Waterproof Mascara May Be A Lifesaver, But It Comes With Caveats

Waterproof mascara may seem like the best invention since sliced bread — you can wear it without having to worry about getting a raccoon-esque look with your mascara smearing beneath your lower eyelid or dripping down your cheeks. A waterproof formula is especially a lifesaver during the hot summer months when you step outside and immediately begin to sweat, or you're lounging by the pool and don't want to worry about the water affecting your eyelashes. But as amazing as waterproof mascara is, it does come with some caveats. Made primarily of silicone and wax components to keep the waterproof magic working throughout the length of wear, waterproof mascara requires special attention that you should know about.

When it comes to wearing waterproof mascara, it's all about your approach and technique. The latter isn't necessarily focused on how you apply the product, but rather on how you manage the health of your lashes, how you remove waterproof mascara, and how you generally care for your eyes and the eyelashes that protect them. Remember, without healthy eyelashes, waterproof mascara can't perform its magic — so keep these things in mind before you reach for your mascara wand.

Proper removal is everything

One of the biggest debates when it comes to waterproof mascara is how to properly remove it. The double edge to the waterproof formula means that the magic it works while you're wearing the product keeps your mascara from smudging or running down your face, but that also makes it difficult to remove at the end of the day. Thankfully, there are some definitive answers out there backed by medically trained professionals and experts who offer their advice on the proper way to remove waterproof mascara. 

According to MasterClass, there are a few options experts recommend for removing waterproof makeup, including the use of micellar cleansing water, tear-free baby shampoo, waterproof eye makeup remover, and oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, and baby oil. Skincare brand Curology suggests using a cotton ball or pad soaked in the recommended solution of your choice. Instead of scrubbing your lashes, which can irritate your eye and the sensitive skin surrounding your eyelids, gently press the cotton against your lashes — holding it against your closed eyelids in 30-second intervals — until the mascara loosens and removes itself. Following proper removal techniques will protect your eyelashes, your eyelids, and, of course, your eyes — and when it comes to such a key component of your body, you want to stay up to par.

Your bedtime routine is important

No matter the time of day, when it comes to removing waterproof mascara, you should always follow the correct technique. But this is especially true during your bedtime routine as you prepare to tuck in for the night. Since your face will likely be pressed against a pillow for the next eight hours, you'll want to be certain that your eye makeup is sufficiently removed and your eyelashes are appropriately cared for.

Waterproof mascara can dry out eyelashes, causing them to become brittle, crack, and potentially fall out. To avoid this, you want to make certain that your mascara is 100% removed before bed. Leaving waterproof mascara on overnight can also pose a risk to your eye health, according to Makeup Muddle. The wax and oils used to create the waterproof effect can seep into your eyes as they are pressed against your pillow while you sleep, placing your eyes at risk of irritation, bacterial infections, or styes.

Given how important eyesight is, you want to protect your eyes at all costs, so properly removing your waterproof mascara is a small task in light of your overall eye health. Overnight eyelash serums, or cosmetic serums in general, aren't necessarily effective products to use to keep your lash line healthy, and they certainly can't prevent infections. Instead of adding more products to your regimen to try to offset bad habits, simply make sure you completely remove your waterproof mascara before you go to sleep.

Keep your lashes hydrated

Even if you remove it at the end of the day, waterproof mascara is known to dry out eyelashes, so there are additional steps you can take to keep your lashes hydrated if waterproof mascara is a regular part of your routine. WebMD suggests using a lash conditioner to keep your eyelashes moisturized between waterproof mascara uses. You can also use lash conditioner before applying mascara, both regular and waterproof. Another product to consider adding to your regimen is lash primer, which can protect eyelashes from drying out during your wear of waterproof mascara.

When applying any product to your eyelashes — whether conditioner, primer, mascara, or something else — remember to never tug or pull at your lashes, since doing so can actually pull them out. The same rule of thumb goes for using eyelash curlers, which you want to be mindful of using gently, particularly when paired with waterproof mascara. Since eyelash curlers can bend eyelashes, having potentially brittle eyelashes from the use of waterproof mascara might not be a good combination with an eyelash curler if you're too aggressive with either beauty item.

Between a high-quality eyelash conditioner, a good mascara primer, and gentle treatment when applying them, your eyelashes will be set to wear your waterproof mascara without losing as much moisture. And of course, removing your makeup and mascara at the end of the day will give your eyelashes a breather and help keep them naturally hydrated.

Know the ingredients in your mascara

One of the caveats that comes with any product you apply to your body is whether it's made up of ingredients you feel safe using — and waterproof mascara is no different. Since skincare, beauty, and makeup products may be absorbed to some degree into your skin, it's extremely important to know the ingredients in each item you choose. For waterproof mascara, it's likely that there will be oil, wax, and silicone components in addition to the pigments and dyes used to create the color and shade of the specific mascara.

Makeup Muddle reports that mascaras on the market commonly use waxes like carnauba wax, paraffin wax, beeswax, and ceresin, while the oils in popular mascaras generally include castor oil, lanolin oil, mineral oil, and even olive oil. You can find mascaras with only naturally derived ingredients, but be mindful that even if an item is labeled as being natural, you should always check the ingredients label to be certain — as well as keep in mind that "natural" doesn't always mean "free from potential downsides."

Additionally, finding a waterproof mascara with an oil that works well with your eyelashes can help to hydrate your eyelashes and protect them from the waxes and silicones that are prone to dry them out. Know what works best with your lashes and your body, then search for waterproof mascara that you feel comfortable and safe using. When in doubt, always consult with a dermatologist or other trained healthcare professional.