15 Best Mascara for Contact Wearers 2019 (Ophthalmologist Approved)

Updated 5 years ago

If you wear contacts, you have to be extra careful finding products that work well with your pair of lenses. Out of all eye make-up, mascara is the closest product applied to your eyes. So, let’s make sure they are both a great mascara and safe to use! Here’s our criteria for choosing the best mascaras for contact wearers.

  1. NO to lash-extending or fiber mascaras, YES to lengthening and volumizing;
  2. NO to waterproof, YES to oil-free and/or water-based mascaras;
  3. YES to hypoallergenic or non-allergenic products;
  4. YES to long-lasting, smudge-proof and no fall outs

Reviewed: Top 15 Mascaras for Contact Wearers

Endlessly Beautiful All-Natural Organic Mascara in Black

This is an organically-made mascara that suits contact wearers with a bonus feature.  Its ingredients are vegan and helps promote lash growth and lengthening. The production is also cruelty-free.  Like Cherish Mascara, it is water- and sweat-resistant. It builds volume while staying for longer hours without flaking, smudging, or clumping.  The company also promotes its product as a non-toxic and paraben-free lash enhancer. You can choose from Brown and Black.

L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara in Black Brown

Another drugstore brand making it to our list is L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara.  This resists clumping and it builds up to five times the natural thickness of your lashes. The specialized brush for maximizing the volume enables the safe application. L’Oreal swears that it maintains the softness of your lashes and can be used better with their lash primer.

Maybelline Makeup Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Washable Mascara in Very Black Mascara

Remember how you wanted to wear stilettos to increase your height and make your legs look longer?  That is the exact intention of Maybelline in making Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Washable Mascara!  It has vitamin B5 for moisturizing and rejuvenating your lashes. This mascara is safe to use by contact wearers.  Since it is washable, it avoids lashes to fall out upon removal with water or cleanser. You can use the wand to apply the formula in any direction since it is thin and small.  Props to the designer of this fierce stilettos-shaped tube!

EASY ON THE EYES Sensitive Eye Mascara in Black/Brown

Beautify Beauties’ EASY ON THE EYES is a fragrance-free, non-irritating, and hypoallergenic mascara.  It has natural waxes and clays that lock up the formula for a safer, smudge-proof, and flake-free wear. You can achieve natural-looking lashes while having it nourished and strengthened.  It comes with a brush made for smooth, volumizing, and overall coverage. Even with its unique composition, it doesn’t pull lashes as you wash with gentle soap and water. A little goes a long way because it gives a full pigmented coat on first application.  An extra point because it’s also gluten free! You can choose from Black, Black-Brown, and Navy.

Mac Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara

This is another full-proof mascara from MAC.  It is a lightweight, flake and smudge-proof wear that will last throughout the day. The thermal sensitive technology made the formula resistant to sweat and humidity.  It curls, lifts, lengthens and defines both your fans. The slim and petite brush ‘reaches and grips’ even the tiniest eyelash. Like all the products in the list, it is tested by ophthalmologists and is safe for contact wearers. The Carbon pigment color is so intense.  Calling it “dramatic" is an understatement. No wonder it's named Gigablack.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Beyond Mascara

This award-winning formula not only volumizes and lengthens your lashes.  It also assures curls and lifts. The tip of the brush has a curved, dome-like shape.  This targets even the smallest lashes and grabs it from the roots for a dramatic lift.  They compare it to how a bra gives your gals a little push. It is safe to use and is ophthalmologist-tested.  There are three colors to choose from – Jet Black, Beyond Black, and Beyond Blue. It is easy to wash with water and makeup remover.  There’s no available waterproof from the line yet. So, you can just grab your tube and go straight to the checkout counter!

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara in Black-Brown

This Amazon’s Choice is a volume-building, plump-creating, and long-lasting mascara.  It does not easily smudge, flake, or clump. Neutrogena is patenting their Olive-infused formula.  It handles conditioning and plumping of the eyelashes. It is also tested by dermatologists and ophthalmologist for safe contact lens wearing.  

