12 Makeup Removers Beauty Experts Can’t Live Without
From micellar water to cleansing balm to makeup removing wipes, these are the formulas the pros can't live without.
Best makeup remover for natural beauty lovers
Natural beauty products are just as effective as their conventional counterparts—just ask celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. “Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm can get off more makeup than most people wear in a lifetime. Think: Broadway makeup, but it does it with incredible ease, and leaves your skin soft and supple,” she says. “Echinacea GreenEnvy helps even tone, papaya extract is a natural exfoliator, and moringa tree extract is super purifying.”
Best makeup remover for waterproof mascara fans
“Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water hit the market years in advance of the current micellar water craze,” notes Rachel Anise, founder of Beauty Professor. “It’s formulated with mineral rich Japanese hot spring water and soothing herbs to hydrate and balance skin. And when put on a cotton pad, it effectively removes every last shred of makeup—including waterproof mascara—no need to wash off.” Make sure to avoid the mascara mistakes that make lashes look clumpy.
Best makeup remover for banning foggy vision
Makeup maven Katie Danza counts Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil among her must-haves. “I’ve been using this for years and truly couldn’t live without it. Camellia and rice bran oils and green tea extract work together to cleanse and soothe the skin. It gets rid of absolutely everything—even the most stubborn makeup! So many cleansing oils can make your eyes foggy—this one won’t. It’s magic!”
Best makeup remover for contact lens wearers
“I’m a contact lens wearer and Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Wipes effectively remove any trace of makeup in the most gentle way possible. Plus, the natural soy extract helps improve and even skin tone over time,” explains Kara Ferguson, founder of Politics of Pretty. What happens if you run out of your favorite formula? In a pinch, try one of these household products that make great makeup removers.
Best makeup remover for sensitive skin
When clients come to the set covered in makeup, celebrity makeup artist JoAnn Solomon grabs a bottle of Bioderma Sensibio H2O. “This no-rinse formula is light, refreshing, and works fast to cleanse and remove makeup—including water-resistant stuff—from the face and eyes. Plus, it doesn’t sting and is non-irritating, even on really sensitive skin.” (If your complexion is prone to irritation and inflammation, read up on the 11 rules for people with sensitive skin.) So, what’s the science behind this formula? “Its fatty acid esters, the constituent elements of micelles, are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.” Simply put: It washes away dirt, grime, and makeup without stripping skin of its natural oils. Is your cleanser drying out your skin? Find out the common face washing mistakes you might not even realize you’re making.
Best makeup remover for extra moisturizing
Every dermatologist on the planet will tell you that removing makeup before bed is must! In the evening, Pucker & Pout co-founder Katie Maloney reaches for Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm. “Because this is a cleansing balm, it really melts into the skin and does an excellent job of removing all makeup—especially waterproof mascara and liner—without being heavy or leaving any residue. The essential oils draw out impurities, while cocoa butter nourishes skin. More than a liquid cleanser, it moisturizes and replenishes my complexion after a long day, making it perfect to use before bed.” Check out the nighttime habits of people with great skin.
Best makeup remover for tight budgets
Makeup artist Krystyn Johnson stocks up on her go-to remover at the drugstore. “Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser is hands down my favorite. Ingredients such mineral oil and ceresin makes it an effective makeup remover and moisturizer. Not only is it affordable, but a little goes a long way, so it lasts forever.” We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the ingredient that continues to divide the cosmetics industry: Mineral oil. “There are basically two opposing schools of thought. In my opinion, it has acquired an undeserved bad rap. Contrary to popular belief, it does not clog pores, as it’s molecularly too large to penetrate the skin,” says Johnson. Beauty industry veteran Paula Begoun shared a similar sentiment in her recent article. That said, most dermatologists recommend steering clear of mineral oil if you have acne or rosacea. Don’t miss these other dermatologists-approved skin care tips.
Best makeup remover for on-the-go
Celebrity makeup artist and NOMI Beauty founder, Nikki Robinson doesn’t leave home with This Works In Transit No Traces. “Designed for women who are always on-the-go, and formulated with rose water and sunflower seed oil, these cleansing pads remove makeup in one swipe, while simultaneously soothing and moisturizing skin.”
Best makeup remover for older skin
“I love Lancôme BI-FACIL Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover. It takes off any formula—longwear, waterproof or otherwise—so effortlessly, which is important since you never want to rub harshly, especially with more mature skin,” says Lara Eurdolian, beauty expert and founder of Pretty Connected. To use: Shake bottle, apply to cotton pad, leave on for a few seconds and wipe off. “This emollient formula is great for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers, which is another reason why I like to recommend it.” PS. Lancôme recently launched a travel size—perfect for weekend getaways.
Best makeup remover for combatting pollution
The best makeup remover, according to industry pro Suzy Gerstein? REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm. “When activated with water, this rose-infused formula turns into a rich milk that calms as it cleanses. Sweet almond oil, which tops its ingredient list, is one of my favorites for removing makeup because it’s moisturizing yet light.” Prebiotics and shea butter help fortify the skin’s natural barrier against environmental pollutants, while the chamomile soothes even the most sensitive skin types.
Best makeup remover for your whole face
Best makeup remover for people with rosacea
Struggling with sensitive skin or rosacea? Dory Larrabee, beauty director at Hollywood Life, suggests Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover, touting its soothing, skin-friendly benefits: “This super gentle formula contains aloe vera, green tea, and ginseng, so it hydrates while removing makeup.”