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We get it. Washing your face is one of the last things you feel like doing at the end of a long day, but you really should. Sleeping with makeup on can not only lead to clogged pores and breakouts, but also result in premature aging.
“If makeup is not washed off at night, offending agents like dust and pollution stay in the skin and have ample time to create damaging free radicals," explained Dr. Kristina Goldenberg, a New York City-based dermatologist. "Leaving your makeup on won’t give your skin the chance to breathe and recover from all the stressors (like the sun) you’ve exposed it to during the day, further promoting wrinkles and age spots."
To help you keep your complexion healthy and balanced, we turned to a few celebrity makeup artists to pick their brains and find the best makeup removers on the market. From a $14 micellar water to a cleansing gel, these products won't fully replace your skin cleansing routine, but they'll help remove makeup for a squeaky clean complexion. Your skin will thank you in the morning — and for years to come!
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Best eye makeup removers
This Klorane waterproof eye makeup remover will get the job done. It's made with organic cornflower, which is gentle and leaves the eye area feeling cleansed and refreshed.
“The cornflower in it helps strengthen your lashes and soothe your skin," said celebrity makeup artist Jeannia Robinette. "One reason this eye makeup remover stands out from all the rest is because it actually has ingredients in it that help improve and rejuvenate your lashes, unlike so many others that damage the lashes while rubbing on your eyes."
A great oil-free option is this one from Neutrogena. Robinette says she likes this lightweight formula because it doesn't irritate the gentle skin around the eyes or leave behind a greasy residue.
“Similarly to the Klorane remover, this product has ingredients in it that help strengthen your lashes too, which is great," she noted.
This makeup remover is formulated with aloe and cucumber extracts which help soothe and refresh skin. It's also fragrance-free and ophthalmologist-approved for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes.
While this eye makeup remover is definitely on the more expensive side, celebrity makeup artist Merav Adler said it’s worth the splurge.
“I love this because I think it removes the makeup really nicely, especially if you’re wearing waterproof mascara," she said. "I also found that this is the least aggressive on your eyes. It won’t remove your eyelashes, which so many other makeup removers do."
Best micellar water
All three celebrity makeup artists we talked to swear by Bioderma micellar water and couldn't stop raving about it!
“I love this stuff!” said Adler. “I like to use this product before skin prep, so if I have a client that is getting ready for a red carpet, I always like to wipe down their skin with this, just to give them a nice fresh base.”
"It basically melts your makeup away," said Lanoux. "Use this with a cotton pad and it will take off all of your makeup — waterproof mascara included — and really unclogs your pores. Even if you use it on clean skin it will still pull up a lot of dirt. It makes your skin super soft and it’s great for sensitive skin too, which is why I love it.”
"This one also doesn’t dry out your skin like so many other micellar waters," she noted.
“I have worked with Victoria Beckham for years, and this is the only makeup remover that she uses! She swears by it," said Robinette. “I love it because it’s really gentle, it doesn’t leave an oily residue and it doesn’t burn your eyes. Whether you’re wearing minimal makeup or have a full face of products on your skin, this stuff will take it all off."
Best makeup remover wipes
If you don't wear a lot of makeup or you're feeling lazy, this is an easy way to wipe down your face after a long day. In one quick step, these soft and gentle pre-moistened facial cleansing wipes effectively get rid of all traces of dirt, oil and makeup.
These Neutrogena makeup remover wipes have become incredibly popular over the years, and Robinette isn't done obsessing over them!
"These are the best. They’re cheap and easy," she said. "They rarely ever make anyone break out and they’re just hands down a great product. I leave these in my car, in my purse and they’re great on the go."
If you love wipes and have stubborn makeup, these have you covered. “I live for these!” said Adler. "They’re great for sensitive skin and they don't leave your face irritated or red.”
The wipes contain a blend of vitamin E, green tea and aloe vera to gently cleanse, tone and resurface skin.
Best makeup removing cleansers
This is by far the most expensive item on our list, but if Lanoux can't live without it, it must be good!
"This is my number one makeup remover. Everybody should know about this stuff!" she raved. "It truly just melts your makeup away — it’s like magic!”
She explained that this product is a splurge because it's made with quality ingredients that are blended together to create a creamy balm. It's also unique because you apply it to a full face of makeup and rub it in before washing it off.
"It’s deep cleaning and really clears out your pores," Lanoux explained. "It’s so great for sensitive skin and it even does a light exfoliation — it’s really good at keeping your skin feeling hydrated after applying. I’ve used it for quite some time and have definitely seen an improvement in my skin.”
This is a great one-and-done product if you don't like extra steps when it comes to your skin care routine.
“I love this because it actually removes all of your makeup and cleanses your skin at the same time," said Adler. “It gets the job done, it's great for sensitive skin, doesn’t have a very strong smell and is truly worth every penny.”
The HydroPeptide cleansing gel has a pleasant citrus scent and is formulated to gently remove dirt, excess oil, makeup and other impurities from your skin as it balances pH levels. Some key ingredients include sebacic acid, peptides, hyaluronic acid, green tea and vitamin C. The peptides help to improve firmness and elasticity, while the sebacic acid prevents breakouts and the hyaluronic acid delivers skin-brightening hydration.
Despite the price tag, Lanoux highly recommends this luxurious oil cleanser.
"Clear skin starts with a good cleanser," she said. "I would splurge on this because this would be your first step in your skin care routine and I just feel like you really shouldn’t cut the corners when it comes to your cleanser."
"You feel like you’re at the spa when you use this cleanser," she added. "It smells and feels so good on the skin and it leaves your skin feeling super hydrated. Use this on your dry skin and rub it all over your face — over your eyes, eyebrows, lips, everywhere — and then just splash your face with water and your makeup will be completely gone."
The bestselling Fresh Soy Makeup Removing Face Wash has over 5,000 five-star reviews on Sephora, and for good reason.
"I love how gentle the formula is, it’s extremely hydrating, leaves your skin feeling clean and it smells great. It's great for sensitive skin too!" said Lanoux. "I recommend using this in the morning and night. It’s great for removing makeup, even stubborn makeup and it leaves the skin feeling very hydrated."
Key ingredients include amino acid-rich soy protein which helps maintain skin's elasticity and suppleness, as well as rosewater which is notable for its calming and balancing properties.
For more stories like this, check out:
- What every skin care routine should have, no matter your skin type
- 7 skin care products you should be using, no matter your age
- Stay up to date on the latest beauty trends with these 15 subscription boxes
- 18 eye shadow creams and sticks that don't smudge
This article was originally published on April 24, 2017.