Tarte Big Ego Vegan Mascara

For extreme volume and confidence, go vegan with Tarte! The ultra-black, flake- and clump-free mascara can give your lashes a lift for as long as 16 hours.  Their twisted double fiber confiDENSE Booster Brush™ follows the natural curve of the lash line. The formula is paraben- and gluten-free. It also has no mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Plus, it nourishes and conditions your lashes.  So, you don’t have to worry about building up the volume even after multiple coats. This is, by far, the only Big Ego loved by many.

Lengthening Hypoallergenic Cherish Mascara with Vitamin E in Premium Deep Black Color

Cherisher’s Lengthening Hypoallergenic Cherish Mascara answers your call for a makeup and lash-care collaboration.  Infused with Vitamin E, it moisturizes lashes while adding up the volume for a dramatic and naturally sexy “open eye” effect.  The company promises gluten- and chemical-free product that is safe to use. Cherish Mascara comes with a special brush that leaves a smooth and even finish upon application.  It can remain throughout the day without clumping and smudging. It is sweat proof and water resistant, but not waterproof.

Beauty Without Cruelty Ultimate Natural Mascara Walnut

This lash enhancer is from Beauty Without Cruelty.  They made it with high-quality vegan ingredients. It enhances the volume of the lashes while preventing flaking or smearing.  This black mascara is also a non-allergenic natural product. Meaning, it is free from paraben and Polyethylene glycol (PEG).

Maybelline New York Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara in Very Black

This product is another Amazon's Choice.  It swears by its ‘no-brittle feel’ for a full, thick, healthy-looking lashes.  The formula has vitamin E for defined, softer-looking lash fans. This hypoallergenic, long-lasting, and contact lens-safe mascara has a patented Quick Dissolve System.  You'll definitely like how quick and easy the mascara removal is. Imagine the big help it brings if you accidentally smudge on your lenses. Easy-peasy cleaning, right? Preventing lash loss on its removal is a bonus.

Shiseido ImperialLash MascaraInk 10

If you want a product that fuses traditional art and innovation, go for Shiseido’s ImperialLash MascaraInk.  Its easy-to-wash brush can get to the ‘hard-to-reach’ areas to lift your lashes. It enhances the lash length, volume, and definition while withstanding water, humidity, sweat, and tears.  You can jog around and go to the gym without the hassle of having panda eyes after. You can also wear this all day because it feels weightless and comfortable. It is safe, dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested.  This is available in black and is not waterproof. Just a tip: Be sure to not buy the waterproof version.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Mascara in Black Organics

The packaging and the leaf handle of this mascara suggest what it contains.  Physicians Formula promotes that their formula is 100% free of harsh chemicals.  It is hypoallergenic and safe for use with both contact lenses and sensitive eyes.  When you use it, you'll expect a finish without clump, smudge, and flakes. This combination is perfect for a lasting stay mascara.  You can throw away false lashes because it will give you five times length, volume, and definition.

Almay Multi-Benefit Mascara in Blackest Black

Almay Multi-Benefit Mascara now comes in a new packaging color and design from white to blue. It has a non-irritating, hypoallergenic formula. It gives your lashes volume, length, and definition. It’s already perfect, but including keratin for eyelash nourishing deserves another point. Available also are Black and Black-Brown. Just don’t be confused with the product in the same line that is waterproof. We know that waterproof is a no-no!

Lily Lolo All-Natural Mascara

You’ll love Lily Lolo for its fruit-infused, all-natural vegan formula!  It gives us all that we need from a good mascara for contact wearers. Plus, it is free of silicone and paraben.  You don’t have to worry when you’re running late. The cream consistency is quick to dry. So, you can just swipe it on lashes and you’re good to go.

What Makes Your Eyes Irritated While Wearing Contacts?

