How to Remove Waterproof Mascara Without Makeup Remover?

How to Remove Waterproof Mascara Without Makeup Remover

Waterproof mascara has been a godsend in the makeup industry since its initial release in 1938. Whether you need your lashes to withstand exposure to rainy conditions or some tears, waterproof mascara can guarantee long-lasting coverage.

Unfortunately, due to being made with heavy-duty materials that resist moisture, waterproof mascara can often be quite challenging to remove. Rather than shelling out for expensive makeup removers, there are several DIY hacks and natural alternatives you can use.

If you want to avoid raccoon eyes, there are inexpensive household items from petroleum jelly to coconut oil that can remove even the toughest mascaras with ease.

Before trying out any of the following products as a makeup remover, it is always important that you do a patch test on a small area of your skin to determine if you’re likely to have an adverse reaction. In addition, these options are meant to remove mascara quickly and efficiently, so try to avoid rubbing your eyelids too harshly.

Coconut Oil or Olive Oil

Gentle oils like coconut or olive oil are a great, natural alternative to makeup remover. Not only do the oils remove mascara and other makeup with ease, but they also help moisturize dry skin. Once you’ve washed it off, your face will feel soft and supple.

Here are the steps to removing waterproof mascara with coconut or olive oil:

Step 1: Using your hands or a wet washcloth, dampen your eyelids with warm water. The water will act as a bit of a barrier against the oil, allowing your eyes not to become too greasy.

Step 2: Add two to three drops of your preferred oil onto the center of a cotton makeup pad. Rub the edges of the pad until it’s completely coated with the oil.

Step 3: Close your first eye and gently press the cotton pad over it, covering your eyelashes for 30 seconds to a minute. This will allow the oil to soak into your lashes and break down the waterproof mascara. If you’re using coconut oil, try to limit the time to 30 seconds.

Step 4: Using the same pad, gently wipe away the broken-down mascara in a single direction from the eye’s inner corner to the outer corner. Lightly rub the pad over your lower eyelids to remove the mascara from your bottom lashes. Repeat steps one to four on the other eye. If the pad produces an overwhelming amount of muddied mascara, use a new pad.

Step 5: Wash your face with warm water and your preferred cleanser to remove any oil or makeup residue. Proceed with your regular skin routine.

Baby Oil

Baby oil is a great makeup remover alternative, mainly because of how gentle it is on the skin. After all, babies tend to have super sensitive skin, so using something that’s safe for them and their diaper rashes can double up as an effective and moisturizing makeup remover. What’s more, if you’re a new mother, you’ll have no problem finding baby oil around the house when you need it!

Here are the steps to removing waterproof mascara with baby oil:

Step 1: Apply a pea-sized amount of baby oil onto your makeup pad. You may put on more if needed as you begin to wipe the mascara away.

Step 2: Close your first eye and apply gentle pressure over it with the cotton pad, wiping away the mascara in a single direction from the eye’s inner corner to the outer corner. Lightly rub the pad over your lower eyelids in the same direction to remove the mascara from your bottom lashes. As you do, try your best not to get any of the baby oil in your eye. Rinse with warm water if your eye becomes irritated.

Step 3: Wash your face with warm water and your preferred cleanser to remove any oil or makeup residue. Proceed with your regular skin routine.

In addition to wiping the mascara away directly using the baby oil, you could also concoct your own makeup remover by mixing a bit of baby oil with your cleanser.

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is an everyday household item that’s been used as a natural beauty remedy for years. Many beauty advisors swear by using it around the eyes as a part of a nightly skin routine to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and moisturize the skin. Due to its petroleum oil base, it also happens to be an effective and gentle alternative to makeup remover.

Here are the steps to removing waterproof mascara with petroleum jelly.  

Step 1: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and place a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly in the palm of your hands. Ensure your hands are dry so the jelly does not runoff.

Step 2: Using your thumb and forefinger, dip into the petroleum jelly and apply a thin coat on both sides of your upper lashes with your eye closed. Then use your forefinger to gently and carefully rub the jelly onto your lower lashes.

Step 3: Keep your eye closed and allow the petroleum jelly to soak into your lashes for about five minutes as it breaks down the mascara.  

Step 4: Dampen a cotton makeup pad with warm water. With your eye still closed, gently wipe your eyelid and lashes from the inner corner towards the outer corner. Allow the soaked pad to wipe away the petroleum jelly and broken-down mascara. You may also wipe in a downward motion on your lashes, from root to tip, to prevent the petroleum jelly from getting into your eyes.

Step 5: Wipe away any excess residue from the jelly or the mascara. Wash your face with warm water and your preferred cleanser to remove any oil or makeup residue. Proceed with your regular skin routine.

Aloe Vera

We all know that aloe vera is super helpful for a multitude of issues that require soothing skin relief. But it also happens to be an excellent alternative for makeup remover for those with oily skin. That’s because aloe vera is gentle on the skin and moisturizes without leaving any greasy or oily residue. As well, if your eyes are puffy or irritated for any reason, the aloe can reduce inflammation and redness around the eyes.

