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The Best Makeup Removers for Halloween

A woman wipes her face with a wipe, a person pumps cleansing oil into their hand, and a woman has a swath of makeup removed from her face.
Neutrogena/DHC/Dermablend

When it comes to Halloween costumes, some people really go for it! From liquid latex gashes and faux blood to full-on body makeup, Halloween lovers take things very seriously. But when it’s time to remove all the gore, things can get a bit, well, sticky. This is why you’ll thank yourself for picking up a good makeup remover.

The thing about Halloween makeup is, even if you don’t go gory, you’ll likely be applying way more than you normally do. And, even if you don’t sleep in the stuff, it can lead to breakouts due to clogged pores, trapped bacteria and pollutants, and inflamed eyes.

Whether you’re planning to go all out with a nasty-looking fake wound, or keeping it simple with some whiskers and a good cat-eye, here are the best Halloween makeup removers to use after your haunted revels

Best Oil Cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

A person pumps cleansing oil into their palm.
DHC

For those who wore a full face of foundation, contour, concealer, and eye makeup, an oil cleanser is the best bet for removal. DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil is formulated using virgin olive oil which breaks down makeup (including waterproof mascara and eyeliner), oil-based impurities, and sebum.

You apply the oil with dry hands and massage it into your face, including over your eyes. For the next step, you can either wipe it away with a damp cloth, or you can wet your hands and emulsify the oil into a milky cleanser and rinse it away. To thoroughly clean your face, follow with a foaming, water-based cleanser for a full double-cleanse routine.

Best Oil Cleanser

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

Lose that full-glam look in minutes.

Best Prosthetic Remover: Mehron Spirit Gum Remover

A man is dressed as a werewolf.
Mehron

First things first: absolutely, under no circumstances should you be washing your face with this remover. Mehron Spirit Gum Remover is specifically designed to break down spirit gum, which is the face and body adhesive used to attach prosthetics. It’s not meant to remove all of your makeup.

However, it will help you remove big bits of faux scar tissue, hair, a fake witch’s nose, or other gory accouterments, so you can wash your face.

For smaller prosthetics, the best thing to do is grab a cotton ball, soak it in this stuff, and then gently rub it over the prosthetic piece until you feel it begin to come away from your face. For larger areas, you can use a cloth and soak the area until the spirit gum feels as though it’s giving way.

With both methods, you should always follow with a cleanser to remove any leftover residue. An oil cleanser (like the DHC we mentioned previously) will help break down any leftover adhesive and remove the actual makeup you have on.

Best Prosthetic Remover

Mehron Spirit Gum Remover

No more witch's nose for you!

Best Simple Cleanser: Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water

Different sized bottles of micellar water sit between a compact and makeup brushes.
Bioderma

Let’s be honest, if you don’t have prosthetics or fake blood plastered all over yourself, and you’re just rocking a cute little cat face, a full cleansing routine might be asking a lot on Halloween night. Enter, micellar water.

This isn’t the best method for everyday use if it’s your only cleanser. While it can remove most makeup, it doesn’t actually cleanse your skin and residue can be left behind. However, on Halloween, micellar water is the perfect lazy person’s cleanser when you just want to crawl into bed.

Just grab a few cotton rounds, soak them in the water, and then wipe away your makeup. To get stubborn mascara off, place the soaked pad over your eyes and let it sit for a few seconds to break down the product.

Once you’re satisfied that all your makeup is removed, you can follow up with a foaming cleanser for a total clean. But, if you’d rather just head to bed, at least you will have removed most of that sticky, pore-clogging makeup.

Best Simple Cleanser

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Makeup artists swear by this stuff.

Best Last Resort: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes

A woman wipes her face with a wipe.
Neutrogena

For the most part, we wouldn’t recommend makeup wipes. They’re simply not as effective at removing makeup and almost always leave behind traces of smeared product, as well as a film, over your face. Even dermatologists don’t recommend using wipes as your sole face cleanser.

But, this is a Halloween emergency! If you stumble home late or stay at a friend’s, makeup wipes could be the most convenient solution.

Neutrogena’s remover wipes are the most well-known on the market, and they’re effective enough in a pinch. They’re also portable and easy to use. We recommend keeping them on your nightstand, so when you’re struggling just to grab a glass of water and crawl into bed, they’ll be handy.

Toss them in your overnight bag if you plan to stay at a friend’s. Just make sure you give your face a good and thorough cleanse the next morning.

Best Last Resort

Your best Halloween makeup removal method will depend on how all-out you go, but a remover and oil cleanser would be a good idea. So, plan ahead, and while you’re adding all that Halloween makeup to your cart, grab a good remover, as well.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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