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How to Remove Waterproof Mascara and Other Waterproof Makeup

Taking your makeup off at the end of the day, simplified. 

October 06, 2023

Waterproof makeup
is a well-used makeup category for people who always smudge their makeup, setting powder or setting spray be damned. It’s the preferred category of makeup for those with constant teary eyes or heavy sweaters who perspire on hot and cold days. But removing it all at the end of the day can be tough if you don’t have the right cleansers.


Thankfully there are several skin-loving makeup removers on the market that gently take off makeup without drying out the skin. This makes removing waterproof mascara, waterproof eyeliner and all forms of waterproof makeup easy; there’s no need for harsh eye rubbing or irritating ingredients. Below, we’re sharing how to remove waterproof mascara (three options) and other longwear makeup.


Can I Remove Waterproof Mascara With Just Water?

A good waterproof mascara will last through water, sweat tears and any form of moisture really. That’s why you’ll need a dedicated makeup remover that can target the waterproof product without the need to scrub your lashes. If you use just water to remove your waterproof mascara, it’s most likely not going to work. You may get some mascara off, but there will still be some residue lying on your lashes. Instead, reach for a makeup remover that will quickly dissolve any waterproof makeup, like waterproof mascara, with ease.


4 Types of Makeup Remover

Removing waterproof makeup is simple when you have the right type of makeup remover. With all the options in the beauty industry, it can be difficult to find the right one. To keep your search short, we’re listing what you need to know about three main types of makeup removers that erase any trace of waterproof makeup. The best part: None of these options involve harsh rubbing, which is something you definitely want to avoid — especially when it comes to your delicate eye area.


1. Traditional Eye Makeup Remover

Are you a fan of traditional eye makeup remover?  Sometimes an oldie but goodie is exactly the go-to you need. If that’s the case, look no further than the L’Oréal Paris Clean Eye Makeup Remover. This double-action formula gently and easily removes waterproof mascara and long-wearing eye makeup without leaving behind any greasy residue.


When it’s time to remove your makeup, saturate a cotton pad with the makeup remover, close your eyes and gently sweep the cotton pad across your lids. Do this gently and all forms of makeup will be removed without leaving behind an oily residue.


2. Makeup Removing Towelettes

After a long, exhausting day you probably want to hop right in bed and get some well-deserved sleep. However, before you get comfortable under the covers, you should take care of your skin by removing every stitch of makeup, including waterproof makeup, on your skin.


Keep a pack in your bag, on your bedside table or in your bathroom for a quick and gentle makeup removal session. You can use makeup remover wipes on your entire face and eyes without irritation or drying out your skin. Make sure you close the pack afterward so the other wipes don’t dry out. 


3. Cleansing Balms

This oil-based makeup remover is ideal for all skin types, especially dry skin, which can really use the added moisture that a cleansing balm offers. Cleansing balms remove makeup by dissolving residue from the skin with the infused oil. Depending on the product, you can apply a quarter amount to your face and gently rub the balm over your skin and eyelids to break up the makeup. Then, using a microfiber towel (or any soft towel), wipe the cleansing balm off and rinse any residue off with water. 


 The downside to cleansing balms is that they’re sometimes too oily and require an extra face cleanser to take off residue. If your face still feels grimy afterward, use the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser to remove makeup residue and gently exfoliate dead skin for a smoother complexion. 


4. Micellar Water

Micellar water is a gentle cleansing option that can also be used to remove makeup — yes, even the hardest-to-remove waterproof mascara. Micellar water is a liquid solution that is used to remove impurities like dirt and oil as well as makeup. It differs from traditional makeup removers since micellar water is technically not just used for makeup removal


 Remove makeup with micellar water by soaking a cotton pad with it and gently swipe away makeup until it’s completely removed. This may take a few wipes, especially if you’re wearing waterproof mascara, but it’s a great way to get all your eye makeup off without excessive rubbing.  


Next: The 10 Best Waterproof Mascaras That Won’t Smudge or Budge


Photographer: Nelson Huang, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Producer: Becca Solovay, Beauty Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Digi Tech: Jacky Jiang, Photo Assistant: Tyler Andrews, Model: Erin Williams

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