Best Make-Up Removers
Whether you prefer “no make-up” make-up or a full face of glam, using a make-up remover at the end of the day can let you wake up with fresh, radiant skin. We'll show you what to look out for when you shop for anything from micellar waters to reusable make-up remover pads and trusty make-up wipes.
With a gentle formula that nourishes the skin with provitamin B5, the Nivea Extra Gentle Eye Make Up Remover can leave your skin looking clean and fresh.
Latest review: These wipes smell nice and fresh and have a good hold when you use them. They have a slightly floral scent and feel soft when using on my face. The wipes removed my makeup and dirt and grime. It was
Micellar water has been kicking up a storm in the beauty world, and it’s not difficult to see why. It gets rid of make-up and other nasties without the need to scrub your face, and the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water does just that.
The Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover has a gentle, non-greasy formula that effortlessly takes off eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara, leaving your skin and lashes spotless.
A drugstore icon, Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser removes all traces of makeup while hydrating your skin, making it a 2-in-1 product that leaves skin clean and glowing.
Latest review: You shake the bottle to use and it is slightly oily on my cotton pad, but it gently removes makeup. It takes a couple of tries to remove eye makeup, otherwise, it is low priced and easy to use.
Latest review: I love these for a few reasons. These have are the most saturated wipes I've used (definitely not overly wet) so it really glides effortlessly over your skin with no tugging or drag on your skin,
Latest review: within seconds off using these wipes, my whole face and neck started burning tried rinsing my face with cold water. Face and neck still red and blotchy after several hours. At 55 years of age I
Latest review: This is a soybean and almond oil cleanser with added botanicals like lavender and camomile. The scent is light not overpowering, and the texture is of a medium-heavy weight oil. I use this in the
Made from bamboo and cotton, the Green+Kind Reusable Eye Makeup Remover Pads have different textures to take off make-up from both the eyes and face. The coolest part? You can reduce your landfill waste at the same time.
Latest review: I buy these cotton pads from wherever I see them, so that I can find a good cheap one to use. Swisspers are good to use, but are expensive, you can find some that work almost as well and are less
Why should I use a make-up remover?
We get it, the last thing you want to do when you get home from work is to suffer through a long-winded skincare routine using countless products that all seem to do the same thing.
Make-up removers get rid of all the foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and all other traces of make-up on your face. They also help remove all the pollution and impurities from the day.
Sleeping with your make-up on clogs your pores, and can lead to breakouts, skin dullness, and irritation, for example, if your gets into your eyes. The harm to your skin aside, you’ll probably get your make-up all over your pillow, and you might find yourself waking up with panda eyes (and not many people can pull that off).
Types of make-up removers
The most common type of make-up remover is a removal solution; these are liquid removers that are usually applied to a make-up pad and wiped across or pressed against the skin to get rid of make-up.
How about micellar water?
Micellar water has been a staple in French pharmacy skincare since forever, and now many brands are releasing their own version of the original Bioderma Micellar Water.
Micellar water is made up of oil molecules (called micelles) that are suspended in purified water. The micelles help to draw out dirt and impurities, effectively removing makeup, clearing out your pores, and toning your skin - and they do all this without drying out the skin.
It’s great for removing lightly or moderately applied make-up, but might struggle with heavier foundations or waterproof mascara.
Make-up removal wipes
These are towelettes that are pre-moistened with a make-up removal solution. Many people love them because they’re gentle on the skin and quick and easy to use, making them handy after a night out when you want to speed up your skincare before jumping into bed.
Make-up removal creams, balms, and oils
Make-up remover creams, balms, and oils aren’t usually used with a make-up pad. They’re rubbed onto the face and dissolve the make-up sitting on it - you can then rinse off the solution along with your make-up.
Make-up pads and cloths
These are usually cotton pads or cotton or microfibre cloths that are either used with water or a liquid make-up remover to wipe make-up off the face.
A decent make-up pad or cloth shouldn’t require you to scrub your face too hard - it should allow you to gently remove what’s on your face. They can be both single-use or reusable.
Will any microfibre cloth remove make-up?
Most microfibre cloths will remove make-up, but differences between different cloths can mean that some are better at the job than others.
Although microfibre is generally soft, gentle, and thorough at removing make-up, buying one that’s designed for use on the face can help ensure that it’s not too abrasive on the skin.
