be sweating.

Waterproof mascaras are also the go-to mascara in weddings and events you know you’ll be crying so you won’t end up with raccoon eyes.

What makes mascara waterproof?

Waterproof mascaras usually have two ingredients that contribute to it being waterproof and smudge-proof: silicone and wax.

Both silicones and waxes help waterproof mascaras tough it out against water, sweat, tears, and budging. These ingredients help the mascara adhere to the lashes and are only removed when you say it’s time to go. Learn more about all the ingredients in mascara.

Is Waterproof Mascara Safe for Eyes and Lashes?

Some tend to stay away from waterproof mascaras as they find it damaging to their lashes.

Truth is, waterproof mascara can dry the lashes. If you compare a regular and waterproof mascara formula, the latter is definitely more drying. While this consistency helps the formula last longer, not everyone is a fan of it.

While some would rather completely cut off waterproof mascaras from their makeup routine, some occasions and events call for their smudge and budge-proof formula.

Some also suggest not to wear waterproof mascara every single day. It would be good to give your lashes a break every once in a while.

Waterproof mascaras, are they safe or are they bad? The answer would really depend on how you wear it, how often you do, and how you remove it.

How to Remove Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascaras are a hero when you need something to keep your lashes pretty and voluminous for hours on end. Even if you’re sweating, crying, or are in a humid place, you’re sure it will not give you the dreaded raccoon eyes.

The problem with waterproof mascaras is they’re very stubborn and hard to remove. If you’re someone who regularly wears waterproof mascara, then you’re spending a huge time hunched over in front of your bathroom mirror trying to remove every last trace from your lashes.

For the best ways and methods for removing waterproof mascara, read on below:

  1. Use micellar water or eye makeup remover to remove waterproof mascara

The simplest way to go about in removing waterproof mascara is with either micellar water or eye makeup remover.

Micellar water is soft water with tiny cleansing oil molecules called micelles. These particles attract and lift off oil, dirt, and makeup from the skin.

While this might be enough for some makeup, it might not be the case for stubborn waterproof makeup like waterproof mascara. A specially-designed waterproof eye makeup remover might just do the trick.

For either one you choose, what you need to do is apply an amount on a cotton pad. You want the cotton generously damp but not soaking wet.

Place the cotton pads over your eyes and let it soak. After soaking, gently rub the cotton round on your eyes to remove the mascara. Rinse and wash with your cleanser next.

  1. Double cleanse to remove waterproof mascara

You can also turn to double cleaning to ensure all mascara traces are removed. It’s best to start with an oil-based cleanser to really lift off the makeup along with all the dirt and oil from the day. Then, follow up with a hydrating and soothing second cleanser to avoid stripping your skin.

  1. Use oil to remove waterproof mascara

If you don’t find drugstore makeup removers sufficient to remove very stubborn waterproof mascara, try oil.

For this method, the most popular options are coconut oil, olive oil, and even baby oil. Both coconut and olive oil are kitchen staples and most households have them at home. Baby oil can easily be found in stores and is relatively affordable.

Coconut oil is usually solid. To apply this, scoop a proper amount and warm it in your hands before applying it on your lashes. Gently massage to remove the mascara.

For olive oil and baby oil, use a cotton ball or pad and wipe the eye area gently in a light sweeping motion. 

  1. Try a cold cream to remove waterproof mascara

Another staple in the beauty and makeup community are cold creams. Its formula of water and oil makes it a great solution to removing stubborn makeup, including waterproof mascara.

As a bonus, cold creams are extremely moisturizing and soothing, something your eyes might need after a day of wearing the heavy and often drying waterproof mascara.

  1. Use baby shampoo to remove waterproof mascara

Baby products are gentle and mild enough to use on a baby’s sensitive skin. They’re also gentle enough to be used around and on the sensitive eye area.

Apply a small amount of baby shampoo on a cotton pad or ball and very gently massage around the eye to clear any makeup. Repeat as needed. 

Proceed with rinsing and washing as you normally would after.

Removing Waterproof Mascara: Additional Tips and Tricks

To make sure you get your waterproof mascara out at all costs, follow these additional tips and tricks below:

Never tug or pull around the eye area

Waterproof mascara might be difficult to remove but tugging or pulling hard on the area is never the answer. Only gently tap, press, and wipe on the area.

Regular mascara first

Waterproof mascara is easier to remove at the end of the day when you apply a base coat of regular mascara first.

Always remove makeup at night

 Always remove waterproof makeup before you tuck yourself to sleep. Though removing waterproof mascara can be a chore at times, never leave it on overnight. This can cause clogged pores, which lead to styes and itchy eyes. 

Soak well first

It’s best practice to let the product and your eyes soak and saturate long enough before you start wiping to remove the area.

Go downward

To prevent any product going into your eyes, swipe and remove the product with a downward motion. Also, don’t forget your lash line!


Waterproof mascaras are indeed a lifesaver in certain situations, but they can be really hard to remove. Rather than avoid using them, have the proper products handy for removal. 

Though there are several ways to remove mascara, the most effective way is to use oil. If this isn’t an option for you, we’ve listed alternatives that will also work well. 

Whichever method you choose, remember to be gentle with the area surrounding your eyes. If you have any questions about any of these methods, let us know.