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The Best Mascaras For Contact Lens Wearers

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Finding the perfect mascara is already hard — and when you factor in your contact lenses, the search becomes even harder. Ophthalmologist Ashley Brissette explains to Elite Daily that the best mascaras for contact lens wearers are “any [formula] that has been proven to be safe for sensitive eyes, hypoallergenic, or ophthalmologist-tested.” Dr. Brissette also adds that you’ll want to stay away from common irritants like parabens and avoid waterproof formulas.

The Expert

Ashley Brissette, M.D. M.S.c. F.R.C.S.C., is an ophthalmologist practicing in New York City and the founder of Daily Practice, a skin care company that specializes in formulas that are safe to use on the eyes. She is also a media spokesperson for the American Academy Ophthalmology.

What To Look For In A Contact-Safe Mascara

Dr. Brissette confirms that mascara is wearable with contact lenses, as long as you look for the right formulas. Since mascara particles can become caught under a contact lens, Dr. Brissette recommends looking for formulas that are “hypoallergenic or safe for sensitive eyes” to ensure that your mascara isn’t causing much irritation. “You may also consider products that were created by an ophthalmologist or tested and approved by an ophthalmologist,” Dr. Brissette adds.

& What To Avoid

Since wearing contact lenses can make you more sensitive to eye makeup, be sure to look for formulas that are free of parabens, which Dr. Brissette notes down as a common irritant. Dr. Brissette also recommends not wearing waterproof mascara, as it doesn’t dissolve in water and can “migrate into the eye and can lead to irritation, corneal scratches, or infections.” She also notes that waterproof formulas can cause tugging and pulling during the removal process, which can be “damaging to the skin and the delicate lashes.” Be sure to invest in a gentle, yet effective eye makeup remover (such as a micellar water or cleansing oil) to avoid having to rub or pull at your eyes.

Shop The Best Mascaras For Contact Lens Wearers

Need mascara in a flash? Shop The Best Mascaras For Contact Lens Wearers:

  1. The Overall Best Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
  2. Writer’s Pick: COVERGIRL Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara
  3. The Best Mascara & Primer Duo: Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
  4. The Best Mascara For Dry Lashes: Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara
  5. The Best Tubing Mascara: blinc Amplified Tubing Mascara

1. The Overall Best Mascara

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Paraben-free.
  • Ophthalmologist-tested.
  • Less than $10.

Cons:

  • Maybelline is not cruelty-free.

If length, volume, and curl is what you’re after, try the TikTok-loved Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara that’s contact lens-friendly. This mascara’s wand creates a voluminous and lengthy fan-like effect with 10 layers of bristles of varying sizes that can coat both long or short lashes without clumping. Plus, this mascara is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, so you won’t have to worry about it causing irritation throughout the day. Finally, since this washable formula isn’t waterproof, it’s fairly easy to remove and requires less of a need for rubbing during eye makeup removal. All of that for less than $10 — what’s not to love?

2. Writer’s Pick

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Paraben-free.
  • Hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist-tested.
  • Contains argan and marula oil to moisturize lashes.
  • Adds both volume and length without clumping.
  • Is the most affordable option on this list.

Cons:

  • The wand is quite thick, so it can be difficult to apply on short lashes.

Love the look of voluminous, wispy lashes? You’ll want to try the COVERGIRL Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara. This formula is one of my best-kept secrets for days when I want to make it look like I had lash extensions without actually wearing false eyelashes. It adds length and volume without clumping, no matter how many coats I apply, and it’s nice and moisturizing, thanks to the added marula and argan oils inside. This formula is a hypoallergenic must-try for anyone who wants a great mascara that works for their sensitive eyes at a low price.

3. The Best Mascara & Primer Duo

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Paraben-free.
  • Ophthalmologist-tested.
  • Comes with both a lash primer and mascara.
  • Is the number-one “clean” mascara on Amazon.

Cons:

  • Does not add much curl to lashes.

Honest Beauty’s Mascara + Lash Primer is an award-winning product that also happens to be safe for contact lens wearers and people with sensitive eyes. This mascara is double-sided, with a clear lash primer on one end and a lengthening mascara on the other. Both the lash primer and mascara are packed with glycerin and jojoba esters that work to nourish lashes — perfect if you’re prone to dry or brittle lashes. The lash primer is great for assisting with staying power, and with creating a base for even coverage, while the mascara lengthens lashes and adds volume. It’s a bit pricier than most of the other mascaras on this list, but you’re technically getting two products with this purchase.

4. The Best Mascara For Dry Lashes

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Paraben-free.
  • Made with nourishing ingredients to prevent brittle lashes.

Cons:

  • Does not hold a curl as well as the other mascara formulas on this list.

If you’re in the market for something a bit more affordable that will nourish your brittle lashes, give Pacifica Beauty’s Stellar Gaze formula a try. This mascara contains vitamin B, coconut, vitamin E, and jojoba esters that all work in tandem to moisturize and strengthen your lashes. This is a great option if you want a one-and-done formula that will both care for your lashes in the long term and make them look amazing immediately. Plus, the fluffy brush helps promote a more natural, evenly coated look.

5. The Best Tubing Mascara

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Paraben-free.
  • Oil-free.
  • Contains a water-resistant and flake-proof tubing technology.

Cons:

  • Is the most expensive mascara on this list.

Since waterproof mascaras are on the “do not use” list for people who wear contact lenses, consider this water-resistant tubing formula by blinc. This mascara contains film-forming polymers that wrap around each individual lash, creating tubes of product that can then be easily slid off at the end of the day. Tubing mascaras are water-resistant and don’t have a tendency to flake throughout the day, either, making them perfect for contact lens wearers who lead active lifestyles. Plus, this one comes in both black and brown, which gives you the option of a more subdued daytime look, or a stark black look for the evening.

Expert:

Ashley Brissette, M.D. M.S.c. F.R.C.S.C., is an ophthalmologist practicing in New York City and the founder of Daily Practice, a skin care company that specializes in formulas that are safe to use on the eyes.