Beautiful young woman applying mascara
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Here's the situation: we're heading out on the town with our girlfriends, and the goal is to look hella hot. We choose a cute outfit, crank the Ariana Grande, and spend far more time than necessary carefully coating and thickening each individual eyelash with mascara. But when the night's over and we're home, it holds on for dear life just like that stage-five clinger at the bar.

What’s a girl to do? For one, don't get us started on waterproof mascara. (Seriously, we could be resting in our graves, and waterproof mascara would still be on our eyes). Second, follow these tricks of the trade to help remove mascara the right way.

Get ready for your lashes to remain healthy, full, and ready for action.

Take care when removing mascara

While we love mascara and the way it complements any eye look, taking it off can be difficult. You could go the aggressive route of a cotton pad, makeup remover, and a scrub to remove it, but that only invites premature eye wrinkles since the skin around the eyes is super sensitive and must be handled with the utmost care. Hence, any sort of tugging is a big no-no. Instead, follow these simple tips.

Step one: Use a makeup remover or healthy oil, such as olive oil or grape seed oil

Olive oil isn't just for cooking—it can also be used for beauty purposes. Not only will it make the lashes thicker and grow faster, but it removes heavy-duty mascara. If you don't want to go the oil route, use a trusted makeup remover. There are a number of good brands; one that is super effective is micellar water.

Step two: Drop some olive oil or makeup remover onto a cotton pad

If using oil, use only a couple drops. If using regular makeup remover, you can be more generous, but don’t soak the pad. The type of cotton pad matters, according to New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research, department of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He says to aim for "one that’s lint-free and resistant to shredding." After all, no one wants wisps of cotton pad in their eyes.

Step three: Leave it on for 20 to 30 seconds, making sure the cotton pad is cupping the whole eye

“It’s important for the solvents to dissolve the polymers and pigments and break down the mascara,” says Angela Caglia, celebrity facialist and co-founder of Angela Caglia Skincare. “This is key to avoiding aggressive rubbing and pulling on your lashes later on.”

Step four: Wipe off the mascara gently

As mentioned earlier, try to avoid tugging the skin, as the eye area is sensitive. No one wants those premature eye wrinkles! So, be gentle. Simply glide the pad down in the direction of the lashes (this will help avoid getting bacteria in the eyes), wiggling the area a bit, and then do the same with the upper lashes. You can finish everything off by taking a Q-Tip along the lash line for any excess product.

Step five: Moisturize and use eye gel

Taking off mascara usually happens at night, so be sure to follow your usual skin care routine of moisturizing the skin afterward. And don't forget the eye cream! "I never tell people that eye cream is going to take away deep wrinkles that already exist, or significant pigmentation, or blue veins under the eyes. But, certain eye creams can help rebuild the barrier," says Melissa Levin, a New York City board-certified dermatologist.

How to remove waterproof mascara

As much as we love waterproof mascara, it can be a hassle to get off. Sure it’s perfect for avoiding that infamous Lauren Conrad mascara-stained tear in The Hills or having eyes that look like a broken-hearted Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, but taking it off needs to be done carefully.

To remove waterproof mascara, simply follow all of the same steps above. The most important thing to remember, though, is this: it's waterproof mascara, so the best way removal method is oil. Also, try to limit the use of waterproof mascara. Sure, it’s awesome to use if you’re actually going swimming or something similar, but just using it for regular everyday use is a pain to deal with and not so healthy for your lashes.

Follow all these steps and your lashes will be thanking you!