How To Remove Waterproof Mascara

How To Remove Waterproof MascaraLashify

Wedding season, Nicholas Sparks movies, tax time, and a hot yoga class all call for waterproof makeup and a level of emotional regulation that is seriously next level. When it’s time to remove that waterproof mascara, you might find yourself at a loss. 

While it may seem like the mascara will come right off since it’s already smudging beneath your eyes, you’ll be surprised how tightly it holds to your natural lashes. Resist the urge to pull or rub, and take a few tips from the lash pros at Lashify®

We’ll give you the inside info on what’s inside your waterproof mascara that makes it stick to your natural lashes, and we’ll also talk about how to remove it without damaging your natural lashes. 

Don’t worry: if you’re in a sticky mascara situation, we’ve got you covered. 

The Love/Hate Relationship With Waterproof Mascara

Of all cosmetic inventions, waterproof mascara might be one of the top five loved/hated products of all time. Why do we love it?

  • It lasts. And lasts. And lasts some more. It has serious staying power that keeps it locked tight to your lashes for hours on end before it begins to smudge.
  • It’s extremely water resistant. No mascara is fully waterproof, which means it will eventually smudge a bit when exposed to moisture, but it will definitely stay intact longer than regular mascara. 
  • It allowed us to have longer, more noticeable lashes in situations in which we used to vehemently avoid wearing makeup, like working out or going to the beach or pool.

Waterproof mascara isn’t without an Achilles heel, however. A few, actually. 

  • Waterproof mascara works but is still prone to smudging. Unlike regular mascara smudges that you can easily remove with a tissue cotton swab, waterproof mascara smudges pretty much adhere to your skin until you remove your makeup. 
  • Most waterproof mascara formulas contain ingredients that can irritate the skin and eye area in some people. 
  • Last, and possibly most importantly, it can be impossible to remove waterproof mascara completely. 

Even though it’s a great product, waterproof mascara can take extra time to remove and present problems that might make it a no-go for some people. 

What Makes It Waterproof?

Understanding how waterproof mascara works is the key to understanding how to remove it — completely. Most waterproof formulas contain a few common ingredients. 


The ingredient in mascara that makes it water resistant is usually some type of polymer. Polymers are chemicals that are made up of large molecules that can coat large portions of your lashes and somewhat prevent water from intruding onto the actual lash. But since they aren’t 100% waterproof, they can’t do that job alone. 


These are larger molecules that also work by repelling water. They are combined with polymers to create a slick, water-repellent surface on your lashes that resists sweat, tears, and moisture. 

These ingredients are packaged with pigments like carbon black and some types of waxes to create a slick surface. Unfortunately, these ingredients can also dry out your natural lashes and cause them to become brittle. If you’ve ever had a lash break with a thick layer of mascara on it, the ingredients in the waterproof formula are the likely culprit. 

Still, most of us aren’t ready to end our waterproof mascara love affair just yet, so here are some tips to keep it safe and remove it without lash damage. 

Waterproof Mascara Safety Tips

Yes, you do need waterproof mascara safety tips because it’s a really strong product. Start by using a high-quality brand of mascara that has been formulated with reliable ingredients. 

All brands are not created equally, and many brands go to great lengths (no pun intended) to ensure their mascara formulas are safe and gentle on your eyes. 

  • Opt for a waterproof mascara that is wax-based. These formulas usually use natural, plant-based waxes to create a water-resistant layer on your lashes and are easier to remove than regular waterproof mascara.
  • Only apply waterproof mascara to the front of your lashes, never the back. Because it can be drying, applying it to both sides can make your lashes extremely fragile and brittle. 
  • Don’t sleep in your waterproof mascara. This can lead to lash damage if you rub your eyes during your sleep or roll onto your face and rub your lashes against your pillow. 
  • Practice safe removal. When it’s time to remove your waterproof mascara, your facial cleanser probably isn’t going to be able to do the trick. 

To remove mascara safely, you’ve got a few different options. 

How Do I Remove Waterproof Mascara?

