Harsh mascara removal methods can damage your lashes, but our tips will help you eliminate any traces of mascara while leaving your lashes safe and intact. Our guide is guaranteed to leave your eyes feeling clean and fresh, so you’ll never have to worry about waking up with raccoon eyes in the morning ever again!
Check out our guide for removing even the toughest waterproof mascara! We’ve compiled the most comprehensive mascara removal methods to leave your eyes makeup-free at the end of the day.
Choose Your Makeup Remover
To start, you’ll need to choose your ideal makeup removing product. We’ve written a lot about the different mascara methods, but just to summarize:
- Cleansing oils are our favorites for a few reasons: they’re incredibly gentle and even moisturizing to the lashes, they can remove even tough waterproof mascara effectively, and you can use them to remove all of your makeup, beyond just mascara. The final bonus is that most cleansing oils are made with mild emulsifiers that make it possible to rinse them away with water at the end.
- Balm cleansers are very similar to cleansing oils, with the same benefits. The difference is that they’re solid and come in a jar, so you’ll have to rub them in your hands a little to melt them down. Some beauty lovers find that they’re less messy to use, while others firmly prefer the already liquidy cleansing oils.
- Micellar water can be nice if you have oily skin and want to avoid oils, but just keep in mind that not all micellar water formulas will remove waterproof mascara easily.
- Makeup removers are often the strongest option for removing very persistent mascara. They’re usually designed with both oils and emulsifiers in a dual-phase formulate. This makes them sort of like a two-in-one oil cleanser and micellar water. They can be a little heavy all over the face, but they’re fantastic for removing waterproof eye makeup.
- Milk cleansers are a gentle, moisturizing option that works best with regular, washable mascara. They’re usually (though not always) too mild for waterproof formulas, but they’re lighter than oils yet more moisturizing than micellar water, so they can be another great choice.
- Finally, you can use regular botanical oil, either from a natural beauty brand or from your kitchen. The oil might leave a bit of a residue on your skin, but it’s a cheap remover that works very well if you don’t have any other option on hand.
Consider Your Removal Aid
The next thing you will probably need is some sort of aid that you can saturate with your mascara remover of choice. Once again, you have a few options!
- A cotton pad is the classic choice, of course. We recommend selecting a sturdy, lint-free cotton pad that won’t break down or leave bits of cotton in your lashes.
- Reusable cotton pads are another great option. They’re as gentle as disposable cotton pads, but since they’re washable, they’re better for your pockets and for the environment.
- The Makeup Eraser is a great little cloth that helps remove makeup gently. It’s washable, gentle, and it’s large enough to use on the entire face. When damp, it can actually remove washable makeup products all on its own, but we like to combine it with a proper remover to get rid of a full face of waterproof makeup more easily.
- Finally, some beauty lovers swear by disposable makeup remover wipes. However, we find that they’re not as effective as pads, and they can also be quite wasteful.
Take Your Time
Once you’ve got all of your equipment, it’s time to actually remove your mascara. It’s not a complicated process, but we do recommend you go slow and gentle.
- First, saturate your cotton pad or cloth with your makeup remover of choice. It should be thoroughly damp but not dripping.
- Then, obviously, you’ll have to close your eyes. Hold the cotton pad against your eyes for 5-10 seconds. Seriously, count the seconds out with Mississippis and everything – 5 seconds is longer than you think, but it is the minimum amount of time required for your remover to properly dissolve the mascara.
- After the time has elapsed, gently wipe the cotton pad downwards. This should remove most of the mascara from your upper lashes without pulling on them.
- Hold the cotton pad again, this time with your eyes open, against your lower lashes. You might have to fold the cotton pad first to get it to fit into the space. After a few moments, wipe downwards again.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
The process up until now might have been enough to make all of your mascara disappear (especially if you went easy on the coats or used a washable formula). However, if it wasn’t, you might need to repeat a few steps.
- Do one more swipe, this time wiping the cotton pad over the eyelashes going from the inner corner of the eye and downwards on a slight diagonal.
- If your mascara happens to be super strong and unremovable, simply repeat the whole process but this time, hold the saturated cotton pad against your eye for a full 20 seconds.
- Sometimes a bit of mascara and eyeliner remain along the top and bottom lash lines. Use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to gently cleanse in between the lashes.
A Nourishing Finish
Once you’ve removed your mascara (as well as the rest of your eye makeup), it’s time to give the skin around your eyes some extra TLC.
- If there’s still any oily remover residue on your skin, you may want to rinse your face again. If the residue is really persistent, cleansing with a gentle foaming cleanser might also be necessary.
- Then, nourish the skin around your eyes either with a gentle, fragrance-free serum, moisturizer, or your favorite eye cream.
- Finally, apply a thin coat of lash serum if you’d like to give your lashes added nourishment or if you’re looking to improve lash growth.
Tips for Removing Mascara from Lash Extensions
If you’ve got eyelash extensions on, you’ll need to be a little more careful when removing mascara. In general, it’s best to skip mascara altogether, and if you do wear it, always choose a washable formula. With all that said, here are our added tips.
- First, always choose oil-free makeup remover, gentle foaming cleanser, or micellar water since oil-based removers and cleansers can weaken the glue that keeps your extensions attached.
- Instead of a cotton pad (even the softest one can still damage your extensions), use a clean mascara spoolie.
- First, either gently wipe the remover over your lashes with your ring finger to break down your mascara (this is more effective, but a little rougher on the lashes) or dip the mascara spoolie in your remover of choice.
- Next, brush the spoolie through your lashes to break down and remove your mascara.
- Finally, either clean your lashes with a special lash extension cleanser and then rinse with water, or simply dab at the remover on your lashes with a tissue to remove excess.
Tips for Removing Mascara from False Lashes
Do you love falsies? So do we! However, removing them always feels a little dramatic. Here are our tips for removing both mascara and false lashes.
- To start, use your makeup remover-soaked pad, and hold it against your eye for the full ten seconds. This will help break down the false eyelash glue gently.
- Next, grab your falsies along the inner corner of the eye, grabbing the lashes as close to their base as you can (be careful not to grab on to any of your natural lashes!).
- Pull the falsies outwards, towards the outer corner of your eye. They should come off cleanly.
- Then, use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to gently remove any glue residue from along your lash line.
- Finally, remove your mascara thoroughly following the process we outlined earlier in the article!
Photos via @leighdickson, @grishina.viktoria, Instagram