Pros and Cons of Waterproof Mascara: Is It Bad for Your Lash Health?

pros cons waterproof mascara

The use of cosmetic products is widespread across the globe, and while they can enhance our appearance, some studies have highlighted potential detrimental effects on the body. A study published in Springer explored the potential harmful effects of cosmetic beauty products on human health and found that certain components could accumulate in our bodies over time. Additionally, a review in the Wiley Online Library noted that selected chemical additives in cosmetic products can have detrimental effects on human health at high levels of exposure.

Among these cosmetic products, waterproof mascara holds a special place. It’s a favorite for many due to its ability to withstand tears, sweat, and rain. However, there are concerns about its impact on the health of our natural eyelashes. The good news is that it’s possible to enjoy the benefits of waterproof mascara without compromising lash health. This guide will provide insights into how to protect your natural eyelashes from the potential damaging effects of waterproof mascara.

What is Waterproof Mascara?

Waterproof mascara is a specialized form of eye makeup formulated specifically to resist moisture and adhere to lashes for extended periods of time. Unlike traditional mascara, waterproof versions are made with a unique blend of ingredients that create a resilient bond with the eyelashes, making them less prone to smudging, running, or fading throughout the day.

The foundation of waterproof mascara typically consists of volatile solvents, waxes, and pigments. The volatile solvents help the mascara to dry quickly after application, forming a film that encapsulates the lashes. The waxes, often made from natural or synthetic sources, provide structure and body to this film, helping it to resist wear and tear. They also contribute to the mascara’s water-repelling properties by creating a barrier that prevents moisture from seeping in.

The pigments used in waterproof mascara are generally the same as those found in regular mascaras, providing the desired color, usually black or brown. However, in waterproof formulas, these pigments are enveloped in the protective film formed by the solvents and waxes, which keeps the color from running or smearing even when exposed to moisture.

As a result of its resilient composition, waterproof mascara can withstand conditions that other mascaras cannot. It can resist tears, making it an ideal choice for emotional occasions. It can also hold up against sweat, making it suitable for use during physical activities or on hot days. Even exposure to rain or swimming doesn’t cause it to run or smudge, maintaining the wearer’s look in all kinds of weather and water-related activities.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Waterproof Mascara



Waterproof mascara is designed to withstand elements like sweat, tears, and rain, making it a reliable choice for long days, workouts, emotional events, or unpredictable weather.

Prevents Smudging

Unlike regular mascara, waterproof varieties resist smudging and running, helping you maintain your look all day.

Holds Curl Better

If you have straight or downward-pointing lashes, waterproof mascara can help hold a curl better after using an eyelash curler.

Ideal for Oily Skin

For those with oily skin, waterproof mascara can be a lifesaver, as it is less likely to smudge or smear throughout the day.


Difficult to Remove

Waterproof mascara’s staying power can be a double-edged sword. It often requires a dedicated eye makeup remover or oil-based cleanser to remove completely, which can lead to more vigorous rubbing and potential lash damage.

Can Dehydrate Lashes

The ingredients that make mascara waterproof can also make it dry. Regular use can lead to dehydrated, brittle lashes that are more prone to breakage.

Potential for Allergic Reaction

Some people may experience an allergic reaction or eye irritation from the ingredients used in waterproof mascara.

May Lead to Thinner Lashes

Over time, the stress of removing waterproof mascara can lead to the loss of lashes. This is particularly concerning for those who already have thin or sparse lashes.

Possibility of Eye Infections

If not properly removed, remnants of waterproof mascara can harbor bacteria, increasing the risk of eye infections.

Is Wearing Waterproof Mascara Everyday Bad?

There’s a general consensus among beauty experts and makeup enthusiasts that wearing waterproof mascara every day may not be the best practice for maintaining healthy lashes.

Waterproof mascara is formulated to withstand moisture and adhere strongly to lashes, which can result in the dehydration of your lashes over time. This is because the ingredients that make the mascara waterproof are quite drying. Frequent use of waterproof mascara can cause lashes to become fragile and more likely to break.

Moreover, removing waterproof mascara requires more effort and can sometimes involve vigorous rubbing, which can potentially harm the delicate lash hairs and the skin around your eyes. Using an oil-based or bi-phase makeup remover can mitigate this risk, but it’s still important to be gentle during the removal process.

While waterproof mascara is excellent for certain situations, like workouts, swimming, or emotional events, it might not be the best choice for daily use. Alternatives like water-resistant mascaras could be a better option for everyday use, as they offer some degree of staying power without being as harsh on your lashes.

How to Use Waterproof Mascara Without Compromising Lash Health

Using waterproof mascara without compromising lash health is all about balance. It involves careful application, gentle removal, and giving your lashes some much-needed rest from time to time. Here’s how you can achieve this:

1. Limit Your Use

As resilient as waterproof mascara is, it’s not meant for everyday use. Its composition can wear out your lashes, making them brittle over time. Try to reserve waterproof mascara for days when you expect to encounter moisture, like during a workout, on a rainy day, or at a special event where you might shed tears.

2. Be Gentle During Application

When applying waterproof mascara, avoid tugging or pulling at your lashes. Wiggle the wand gently up, starting at the base of your lashes. This technique not only minimizes stress on your lashes but also ensures that each lash is evenly coated.

3. Don’t Overload Your Lashes

A little goes a long way with waterproof mascara. Overloading your lashes with too many coats can make them heavy and lead to breakage. Stick to one or two coats to maintain the health of your lashes.

4. Invest in a Good Makeup Remover

Removing waterproof mascara requires more effort than regular mascara due to its water-resistant properties. Invest in a makeup remover that dissolves waterproof makeup, either bi-phase or oil-based. These types of removers will break down the mascara, making it easier to wipe off without excessive rubbing.

5. Follow the Right Removal Technique

After soaking a cotton pad in your preferred makeup remover, gently apply it to your closed eye. Hold it there for about 20 seconds to allow the remover to dissolve the mascara, then gently wipe it away. Refrain from pulling or rubbing, as this can lead to lash loss.

6. Give Your Lashes a Break

Just as your skin benefits from a break from makeup, so do your lashes. Designate certain days as mascara-free to allow your lashes to rest and recover.

7. Condition Your Lashes

Your eyelashes can benefit from conditioning, just like the hair on your scalp. To strengthen and moisturize your lashes, think about applying a basic castor oil or lash serum.

You can minimize any potential damage to your lashes while still reaping the benefits of waterproof mascara by following these steps. Keep in mind that caring for your lashes is just as crucial as applying makeup to enhance them.

Balancing Beauty and Lash Health

Waterproof mascara is an exceptional beauty tool for certain situations; however, its everyday use might not be the best for maintaining the health of your lashes. Its water-resistant properties, although beneficial in many scenarios, could potentially lead to dryness and brittleness of the lashes over time. Moreover, the removal process requires careful handling to avoid any potential damage.

However, this doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate waterproof mascara from your makeup arsenal. It’s about striking a balance. Use it when necessary, remove it gently with an appropriate makeup remover, and give your lashes time to rest and recover.

And remember, just like any other part of your body, your lashes need care too. Regular conditioning can go a long way toward maintaining their health. After all, beauty isn’t just about enhancing what you have; it’s also about taking care of it.

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