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    The Best Makeup Removers That Leave Your Face Clean And Fresh

    When you just want to go to bed but have to take your makeup off

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Taking off your makeup at the end of the day should feel just as good as taking off your pants. But to get that level of sublime relief, you need a makeup remover that’s easy to use and gets off every last bit of cream and powder without requiring a million washcloths or cotton pads.

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    We put all kinds of cleansers to the test and found the best makeup remover in each price point to get your face as clean and clear as a starlet in a Neutrogena commercial.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating these picks! Check back soon for more.

    Garnier Micellar All-In-1 Cleansing Water


    We tested countless other makeup removers in this price bracket, and Garnier SkinActive Micellar All-in-1 Cleansing Water ranked far higher than anything else we tried in three important categories: cost per use, removal experience, and simplicity of ingredients. Add that it’s extremely easy to find at any drugstore or online retailer, works well across all skin types, and comes in several varieties — including one that removes even waterproof mascara — and we have ourselves a budget-pick winner.

    First and foremost, this product just works so darn well. You don’t need to use a lot of it to get the job done, which means one bottle goes a long way. We needed an average of just two cotton pads to remove an entire face of full-coverage makeup (including lipstick), so a 13.5-ounce bottle of this stuff will last you months. Other products in this price bracket gave us less product for the money and required more product per removal to give us fully bare faces, making this micellar water an even better deal by contrast.


    For the unacquainted, micellar water is a French pharmacy staple that’s part cleaner, part toner, and (you guessed it) part makeup remover. Micellar water works by using water and one or more surfactants — molecules that help cleanse the skin and, as dermatologist Dr. Anthony M. Rossi* explains, act as micelles. “Micelles are spherical structures that help to reduce the irritancy of other ingredients and can attract oil,” he says. “Micellar water is great for people who wear makeup regularly, as well as people with acne-prone skin who are prone to clogged pores.”

    Legend has it that the French took to it because their tap water was so bad that people didn’t want to wash their faces with it and needed a gentle alternative. In recent years its popularity has gone global, and micellar water is beloved by everyone from dermatologists to lazy beauty fanatics looking to streamline their skin-care regimens. “This type of makeup remover is unique and different from water because [its] ingredients are able to attract oil, dirt, and makeup and remove that without stripping the skin or causing it to be overly dry,” Dr. Rossi adds. “It’s also good for people with sensitive skin.”

    The product has thousands(!) of five-star reviews across the internet, and for good reason. One of our favorite things about this stuff is that it removes even thick makeup smoothly. No need for harsh scrubbing — just wipe a saturated pad over your face and the makeup melts right off. Plus, it doesn’t leave behind any oily residue. Oil cleansers are effective, but we’ve found that they work best for those with skin on the drier side. Micellar water moisturizes your face just enough, so if you have oily or acne-prone skin, the formula won’t feel too heavy. (If you do have dry skin and prefer an oil cleanser, we like Simple Cleansing Oil, a fragrance- and alcohol-free hydrating cleanser that’s a good choice for sensitive faces.)


    Garnier Micellar Water contains no oil, fragrances, or alcohol — which means less irritation and a more universally skin-friendly formula, no matter how sensitive yours may be. It’s available in three varieties, including normal and “mattifying” for oily skin, but we chose the formula specifically designed to remove even waterproof makeup — because when we take our makeup off, we want it all off.

    This bottle is well-designed, with a secure but easy-to-open cap; this also goes for its TSA-friendly travel-sized bottle (3.4 oz.), so you won’t have to worry about leakage. (Pro tip: For makeup mistakes, dip a small cotton swab into micellar water and boom — instant smudge eraser, with no pesky residue!) While you do need a vehicle for application, like cotton pads, if you’re concerned about creating waste, you can find eco-friendly options that do the job (like this set of bamboo pads).

    For a gentle makeup remover that satisfies all budgets and skin types, Garnier’s Micellar All-in-1 Cleansing Water is our no-contest choice.

