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5 ophthalmologist-approved mascaras for stunning (& healthy) eyes

If you’re like us, you love a big lash that makes a big statement. But we know that not all mascaras are created equal, especially when it comes to those of us who use contact lenses.

It’s important to be aware of what’s in the products you use, but it’s especially important for consumers with eye concerns & for those who wear contact lenses. Toxic ingredients can worsen common eye conditions like dry eyes, & they can also become trapped beneath contact lenses to cause cloudy vision, eye infections or irritation.

For these reasons, we always tell our tartelettes to seek out an ophthalmologist-approved mascara. These highly-trained medical professionals specialize in vision care & have the expertise necessary to identify unsafe toxins & contaminants. Knowing your mascara is ophthalmologist-approved is the best way to put your mind at ease & confidently rock the luscious lashes you’ve been dreaming of. And we’re here to meet all your ophthalmologist-approved eye makeup needs!

All tarte™ products are formulated without the use of parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate & other common ingredients added to makeup products.

We are committed to providing our customers with high-performance naturals™ they can feel good about. Ahead, we’re sharing our top picks for ophthalmologist-approved mascaras so you can protect those peepers for years to come.

What should you avoid when buying mascara?

A lot of beauty brands claim their products are safe, but the truth is always in the fine print! When searching for contact-safe mascaras, whether your concern is specific to wearing contact lenses or just general eye health, we always encourage consumers to keep these two major red flags in mind:

  1. parabens

    Parabens are one of the most dangerous ingredients when it comes to eye health. They make their way into the Meibomian glands & prevent tears from adequately moisturizing the eye, contributing to dry eyes, irritation & even more serious eye conditions.

    If you see ingredients that end in “paraben” on the label of a makeup product, such as benzylparaben, propylparaben or methylparaben, it’s best to put it back on the shelf & find an alternative. More specifically, any mascara that contains parabens isn’t a mascara safe for contact lenses.

  2. butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

    BHA is known to trigger allergic skin reactions & is also carcinogenic, putting consumers at risk for cancer. It has been shown to cause skin & eye irritation, meaning contact lens wearers should definitely avoid BHA!

    Be sure to read the entire ingredient list on the package of a mascara before making a purchase. Keep an eye out for ingredients like salicylic acid, tropic acid trethocanic acid, as these are all forms of BHA.

Should contact lens-wearers use waterproof mascara?

Yes, it’s totally okay to wear waterproof mascara if you wear contact lenses! Look for formulas that do not contain lash extension fibers (most common in “lengthening” products) as they can flake & fall into the eye. Also look for ophthalmologically-tested mascara formulas that are fragrance-free, as they are the least likely to cause irritation, dryness & other common eye conditions.

Additionally, to determine the best mascara for contact lenses, always monitor how your new mascara feels. If you notice any discomfort or residue making its way into the eye, that’s your sign to switch to a different product!

Our 5 best ophthalmologist-approved mascaras

If you’re looking for safe, high-performance mascaras that won’t put your eye health at risk, tarte™ has the right fit for you. Here are some of our most eye-friendly & safe formulas for a stunning look & maximum comfort all day long.

  1. surfer curl™ volumizing mascara

    A nourishing mascara formula that’s vegan, flake-free, smudge-proof & ophthalmologist tested — we really pulled out all the stops for this one!

    what makes it great:

    Gardenia flower acts as an all-natural anti-inflammatory, providing soothing protection against irritation, while castor oil keeps lashes thick, moisturized & chemical-free.

    what customers are saying:

    “A long-lasting mascara that doesn’t make my sensitive eyes itch!”

    “I am a contact lens-wearer, & I’m always looking for a mascara that doesn’t clump yet gives me length. This is it!”

    how to get the best result:

    We recommend using a slight zig-zag motion when applying this mascara, starting at the base of your lashes & moving outward toward the tips. It’ll ensure every lash receives a full, flawless coat!

  2. lights, camera, splashes™ waterproof mascara

    We love this ultra-lifting & intensely volumizing formula. But what we love even more is the fact that it’s dermatologist-tested, ophthalmologist-tested, safe for contact lens-wearers & waterproof.

    what makes it great:

    This is an obvious contender for the best mascara for contact wearers because it uses carnauba wax to increase wearability, proving that natural cosmetics have serious staying power! This incredible ingredient makes mascara glide on smoothly while also strengthening the lashes & adding volume.

    what customers are saying:

    “I wear contact lenses & this is the best waterproof mascara for me!”

    “This mascara really defines my lashes & gives a visible boost. I wear contacts & it has not been irritating. Also, when putting eyedrops in several times a day, it does not run at all.”

    how to get the best result:

    For a seamless application, wipe the mascara wand with a tissue before applying. This will ensure there’s no blobs or clumps & provide you with a sensationally smooth look you can rock around the clock!

  3. gifted™ Amazonian clay smart mascara

    Soft, weightless volume & 24-hour wear are this product’s superpowers! But it’s also ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-approved, safe for contact lens-wearers & sweatproof. Who says mascara can’t do it all?

    what makes it great:

    Amazonian clay strengthens lashes by keeping them moisturized & nourishes, so you never have to worry about your lashes being prone to breakage!

    what customers are saying:

    “This is my go-to mascara! The formula is gentle on my eyes (sensitive contact wearer), plus in just one coat, it gives me amazing coverage & lift!”

    “I love this mascara! I have super sensitive eyes so this is perfect for me. And it doesn't smudge!”

    how to get the best result:

    Create the flirty curled lashes of your dreams with an eyelash curler prior to application & you’ll be wink-ready in no time!

  4. lash paint™ mascara

    Are you looking for jet-black pigment & photoshoot-worthy volume? If you answered yes, you’ll love our lash paint™ mascara. This ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-approved & vegan formula is a great mascara for contact lens wearers that don’t want to compromise on rich, ultra-black coverage.

    what makes it great:

    This formula relies on the thickening & binding power of all-natural rice bran wax to maintain its wearability. Plus, rice bran wax is super moisturizing, leaving your lashes more softer & fluffier than ever before!

    what customers are saying:

    “This mascara doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes or flake off, it gives me both length & volume without the clumps. This is one that I keep going back to!”

    “I have gone through my fair share of mascaras & I often found my eyes would be irritated when I wore mascara with my contacts. I've been using this mascara since it came out & I am SO in love with it. My lashes look gorgeous & there's NO IRRITATION!!! This mascara is a dream come true for me.”

    how to get the best result:

    If you prefer a more glamorous look, apply two coats of our lash paint™ mascara, allowing the first to dry before applying the second.

  5. lash smoothie™ volumizing hemp mascara

    This one-of-a-kind mascara looks as good as it is good for you. Our invigorating green queen complex™ is truly like a smoothie for your lashes, providing unprecedented levels of nourishment for thick, healthy, thriving eyelashes you’ll love.

    what makes it great:

    Baobab oil is jam-packed with vitamins B, C & omega 3s, making it one of the most valuable vegan cosmetic ingredients in the world.


    “This is the best mascara around. My lashes have gotten a lot thicker with using this product & I no longer have to curl my lashes with a curler!”

    “Omg I absolutely love this mascara! I love how it makes my lashes look fuller & longer.”

    how to get the best result:

    Remove all makeup before bed each night & apply to fresh, clean lashes in the morning. The formula will hold best on eyelashes that are super-clean & free from leftover residue.


Are you ready to find mascara (contact lens-friendly) you can count on? Whether you’re looking for the best mascara for contacts or you’re committed to natural & sustainable products, we’ve got everything you need. Start by taking our mascara quiz or browse our collection of high-performance mascaras to find your best fit.