Don't Make This Mistake While Removing Waterproof Mascara

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.

When it comes to makeup, there's no denying the benefits of waterproof formulas. You don't have to worry about constantly reapplying your lipstick after one cup of coffee, having your foundation melt off before lunch, or the worst of the worst, getting raccoon eyes. That one particular experience is why so many of us are committed to finding waterproof mascaras that stay in place.

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However, as much as we love a good waterproof mascara, there is the dreaded act of having to actually take it off. Being that it's waterproof, you can't simply wash it away with water. And when you go in with your cleansers or removal wipes, you find yourself tugging, rubbing, and losing lashes along the way.

So how do you remove your smudge-proof mascara without lash casualty? We asked the pros.

All the pros we spoke to pointed out the same common mistake: The tendency to start tugging or swiping right away. "People don't give the makeup remover proper time to start breaking down the mascara," says celebrity makeup artist Colby Smith. "If you just start scrubbing right away, you could actually pull out or break your lashes."

So how do you properly break down your mascara so it's easy to remove? "Hold and press the a soaked cotton pad over your eyelid for a few seconds and wipe away," Garnier consulting celebrity makeup artist Millie Morales suggests. Smith agrees, adding, "This allows the remover to do its job and start to gently break the mascara down." Then gently swipe and most of the product should come off.

"Do not tug at your lashes" says Dominique Lerma, makeup artist and Moda Brush executive artist, who says direction is also important. "Gently swivel in a back and forth motion when removing." Morales also stresses finding removers that are intended for waterproof formulas, because without them people tend to "harshly rub the eye area leaving the eyes sensitive and irritable," she adds.

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Although cotton pads are known to be handy, especially for makeup artists, Lerma urges those that aren't makeup artists to invest in reusable pads for at-home makeup removal. It's not just environmentally friendly, but loose cotton fibers could also get caught in your lashes, which can get in your eyes and cause irritation. Eco-friendly pads work just as effectively when you soak with a preferred cleanser to then, go for the suggested tactic of holding it down to break up the product.

Aside from micellar water, Lerma also advises looking into gentle oil cleansers that also work to break down these formulas. "Oil-based removers ensure a deep clean of the lashes," she adds.

Whatever you do choose for the removal of your waterproof mascara, it's ultimately important to be gentle and to make sure to get all of it off so that you keep your eye area safe, even if it's time consuming. "Leaving product can lead to the breakage of eyelashes, and bits of mascara and/or broken hairs can end up in the eyes," says dermatologist Hadley King, MD. "This can cause irritation, corneal abrasions, or worst case scenario, infections." And we can all agree that a few extra minutes is worth avoiding lash loss and potential issues like that.

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