The Easiest Way to Remove Waterproof Mascara

Rachel Krause


Waterproof mascara is a must in certain situations—weddings, funerals, rom coms, and beach days (yes, we wear mascara at the beach) come to mind—but removing makeup that’s meant to stay put can be a feat unto itself. “Easy removal” and “waterproof eye makeup” rarely occupy the same sentence, but with these three simple tips, you’ll be able to rid yourself of the stuff with a single swipe. Game on.

An oil-based makeup remover is a must.
No ifs, ands, or buts. Oil is the only thing that will efficiently break down the waterproof sealants in your mascara without pulling or tugging—just holding an oil-soaked cotton ball or pad beneath your lashes and applying light pressure will dissolve the mascara and make it effortless to remove. There are plenty of oil-based eye makeup removers out there, but you can also use an oil cleanser on the entire face in a double cleansing routine to remove everything in one fell swoop.

Use the softest cotton pads you can find.
Using a gentle hand and soft materials when you remove eye makeup is key—handling the super delicate, thin-skinned eye area too roughly is one of the worst culprits of premature signs of aging, like fine lines and crow’s feet. We prefer cotton pads to standard cotton balls, as the disc shape makes them more suitable for covering the entire eye area. We’re not saying you have to shell out for designer cotton pads (which exist!), but paying the extra dollar or two for the softest version is well worth it. SEPHORA COLLECTION Soft Touch Cotton Pads are made of strong 100-percent cotton, and at $4 for 70 pads, they won’t break the bank, either.

Clean up any leftover with a Q-tip.
Waterproof mascara is stubborn by nature, which means that even if you’re thorough with removal, there may still be some left behind. We find that the leftovers tend to gather beneath the lower lash line and enhance dark circles, which is appealing to no one. Just take a cotton swab dipped in the same oil-based makeup remover and gently run it beneath the eye to make sure you’re all clear.

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