Today's makeup can stand up to heat, long hours of wear, and even a SoulCycle session. While this saves us the worry of having to reapply all the time, it does have a serious downside: Trying to get all that damn product off. Constant scrubbing is a disaster for your lashes and can cause major irritation to the delicate eye area and sensitive skin. Here’s how to gently (yet completely) remove your makeup.
Protect Your Eyes
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your face. That's why it's prone to irritation, inflammation (hello, bags!), and dark circles. So first things first: A fragrance-, oil-, and alcohol-free liquid makeup remover is a great gentle option for everyday use. We love Renée Rouleau Soothing Eye Makeup Remover ($21.50, reneerouleau.com), which has a PH of 7.2. (Your tears have a natural pH of 6.9 to 7.5, so it won’t sting.)
Apply two to three drops of liquid makeup remover on a cotton pad, and hold it on your eye for 20 to 30 seconds, says Viviana Martin, the Director of Global Artistry and Pro-Artist Relations for Kevyn Aucoin. This allows the remover to start dissolving the makeup before you rub. You can then gently rub your eyes, but make sure you don’t pull and that you aren't too rough, which can break your lashes.
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Pick a Heavy-Duty Remover if You’re Wearing Waterproof Makeup
Because they have a stronger consistency, oil-based removers are ideal for removing waterproof makeup, says Martin. "A regular remover may not be able to handle the long-wearing action of a waterproof mascara," she says. MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($31, maccosmetics.com) is a good option.
Be aware, however, that the oil can leave greasy residue behind. It can also create a barrier against other products, such as eye cream or moisturizer—stopping them from penetrating your skin. To prevent this from happening, do a full cleanse after you take off your makeup.
Use Towelettes Sparingly
Makeup remover wipes have their benefits, but because they’re not highly saturated (the whole point is to reduce mess, after all), they require constant scrubbing, which can, of course, cause irritation and damage. So only use them in a pinch (like after a workout).
Combining a little bit of Vaseline and moisturizer and rubbing it into your skin works wonders when you don't have a traditional makeup remover handy. Martin also recommends another DIY idea: honey. Similar to an oil-based remover, it's gentle on the eyes and hydrating—opposed to traditional alcohol-based removers, which can be very drying. Just remember to cleanse your face after to avoid any stickiness.
Finish with Toner
Unless your skin is severely dry or irritated, use a toner to remove any leftover makeup or remover residue. We’re fans of The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Skin Clearing Face Toner ($18, thebodyshop-usa.com), which serves as an acne treatment, too.