How To Remove Waterproof Mascara Without Yanking Your Lashes Out

Anyone who's ever tried to remove waterproof mascara with a makeup wipe, or long-wear liner with a gel cleanser, knows that there's only one victim in the dreadful task: your poor, delicate lashes. Sure, we want our makeup to last through an apocalypse, but that also means care must be taken to ensure you don't end up with red, irritated eyes and a cotton round full of your natural lashes.
When it comes to taking off our makeup — whether you swear by mascara, falsies, or extensions — your lashes deserve extra care. In order to get the scoop on the best products and steps to properly clean the delicate eye area, we asked the experts for their expertise. The best products and tips for limiting irritation and lash lost, ahead.
Advertisement
There is a lot of product out there — some would say too much. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
1 of 10
For No-Rinse Removal

Swap your basic face wipes for these no-rinse pads. They're perfect for easy cleaning, which is much appreciated whether you're removing your mascara before a workout or you're way too tired to get to the sink before falling asleep.
2 of 10
Raccoon eyes can happen anywhere, which makes eye wipes that much more convenient in a gym bag or tote. This travel-friendly option offers you over a month's worth of nourishing pads for under $5.
Advertisement
3 of 10
For Dry, Brittle Lashes

Why just cleanse your eyelashes when you can simultaneously make them stronger? This oil-free eyelash conditioner has proteins and cornflower water that will strengthen, nourish, and soften your lashes. Soak a cotton pad with 1-2 drops of the product, press onto lashes, and let it in sink for a few seconds to allow it to work its magic. Best part: You don't rinse it out.
4 of 10
For Sensitive Eyes

Do you avoid wearing mascara because your eyes get red and angry when it's time to remove it? This eye makeup remover was made for you. It has a gel-like formula — with thermal spring water — that soothes, softens, and hydrates your skin without causing any tears or redness.
5 of 10
For Waterproof Mascara

Benefit knows a thing or two when it comes to mascara (like giving us an iconic one), and the brand has a product dedicated just to removing it, too. The creamy gel formula lifts away all traces of your waterproof mascara so that you won't experience those pesky black flakes post-cleanse.
6 of 10
"I always have to wear waterproof makeup because I love to cry and I'm constantly getting raccoon eyes because of flaky mascara. I rely on these easy cleansing wipes in rose to take it off ," says Refinery29 senior beauty writer Rachel Lubitz. "They smell really nice, but it doesn't have an overwhelming rose scent."
7 of 10
For False Eyelashes

It's about having patience when it comes to cleaning your falsies, but it's all worth it so that you aren't shelling out coins every time you want to add extra volume to your eyes. "After I've gently peeled off my lashes from my lid, the first thing I do is use a tweezer to carefully remove the adhesive off the lash strip," says beauty vlogger Diana Saldana. "Then, I dip a Q-tip into an oil free makeup remover, and gently clean off the lash strip. This way your lashes can last longer and will look super fresh next time you wear them."

We suggest this classic, budget-friendly eye makeup remover that's oil free and gets the job done without leaving residue or a greasy feel.
Advertisement
8 of 10
This beauty industry favorite is cherished for a reason. The effective formula is gentle enough for everyday use, and it's oil free, making it perfect for cleaning your false eyelashes. Plus, with vitamin-E and skin-saving benefits, you'll want to massage it in all over your face after you're done wiping your falsies.
9 of 10
For Eyelash Extensions

Although you might not be reaching for the mascara with lash extensions, you will need to clean off any eyeshadow and liner that you layered on your eyes and it's important to know that the cleansing products you use can affect the longevity of your extensions.

"Oil and alcohol will break down the adhesive of your lash extensions and cause you to lose lashes faster," says Amy Kendall, New York-based aesthetician specializing in eyelash extensions. "Also, avoid cotton pads or wipes. The last thing you want is fuzzies caught in your lashes and irritating your eyes." To make your extensions last, Kendall suggests cleaning with a pointed cotton swap dipped in micellar water. We love this bestselling option that also doubles as a cleanser.
10 of 10
This oil-free lash shampoo was made with eyelash extensions in mind. The easy-to-use tool will give your lashes a deep clean, getting in between every lash — for any eyeshadow residue or the mascara you used to more volume— but without any tearing or fallout.
Advertisement

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series