It’s best to remove waterproof mascara as soon as you no longer need to wear it. For instance, if you wore it to a wedding or a funeral, take it off when you get home and opt for either bare lashes or a non-water-resistant formula. 

Take it off safely by following these tips:

1. Use an Oil Based Cleanser

Almost all mascara will respond to a dual-phase, oil-based makeup remover, like Melt Away. Lashify’s remover is designed to help break Lashify Bonds but can also help you remove stubborn waterproof mascara. It’s hypoallergenic and hydrating, so you don’t have to worry about it drying out your sensitive eye-area skin. 

2. Use a Clean Cotton Round

Avoid using a cloth to remove your mascara, which could prompt you to rub your eyes and leave them red and raw. Instead, use a clean cotton round with a good amount of makeup remover saturating it. 

Using the round, gently hold it against your lashes for about fifteen seconds to break down the polymers and silicones, then gently slide the mascara off your lashes with the same cotton round. 

3. Use a Clean Spoolie Wand

If you’re still having trouble removing your mascara, try dipping a clean spoolie into your makeup remover and then running it through your lashes in the same way you’d apply mascara. This can help break down the mascara bonds on each individual lash. 

Next, take a cotton round saturated with makeup remover and gently slide it over your lashes to remove the last traces of mascara. 

4. Follow Up With Face Cleanser

After you’ve finished removing your mascara, you’ll want to use a facial cleanser to remove any remaining mascara smudges and to completely remove the makeup remover from the eye area. Lashify Pre-Cleanse Cleansing Water is a Japanese Cleansing Water that is strong enough to remove dirt, oil, and makeup but gentle enough to be used as a facial cleanser.

5. Pat Dry

Once you’ve cleansed your lashes and face, pat dry and let your lashes rest for a few hours. Remember, waterproof mascara can dehydrate your lashes, so you should really only use it when you absolutely need to. 

If you’d love to have lashes that are long and voluminous and never need an extensive mascara-removing regimen, you should try the Lashify DIY Lash Extension™ System.

Lashify: Lash Love Without Mascara

Break up with your mascara, even your favorite waterproof brand. Lashify Gossamer® lashes are made from 100% Korean PBT silk and are completely vegan and cruelty-free

Gossamer lashes won’t melt during a romcom or leave you with smudges beneath your eyes. Best of all, they’ll never damage your natural lashes. 

How It Works

Our Gossamer lashes are applied to your natural lashes using Underlash Technology™, which allows them to be placed beneath your natural lashes for a more comfortable feel and a forgiving application. 

We never use glue for our lashes. Lash glue is notorious for having a similar effect on your lashes as waterproof mascara, drying them out and causing them to become brittle and break. 

Instead, we use Bonds that contain no harsh chemicals. Our Bonds are formulated with biotin to support your natural lashes while you wear your Gossamer lash extensions.

With proper care, our Gossamer lashes can last up to 10 days. You can even add our Water Poof™ Sealer to your Gossamer lashes to make them water-resistant. When it’s time to remove your Gossamer lashes, Melt Away helps slide them off easily and without any lash damage. 

You can get everything you need to go mascara-free by grabbing the Lashify Control Kit™.

Get Control

The Control Kit gives you the basics for Lashify application, including your very first Gossamers to build your lash wardrobe. 

Each kit contains:

  • Two sets of Gossamer lashes
  • Fuse Control® Wand
  • One set of Wandoms®
  • Whisper Light Bond™
  • Glass Finishing Coat
  • Samples
  • Hard, protective carrying case with mirror

You get all the tools you need to get great lashes that never require mascara or mascara removal. It’s a lash win that will change the way you think about waterproof mascara.

Lashify: Your New Addiction

Waterproof mascara can get sticky, and it can be really difficult to remove. When you’re ready to toss your mascara once and for all, get the Lashify Control Kit and level up your lash game. 


Explainer: What are polymers? | Science News

Mink Eyelashes Exposed: What Salons Won't Tell You | PETA

Is Eyelash Glue Toxic? | Poison Control

Biotin | Health Professional Fact Sheet