Best Makeup Removers 2022

As makeup artist Dick Page likes to say, makeup is temporary. One of the joys in wearing it is that it’s a low stakes endeavor; once you’ve had your fun with it, it can easily be removed. But when it comes to doing just that, it helps to use the best makeup remover to fit your needs—especially when all you want to do at that point in your day is face plant into the nearest downy pillow.

Whether you need to dissolve layers of foundation and waterproof mascara or just break down tinted sunscreen and blush, you’ll want something that is simple yet effective. The formula “preferably has no mad active ingredients,” says Page, who has worked at countless shows backstage at Fashion Week as well as editorial shoots. “It should do the job without [requiring] scrubbing.”

Makeup artist Sheri Stroh echoes that sentiment. “I look for makeup removers that quickly break down makeup, are easy to use and do not sting my eyes.” Ahead, the best ones to do the job for various skin types.

Best Makeup Remover Overall

A Beloved Classic That Tackles All Types Of Makeup

There’s a reason why this liquid remover remains a bestseller: It tackles the most stubborn mascara without tugging at lashes. Suitable for all skin types, it’s capable of taking down any longwear cosmetic that likes to hold on for dear life. “It works extremely well, and I find there is no greasy residue,” says Stroh.

What you’ll love:

  • Unscented
  • Doesn’t irritate eyes

Keep in mind:

  • Oil-free
  • Best when used with a cotton pad

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Best Makeup Remover For Sensitive Skin

A French Pharmacy Favorite That Works With All Skin Types

This French pharmacy classic features micelles–tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules–to dissolve dirt, makeup and oil. It’s extremely gentle, rinse-free and doesn’t disrupt the skin barrier. Though it’s great for sensitive skin, all skin types can use it and reap the same efficacious benefits. “It’s a personal as well as a makeup kit staple,” says Stroh.

What you’ll love:

  • Fragrance-free
  • A little goes a long way

Keep in mind:

  • Best when used with a cotton pad


Best Makeup Remover For Acne-Prone Skin

A Skin-Soothing Option

This ultra gentle, budget-friendly remover dissolves excess oil, dirt and makeup without the need to rinse. In addition to being fragrance-free, it contains ceramides and niacinamide to soothe skin. “I turned to this product last year when I had intense reactive and dehydrated skin, and it was a savior for me,” says makeup artist Jodi Urichuk.

What you’ll love:

  • Won’t strip skin
  • Hydrating

Keep in mind:


Best Makeup Remover For Dry Skin

A Creamy Emulsion That Breaks Down Makeup

When applied to dry skin, this rosehip-infused jelly oil breaks down makeup and sunscreen, and transforms into a creamy milk when water is added. Skin is left feeling soft and hydrated thanks to nourishing essential fatty acids like evening primrose. Plus, the scent of ylang ylang is utterly divine.

What you’ll love:

  • Creamy, non-foamy formula
  • Nourishing

Keep in mind:


Best Makeup Remover For Combination Skin

A Purifying Formula That Doesn’t Require Rubbing Or Rinsing

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-In-1 Mattifying

Free of oil, alcohol and fragrance, this micellar water clears away makeup and dirt without requiring rubbing or rinsing. In addition, it helps purify pores and leaves a matte finish without a dry, tight feeling.

What you’ll love:

  • Affordable
  • Not overdrying

Keep in mind:

  • Best for oily or combination skin


Best Waterproof Makeup Remover

A Makeup Pro Favorite

This brand has been around for more than a century, and its cleanser—a hybrid of Vaseline and cold cream—is touted by makeup artists, theater performers and actors. But it’s their eye version that Page raves about. “This gets off even the most tenacious pigments and stubborn mascara, and feels nice and moisturizing too,” he says

What you’ll love:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Won’t sting eyes

Keep in mind:

  • Contains mineral oil and petrolatum so might feel heavy to some


Best Makeup Remover Balm

A Bestselling Balm Cleanser

MOST POPULAR

There’s something so soothing and calming about using a balm. As you scoop it out with your fingers and massage it in, you feel like you’re coddling your skin while simultaneously melting down any makeup or sunscreen that dares to get in its path. With a mousse-like texture, this one is Stroh’s current favorite. “It removes everything without irritating my eyes, leaves skin so soft and smells like a creamsicle.” It’s been the Canadian brand’s bestseller for over a decade.

What you’ll love:

  • Vegan
  • Can double as a nourishing mask

Keep in mind:


Best Makeup Remover Wipes

Earth-Friendly Cleansing Wipes

When you’re in a pinch, these are a classic for cleansing on the go. “Simple wipes—these are soft and effective,” says Page. The brand recently added micellar water to its formula and made these wipes out of a compostable, plant-based cloth that will break down in 35 days, which we can all agree is a step in the right direction. 

What you’ll love:

  • Affordable
  • Travel-friendly

Keep in mind:

  • Needs to be disposed of properly


How To Choose The Best Makeup Remover

The pros agree on looking for something that is gentle but effective. You want one “that removes even the most waterproof, full-coverage, long-wearing makeup gently without irritation or stripping the barrier,” says Urichuk.

“It should do the job without scrubbing,” says Page. In other words, it should effortlessly melt down makeup and not require you to put any elbow grease behind it to see results. If you have to use pressure and if it leaves your skin feeling irritated, kick it to the curb.

Formulation

Formulations can vary from liquid to creams to balms to oils. Liquids are ideal for lighter amounts of makeup versus balms and oils, which can tackle a more heavily made up face.

Skin Type

When it comes to skin type, if you’re on the dry or sensitive side, you’ll probably prefer balms and oils, as they leave behind a layer of hydration. Oilier types should go for anything water-based, since it will do the job with zero residue.

Makeup Type

The greater the amount of makeup you’re wearing or the more tenacious it is (think waterproof or long-lasting formulas), the heavier the remover you’ll need. That’s why theatre actors tend to use thick unguents like petroleum jelly to tackle heavy stage makeup. For a light amount of makeup, a micellar water will do the trick.