The 12 Best Eye Makeup Removers for Stubborn Mascara


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There’s nothing I love more than playing around with eye makeup. Perfecting the sharpest winged liner, coating each lash with my mascara–all these rituals bring me joy. The only downside? Washing it all off at the end of the night. This is partly because my sink is tiny and prone to splashing water on my toes, but also because finding a great makeup remover is a quest it seems like we’re never done with. Whether you have sensitive skin, dry skin, or are a lover of no-budge waterproof mascaras; you need to have a makeup remover that removes every trace of product before bed and works well with your skincare. Here, we break down how to find your perfect makeup remover.

1



Best For All Skin Types

Micellar Cleansing Water
Garnier SkinActive

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2



Best For Stubborn Makeup

Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover
CLINIQUE

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3



Best Makeup Wipes

Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes
Neutrogena

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4



Best For No Waste

The Original Makeup Eraser
Makeup Eraser

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5



Best Gentle Makeup Remover

Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover
Cetaphil

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Why is it important to have a great makeup remover?

If you aren’t correctly removing your makeup every night before bed, your skin will suffer. “Makeup is an occlusive, meaning it clogs your pores,” says dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal. “If you don’t take off your makeup before going to bed you are allowing bacteria, yeast, and mites to grow on your skin and eyelids. This could result in acne, rosacea, conjunctivitis, and folliculitis.” In addition to preventing acne, a great makeup remover also helps the rest of your skincare work better. “Without a makeup remover in your skincare regimen, you are not properly cleansing your skin, which is how you prep skin for absorbing all the great ingredients in your treatment and moisturizer products,” says Nancy Gannon, Vice President, Education & Field Development at Clinique.

Can you use makeup removers instead of cleansers?

While some makeup removers can help cleanse your skin, we always recommend using an additional cleanser as a second step. “At night, use a makeup remover to dissolve makeup, then a facial cleanser to remove sweat, pollution, dirt, and any excess oil stuck in pores,” says Gannon. “This way you can enjoy clearer, more radiant skin, fewer clogged pores, better absorption of your treatment products, and a smoother makeup application. That’s what we call double cleansing.” This also helps remove any traces of the makeup remover that might still be lingering on the skin and clogging your pores.

Here, find the 10 best eye makeup removers that will make you excited to take your makeup off.

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1

Best For All Skin Types

Micellar Cleansing Water

For an easy, does-it-all makeup remover, you can’t go wrong with this micellar water. It’s gentle enough to use all over the face, but it’s powerful enough to remove waterproof mascara.

2

Best For Stubborn Makeup

Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover

If you want a makeup remover that works hard, this balm can eliminate all your makeup with no elbow grease. Just rub a small amount onto dry skin, add water, and watch every trace of makeup wash off.

3

Best Makeup Wipes

Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes

For a quick and easy option, makeup wipes are a classic. You can throw them in an overnight bag, and you never have to worry about them spilling while traveling. This version even removes stubborn mascara.

4

Best For No Waste

The Original Makeup Eraser

For the innovators out there, this towel works wonders. Just add water, and watch how this little piece of magic removes all your makeup, without any additional product. Then just wash the towel, and you’re good to use it again.

5

Best Gentle Makeup Remover

Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover

It can be hard to find a product that’s both gentle and removes waterproof makeup. This version is oil-free and quickly removes the toughest of mascaras.

6

Best For Dry Skin

Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

  • Not ideal for stubborn mascara

For dehydrated skin, typical makeup removers can be drying and irritating. This balm is formulated with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides. When you rinse off this balm, your skin will feel nourished and moisturized.

7

Best For Touch-Ups

Eye Makeup Remover Sticks

These little makeup erasers are genius at perfecting a sharp cat eye, or removing little remnants of mascara from around the eyes. Just snap one end, and the other end fills with product that will erase any makeup traces.

8

Best For A Budget

Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover & Cleanser

A classic in the beauty industry, this makeup remover can deal with all your products in no time. Just dab some on a cotton pad, and let it melt all your makeup away. Follow up with a cleanser to get rid of any residue.

9

Best For A Clean Choice

Clean 10 Cleansing Balm

  • Not ideal for stubborn mascara

This cleansing balm only uses ten nourishing, organic ingredients to remove all traces of makeup. It’s also non-irritating, which makes it great for sensitive skin.

10

Best For An Investment

Nourishing Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser

If you want to make your makeup removal routine as spa-like as possible, this cleansing oil is a filled with nourishing ingredients to remove all traces of eye makeup. It’s also environmentally-friendly, for green beauty enthusiasts.

11

Best Makeup Remover With Philanthropic Values

Lemon & Berries Micellar Water

  • 2-in-1 cleanser and light moisturizer
  • Large bottle may not be good for traveling

Lots of micellar water comes in 6 or 8 ounces—Urban Hydration gives you more for your money, with 16.9 ounces for less than ten bucks. It removes makeup in just one swipe, preventing harsh scrubbing in sensitive skin areas like around your eyes. In addition to being affordable and great for sensitive skin, every product sold guarantees one gallon of water donated to a community in Kenya.

12

Best Overall Eye Makeup Remover

Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

There’s a reason why this product has been around forever and is a continual best-seller. Mary Kay’s eye makeup remover gently removes eye makeup, is safe for individuals who wear contact lenses, and doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy.

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