Finding the perfect mascara formula is as difficult as finding the ultimate pair of jeans that fit just right. Some make eyelashes itchy, while others smudge under the eyes throughout the day. Trying multiple mascaras until the holy grail is found can irritate the eyes and drain one’s wallet. In an effort to get the product to stay put, many people opt for a waterproof formula for daily use to set it and forget it. But does waterproof mascara damage eyelashes?
Waterproof mascara contains ingredients that are very drying for eyelashes, which is what makes it stay in place all day. Mascara is designed to make eyelashes stiffer, which causes them to be brittle and more prone to breakage. Waterproof formulas make eyelashes ultra-stiff and contain extra waxes and silicone ingredients that are resilient to tears, sweat, and moisture. Excessively dry eyelashes tend to fall out more frequently and experience more breakage.
Another key factor when wearing waterproof mascara is the makeup removal process. The ingredients in waterproof mascara cause stress to eyelash fibers and make it more difficult to take off at the end of the day. It essentially takes more effort and stronger cleansers to completely remove from the face. Aggressive rubbing and pulling on the eyelash line will cause eyelashes to weaken over time and lead to other damage.
At the end of a long day, the last thing an individual wants to do is fight with their makeup to get a clean face. Sleeping with makeup on, especially mascara, can be detrimental to skin and more so to eyelashes. If a person chooses to sleep with waterproof mascara on, they run the risk of rolling over on a pillow, which can easily break those eyelashes.
Eyelashes are a very delicate fiber and can take weeks to months to fully grow back once they fall out (or get pulled out). Just like the hair on the head, eyelashes require hydration and conditioning. Using waterproof mascara occasionally will not cause significant damage to eyelashes; however, that formula on a daily basis will cause eyelashes to dry out and lead to further irritation, ultimately damaging them.
Although regular use of waterproof mascara does damage eyelashes, there are some alternative options. A regular mascara formula that has tubing polymers will protect eyelashes. Mascara primers are also a good first step when layering products. If one cannot find a primer, a regular mascara can be used and then topped off with the waterproof formula. The additional layer in between will help preserve the delicate eyelashes.
If an individual cannot get around using their favorite waterproof mascara, it is important to use appropriate items to help remove the product. Removing mascara with warm water and a gentle, oil-based cleansing solution is good. Bi-phase makeup removers usually contain oils that break down waterproof formulas much easier than water-based alternatives. Also, carefully massaging the oily product for 15 to 20 seconds before giving it a rinse is ideal, as it will take some time to cut through the drying, waterproof ingredients.
Amanda Azar Walsh, LME, is a professional makeup artist, medical aesthetician, and body wrapper based in South Florida. She is the founder and executive artist of Azar Beauty, lead artist for NewsmaxTV, Pelican Grand’s Pure Spa, and Studio 1 Talent Specialists. Walsh has a degree in business management from Florida Atlantic University, diplomas in fashion makeup from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry and Paramedical Aesthetics from Southeastern College, is dual-licensed, and holds over 40 certifications. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Businesswomen, National Aesthetic Spa Network, Look Good Feel Better®, and a RAW Artist® alumni.