The Best Makeup Removers - BuzzFeed Reviews
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The Best Makeup Removers

We hope you love the products we recommend! We do a lot of research and testing before making our picks for the best thing to buy in each price-point. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change. For more info on how we choose products and make money, go here

Garnier Micellar All-in-1 Cleansing Water

$7

  • Available in three different formulas
  • Works well with all skin types
  • Oil-free, fragrance-free, and alcohol-free
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The Makeup Eraser

$20

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Great for sensitive skin and eyes
  • Saves you $$ in the long run
Buying Options

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm

$30

  • Won’t clog pores
  • Removes makeup gently
  • Moisturizes your skin
Buying Options

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. 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.

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Garnier Micellar All-in-1 Cleansing Water

Starting from $7

The Details

13.5 ounces

What / Who It's Best For

  • Drugstore-beauty junkies
  • People who want to remove a lot of product fast
  • People with sensitive skin

Why We Love It

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.

User Reviews

“I have rosacea and this is one of the few cleaners that is gentle enough for my skin. This is also the best makeup remover. I use it every night before bed.”
— Sarah O From Amazon
“I just bought the blue-cap formula of this stuff today and just used it a few minutes ago. I. Am. Impressed. This stuff took my waterproof mascara right off. It works just like it says it will. I kept going over my entire face until the cotton pad looked clean. My skin feels amazing now, too. Not greasy at all, but hydrated. I have very oily, breakout-prone skin, so I'm hesitant to try new products. But I'm sold on this stuff! Totally worth the buy!”
— Cherrylistic7 From Walmart
“I've been using Micellar Cleansing Water and I'm very pleased. Removes all my makeup, even the most stubborn waterproof mascara and eyeliners.”
— Christi229 From Walmart
“This is my fourth bottle. I've been using it to remove my eye makeup. It removes extremely well without burning your eyes. It works for waterproof mascara, eyelash adhesive, and glitter eyeshadow.”
— Targettie808 From Target

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

No-frills drugstore fave

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The Makeup Eraser

Starting from $20

The Details

8" x 16" cloth

Chemical-free

15+ colors and patterns

Cruelty-free

What / Who It's Best For

  • Travelers
  • Low-waste consumers
  • People who are allergic to lots of products

Why We Love It

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.*

User Reviews

“There are not enough fantastic things i can say about this product. I am a makeup junkie and I wear it everyday. Waterproof, you name it — this towel removes EVERYTHING!”
— Kristone From Sephora
“I love this product. After a night out or a long day, the last thing I want to do is wash off my makeup. This makes it easy. I cannot go away without it!”
— Mcrsclr From Sephora
“I absolutely love my Makeup Eraser! I use it every time I need to take my makeup off. I used to use makeup-remover wipes, but the soap in the wipes always got in my eyes and made them burn. The Makeup Eraser is seriously magic! All you do is get it wet and wipe off your makeup: no soap, no fuss.”
— Heidi From MakeupEraser.com
“HOLY GUACAMOLE! When I first saw this product I thought, ‘It's probably just a piece of cloth… but I guess I'll try it?’ MY GOD. I don't know what kind of sorcery this is, but this is no piece of cloth. It's pure magic. It actually gets all of your makeup off with such a little amount of effort. Eyeliner? One swipe, girl. Waterproof mascara? Not a problem. You will save so much money never having to buy makeup-remover wipes again. Get this mythical cut of godly fabric.”
— ldukich From Sephora

The Makeup Eraser

Not a gimmick!

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Clinique Take the Day Off Balm

Starting from $30

The Details

3.8 oz

Twist-off jar

Paraben-free

Phthalate-free

What / Who It's Best For

  • People looking to level-up their skin-care routine
  • People with acne-prone skin
  • Someone who can splurge for added skin-care benefits

Why We Love It

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!

User Reviews

“The only thing I use to wash my face, from winter to summer. I have found that using it all over my face and then letting it hang out there for about 30 seconds to a minute before washing it off with warm water is the trick to feeling really clean and not leaving any residue at all. This stuff takes everything off: long-wear waterproof makeup, waterproof eyeliner and mascara, all-day lipstick, everything. It doesn't irritate my very sensitive skin at all, or my eyes, and doesn't require a lot of rubbing to get everything off. Paste turns into a soft oil on your face that washes away clean.”
— Bed-Stuy Customer From Amazon
"Without having to tug on the skin, this balm removes all makeup with ease. It also leaves the skin glowing and feeling refreshed and silky.”
— NaeNae05 From Clinique
“I love this cleanser. It's so easy to use, rinses off like a dream and removes every bit of makeup — including mascara — without a trace. And it leaves my dry skin feeling soft. I love this cleanser and would recommend it to anyone!”
— Tess From Clinique
“It's a thick butter that when rubbed into the skin melts away all traces of makeup. Doesn't dry my face out, doesn't leave it with an oily film.”
— Cowgal From Sephora

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm

High-end hydrating balm

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