Why waterproof mascara is an unsung hero

The appeal of waterproof mascara extends far beyond being pool-friendly. Here is why you’ll want to add this eyelash product to your make-up kit.

Waterproof mascara has long been a divisive formula in the beauty community.

Designed not to budge, its strong hold also means it can be difficult to remove.

On the flip side, since it was first created bin 1938, waterproof mascara has become a popular option for hot, humid conditions that would otherwise cause traditional mascara to smudge.

“Waterproof mascara is a great option for people who have watery eyes, or oily skin around the eyes where regular mascara tends to smudge and run,” Melbourne make-up artist and hairstylist Holly Harnwell says.

“I use waterproof mascara for my wedding clients as it lasts much longer than regular mascara and won’t run if there are tears.”

But that’s not the product’s only selling point.

The curl appeal of waterproof mascara

In addition to its conventional use, waterproof mascara is a great option for those with poker-straight lashes that struggle to hold a curl.

Much like hairspray, the sealant nature of waterproof mascara can help to “set” a curl, so it stays put for the duration of make-up wear.

“Waterproof mascara is like concrete on your lashes,” Holly says.

“Once it dries, its formula is harder than regular mascara – so if you have straight lashes, curling them and then adding waterproof mascara can definitely help to hold the curl in place.”

For best results, use a lash curler on bare lashes to create your desired shape, then apply a thin layer of waterproof mascara to lock in the curl.

Allow the mascara to dry before adding additional layers for added volume and definition.

This technique is favoured by House of Wellness resident beauty guru, Jade Kisnorbo, who avoids layering waterproof mascara that hasn’t fully dried first as wet formulas can weigh down the lashes and give them a droopy appearance.


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Can waterproof mascara damage your lashes?

Waterproof mascara was created to stay on your lashes without budging, so removing it can take effort.

“Most people don’t know how to remove waterproof mascara properly, so they will scrub away at their lashes until it is gone,” Holly explains.

“If you’re doing this daily, it can absolutely damage your lashes.”

Ineffective or inadequate removal can also lead to remnants of the product staying on the lash, causing further irritation, and even causing lashes to fall out.


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How to safely remove waterproof mascara

Step 1: Choose an oil-based make-up remover

To avoid damaging your lashes, opt for an oil-based make-up remover, or an eye make-up remover specifically designed to remove stubborn products without irritating your eyes.

“The best way to remove waterproof mascara is to use oil as it breaks down the formula easily for you to wipe away; I like to use argan or coconut oil,” Holly says.

Step 2: Loosen the waterproof mascara on your lashes

“Put the oil on your fingertips and massage into the lashes with your eyes closed to soften and break down the formula,” Holly says.

Step 3: Gently wipe it away

“Use a wet cloth or make-up remover pad to gently wipe it (the mascara) off,” Holly says.

Still not keen on a complicated eye make-up removal process? Try a tubing mascara to achieve similar results to waterproof mascara.

“I often recommend tubing mascara to my clients as it won’t smudge or run and, unlike waterproof mascara, the removal has less of a toll on your lashes,” Holly says.

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Written by Charlotte Brundrett.