How To Remove Mascara Without Losing Your Lashes

by Melodi Erdogan

There are so many treatments, products, and tricks to volumizing, lengthening, and curling your lashes that sometimes I think we forget to preserve the ones that we already have, even sacrificing them as we strive to navigate ways to remove mascara without removing eyelashes. Even if you stay away from lash extensions and lash curlers, one of the easiest and most common ways that we lose those lashes is by removing mascara.

As much as I resent the black gunk for making my lashes brittle at times, mascara transforms my face. My eyes become so much bigger and brighter, really evolving into the focus on my face. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when I'm washing off my makeup and have to tug and pull at my lashes to get all the aforementioned gunk out.

I have seen one, two, and sometimes even four lashes go down the drain at the same time during my makeup removal routine. In an effort to preserve the eyelashes you do have and to be more gentle of your eyes when removing makeup, here are seven tips to remove mascara without irritating, tugging, or pulling at your eyes.

1. Stay Away From Waterproof Mascara Formulas

I know mascara choices are very personal decisions, but if there's one thing you can do to stop giving you eyelashes such a hard time during the removal process it's avoiding waterproof formulas. I realize that these formulas sometimes last longer than non-waterpoof ones, and they don't flake or break down nearly as much as others. But they're waterproof. It's going to take an army to wash them off. If you want to be gentle with your eyes and preserve your lashes, it's best to stay away from those heavy duty formulas (except for special, dance-all-night occasions).

2. Rinse With Water

Once you're ready to wash off your makeup, start by rinsing your face with a little bit of water. This is a personal trick I have learned over the years of applying and removing lots and lots of mascara. When water mixes with the products, they'll usually begin to break down on their own. Once you go in with actual removing agents, the process will be a lot easier and a lot less harsh.

3. Then Use Remover

Once you've rinsed with water, reach for a makeup removing wipe or liquid removal product on a cotton pad. With the cotton pad, use downward motions to remove the mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and everything else that's around your eyes. As you can see, the mascara doesn't completely come off, but the remover should break down the product just enough to have a cleanse with water afterwards to completely wash away any product left behind. You might look like a panda bear for a moment, but just see it as an opportunity for the perfect Snapchat.

4. Opt For Cheaper, Better Removers

Johnson's Baby Shampoo, $5, AmazonJohnson's Baby Oil, $5 , Amazon

Makeup remover can be a huge burden on a budget. Luckily, there are beauty products out there that aren't necessarily marketed as removers, but will still do the job well. A personal favorite of mine is baby oil, as it breaks down even the toughest formulas and makes mascara easy to wash away. Even cleansers have makeup removing agents, so you can double up on products. Just make sure you're wiping your mascara off in a downwards motion so your lashes don't get ripped or agitated because of pull.

5. Or Try A DIY Recipe

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil, $15, Amazon

If you're a beauty girl on a budget, a homemade remover will do the trick. This recipe only requires olive oil and a natural exfoliant (brown sugar or salt), and voila! You have an all-in-one beauty product that will remove your makeup as well as exfoliate, tone, and moisturize your skin. Other recipes for homemade removers recommend a combination of extra virgin olive oil and witch hazel, like this one from Sweet Pennies From Heaven or this one from The Beauty Department, using coconut oil as well. Depending on what you have available, you may already own an all-natural, gentle makeup remover and not even know it!

6. Pat Your Skin Dry

Once you have used your removers and cleansed your face, grab your towel. Instead of rubbing your skin dry, however, pat it with the towel. Doing this will avoid you unknowingly tugging at your lashes or skin.

7. Pick Up Any Dirt Left Behind

Pond's Dry Skin Cream, $6, Amazon

Lastly, if you notice that any mascara is left behind, don't start the whole process over again. Find the problem area and dab a Q-tip with a little gentle moisturizer (without SPF because sunscreen will sting your eyes) on the tip. That Pond's Cold Cream your grandma's been hawking since you can remember really does work wonders. This will clean up the mess and leave your eyes and lashes happy.

Happy lashes, guys. It's the dream.

Images: Melodi Erdogan