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It doesn’t make much sense to spend more on makeup remover than you do on the makeup itself. That’s why drugstore eye makeup removers are convenient if you regularly enjoy heavy eye makeup. Because let’s face it, mastering eye makeup may be optional. But mastering eye makeup removal is essential. The last thing you want to have is red, watery eyes, black eyeliner residue all over the lids, and eyelash fallouts. To avoid that scenario, you need to make sure you get rid of all that makeup residue around the eyes in the gentlest way possible.
Given the circumstances, most of us have been focusing more on eye makeup for the last couple of years. And you might be using an oil cleanser to get rid of your makeup before moving on to your second cleanser. After all, double cleansing is the ideal way to keep a clean, fresh base.
But if you mainly focus on eye makeup and your eyes don’t seem to get along with your cleansing balm, then a makeup remover specifically made for the eye area makes sense. Even better if it doesn’t cost you a pretty penny! Well, it doesn’t have to.
Find below the best drugstore eye makeup removers.
1. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover
This is a makeup remover you can use for the entire face including the eye area. This cult-favorite goodie removes even the most stubborn waterproof eye makeup. The micellar water attracts dirt and wipes away any makeup residue. It’s fragrance-free and incredibly gentle around the eyes. Just use cotton pads and press them onto the eyelids for a few seconds to let the product dissolve and absorb makeup. There’s also the non-waterproof formula as seen below, which is great for sensitive eyes. And it’s celebrity-approved! Kourtney Kardashian loves it and you can guess how picky she is with the things she puts on her face.
Size: 23.7 oz/700 ml
Formula: Alcohol-free, fragrance-free, oil-free, cruelty-free, vegan
2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
If your eye area is prone to milia (little yellow bumps), or if you’re wearing lash extensions, an oil-free eye makeup remover is the safest way to get rid of eye makeup. Because you really don’t want any oil lingering in that area if you want to hold on to those lashes. And that’s why this is one of the best drugstore eye makeup removers. It’s oil-free and it also contains soothing cucumber and aloe, which is great for calming the eye area.
Size: 5.5 oz/162 ml
3. La Roche Posay Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover
I have sensitive eyes because I have ocular rosacea. So any product I use has the potential to irritate, or burn my eyes and make them all itchy. What’s worse is that this irritation usually lingers. If I use an irritating mascara or eyeliner, even if I completely remove it before bed, my eyes tend to be puffy the next day. I’ll simply be driving and my left eye just burns and tears up for no reason as if I’m crying. If this all sounds familiar, then you can try this eye makeup remover that is perfect for sensitive eyes. It won’t further irritate the sensitive area but it’ll gently remove even waterproof eye makeup. The bi-phase formula works great on both water-based and oil-based makeup. Plus, it’s fragrance-free.
Size: 4.2 oz/ 125 ml
Related: The Best Makeup Removers For Rosacea
4. Bioderma H2O Sensibio Micellar Water
This one is so gentle that it feels like water! And it wipes away your makeup so beautifully that you’ll be tempted to leave things as they are. Even though you can, you should definitely follow up with a second cleanser if you’re wearing heavy base makeup. Even though it’s not oil-free, it does not leave a greasy, oily feel on the skin. On the contrary, it’s amazing for very dry, flaky under eyes. The fragrance-free formula is also suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
Size: 16.7 oz/ 500 ml
5. Avene Gentle Eye Make-up Remover
This is vegan, hypoallergenic, super lightweight, and gentle around the eyes. It’s infused with sorbitol to hydrate. The oil-free gel picks up any dirt and makeup residue on the eyes and wipes the eye area clean without the need for harsh pulling. The gel texture also has a calming effect on the skin. And it works on waterproof makeup too! The non-comedogenic eye makeup remover is a good option for people with oily eyelids too.
Size: 4.2 oz/ 125 ml
Formula: Oil-free, fragrance-free, vegan
6. The Body Shop Chamomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
Chamomile is incredibly soothing for the skin as it’s anti-inflammatory. And this makeup remover is formulated around it to thoroughly remove eye makeup while calming the delicate skin around the eyes. Even if you wear heavy mascara or the deepest shade of some black eyeliner, you can get rid of it all with this one. The formula is alcohol-free and super gentle on the skin. The affordable eye makeup remover is vegan, cruelty-free, and can also be used on the lips.
Size: 8.4 oz/250 ml
Formula: Vegan, cruelty-free
7. Physicians Formula Coconut Milk Eye Makeup Remover
This one has a unique texture in that it has a creamier formula, which is absolutely amazing for dry under-eyes. Think of cream cleansers. This is like that but for the eye area. So it’s incredibly replenishing for the eyes and turns eye makeup removal into a very nourishing skincare step. The creamy formula is made with coconut extract. It’s fragrance-free and thoroughly removes your eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara even if they’re waterproof.
Size: 2 oz/59 ml
Formula: Fragrance-free, vegan
8. Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
This is one of the gentlest and most affordable makeup removers you can get your hands on and use all over your face including the sensitive eye area. It’s free of common irritants and actually contains hydrating and soothing vitamin B5, vitamin B3 as well as vitamin C, and even skin-soothing chamomile extract. Remove that stubborn eye makeup with this before moving on to that fancy second cleanser.
Size: 6.7 oz/198 ml
Formula: Fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan
9. Burt’s Bees Eye Makeup Remover Pads
Eye makeup removing pads are basically pads presoaked in micellar water. This doesn’t allow you to use as much product as you need. If you’re not happy with the result, you need to get more pads out of the container. And that may cause you to run out of pads a lot sooner. That’s why pads are not really cost-effective. But if you’re on the go or when your alternative is not removing eye makeup, you can try these pads as they’re very gentle and you can use them for sensitive eyes as well.
Size: 35 counts
Quick Tip: Eye makeup remover pads aren’t at all like the regular cotton pads you have at home, which work by soaking the eye area with the liquid, making it very easy to clean the skin. Makeup-removing pads tend to be very thin. And because of that, they usually require a lot of rubbing, pulling, and tugging, which is irritating. It’s not the best practice if you want to keep premature wrinkles at bay.
So these are some of the best drugstore eye makeup removers. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover is the one to go for if you want to cover all the bases. You get to clean your face makeup and eye makeup no matter how waterproof or stubborn they may be. And you do all of that without irritation! If you want to branch out a little and try oil cleansing, check out our round-up of the best drugstore cleansing oils to get started!
And lastly, to properly remove your eye makeup, pour a little bit of product into a cotton pad. Close your eye, or eyes, and press the pad onto the eyelids for about 10-20 seconds. This reduces the need for wiping significantly. Let the pad break down your eye makeup. Then wipe very gently. The ‘pressing in method’ is way more effective than wiping. So if you’re not satisfied, leave the pads on for 10 more seconds instead of rubbing your eyes aggressively. Use a Q-tip to pick up makeup that may be left on the inner corners of the eyes.