    *Anthony M. Rossi, MD, FAAD, is the assistant attending at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the assistant attending at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

    Get it from Amazon for $6.

    The Makeup Eraser Remover Cloth


    When we first heard about this thing, honestly, we didn’t think it was going to work. Just a cloth and some water? It seemed too simple! Too mysterious! Too gimmicky! No chemicals! It looks like a regular old hand towel — surely it would just smear your makeup around, at best! But, boy, were we wrong. This thing really is like magic.


    Here’s how it works: You start out by putting the Makeup Eraser through one laundry cycle and then… add water. Seriously. One, two, three swipes across your mug and the job is done! (Amazon reviewer TheDivaRose, who describes themselves as “a professional female impersonator for almost 40 years,” swears it even works for “heavy theatrical stage makeup.”) For a full face of makeup (including waterproof products, like Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara), we only used one-third of one side. So you could theoretically get several uses from one before putting it through the wash. (You can also hand-wash it very easily and avoid the machine altogether.)


    Did we mention it’s great for people with sensitive skin or easily irritated eyes? One of our favorite things about the Makeup Eraser is that it allowed us to remove our eye makeup without getting any oils or gels in our peepers (which we can all agree is the worst). This makes it a prime choice for contact-lens wearers. The cloth itself is super-soft — like, softer-than-your-softest-blanket soft. Each side has a different length of fiber: the short side removes your makeup (did we mention it’s like magic?) and the “long nap” side gently exfoliates your skin. The fabric is a microfiber blend, which, according to the Makeup Eraser website, consists of “millions of fibers that are standing straight up to remove gunk from your skin and pores.” It’s also chemical-free and isn’t tested on animals. When you’re done, wring out the excess water and hang it to dry like you would any other washcloth. Once dried, it’s just as soft as when you first used it.


    We love not having to worry about rebuying this thing. This is one of those purchases that, while more expensive today, will save you lots of cash down the road. No more cotton pads, no more last-minute CVS runs, no more makeup wipes that dry out a week after you buy them! And with less waste, it’s better for the environment as well as for your to-do list. The company claims it will last you three to five years or 1,000 washes (and a number of reviewers also attest to its longevity). Oh, and if bright pink isn’t your thing, the Makeup Eraser is also available in 15+ colors and designs. *Swoon.*

    Get it from Sephora for $20.

    Clinique Take The Day Off Balm


    You may be wondering why anyone would consider splurging on a luxury makeup remover, especially when our picks in the former two price points work so dang well. But here’s the answer: Clinique Take the Day Off Balm does way more than just remove your makeup — and we stan an overachiever! Not only did it do an excellent job removing all our makeup, it also boasts additional skin-care benefits from ingredients like safflower oil, which is noncomedogenic (translation: doesn’t clog your pores) and has anti-inflammatory effects (translation: will make acne-prone skin very happy). It’s basically working overtime to ensure your makeup gets removed and your skin is healthy.


    This product has the texture of a balm or gel, and once removed from the twistable jar, it starts to dissolve from the heat of your skin into a milky, silky cream that removes your makeup with no trouble at all. It goes on smoothly, with no tugging, and leaves even sensitive skin feeling soothed and hydrated. As you (gently!) massage it into your face, it dissolves your makeup — even the waterproof stuff. Then you rinse it with warm water, and voilà! You’re #NoMakeup selfie-ready.

    For those with sensitive eyes, this ophthalmologist-tested balm is free of unnecessary fragrances and harsh, irritating ingredients, so you can really get up close and personal when removing your eye makeup.


    Need another reason to love this stuff? You get a lot of product for the price: 3.8 ounces, to be exact. So yes, you’re paying more up front, but you’re getting quite a lot for your money. And a little goes a long way — one of our testers has been using hers for months, and it’s remained fresh in the packaging the entire time. (The recommended shelf life is six months after opening.)

    All in all, if you’re looking for an effective premium makeup remover that might actually improve your skin, Clinique Take the Day Off Balm is for you!

    Get it from Amazon for $26.