The 8 Best Makeup Removers

If you’ve always thought face wash alone was enough to remove your foundation and effectively cleanse your skin, think again. The truth is, most face washes can’t completely dissolve makeup or sunscreen. Removing your makeup is an essential step of the cleansing process, and the best makeup removers make it easy to get it all of before moving onto face wash — that way your face wash can actually clean your skin, not just what's sitting on top of it.

The most effective makeup removers aren’t limited to watery solutions you apply with a cotton pad. These days, you’ll also find everything from balms to wipes to cleansing oils that break down stubborn face, lip, and, eye makeup — some formulas even specialize in the removal of waterproof mascara and lipstick. And when you've really got off all your makeup, you'll know. You won't be finding foundation streaks on your white towel, or eye makeup on your pillowcase or under your eyes in the morning.

Whether you’re a minimalist or a multi-step skin care pro, your cleanser and the rest of your products won’t be working to their full potential unless you take off all that makeup first. Trust me, it will still take less time to remove your face than it does to put on.

1The Micellar Water That Practically Started The French Pharmacy Beauty Craze

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Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, $15, Amazon

You don't need to buy a plane ticket to purchase this popular French pharmacy favorite. Part oil-based and water-based cleanser, the oil micelles in this micellar water (hence the name) cling to makeup, dirt, and oil, while the water sweeps everything away. You can use this super gentle (but ultra-effective) product as a stand-alone cleanser, or follow it up with your regular face wash.

2A Hypoallergenic Balm That Removes Every Last Trace Of Makeup & Sunscreen

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Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity, $19, Amazon

While this balm cleanser is touted as one of the most popular Korean beauty products (even Korean model Irene Kim uses it), truth be told, it also removes even the most stubborn makeup with little effort. And to ensure that your skin doesn’t become irritated, it’s also chock-full chock-full of botanical extracts such as chamomile and hollyhock to soothe and nourish. This product is also great acne-prone and sensitive skin types, because it's free of mineral oil and other potential acne triggers.

3A Cost-Effective Japanese Cleansing Oil That Cuts Through Tough Makeup With Ease

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KOSE Softy Mo Facial Cleansing Oil Speedy, $10, Amazon

This cleansing oil — which is super popular in Japan — dissolves stubborn makeup with little effort. This product is designed to be applied with dry hands to a dry face. After rinsing, you can move on to your usual face wash. Don't be fooled by the price, this product is incredibly effective and a little goes a long way.

4Biodegradable Makeup Wipes That Won't Dry Out Your Skin

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Klorane Make-Up Remover Biodegradable Wipes, $13, Amazon

Soothing cornflower is the key ingredient in these makeup wipes, and its soothing and decongesting properties help it thoroughly remove makeup without any signs of irritation. To use, lightly press the wipes all over the face in a circular motion until all traces of makeup are removed. If you’re wearing waterproof mascara, gently press the towelette on your lashes for a few extra seconds to break up the product.

5An Insanely Popular Olive Oil Cleanser That Removes Every Bit Of Makeup

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DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28, Amazon

This popular oil cleanser has over 2,000 reviews on Amazon and counting. In fact, it's so popular that one is sold every 10 seconds worldwide. The first ingredient in this vitamin-rich formula is olive oil, which effectively removes makeup — even stubborn mascara — while nourishing and hydrating the skin in the process. Despite being a rich oil, it glides easily over the skin and washes off thoroughly without leaving any residue behind.

6A Remover That Specializes In Eye & Lip Makeup

Lumene / Amazon

Herkka Gentle Eye & Lip Makeup Remover, $9, Amazon

If eyes and lips are your two makeup priorities, this bi-phase liquid makeup remover will be right up your alley. It effectively removes makeup without any irritation due to the addition of allantoin and arctic spring water that calm any signs of sensitivity in those delicate areas. Just be sure to give the bottle a light shake before use.

7A Quick-Dissolving Remover For Heavier Makeup

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Dermablend Professional Long Wear Makeup Remover, $21, Amazon

If it’s all in a name, then you immediately know what you’re getting from this remover that’s created by one of the leading long-wearing makeup companies. The creamy, sulfate-free formula gently removes highly-pigmented and waterproof makeup without irritating your skin. This product can be applied with a cotton pad rinse-free, or massaged into the skin with your fingers followed by a a quick rinse.

8A Cleansing Balm That Leaves Skin Ultra-Hydrated

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IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm, $32, Amazon

Not only does this sulfate and paraben-free cleansing balm dissolve makeup upon contact, but it also leaves skin hydrated and plump after rinsing due to the addition of collagen, peptides, and a skin-softening serum. Reviewers rave how “their skin has never looked better” and that it removes their makeup with little effort.

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