Although you can take off your makeup with a traditional face cleanser, a makeup remover that’s specifically formulated for the task is a better bet if you wear cosmetics often or prefer waterproof products. Here’s how to find a makeup remover that’s up to the job.
How to choose a makeup remover
There are two main types of makeup removers: water based and oil based.
- Water-based: Foams, gels, creams and micellar waters are all water based. They emulsify water-soluble particles like dirt, which are then rinsed off the skin.
- Oil-based: Cleansing oils and balms attract makeup and sebum, then break them down so they lift from the skin and wash away.
Each type of makeup remover is capable of removing your cosmetics. Typically, water-based cleansers work best for oily to normal skin types, while oil-based cleansers suit normal to dry skin types.
You can also start with an oil to remove makeup, then do a double cleanse with a gentle water-based cleanser—so long as you skin doesn’t start to feel tight.
Ingredients to look for
There are many makeup remover ingredients that can provide benefits for your skin. Here are just a few:
- Aloe leaf juice: known to be moisturizing, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin E: known for its antioxidant benefits (for protection against UV radiation and pollution)
- Goldenseal: known help with anti-irritation, promotes healthy skin
- Sweet almond oil: known to be soothing, softening
You may wish to avoid some ingredients due to potential irritation and disruption of your skin barrier. Watch for sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), parabens, phthalates and fragrance.
How to use your makeup remover
Always read the label because formulas vary, but typically you’ll wash your hands, then apply the makeup remover to your face with your fingers or a cotton pad. Gently massage the remover into your skin and over your eyelids and lashes, taking care not to get it into your eyes. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.