Pads are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Tested by dermatologists and ophthalmologists. Aims to remove makeup without the need for scrubbing, and leaves no residue after use. Each container comes with 120 pads.
A few pads are often needed to fully remove makeup.
Comes in a 5.5 fluid ounce bottle. Uses cucumber and aloe for a soothing effect. Liquid formula is dermatologist-developed and ophthalmologist-tested. Deemed to be suitable for sensitive skin.
Does leave behind a residue and can feel greasy on the skin after use.
Made without parabens. Vegan and cruelty-free. Uses natural ingredients like witch hazel and sweet orange to avoid skin irritation, and to add hydration to cleansed face. Can be used on sensitive skin. Available in a 4.7 fluid ounce bottle.
Some of the reviews noted that this product had difficulty fully removing stubborn mascara.
Hypoallergenic and formulated without fragrances, oil, or parabens. Pads are thick and designed to not cause irritation. Works for waterproof mascara and lip products. Doesn’t leave a residue.
Pads are thin and a few are needed to remove makeup.
Is fragrance-and paraben-free, and can be used on all skin types. Ophthalmologist-tested. Formula uses a blend of cleaner and oils to remove the makeup. Comes in a 4.2 fluid ounce bottle.
On the expensive side, especially for the size of the bottle.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Cosmetic companies have formulated amazing long-wear eye makeup and waterproof mascara that stays put throughout your active day. When it’s time to wind down, however, these budge-proof products are notoriously difficult to take off. You don’t want to rub your eyelids raw or your eyelashes (or precious extensions!) off in the process. Fortunately, there are eye makeup removers that get the job done without the collateral damage.
Eyelid skin is super delicate, and our eyes are sensitive, so finding an eye makeup remover that is gentle and safe is a must. There are plenty of eye makeup removers on the market that are carefully formulated to remove tough makeup without stinging or irritating the eyes. Which ones have been tested by ophthalmologists? What’s best for waterproof mascara?
We’ll help you sort through your concerns and inform you of what to keep an eye out for (wink wink) when choosing a product.
Cleansers are the most common type of eye makeup remover. These typically come in three- to six-ounce bottles and are used with a cotton pad or ball to swab the eye area. Some cleansers leave a residue behind, which can be rinsed off with water.
Lotions designed to remove eye makeup are creamier than cleansers and tend to be moisturizing. Many of them are oil-free.
Oil removers solubilize water-resistant makeup, breaking it down without tons of rubbing. They also work to moisturize the eye area. Oil cleansers tend to leave behind a greasy residue, which can be removed with a clean cotton swab.
Micellar water is gaining popularity as a gentle, alcohol-free makeup remover. “Micelles” are tiny cleansing-oil molecules that attract dirt without stripping the skin of moisture. Safe to use on the eye area, micellar water is generally marketed as an all-over face cleanser and makeup remover.
Scrubs are recommended by dermatologists for people with eyelid conditions. Did you know eyelash dandruff is a thing? Lid scrubs remove any lingering particles of makeup and also help with crustiness or flakiness due to medical conditions.
Pads eliminate the need for a separate cotton pad or ball to remove makeup. They come pre-soaked in remover solution and are a convenient way to swipe away makeup at the end of a long day. Eye makeup remover pads come in 30- to 120-count containers.
All-in-one makeup removers work not just on the eye area but on other areas too, like the lip or whole face. They come in different forms: liquid, disposable wipes/towelettes, and makeup remover cloths.
With all the makeup removers on the market, you can afford to be choosy and find one with features that suit your individual needs.
If you have sensitive or irritation-prone skin, there are plenty of eye makeup removers that are formulated to be extra gentle. Look for ones that are free from parabens, fragrance, alcohol, and preservatives — all of which are potential skin irritants.
Most cleanser eye makeup removers are formulated as oil-free. They dissolve quickly and leave less residue than removers containing oil. They are also safer for contact lens wearers.
Longwear and waterproof makeup
Though a high-quality eye makeup remover should do the trick on stubborn waterproof and longwear makeup, some are specifically targeted for it.
Some eye makeup removers come with plant-derived extracts to soothe or hydrate the skin, like cornflower, cucumber, or chamomile. Though they may carry a scent, they often are labeled fragrance free and tend to be more natural and less irritating than chemical-based cleansers.
Makeup can be expensive, but the removal process doesn’t have to be — though eye makeup removers certainly can get up there in price.
For drugstore brands of cleansers or pads, you can expect to pay as little as $4 and up to $12.
Micellar water, which comes in larger quantities than cleansers (typically about 13 ounces), can be purchased from $10 to $20 a bottle. Scrubs also fall into this mid-price range.
Eye makeup remover oils and solutions from major cosmetic lines are priced between $20 and $30.
Products using natural, botanical ingredients range widely, from as low as $6 to as high as $30.
Coconut oil is a popular natural solution for removing eye makeup. Just be sure not to get it in your eyes.
Shake eye makeup removers labeled “dual action,” “dual phase,” or “double action” before use. These are typically a hybrid of water and oil removers.
Remove your eye makeup before washing your face to prevent your mascara, eyeliner, or other products from running into your eyes. Washing your face afterward will also eliminate any lingering residue from the remover.
If you have skin too sensitive for products, consider an eye makeup remover cloth which only requires water to work. Dampen the washcloth-like cloth and “erase” eye makeup with friction alone.
Always keep your eyes closed when removing makeup using an eye makeup remover.
Q. I wear contact lenses. Is it safe for me to use an eye makeup remover?
A. Yes. Certain eye makeup removers are labeled safe for use with contact lenses. Look for ones that are ophthalmologist approved. It’s best to remove contact lenses before wiping away makeup, even with a gentle remover, to minimize the chance of contaminating or damaging the lenses. Avoid oil-based cleansers and oil eye makeup removers altogether.
Q. How important is it to remove eye makeup before going to bed? Sometimes I’m just too darned tired.
A. We hear you! You’ve had a long day, and the process of taking off your day face — or date face — can be, well, a process. However, there is a risk of eye infection and ingrown eyelashes if you don’t properly remove all traces of mascara and eyeliner from your lids. Consider all-in-one makeup remover disposable wipes that are safe for both face and eye use. With a few swipes, you can remove everything from eyes to lips and then rest assured that you’ve taken care of your skin and health.