What Makes Waterproof Mascara Waterproof?

And why does all mascara smudge...even waterproof mascara? Hint: it’s all in the ingredients.

So...what really makes mascara waterproof?

The short answer: the formulas of traditional and “waterproof” mascaras are different. Certain mascaras use different ingredients to make their mascara not dissolve or smudge in water.

The long answer: ...it's complicated. Technically, it means that the mascara’s formula isn’t water-soluble (water shouldn’t dissolve it). But that doesn’t make it totally unfazed by water.

Plus, mascaras labeled “waterproof” and “water-resistant” don't mean the same thing. A waterproof mascara is built to withstand more water than a water-resistant mascara.

Water-resistant mascara can take a little moisture and not much else. It might hold up during some rain but it's not the best choice if you're planning to take a swim.

To make it more complicated, waterproof and water-resistant doesn't mean oil resistant. Waterproof or water-resistant mascara may not be safe from the other makeup products you use on your face, like sunscreen or moisturizer.

 Why is that important? Let's break it down.

What ingredients make waterproof mascara waterproof?

Regular (non-waterproof) mascara is an oil-based paint. It applies smoothly and usually removes easily. However, oil and water don’t mix. They may repel each other, but they're not unmoved when they're put together. They turn into a gray or black sludge.

You know, the kind that collects in the inner corners of your eyes, or sticks to the skin under your brows.

Even though the mascara might not be completely washed away in the presence of water, the oily formula becomes unstable. That's when you see your eyelashes clumping together and your under eyes covered in mascara soot.

Waterproof mascaras use a different formula that isn't so heavy on the oil. Some don't have oil at all. Instead, it's usually silicone-based. A popular ingredient that makes waterproof mascara waterproof is dimethicone copolyol. But the company’s full waterproof formula is often a closely-guarded secret.

Unfortunately, it can still flake and smudge when it comes in contact with oils. That’s why your waterproof mascara smudges.

Plus, this silicone-formula is problematic because, while it resists water, it resists coming off your eyelashes. It's a frequent offender for causing dermatitis, a rashy inflammation around your eyes.

Waterproof formulas are also prone to creating a residue around your lashes and in your eye. It’s a fast track to clogged pores and ducts. If you’ve ever dealt with tiny flesh-colored bumps close to your eyes, or even angry inflamed styes, a waterproof mascara residue may be to blame.

So if mascara labeled “waterproof” doesn’t guarantee stay-in-place lashes...what other options do you have?

Let’s talk about a more recent development: tubing mascara.

Waterproof mascara has been around since 1938. It’s gotten lots of upgrades, but up until tubing technology, the focus has been on using water-repellent ingredients. It’s theoretically waterproof, but doesn’t always perform well once it gets wet. Blinc pioneered a mascara that performed well in real life—not as a formula with ingredients that would “theoretically” work.

Tubing mascara uses totally different ingredients than regular mascara or water-resistant mascara. It coats each lash in its own individual tube. A true tubing mascara (like blinc tubing mascara) is totally oil free, which gets rid of the water + oil smudging problem.

Plus, when you remove it, it slides off in one piece. And it only requires water. This eliminates the problem of duct-clogging, pore-plugging residue from waterproof mascaras. It also keeps makeup removers away from your eyes, giving you a burn-free process.

Tubing mascara means healthier lashes, healthier lids—yet still able to handle watery days.

Why does all waterproof mascara smudge?

How many of us have confidently applied a “waterproof” mascara...then found it smudged in our creases later? Or sticking our lashes together? Or making our lashes look thinner and thinner as the day went on?

You're not crazy: that's the mascara coming off. Yes, even though it's labeled waterproof. Here's why.

Waterproof and water-resistant is great for keeping away pure water. But the stuff that makes mascara run often isn't pure water. It's usually a liquid or a cream that has some oil in it, such as:

  • Your tears
  • Your sweat
  • Oily or combination skin
  • Face creams and lotions, especially oil-based ones
  • Sunscreen (even the ones labeled oil-free are just referring to the oil that causes acne)
  • Facial oils and serums

Even if you forgo all skin care and makeup products, you might see waterproof mascara smudging or running. You could go through your day without crying or having your eyes water, yet your waterproof mascara still wouldn't be safe from smudging!

Unless you can somehow stop your pores from producing sweat and oil, your mascara is always going to be at risk for running...even if it’s labeled “waterproof.” 

What mascara is REALLY waterproof?

Let's talk about tubing mascara again. Remember, you're not going to find the label “waterproof” or “water-resistant” on it since it removes with water.

However, when it comes to water-based activities—or sweating or eye-watering—tubing mascara is your best pick.

So how does it stay on all day but come off with water? The secret is *really* saturating your eyes with water when you’re ready for removal. This loosens the tubes enough to slide off with light pressure. Washing your face with plenty of water, then using a washcloth or cotton pad, will gently slide the tubes right off.

Unless you’re dealing with torrential amounts of water and lash pulling, the tubing mascara will stay put until you’re ready to take it off.

Plus, the original tubing mascara has a slick feature…

Here’s how to make a mascara waterproof

Have a favorite mascara, but want it to withstand splashes & sweat?

Coat your regular mascara in a layer of blinc original tubing mascara.

You get all the benefits of the tubing mascara...combined with the shape of the non-tubing mascara.

(You could try another brand’s tubing mascara, but we’re the ones that invented it. And have been improving it the longest. With blinc, it’s the best of the best tubing mascara. Why risk it?)

Ready for your mascara to stay put all day long?

Really, you're not looking for a mascara that totally resists water. You're looking for a mascara that holds up whatever the day throws at you. Ocean or pool water. Eye watering and tears. Sweat and natural skin oils. Any product you'd like to put on your face.

You're not looking for waterproof mascara as much as you're looking for life-proof mascara.

Looking for that mascara that’s REALLY pool-proof, beach-proof, sweat-proof, and tear-proof? Find them right here: start shopping blinc’s tubing mascaras and find your mascara. The one that does it all. 


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