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Ask Setareh: Why Is My Waterproof Mascara Runny?

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I'm Natalie. No matter where you are on your makeup journey or hustle, I'm so glad you're here! I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, it can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I'd love to connect with you!

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Ask Setareh: Why Is My Waterproof Mascara Runny?

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Dear Setareh,

Can you recommend a waterproof mascara? I’ve tried expensive ones and drugstore ones but they all “run” so much. SOS! ~ Gayle, Tucson, AZ

Dear Gayle,

Thanks so much for your question! When shopping for a new waterproof mascara, I would first encourage you to take a glance at the ingredient list.

If water is one of the first ingredients, you’ll probably have problems with your mascara running and not lasting all day & running.

Conversely, if you don’t find water as an ingredient or as one of the last ingredients, you’ll likely have clumpier, thicker mascara that may leave a little dust under your eye as the day progresses. In your case, I would suggest looking for a waterproof mascara where water is more in the middle or upper middle portion of the ingredient list.

Remember, waterproof mascara (especially ones with little to no water) is extremely difficult to remove. I have been using Lancome’s makeup remover for years and pretty much exclusively for the rare occasion I wear waterproof mascara or eyeliner.

Another popular natural makeup remover is coconut oil, though it does take quite a bit more time to remove. With either makeup remover, if you do not gently remove waterproof mascara (ahem, no rubbing just patting and swiping gently), your lashes are more prone to break and/or fall off.

I would encourage applying an eyelash conditioner before bed to moisturize and revitalize your lashes overnight. Yes, they can be pricey but it may be worth it if you’ve noticed breakage or dryness in your eyelashes. Alternatively, you can switch back to a non-waterproof mascara formula and apply a waterproof top coat.

Drugstore Waterproof Mascara

I’ve recommended a waterproof mascara in the budget, mid-range, and luxury category. I must make the disclaimer that I have not tried these specific products, though I have great confidence in the brands and would love your feedback.

Budget Waterproof Mascara

Loreal Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara $8.95


Mid-Range Waterproof Mascara

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara $27.50

Luxury Waterproof Mascara

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof Luxurious Mascara $32

I can’t wait to hear back from you to see whether or not you outrun your waterproof mascara!

Do you have a makeup or beauty question for me? Chances are, other people have been wondering the same thing and would LOVE to get real advice from a makeup pro. You never know, your question may even become a future blog post just like this one did! Click here to submit your question.

As always, keep in touch and stay beautiful!


Natalie Setareh

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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