Face Off! Everything You Need to Know About Makeup Removers

Face Off! Everything You Need to Know About Makeup Removers

Why you should care

We pit different types of makeup removers against each other. Find out which one’s best for you.

The first beauty commandment is to always remove your makeup at the end of the day.  Wipe your slate clean as we study the pros and cons of different removers.

Pro-tip: unless it specifically says so, your makeup remover does not double as a cleanser – it takes off makeup, not dirt and impurities. Remember to cleanse and moisturise after!

Wash-off Removers

neutrogena foaming cleanser

SOURCE: twoplicates.blogspot.com

About: lathery mousses that you massage into your skin before washing off.

Pros: they’re quick and gentle, and a little goes a long way! The best part is that you can hop right into the shower after your day out.

Cons: foam cleansers can irritate your eyes, so you’ll need a separate product for your eyeshadow and mascara. They’re also relatively mild and might not work on heavily pigmented or waterproof makeup. It also typically contains soaps and chemicals that can dry your skin.

Ideal for: light makeup wearers with normal to oily skin who want a quick, efficient routine.

Wipe-off Removers

clinique makeup remover

SOURCE: johnlewis.com

About: milky, gel, or water-based solutions that you apply with cotton pads before rinsing your face.

Pros: these formulas can be easily massaged into your skin without stripping it of moisture and natural oils.

Cons: some cleansing milks can clog pores and leave a greasy film behind. Tougher makeup may require more than one application and a firmer hand.

Ideal for: light to moderate makeup wearers – most makeup removers fall into this category, and you’re bound to find one that works for your specific skin needs.

Cold Cream Cleanser

cold cream cleanser

SOURCE: happyplasticcases.blogspot.com

About: a thick, rich cream that you massage into your skin before wiping off with a wet cloth and rinsing your face.

Pros: talk about old Hollywood glamour! Cold creams have a luxurious blend of mineral oils, soap, and waxes that dissolve even the toughest of makeup while protecting your skin from moisture loss.

Cons: the high concentrations of oils and soap can dry your skin in the long run, so don’t mistake your cold cream for an overnight moisturiser. The rich consistency can also feel greasy on oily skin.

Ideal for: moderate to heavy makeup wearers with dry or wrinkly skin – the creamy formula effectively removes makeup that has set in fine lines and creases.

Micellar Cleansing Water

lancome cleansing water

SOURCE: popsugar.fr

About: micellar water is made up of micelles (tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in soft water. Apply to skin with absorbent cotton pads to soak up dirt and makeup.

Pros: it’s French, fancy, and popular with the stars. This gentle, hydrating formula doesn’t leave residue behind so rinsing is not necessary.

Cons: Micellar water does not always work well on oily skin. It also won’t remove heavy foundation and eye makeup; some makeup may need a few applications.

Ideal for: light makeup wearers with dry, sensitive skin. Micellar water is also great for makeup removal on the go.

Cleansing Oil

mac cleansing oil

SOURCE:  luxobasiquinho.com.br

About: cleansing oils contain oils which bind with makeup and impurities. Warm in your hands before massaging into face. Wet your face to allow the cleansing oil to emulsify. Then rinse off thoroughly.

Pros: cleansing oils are the undisputed rock stars of the makeup removal world. They break down even tough, waterproof makeup instantly without stripping your skin off its natural oils. If you’re thinking “ugh, oil’, you’ve been myth-taken! These oils help regulate your sebum production; oil-free products can actually be counterproductive as they make your skin produce more oil to rebalance loss.

Another plus? You use less friction with oil-based products, which is great for removing makeup from the delicate eye area.

Cons: beware of mess! The oiliness may take some getting used to and will need immediate post-cleansing. Avoid cleansing oils with mineral oils, fragrances, or lanolin which can clog your pores.

Ideal for: all makeup wearers and all skin types. Did we not say it’s a rock star? Look for oil-based removers or balms if you’re not ready to go all the way.


biore makeup wipes

SOURCE: mylucidintervals.com

About: these are disposable wet tissues that come pre-soaked in cleanser. Simply wipe and you’re done!

Pros: they’re great for removing makeup quickly and conveniently without water.

Cons: wipes are pricier than their counterparts. Some wipes can also leave behind harsh chemical residues that dry your skin, so look for moisturising wipes that are gentle on skin. We also recommend washing your face as soon as you can.

Ideal for: most makeup wearers with normal to oily skin. Also great for travel or lazy days.

Reusable Cloth

makeup remover cloth

SOURCE: stagemakeuponline.com

About: these are washable cloths with dense microfibers that pick up oil, dirt, and makeup. You only need warm water!

Pros: they remove makeup effectively without any additional products, and can be reused for up to 6 months. You get to save money, avoid harmful chemicals, and do your bit for the environment.

Cons: You will have to wash it after each use – despite what it says on the label, machine washing may not get all your makeup out and can stiffen your cloth. Damaged cloths may require more aggressive scrubbing to work, which in turn can leave your skin feeling raw.

Ideal for: light to moderate makeup wearers with non-sensitive skin, time to spare, and an earth-loving heart.

Sonic Cleansing Brush


clarisonic cleansing brush

SOURCE: all4women.co.za

About: an electronic brush that uses sonic frequency to deeply clean your skin.

Pros: a product that cleans your skin gently but super effectively? Yes please! Most brushes come with multiple heads and speed settings for different areas of your skin.

Cons: not suitable for removing eye makeup.

Ideal for: light makeup wearers of any skin type, or as a complement to your usual makeup removal routine.

Natural Home Remedies

DIY makeup remover

SOURCE:  naturalmakeup3.blogspot.my

About: concoctions with coconut oil, grape seed oil, and jojoba oil – among others – work just like cleansing oils.

Pro: it’s all natural, and removes even tough makeup. Plus, you probably have some of these ingredients at home already!

Cons: some of these oils are comedogenic and can deeply aggravate your skin. You will also need to prepare and store your products carefully.

Ideal for: most makeup wearers with non-sensitive and non-acne prone skin. Natural remedies are not for everyone, so do your homework first!

While these tips are true as a general rule, don’t limit yourself! Keep in mind that some of these products contain additional ingredients that can counter their negative qualities.

Why you should care

We pit different types of makeup removers against each other. Find out which one’s best for you.

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