What to consider when choosing a make-up remover
Your skin type
Not all make-up removers are the same - some might be too greasy or too harsh for your skin, which is why you should take your skin type into account when shopping around. These recommendations aren’t the be-all and end-all, but they can be useful if you’re struggling to sort through the sheer choice of make-up removers that you can buy.
- Dry skin. Make-up lovers with dry skin can rest assured knowing that they’ll likely be in safe hands with an oil-based make-up remover or a make-up remover balm, both of which can add an extra dose of much-needed hydration to their skincare.
- Normal to combination skin. Those with normal or combination skin can generally go for a remover of any texture - feel free to shop mainly with your own personal preferences in mind.
- Oily skin. If you have oily skin, it’s generally recommended to use a micellar water or make-up removing oil.
What if I have sensitive skin?
Those with sensitive skin may find that their face reacts differently to different removers. Make-up removers for sensitive skin usually have an alcohol-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic formula to reduce the risk of drying or irritation.
You may also want to consider using a liquid or cream make-up remover - these are usually gentler than make-up remover cloths.
Finding a make-up remover that’s fit-for-purpose should help you easily get rid of the type of make-up you wear. While those with a lighter hand may find that most removers can take off their more natural make-up, those who prefer heavy applications might have more difficulty finding a product that removes all of their warpaint.
If you wear heavy make-up (including stage make-up), oil-based removers are generally better at heavy-duty removal. Some people even like using a variety of make-up removers for extra peace of mind knowing that they won’t still be left with nasties on their face.
Your remover should also work on eye make-up, or waterproof make-up if you need it to. Most make-up removers will specify on their label what they can remove.
Do I need a separate eye make-up remover?
While you can still use face make-up remover on your eyes, eye make-up remover is a bit more gentle on the skin (which is great for that delicate skin around your blinkers) and is generally more effective at removing darker, more stubborn make-up, such as eyeliner and mascara.
If you’re concerned about your skincare’s impact on the planet, then you can consider opting for reusable make-up pads or wipes. These won’t go into landfill once you’ve used them - depending on the product, you can either rinse them out or pop them in the wash for reuse.
If you do choose this route, it’s a good idea to have a few handy, so that you can still use some while others are in the wash. Luckily, these reusable make-up wipes often come in packs. The Face Halo Makeup Remover, a washable pad that only needs to be used with water, is sold in a pack of 3, while the come in a pack of 10.
Any company can claim that their product is cruelty-free, so if you’re after a product that hasn’t been tested on animals, look for accreditation, such as from Cruelty Free Australia.
How much should I spend on a make-up remover?
A make-up remover can set you back anywhere from $7 to $135 and over for more luxury brands. If you wear make-up, you really don’t need to break the bank to get it off at the end of the day (or night!) - there are plenty of budget options that do a perfectly good job of removing make-up.
While you often won’t find a marked difference between the ability of budget and high-end products to remove make-up, more expensive removers may feel richer to the touch, have a classy fragrance, and generally feel more luxurious to apply. If you’re after a facial in a bottle, splurging can often help you get that.
Do I need make-up remover and cleanser?
Cleansers and make-up removers are not the same thing, so make-up wearers should ideally be using both in their daily routine.
While make-up removers pull off the layer of make-up from your skin, they don’t actually cleanse it. Face cleansers go the extra step to get rid of excess sebum and all kinds of debris that can clog up your pores, prepping your skin for the , , or that you apply afterwards.
If you don’t want the hassle of adding an extra step to your skincare routine, you can try out 2-in-1 cleansing makeup removers, such as the , which claim to lift make-up and wash your face at the same time.
How should I remove eye make-up?
You shouldn’t have to tug at your eyes to get rid of your mascara. To remove eye make-up with a solution, don’t swipe over your eyes, as this can irritate the skin around your eyes. Instead, hold a make-up pad soaked in remover over your eyelids to help it dissolve the product, and then wipe it away after a few seconds.
How do you get make-up off without a makeup remover?
People have used everything from Vaseline to baby oil to get rid of their make-up and have claimed that it does just as good a job as even some high-end make-up removers.
While these products may remove your make-up effectively, if they’re not designed for use on the face then you may find that they can leave a greasy film on your skin that’s difficult to remove with your face wash.
They also might be comedogenic, meaning that they contain ingredients that can clog your pores (which can lead to nasty breakouts), so it may be a good idea to steer clear of using alternative products to remove your makeup, particularly if you’ve got acne-prone or sensitive skin.