Easily Remove Even The Most Stubborn Waterproof Makeup With These Tricks

Removing waterproof makeup can test your patience as well as your skin. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve definitely lost a lot of eyelashes while trying to scrub off waterproof mascara.

In addition to losing some lashes, I’ve also taken off a few protective layers of lip skin while attempting to de-tint my kisser – and I’m never giving up my lip stains. EVER.

So the question is, how do we remove stubborn makeup products without damaging our skin? We found the best products to do just that, and we’ll tell you how to remove waterproof mascara, lip stains, fake tans, and other strong-willed products.   

What Is Waterproof Makeup?

Waterproof makeup is obviously different from regular makeup as the formula is designed to resist water and sweat in order to stay in place. You don’t want your foundation or mascara to slip and end up where it isn’t supposed to be.

L’Oréal Associate Principal Chemist Roselin Rosario explained to Makeup.com just what the process entails.

“Waterproof formulas are specially formulated to resist and stay put when exposed to water — so they contain adhesive materials that make the product stick to the skin,” says Rosario.

The key ingredient in waterproof makeup is film former. 

“A film former is typically a large molecule that, when spread, forms a film that covers the substance’s surface continuously,” says Rosario. “There are many adhesive film formers that give waterproof properties, and most are silicone- or acrylate-based polymers. 

“Additionally, these film formers are carefully chosen to create the formation of lightweight and breathable films in order to ensure a comfortable wear on the skin. Other water-soluble ingredients are also used to reinforce the system and give even stronger water resistance.”

Why Is It Important To Remove It Correctly?

As I said above, it’s extremely important to remove waterproof makeup correctly or else you can damage your skin. Not only that, but when dealing with the sensitive eye area, all that pulling and tugging can harm the area as well as yanking out your eyelashes. The key is to use the correct products made for waterproof removal and to be gentle while doing it.

While using waterproof mascara isn’t necessarily bad for your lashes, Byrdie explains “Waterproof mascara may dry out your lashes and requires a bit more effort to remove. While it’s not bad for your eyelashes per se, overusing and incorrectly removing waterproof formulas could harm delicate lashes, even making them prone to falling out if you irritate them.”

How To Remove Waterproof Mascara

So, is there a “how to remove waterproof mascara” guide? Yes, according to Cosmopolitan – these are the five steps you need to follow in order to do it correctly:

  1. Start by soaking a cotton pad in olive oil, eye-makeup remover, baby oil, coconut oil or your remover of choice. Using flat cotton pads as opposed to round cotton balls is always a better option as it leads to better absorption. 

  2. Close your eyelids and rest the cotton pad on the top of your lashes for a few seconds. You can even let it sit for a while while you floss your teeth or exfoliate your skin.

  3. Gently wipe the cotton pad downwards, towards your lash tip.

  4. Repeat this process until all traces of the mascara have been removed.

  5. Always follow this process with some moisturizing eye-cream to prevent the area around your eyes from drying out.

How To Remove Lip Stain

Lip stains are beloved because of their staying power, so it makes sense that we have to put a little extra work in to get our pouts back to their boring color.

The process is a little less intense than the mascara routine but just as effective. My favorite way to get rid of a dark lip stain is with a lip exfoliator, preferably a sugar scrub. Don’t laugh, but I have a toothbrush that is only used for this routine. Just apply a lip exfoliator to the toothbrush – I cannot emphasize this enough – GENTLY rub it back and forth over your lips. 

Other tried and tested tricks for getting rid of lip stains are products made for lip color removal, olive oil, any oil-based makeup remover, and good old Vaseline. 

How To Remove Fake Tan

Due to an incident in my teens, I do not mess around with any sort of fake tan application because I fucked around and found out. Luckily, in this day and age, there are products specifically created to remove fake tan as well as some DIY remedies.

StyleCraze lays out what you need to do after a fake tan mishap or even if you just want to get rid of your sham of a tan!

Use A Fake Tan Remover

“This is the first way to undo your tanning mishap. Apply generous amounts of the tan removal foam to the tanned areas and wait for the duration mentioned on the product, then remove it before taking a shower. You can use fake tan remover on the face, body, hands, and feet.”


Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and will help remove the top layer surface where the fake tan resides. Grab a sugar scrub or other exfoliating scrub, get into a hot shower, and put your preferred product onto a loofah or exfoliating mitt for maximum fake tan removal. But don’t go too hard – it will irritate your skin!

Take A Warm Bath Or Spend Time In A Steam Room

“This step is usually overlooked as it does not take off your tan. However, it can aid the removal process. When you spend time in a steam room, the moist, hot air opens the skin pores to loosen the trapped tanning pigments. This ensures easy tan removal without rubbing and scrubbing.”

Moisturize Your Skin With Baby Oil

Moisturizing your skin with baby oil can aid in removing fake tan. Cover the tanned area with baby oil and let it soak into your skin and absorb it for at least half an hour. Then hop into a hot shower and exfoliate.

Here are our picks for the absolute best in stubborn makeup removers!

Enjoying This Article? You May Also Like:

Waterproof Mascara/Makeup Remover

Waterproof mascara is meant to repel water, which makes it a little tricky to remove — but these products will banish all traces of it and do it gently!

NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover
La Roche-Posay
La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
Chanel Demaquillant Yeux Intense Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover
Make Up For Ever
Make Up For Ever Sens Eyes
Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover
Clinique Take Off the Day Cleansing Balm
Caudalie Vinoclean
Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
Simple Water Boost Micellar Water

Lip Stain Remover

If your lip stain’s staying power it a bit too powerful, these tried and true removal brands will strip your lips of color while preserving your pout.

J. Cat Beauty
J. Cat Beauty Invisible Matte Lip Makeup Remover
Beauty Bakerie
Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip Remover
Maybelline SuperStay Eraser Lip Color Remover
NYX Professional
NYX Professional Makeup Be Gone!™ Lip Color Remover

Fake Tan Remover

Did you go overboard with the fake tanner or just want to tone your glow down a notch?  These products will help you regain your natural skin tone.

Isle of Paradise
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser
Bondi Sands
Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser
TAN-LUXE Glyco Water Self Tan Eraser Exfoliating Tan Remover & Primer
Tanologist Tan Eraser + Primer
St. Tropez
St. Tropez Remover Mitt
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