Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Crying-Proof Makeup You Probably Need Right Now

For anything the terrifying world of adulthood throws your way.

Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. See our ethics policy here.

Crying eye makeup Photo: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

There are plenty of reasons to cry even once you are a grown-up who (mostly) has their shit together: heartbreak, anxiety, joy, abject terror. But that doesn't mean you can't look good while doing it! Here are eleven products we swear by, even in the weepiest of situations.

The Mascara That Can Survive SoulCycle and Also Sad Thoughts About Your Child Growing Up and Leaving You

I do not wear much makeup while working out (sorry, athleisure makeup), except for mascara, because I look dead without it. I’ve been spinning since the ‘90s when it became a thing in gyms, and I still go to SoulCycle at least once a week. Which is sweaty. Very sweaty. But I’ve become obsessed with Too Cool for School’s Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara ($25), which is a tubing mascara. It does not come off until you wet it and gently peel it off. I’ve taken showers with it on and had it remain totally intact. And yes, it can also stand up to tears, which I found out a few weeks ago when I started sobbing for no reason just thinking about my kid starting high school next year. THEY GROW UP TOO FAST. —Cheryl Wischhover, beauty editor

The Eyeliner That Can Make It Through a Tough Insurance Call

Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen ($56)

$56 is more than I would pay for a steak, or a throw pillow, or a ticket to a concert where I am not able to sit down. But I will pay it for this eyeliner, which is nothing short of a cosmetic miracle. It goes on so easily and lasts forever — my last one took a whole year to dry out, which makes the price feel a little less egregious.

As for its staying power, all I can say is that not very long ago, I was on a conference call with my parents (lol) trying to sort out health insurance (lolol), and there were tears, and when I emerged into my office (lololol) I looked in the mirror and realized that my eyeliner hadn’t budged. —Alanna Okun, senior editor

The BB Cream That Can Get You Through At Least Nine Horas

The Body Shop All-In-One Natural BB Cream ($20)

I don’t usually wear face makeup unless I’m getting very dressed up. Hence this BB cream, which has been my most important accessory at so many friends’ weddings, since I’m nearly 30 and that’s what happens when you’re nearly 30: You spend all your free weekends going to weddings. Jewish weddings in particular can be sweaty affairs, with tears under the chuppah, hour-long hora sessions, and much chair lifting. But this BB cream has never melted, streaked, or let me down. Let’s see if it can withstand the teary baby showers… —Ellie Krupnick, managing editor

A Reasonably Waterproof Mascara That Won’t Hurt Your Eyes

Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara ($20)

I’ve used waterproof mascaras for as long as I can remember, mostly because with non-waterproof varieties I wind up with raccoon eyes by lunch — it just doesn’t stay on my face unless it’s waterproof. Most types I’ve tried irritate my eyes if I wear them every day, so I became accustomed to giving myself a break a few days a week.

But that’s zero percent necessary with Buxom’s Lash Waterproof Mascara. It stays on all day and looks just as good as the Dior Show I used to use, but it doesn’t hurt my eyes in the least (it’s totally free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and petrochemicals, so maybe that has something to do with it). It also miraculously stays on when I get a little wet (rain, showers, tears) and comes off right quick with a light scrub or a little micellar water. I couldn’t be happier with it. Cory Baldwin, shopping editor

The Liquid Eyeliner That’s Seen Me Through Sad Movies, Funerals, and More

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($22)

I’m admittedly a makeup minimalist, but I can’t live without a good liquid eyeliner to create my signature cat eye — and nothing (NOTHING!) compares to this one from Stila. Literally every single other eyeliner I’ve ever tried, no matter the formula or whether or not it’s marketed as waterproof, transfers to the tops of my lids by midday. Stila’s truly does, well, stay all day. And it holds up in tearier situations, too! Case in point? My grandmother passed away last month — and not only did this liner refuse to budge during her memorial service, but it also held up through a viewing of Titanic that evening. (Don’t ask why my family chose such a sad movie to watch on such a sad day. We’re masochists, I suppose.) Elana Fishman, entertainment editor

The Setting Spray That Survived Election Night

Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray ($25)

I use this stuff sparingly — just a couple of sprays a couple times a week — because I sort of suspect that it makes me break out, but it can stand up to even the most existential of soul-wracking sobs. Hopefully it can also keep me cute in the apocalypse. —AO

The Eyeshadow Pencil That Will Last During the Most Brutal Eyebrow Tweeze

I get my brows tweezed pretty regularly. I can’t wax them since I’m on Retin-A and run the risk of having all my skin slough off (okay, maybe that’s being overly dramatic), so I opt for the brow-shaping-by-slow-torture method every month or so. For some reason, even if I subjectively don’t think it hurts that much, my eyes water the entire time I’m getting tweezed. I am an eyeshadow person, and I love a pencil because I am lazy and also don’t really know how to use makeup brushes. I always opt for Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Matic shadow pencil, which smudges nicely right after application but then stays put. My tears bead right off of it. —CW

The Liquid Lipstick That Will Be Your Best Friend on Valentine’s Day

“Creeper” Colourpop Liquid Matte Lippie ($6)

I’ve struggled with finding a red lipstick that doesn’t make my teeth look fluorescent yellow and doesn’t come off on every cup, glass, or spoon I put my mouth to. After years of dishing out $18 in the name of Ruby Woo, Colourpop has come through with an answer to this broke girl’s prayers. At $6, this nearly perfect red has not only lasted through numerous plates of oily pasta, but it’s managed to stay on even when I’ve wanted it off. This Valentine’s Day, I want to see if it will last after a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a few romantic comedies. —Nneoma Ajiwe, photo intern

The Foundation That Can Accompany You Through the Harshest Elements

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Photo Edition Foundation ($48)

I don't have tears or a heart. But I wore this foundation on a day-long gorilla trek through the Rwandan jungle and it didn't budge. It’s expensive, but it lasts forever and you only need a little. Annemarie Dooling, engagement editor

The Liquid Eyeliner That Lasts Through a Happy-Sad Sob

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner ($22)

I’ve been wearing eyeliner pretty much since I exited the womb, much to the chagrin of the strict Yeshiva elementary school I attended. I’m always on the lookout for reliable waterproof ones because I wear contact lenses and so my eyes water a lot, and also because I don’t have particularly thick skin and so it doesn’t take much to make me cry. My coworker Laura pointed me to Eyeko’s waterproof liquid eyeliner, which she learned about from Birchbox. I bought one and am thrilled to report that it's made it through plenty of weeping episodes.

Its most recent test involved me sobbing at the circumcision of the son of one of my college roommates, Sheri. Eleven months ago, Sheri had a stillborn son, an unimaginable hardship she’s been pretty open about. Her new baby, Nathan Philip, happy and healthy, thank God, was born two weeks ago, and at the “bris” on Sunday, we learned his Hebrew name: “Nachum Rafael,” which means comfort and healing from God in Hebrew. There wasn’t a dry eye around as the entire synagogue rolled into unified happy/sad weeping. After, we all headed to breakfast downstairs for some bagels and lox, and on my way I went to the bathroom, expecting black streaks across my face. Except this Eyeko liner really doesn’t let me down. Chavie Lieber, senior reporter

And if you just can’t keep from crying all your makeup off...

The Moisturizer That’ll Soothe Your Skin After Sobbing

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer ($29.50)

Post-cry, I like this moisturizer. It just makes me feel less puffy! Also, if you need to remove cry-makeup, I like these drugstore eye pads — they're super gentle and don't sting your eyes (which of course happens when you have eye makeup IN them from crying). Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director