I was reminiscing about the first time I was trying on makeup and my struggle to remove it. It took a long time for me to discover face cleansers and a lot longer to discover makeup removers. If only someone had told me that there’s actually a proper way to remove makeup.
I wouldn’t have to deal with makeup residue lingering on my skin, blemishes popping up seemingly out of nowhere, dirty pillowcases with makeup stains, having hard, flaky eyelashes the next day and desperately trying to apply mascara on them, causing eyelash fallouts, and so much more! I would skip all these if I had known how to remove makeup!
So in case this all sounds too familiar, I’ll save you the trouble and I’ll explain below how to properly remove makeup, what you need, and what to keep in mind.
How to Remove Makeup
1. Cleansing Balm
Using a cleansing balm is the best and most thorough way to remove makeup. Cleansing balms, sometimes called balm cleansers, are oil-based makeup removers that come in a solid structure.
Think coconut oil you see on supermarket shelves. The reason why balms work so well is because they pick up oils from the skin, which is usually what makeup is primarily made of.
Cleansing balms dissolve your makeup. After that, all you need to do is wash your face with a regular cleanser to rinse everything down the drain.
Using an oil-based cleanser followed by a regular cleanser is called the double cleansing method. It’s the gold standard for completely removing all kinds of makeup.
2. Cleansing Oil
Using a cleansing oil is as efficient for removing makeup as using a cleansing balm. Cleansing oils, or oil cleansers work just like makeup-removing balms. The only difference is that these are liquid and not solid.
They remove makeup by picking up oil-based, stubborn makeup from the skin. They break down your makeup, separating it from the surface of the skin. After that, you wash everything away with your second cleanser.
Again, this is called the double cleansing method. So it is thorough! And you’ll be able to comfortably melt away heavy foundation or stubborn base makeup as well as waterproof eyeliner and mascara.
3. Micellar Water
Micellar water is a type of makeup remover that comes in liquid form. It contains tiny oil particles to attract oil-based substances from the skin, which makes makeup removal much easier.
Regular micellar water removes light makeup. But if you wear a lot of heavy makeup, micellar waters formulated to remove waterproof makeup will be the better option.
There are light makeup removers formulated especially for the eye area too. These work great if you only wear eye makeup, or if you have sensitive eyes and you need a special product. Either way, micellar waters are a practical way to remove makeup.
4. Makeup Wipes
Makeup-removing wipes are conveniently packaged to quickly wipe off surface-level makeup. Most of the time, they won’t be enough to completely remove makeup.
However, they’re still useful when you don’t have an oil cleanser at your disposal and you need to soften your makeup before washing your face with your regular cleanser.
Makeup-removing wipes are more popular among people who focus on mostly eye makeup. But they tend to require a lot of rubbing to get to work on dissolving waterproof mascara or eyeliner. And that’s not good for skin elasticity. So they should be the last resort.
Tips for a Thorough Makeup Removal
1. Remember to use a second cleanser.
Remember that makeup removal is not the same as facial cleansing. So after removing your makeup with the product of your choice, use a second cleanser to wash your face!
You still have an oily layer of melted makeup and oil cleanser on your face. Use your regular cleanser to wash everything away and to complete the double cleansing routine.
2. Include the hairline.
Most people focus on the center of the face when removing makeup. They forget to use the makeup remover on the hairline, which results in oil and dirt getting stuck on the forehead below the hairline.
This is something I’m guilty of having done myself. And I figured that out after my skin started breaking out in that area.
So during makeup removal, use a hair band to push your hair back or a hair scrunchie to pull your hair up so that you can comfortably and thoroughly remove makeup from the hairline too.
3. Take your time.
It takes a few seconds for your makeup remover to soften your makeup and you need to take your time. For example, when massaging the cleansing balm onto the eyes to break down the mascara, you feel your eyelashes getting softer.
You can’t hurry this up. So make sure you give enough time for the makeup remover to actually remove your makeup.
4. Be gentle.
Aggressively rubbing your skin to remove foundation or your eyelashes to remove mascara can irritate your skin, and damage your skin’s elasticity. Whatever method you’re using, always be gentle.
Use circular motions. Instead of rubbing harshly, try massaging gently. No pulling or tugging, but gently wiping. Otherwise, you might cause eyelash fallouts from excessive pulling and tugging.
5. Be thorough.
If you wear dramatic eye makeup or use multiple eye makeup products, you need to be more thorough. Most of the time, a superficial makeup removal won’t be enough to get rid of eyeliner on the waterline, on the edges of the eyelid, or below the lower lash line.
Similarly, a hasty makeup removal fails at removing waterproof, transferproof lipstick from the edges of your lips. So make sure you take enough time to cover those areas with your makeup remover too.
FAQs on How to Remove Makeup
Is makeup remover necessary?
Makeup remover is necessary if you wear makeup. The sole purpose of a makeup remover is to rid your skin of cosmetics, which are mostly oils, preservatives, emulsifiers, silicones, and the like. You take this stuff off your face with a product that is meant to take that stuff off your face.
Can I use my face cleanser to remove makeup?
Technically speaking, a face cleanser is supposed to cleanse your face and not necessarily remove your makeup. While you can get away with using your daily cleanser if you only wear light makeup, you shouldn’t rely on it if you wear a lot of makeup. Foundation, concealer, and waterproof eye makeup require an oil-based cleanser to break down. A regular face wash doesn’t work on those. You won’t be able to thoroughly get your makeup off and you might end up with dry, irritated skin.
Can you remove makeup with water?
Water is not enough to remove makeup. Makeup is made up of a mix of oil-based and water-based substances and water is not enough to completely remove it. It would be like dipping your hand in olive oil and expecting to remove it simply by running your hand under the water. Additionally, you might be tempted to use soap water to remove makeup when you don’t have a makeup remover. Know that soap is extremely drying for the skin and using soap water to remove makeuıp can dry, and irritate your skin.
What do I do after removing makeup?
After removing your makeup, wash your face with your face cleanser. At this point, your skin is clean and clear. Now is the time to layer your skincare products and do your skincare routine. Start by applying a face toner and a face serum if you’re using one. If not, you can simply apply your moisturizer. This prevents skin dryness from facial cleansing. Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized ensures a smoother, easier makeup application the next time.