There are two commonly used types of mascara — Waterproof or oil-based mascara is long lasting and smudge resistant, while water-based mascara is easier to apply and remove. One of the biggest advantages of water-based mascara is its natural potential hydrogen (pH) levels, making it a healthier option for use near the delicate skin around the eyes. It also doesn’t contain some of the chemicals and additives found in waterproof mascara, making water-based mascara an ideal choice for those who have sensitive eyes or skin allergies. A third type of mascara is mixed variety mascara, although it is not as commonly used. Mixed variety mascara is a combination of water-based and waterproof mascara, and shares many advantages and disadvantages with both.
For many years, waterproof mascara was more popular than water-based. Waterproof mascara lasts longer, so it doesn’t have to be reapplied as often. This type of mascara doesn’t smudge as easily, meaning it will survive tears, perspiration, and even a vigorous swim. Lengthening and thickening mascara is often oil-based. Also, many find it necessary to use three or four coats of a water-based variety to get the same effect provided by just one or two coats of oil-based mascara.
There are many advantages to using water-based mascara. While waterproof mascara won’t smudge and lasts longer, it is also much harder to remove. Harsher mascara removers are required for this type of makeup, which can be damaging to the lashes.
Water-based mascaras are much easier to remove using a gentler, mascara remover, or even soap and water. Mascara that is water based dries faster, and won’t cause the eyelashes to clump or stick the way oil-based mascara can. Those with skin allergies or sensitive eyes are often encouraged to use water-based mascara. Waterproof mascara often contains substances like petroleum distillates that can cause irritation or breakouts.
Mascara that is water-based is ideal for those looking for natural eye makeup alternatives. Contact wearers should choose a water-based mascara that is hypoallergenic, or labeled “for sensitive eyes.” For those with eyelash extensions, using oil-based could dissolve the bonding agents used to affix the extensions to the eyelashes. These consumers should choose mascara that isn’t only water-based, but is made especially for those with extensions. Anyone who wishes to grow longer and thicker lashes should avoid using oil-based mascara, because removing waterproof mascara can damage the eyelashes in a way that can prevent them from growing as desired.