How to Remove Waterproof Eyeliner: 5 Effective Methods

Waterproof eyeliner can be a blessing and a curse. 

On one hand, it stays on for a really long time without flaking, smearing, and running.

It adheres to the skin so well it’s nearly impossible for liquid to smudge and ruin it.

But that’s precisely why it’s also a curse: it can get tricky to remove without the right product. 

Luckily, there are a ton of ways to remove waterproof eyeliner. I’ll show you how to remove waterproof eyeliner with five different methods, all of which are tested and proven to be effective! 

Use Makeup Remover

Makeup removers are quite literally designed to remove all traces of makeup on your face, down to every last pore.

So, it’s no surprise that it’s my best-in-slot solution for wiping off waterproof eyeliner!

woman using makeup remover

Makeup removers may seem like one of the hundreds of gimmicky products you wish you never bought (looking at you, L’Oreal One Sweep Eye Shadow), but trust me, it works like a charm.

It cleans the delicate area of the eye without leaving a gross, greasy film. 

Here’s how to use the product correctly: 

  1. Soak a cotton pad or a cotton ball with the makeup remover. Three to five drops will do. Make sure it’s damp but not dripping wet. 
  2. Close one of your eyelids and gently press the saturated pad against your eye for about twenty seconds. This allows the product to destabilize the eye makeup and break down its waterproof properties. 
  3. Sweep the pad across your eyelid ever-so-gently in circular motions, or from the inner to the outer edge of your eyelid. 
  4. When the pad starts to get dirty, turn it over to the clean side and repeat. Depending on how thick your eyeliner is, you may need to use two to three cotton pads or cotton balls to completely remove the product. 
  5. On your waterline, remove any lingering eyeliner with a cotton swab. Gently dab the tip of the swab along the bottom of your lash line. 

Once all traces of eyeliner are removed, proceed with your regular makeup-removing routine.

Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser to remove lingering makeup and dirt from your face using circular motions.

Make sure to double cleanse if you wear a lot of makeup. 

Nourish your skin with oil, moisturizer, or serum afterward.

How To Remove Waterproof Eyeliner Without Makeup Remover 

Makeup remover is what I’d recommend for removing waterproof eyeliner, but if you don’t have it on hand, there are several other options available. 

1. Use Wet Wipes

Wet wipes don’t work as well as makeup removers, but they certainly get the job done at an affordable price. 

Plus, they’re extremely convenient! 

woman using wet wipes to remove waterproof mascara

You can easily stash a pack or two in your purse for on-the-go removal, for times when you just can’t wait to take your makeup off your face. 

Also, you don’t even have to wash your face afterward since they’re already pre-soaked with cleaning agents.  

For best results, use soft, alcohol-free makeup wipes like the L’Oréal ParisMakeup Removing Towelettes or the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes.

They’re a bit more expensive than regular wet wipes, but they contain all the ingredients needed to remove your waterproof eyeliner. 

Baby wipes and regular wipes aren’t formulated to remove makeup, so I don’t recommend them—especially if you have sensitive skin.

They’ll not only irritate your skin, but they’ll also get the job only half-done, leaving a lot of residue afterward. 

Here’s how to use makeup wipes to remove waterproof eyeliner: 

  1. Press a towelette on the lid of your eye for 20 to 30 seconds to soften the waterproof eyeliner. 
  2. Gently sweep the towelette from the inner corner to the outer corner. 
  3. Fold the towelette clean-side up and repeat until all the eyeliner residue has been removed. 
  4. Use a brand new towelette to remove the rest of the makeup from your face. 

Rinsing after isn’t required but still recommended, especially if you wear a lot of makeup.

2. Use Vaseline

Vaseline is a Jack-of-all-trades type of product; it not only helps your skin heal and retain moisture, but it also dissolves almost any kind of makeup with little to no issues.

a tub of vaseline

The fact that it’s safe to use around the eye makes it even better. 

To remove waterproof eyeliner with Vaseline, follow these steps: 

  1. Using your finger, take a small amount of Vaseline and place it directly on your eyelid. 
  2. Gently massage the area until the eyelid makeup and the waterproof eyeliner comes off. 
  3. Wipe the Vaseline with a soft cotton pad or tissue. 
  4. Wash your face to remove the oily residue of the product. 

3. Use Olive Oil

If you’re searching for an all-natural makeup remover, olive oil is your answer.

It’s readily available, moisturizes the skin, and protects it from ultraviolet rays. 

olive oil in a glass flask

Regular and Extra Virgin Olive Oil works equally well as a makeup remover, but make sure your olive oil doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or fragrances. It should be 100% natural. 

Follow these steps to remove waterproof eyeliner with olive oil: 

  1. Put three to five drops of olive oil on a cotton ball, a cotton wipe, or a cotton pad. 
  2. Press the oil-soaked cotton on your eyelid for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen the waterproof product.
  3. Gently move the cotton pad in circular motions. 
  4. When the pad becomes dirty, take a new pad, pour some olive oil on it, and repeat the process until the eyeliner is completely removed. 

4. Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil removes waterproof makeup without having to harshly rub or tug at your delicate skin, making it another one of my favorite natural makeup removers.

woman applying coconut oil to her face

It leaves your lashes moisturized and luminous, too!

Here’s how to use it: 

  1. Scoop a pea-sized amount of coconut oil with your finger and put it on your eyelid. If the oil has hardened, rub it between your fingers for about 20 seconds or until the coconut oil becomes liquid and soft. 
  2. Spread the coconut oil around your eye area, including your lashes. If oil gets into your eyes, don’t worry; it doesn’t hurt and washes off without any issues. 
  3. Massage the coconut oil on your eyelid until the makeup has dissolved. 
  4. Wash off excess coconut oil with a slightly damp washcloth or cotton pad. The waterproof eyeliner should come off easily as you wipe the coconut oil away. 
  5. Cleanse your face with warm water. It washes off easily, so you don’t have to worry about oily residue. 

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