Did you know that as of March this year, there are more than 40% myopic or nearsighted people in the United States?  In time, you’ll see more people wearing prescription glasses and contacts.

The style and reason to wear contact lenses may differ.  But there is one thing in common to all users after a long-day wear: eye irritation.  Your eyes start to dry, the veins in your eyes start to swell, it feels stingy, or there may be an overproduction of eye discharge.  Yikes! There are a lot of reasons why this happens. Perhaps, you wore your lenses for too long. You may have forgotten to remove it before sleeping. Or it could be because of allergens and bacteria near your eye from using make-up.

Make-Up Mistakes for Contact Wearers

Yup! It’s true.  Eyeshadows, liners, or mascaras can contribute to the uncomfortable and irritating feeling while wearing contact lenses.  There are several makeup-related mistakes and reasons why your eyes may be irritated:

  1. You wear contact lenses AFTER touching any of your beauty products (i.e. moisturizers, serums, makeup, etc.).
  2. You did not wash your hands thoroughly before touching contacts.  Or you may have cleaned your hands with a sanitizer or alcohol. Yeah, that’s why it stings!
  3. You may be allergic to some makeup ingredients like talc, paraben, PEG, etc.
  4. Your makeup touched your lens, or your inner waterline while putting it on. This usually happens with mascara and eyeliner.
  5. Your makeup smudged, clumped, or fell into your eyes throughout the day.
  6. You forgot to remove your lenses BEFORE removing your makeup.  
  7. You are still using old contact lenses and/or makeup past expiration date.

How many faux-pas have you been doing? Start avoiding these mistakes. You can feel good while wearing both makeup and contacts.

What Makes the Five Criteria Valid?

We showed you the set of criteria we used to evaluate if a mascara was good for contact wearers. Let’s dive deeper into why those 5 criteria are crucial for judging if they’ll work well.

Fibers in lash-extending mascaras irritate the eyes

These fibers are from synthetic or natural sources that are in micro-sizes (up to 1/106 unit in size).  It is so small that it cannot be seen in mascara mixture.  As the mascara dries up, the microfibers fall naturally. If it falls into your eyes, it may start to itch, turn red, and swell.

Waterproof mascara is hard to remove and stains your lenses

Have you ever experienced misapplying your mascara and accidentally smudging it on your lids?  We. Feel. You.  It is the same if you accidentally draw lines on your contact lenses while wearing them.  When you try to clean it up, waterproof mascara does not easily wipe away. It may stain your lens. Worse still, you may have to replace it with a new one. Don’t try to wear it again. Just leave it and use your glasses until you get another pair.

Choosing hypoallergenic and non-allergenic ingredients is a must

Although both address concerns regarding allergens, there is a fine line between hypoallergenic and non-allergenic.  Non-allergenic substances do not cause an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic ones may lessen the likelihood of having allergies.  If you suspect your eyes are irritated because of allergies, consult your doctor to find one what you’re allergic to. This can help you find the right products.

Long-wear mascaras prevent further eye irritation

Mascaras that are not long-lasting will have fall-out. These are tiny flakes or clumps of dried mascara, dissolved chemicals, and oil that may fall onto your contacts. Needless to say, any of these things in your eyes would irritate them.

‘Safe’ is relevant to what the doctors and experts say

Labels like ‘Safe’, ‘hypoallergenic’, ‘non-allergenic’ may help you choose a product. But you can also check if it is approved by trusted agencies and institutions like Food and Drug Administration (FDA), AOA, AAO, etc.  If you see these names, you are in safe hands.

One more thing!  For products claiming that it is organic or naturally-made, you might also want to check if it really is organically certified by any member of the Organic Certification body worldwide.

Wrap Up

Wearing contact lenses can be more freeing and convenient. Using beauty products with contacts is not bad.  But we should always consider precautions and safety for such sensitive eyes. Mascara is the second closest product that may be applied near the eyes.  So, it is best to double check it is both an amazing product and safe for you to use!