5 Alternative Ways To Safely Remove Waterproof Mascara When You Don't Have Makeup Remover

Waterproof mascara is one of makeup's greatest inventions. When we need that staying power for wet days or events where we know we'll shed some tears, the smudge-free option is always handy. They're also great for those whose lashes defiantly uncurl throughout the day, as the formula isn't as wet as regular mascaras and helps lift the hairs better. "Waterproof mascara works due to its unique formulation that incorporates water-resistant ingredients," beauty chemist David Petrillo told Who What Wear before adding, "It contains hydrophobic polymers that form a protective barrier around the lashes, preventing water from causing smudging or running. The mascara's wax or oil base helps it adhere to the lashes and resist breakdown when exposed to moisture."


While waterproof mascara is a lifesaver, it comes with caveats, and taking it off is a battle of its own accord. You need a good makeup remover to take off all the remnants, but sometimes you may find yourself without one. If you're in a jam, there are plenty of other options for taking off your cry-proof mascara, and you may be surprised to find that some of these items might be already scattered throughout your home.

Micellar water is a gentle makeup remover

Micellar water comes from France, and it's not just H20, as the name suggests. On this beauty staple, dermatologist Dr. Alok Vij told the Cleveland Clinic, "The name comes from a micelle, which is a collection of molecules." He continued, "And it's called micellar water because there's such a mild concentration of soap or detergent molecules in the water that it basically like little microscopic bubbles floating in water, so it doesn't even feel like a soapy solution — it just it feels like water." While it's a great alternative to makeup remover, Dr. Vij also mentioned that it may not completely remove waterproof mascara. However, it provides a safe and gentle way to mostly strip your lashes of makeup.


An effective way to use micellar water is to wet a cotton pad with it and press it over your lashes for about 30 seconds to allow the product to absorb. Lightly sweep the pad down your eyes and repeat as necessary. Be sure not to tug your eyes too hard, though, or you might cause irritation or lash fallout.

Coconut and olive oils are all-natural options to remove waterproof mascara

Most people have coconut oil or olive oil in their pantry, and believe it or not, they're effective waterproof mascara removers. All you need to do is add a few drops onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it over your eyes. Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid in its natural state, so you will have to warm it up to melt it. You can do so quickly and safely by massaging a bit between your fingertips until it melts and then applying the coconut oil directly onto your eyes. Then, use your cotton pad to wipe off the makeup. After the mascara is removed, take off any residual oil with a damp washcloth. The bonus is that you may be left with smooth, soft skin due to the oil's moisturizing properties.


Coconut can clog pores and otherwise affect certain skin types, so those prone to breakouts should be aware. "On the flip side, coconut oil also has been shown to help some with acne-prone skin as it has antibacterial [properties] and helps reduce inflammation on skin," dermatologist Tiffany Libby told Byrdie. "Not everyone will react the same to using coconut oil, so it may be a good idea to patch-test coconut oil first to investigate for skin irritation," Dr. Libby advised. She recommended fully cleansing your face afterward and then moisturizing it with a serum and facial cream.

Baby oil can effectively take off waterproof mascara

Baby oil is such a versatile product that everyone should have a bottle of one in their bathroom cabinet. Not only does it make skin baby-soft but it's also an inexpensive, gentle product that'll remove eye makeup. Since it's designed to be used on babies, the ingredients are also gentle enough for your eye area. Baby oils come in either an oil or gel form, so all you have to do is flip open the cap, pour a dime-sized amount onto a cotton pad, and wipe it along your lash line.


Out of cotton pads? TikTok user Chantal Perrez (@chantalperrez) has an easy way to remove her waterproof mascara. She just put a small drop on her fingers and gently rubbed the oil over her lashes. "I'm barely even rubbing anything and you can already see there's no mascara on my lashes," she says in her video. Just note that if you use this method, you will have to cleanse your face afterward, as you will have some makeup residue around your eyes.

Use a double-cleansing method

Double cleansing is great for ensuring all makeup is removed from your skin, and you can skip using a makeup remover for your waterproof mascara. The first step involves using an oil-based cleanser on dry skin. Rub the formula all over your face, including your eyes to break down the mascara. Gently rub the oil on your skin for a minute or two, and then wash it away with lukewarm water. Next, use a water-based cleanser to wash away the oil and any traces of makeup that may be left on your skin.


On this method, CEO of Kodmoderma Clinics Dr. Chytra V. Anand told Vogue India, "Double cleansing is critical for people who use make-up regularly. One layer of cleansing is insufficient to remove all traces of makeup and pigment. Residual make-up can get absorbed into the deeper layers of skin at night and cause clogging." After you've washed your face, apply moisturizer to prevent the skin from drying. "Even a single cleanse can temporarily breach the skin barrier and lead to trans-epidermal water loss resulting in dehydrated skin. It is critical to apply a ceramide-based moisturizer post double cleansing," Dr. Anand advised.

Makeup remover sprays are a quick and easy way to remove waterproof mascara

You've heard of setting sprays, but did you know about handy makeup remover sprays? They either come in an aerosol can or a spritz bottle, and the product melts off your makeup with minimal effort. Celebrity makeup artist Allison Kaye's favorite is Skindinavia's, with her telling Real Simple, "I spray this all over my face and my makeup immediately starts to melt off. After [waiting a few seconds], I will take a makeup wipe and begin to gently remove my makeup with long gentle strokes — not rubbing."


YouTuber Jen Luv tried Patrick Starrr's One/Size GO OFF Makeup Dissolving Mist and thought the product did well at removing her makeup. She did, however, see a bit of mascara left on her lashes after wiping her face with a washcloth, so users will want to wash their faces afterward. "This is a very effective makeup remover, but keep in mind this is not a cleanser ... All it is is removing your makeup," Luv explained. So, while makeup remover sprays are convenient for taking off products, be sure to follow up with a thorough cleansing and moisturizing.