Here are the steps to removing waterproof mascara with aloe vera:

Step 1: Extract the aloe juice from the aloe vera plant by cutting a stem open and scooping out the jelly with a spoon. Place the jelly into a strainer and push the spoon down to strain out the juice. To save time, you may purchase readily extracted aloe juice from any health food store.

Step 2: Mix 1 ½ cups of aloe juice with ½ cup of oil of your choice. Coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil work best. Keep the mixture in a jar or bottle with a tight lid.

Step 3: Shake the aloe juice and oil mixture vigorously so that it can combine (it will begin to separate when left to stand for too long). Moisten a cotton makeup pad with the mixture and wipe your eyelid from the inner corner to the direction of the outer corner. Use another pad for any leftover mascara residue.

Step 5: Wash your face with warm water and your preferred cleanser to remove any oil or makeup residue. Proceed with your regular skin routine.

Store the aloe vera mixture in your refrigerator when not in use. The mixture should be safe to use for up to a month. 

Other Makeup Remover Alternatives

Some other household options for DIY makeup removers that are great for getting rid of waterproof mascara include:

  • Grapeseed and Castor Oil
  • No Tears Baby Shampoo
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Gentle Soap


The following are some commonly asked questions associated with makeup remover and removing waterproof mascara.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Makeup Remover or Makeup Wipes?

Some brands of makeup removers may be effective but are often full of harsh and harmful chemicals that can irritate the skin over time and potentially disrupt your skin’s pH balance. The abrasive chemicals may also destroy our skin’s acid mantle, which acts as a protective layer that keeps out dirt and other impurities. Not only that, but harsh makeup removers can strip skin of its natural, necessary oils.

Whether you decide to use a store-bought makeup remover or any of the home remedies we’ve discussed, it’s a good idea to clean your skin with a facial cleanser afterward. Unfortunately, makeup removers and wipes are not manufactured to cleanse skin and often leave makeup residue behind that enters and clogs up pores when the skin isn’t cleaned correctly.

What is the Safest Eye Makeup Remover?

Makeup removers free of ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), phthalates, and parabens are usually the safest ones to use. SLS is regarded as a toxic chemical that can cause skin and eye irritation as well as acne around the mouth and chin. It can often be labeled as sodium coco sulfate.

Phthalates are chemicals that have been linked to reproductive issues and birth issues. Many beauty products that include “fragrance” in their ingredient list are prone to hiding other harmful chemicals, including phthalates. Given that, it’s often best to stay away from these products.

Parabens are also widely known in the beauty industry to have many harmful effects that are similar, including issues with fertility, reproductive health, and risks of cancer.

Can You Remove Makeup with Just Water?

It’s highly unlikely that using water on its own will remove all the mascara residue off your eyelashes, even if the mascara is not waterproof. Eye makeup remover aims to dissolve the makeup, so no residue is left lingering on your eyes. At the very least, you should be using a cleanser to clean up any makeup resider and prevent oils from clogging your pores.

Can You Remove Mascara with Soap and Water?

We would always recommend using an eye makeup remover when removing any eye makeup. The eye area is very sensitive, so rubbing aggressively with water and soap in an attempt to remove your makeup can lead to skin irritation, eye redness, and at times eyelash fallout.

An eye makeup remover works to break down eye makeup quickly, gently, and efficiently. Any mascara or eye makeup residue left behind might lead to painful and unsightly eye infections like styes. In addition, since the skin around the eye is so thin, rubbing it excessively with abrasive chemicals could make you more prone to wrinkles.

What Is the Best Homemade Makeup Remover?

We would recommend any of the options we’ve discussed in this article as a safe and effective makeup remover. Generally, any oils that are not too heavy mixed with a little bit of water will do the trick. Not only will natural oils dissolve the waterproof mascara easily and quickly, but they are also gentle on the skin and provide added moisture.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are lots of DIY options to make your own natural makeup remover alternatives, all made with inexpensive household ingredients. Take care not to get any of the substances in your eyes, and always start with a test patch before use.

It’s also important to note that despite its long-lasting effect, you might want to avoid overusing waterproof mascara. Removing it can take a toll on your skin over time, especially due to the thin layer of skin around your eyes.

When applying and removing eye makeup, you should also avoid touching your eye’s waterline (the pink flesh) so that germs and dirt from the mascara do not enter your eye. It’s also good practice to change your mascara every three months and regularly clean the brush. The dark, warm environment of most makeup containers makes excellent breeding spaces for bacteria.

Hopefully, this article will inspire you to avoid store-bought makeup removers now that you know what natural options are available to you. But if you choose to purchase any, be sure to check out the ingredient list for harmful ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), phthalates, and parabens.

Further reading material

I hope that you found this article inspiring to read and that you learned a lot about how to remove waterproof mascara without makeup remover. If so, I think I have something nice for you! Below you’ll find a small selection of articles that I think might interest you! Simply click on the link below and start reading some other articles.

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