Things that are easier to find than a makeup remover that actually works: your soul mate in a crowded bar on New Year’s Eve, every bobby pin you’ve ever owned, and your patience. We know this is news to you, but weirdly, you’re not supposed to have left-over mascara or foundation stuck in the crevices of your face after using your makeup remover.
In fact—hold onto your butts—you should literally never wake up in the morning with dark smudges under your eyes, or black marks on your pillow. And if you do, that means you’ve been using a terrible makeup remover, and that we’re also about to blow your freakin’ mind with these excellent remover recommendations.
Hey, it’s not your fault. The majority of liquid makeup removers and wipes (which, by the way, you should never use without also washing your face with a cleanser afterward, lest you want all of that pore-clogging residue to sit on your face all night and break you out) are simply not strong enough—or effective enough—to actually clean your skin.
So rather than have you continue on with your sub-par cleansing routine, we, the editors of STYLECASTER, divulged our favorite kick-ass makeup removers that erase every little speck of makeup…even the hardcore, apocalypse-proof kind. Keep reading to see our favorites, and then get ready to have the cleanest, happiest face in all the land. More or less.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
“This is the only eye makeup remover I’ve tried that really removes all traces of mascara—and I always use waterproof, so that’s saying something.” –Christina Grasso, social media manager
Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover, $7.99; at Neutrogena
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser
“At the end of the day, the last thing I feel like doing is an extensive, several-step skin-care routine, so I’m all about products that multitask, like a micellar water that removes dirt, oil, and concealer all at once. Effective and efficient.” –Hannah Hickok, lifestyle editor
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser, $8.99; at Garnier
Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips
“I don't wear much eye makeup anymore, but when I do, I have a bottle of this lying around in case of emergency. To be honest, I often just use face wash to get eye makeup off—I know, I'm probably breaking a million beauty rules—but this stuff on a cotton ball is helpful in a pinch.” –Bibi Deitz, news editor
Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes, and Lips, $19; at Clinique
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
“Honestly, most removers straight-up suck, and they seem to just smudge your makeup around your face, rather than actually taking it off. But this cleansing oil truly, truly removes every speck of makeup—even glittery liners and waterproof mascara—in about 30 seconds, thanks to the oil formula, which breaks down the makeup on your skin before washing it away. Just gently massage a pump of the oil into your dry skin, focusing on the eye area, then rinse. It’s seriously magical.” –Chloe Metzger, beauty editor
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28; at DHC
Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
“My skin-care routine is the epitome of low-maintenance, so I rely heavily on micellar water. It removes all of my makeup in under a minute, which is especially great when I’m exhausted and don’t have the time or energy for anything more involved. This one is my go-to formula; I pour a bit on two large cotton pads and use one to wipe away my eye makeup, and the other to cleanse off everything else.” –Leah Faye Cooper, editorial producer
Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, $7.99; at CVS
Yes to Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes
“I need something that will work on my face and won’t break me out, and these wipes are perfect for getting rid of all of my face makeup, and even my mascara, which is the only eye makeup I use. Plus, you don’t have to scrub with these, which is a pet peeve of mine with most makeup-remover wipes.” –Lauren Caruso, site director
Yes to Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes, $5.99; at Amazon
Klorane Eye Makeup Remover with Soothing Cornflower
“This is the gentlest makeup remover I’ve ever encountered. The soothing gel literally slides stubborn eye makeup off your lids with zero tugging. It’s liquid magic.” –Cristina Velocci, managing editor
Klorane Eye Makeup Remover with Soothing Cornflower, $16; at Klorane
Bioderma Sensibio H20
“I use this as an all-purpose makeup remover/cleanser—primarily, I think, because you don't have to rinse it off, and I'm lazy like that. Since I started using it I've never gone to sleep with my makeup on, which my skin is very happy about.” –Hilary George-Parkin, fashion editor
Bioderma Sensibio H20, $11.99; at Beautylish