How to Take Your Makeup Off the Right Way: Expert Tips to Try Tonight

Emily Rekstis
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We all know how important it is to take your makeup off before you go to bed. Sleeping with your makeup on can not only cause acne thanks to some seriously clogged pores, it can also break down healthy collagen. Simply put: You need to allow the skin to breathe during the night, so it’s not a step you should be skipping—even if you feel like you’d rather crawl under the covers and forget about it.

To help get you motivated to take all that makeup off, we got some expert tips on the right way to remove makeup—so you can be both as fast as possible and as effective as possible during your evening beauty ritual. We promise that if you follow their advice, you won’t have a single drop of foundation left clogging up your pores.

Make Sure You Prep Before You Cleanse
Most experts agree that the first step to clean is actually a “pre-cleanser” like a makeup wipe, cleansing oil, or plain old water. Justin Tyme explains, “It’s important to remove your face makeup before you use your facial cleanser so you’re not mixing the day’s makeup with dirt and simply redistributing it in open pores.”

If you’re interested in a cleansing oil, Kimberly Bragalone recommends Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium thanks to its moisturizing effects. She insists that adding water “will emulsify and clean all the dirt and impurities in the skin, breaking down the makeup at the same time.”

Tyme recommends makeup wipes like Simple Cleansing Wipes for skin with low sensitivity to friction—the exfoliation makes it ideal for oily or acne-prone skin types, especially.

After you’re done with the “pre-cleanse,” Emily Moses likes to rinse the face with cold water. This helps to close off the pores to outside elements for good night’s sleep.

MORE: The Best Makeup Removers for Every Situation

How to Tackle Tricky Eye Makeup
It can be extremely tough to remove eye makeup effectively—especially eyeliner, which can cling to those little spaces between your lashes. Pretty much any expert you ask will tell you that an eye makeup remover is an essential element of your evening face-cleaning process because it’s a lot more gentle for the sensitive skin around the eye area than a regular cleanser. (Bragalone likes MAC’s Gently Off Eye and Makeup Remover.)

To really get in there and get a deep cleaning, Tyme has a great technique: Take a cotton ball that is completely saturated in the makeup remover, then hold it tight against your eye and just keep it there—don’t scrub. After a few moments, begin to slightly rub from side to side with a little pressure. This will allow the makeup to break down and come off more easily once you’re ready to do a full cleaning. The key is not to rush! Be patient and allow the makeup to completely break down. If you’re still having an issue with your lashes and the mascara is still caked on, Tyme recommends brushing a clean mascara wand through your lashes to separate and pull makeup off.

At-Home Substitutes to Try
If you’re in a pinch and ran out of your favorite face oil or exfoliant, there are some great substitutes that you can find around the house. Looking for a facial scrub or exfoliant? Try baking soda. “I will put about a teaspoon into my cleanser. It’s coarse enough to break down the dead skin cells, but not too coarse to damage the skin. It works perfectly and doesn’t irritate my skin,” Bragalone explains.

Moses and Tyme recommend coconut or olive oil for an at-home moisturizing cleanser. “Apply it to skin and massage in smooth circular motions, then rinse off using a damp towel or warm water,” recommends Tyme.

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