Beauty Q&A: What Are the Best Oils for Removing Waterproof Mascara?

May 28, 2020
Sarah Ferguson
By: Sarah Ferguson | by L'Oréal

Some people reserve waterproof mascara for beach vacations (remember those?), rainy days or emotional events. I wear waterproof mascara, specifically L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara, every day. Fun fact: The formulas can actually help straight lashes (like mine) hold a curl better than non-waterproof formulas. 

I love the lift and hold, but I don’t love how difficult smudge-proof mascaras can be to remove at the end of the day. I’ve tried many makeup removers over the years, and I’ve found that oils are best for the job. Oils can quickly and efficiently break down waterproof formulas, so I don’t have to tug and scrub. Then there’s the added benefit that oils lubricate lashes to help prevent them from becoming brittle. 

For a while now, mineral oil has been my eye makeup remover of choice. You can get a huge bottle of it for just a few bucks, and it works like a charm. Here’s the thing: Lately my skin has become sensitive to it. After swiping my eyes with a mineral oil-soaked cotton pad, the area quickly becomes red and itchy. On the hunt to find a natural, affordable and overall effective alternative, I reached out to Elina Fedotova, celebrity esthetician and owner of Elina Organics Spas, and Erica Cox, licensed esthetician at Savor Beauty + Spa in New York City, for their recommendations. 

Waterproof Makeup-Removing Oils That Are Esthetician-Approved 

“Waterproof makeup is usually oil soluble, so any organic vegetable oils you find in your kitchen can remove it,” says Fedotova. She notes that coconut, grape seed, sunflower and avocado oils are all good candidates, though coconut oil is her favorite option because it’s the easiest to use. Cox says that almond oil is another one to consider. 

While they can all be used individually, you can also experiment with DIY mixtures. One that Cox recommends is combining equal parts jojoba oil, almond or coconut oil and vitamin E oil. 

How to Use a Natural Oil to Remove Makeup

Always patch test an oil — Cox suggests doing this on the lower jawline or elbow — to see how your skin reacts to the ingredient before using it as a makeup remover. 

“To apply, warm the oil onto your hands then apply in soft, upward circular motions and allow the oil to soak into the skin to give it time to break down the makeup,” says Cox. “After massaging the oil into the skin and dissolving all of the makeup, you can remove with a damp microfiber cloth.” 

And remember: “Natural oils are concentrated, so a little goes a long way,” says Cox. 

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn