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The Best Eye Makeup Remover

Ekaterina Jurkova/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated September 2022

What goes on must come off---the mantra for wearing makeup. Most of us know that wearing eye makeup to bed can irritate or harm your eyes. That's why you should check out these great eye makeup removers.

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  Best Liquid Remover Best Pads Best Wipes Best for Sensitive Eyes Best Lotion
Oil-Free Liquid Eye Makeup Remover
Eye Makeup Remover Pads with Aloe
Day & Night Wipes
La Roche-Posay
Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover
Our SummaryThis non-greasy eye makeup remover cuts through stubborn waterproof liner and mascara.Specialized for the eyes, these makeup remover pads whisk away makeup at the end of the day.These micellar-infused facial cleansing cloths remove over 99% of makeup.Easy on the eyes, this makeup remover instantly and completely erases your makeup.Just a drop or two of this eye makeup remover will cut through stubborn, waterproof makeup in a snap.
Pros✓ Effective and gentle
✓ Ophthalmologist-tested
✓ Oil-free
✓ Gentle as water
✓ Easily cuts through caked-on eye makeup
✓ Easy to use
✓ Sustainably-sourced
✓ Made from plant-based fibers
✓ Refreshing on skin
✓ Won't irritate sensitive areas
✓ Instantly removes face and eye makeup
✓ Hypoallergenic
✓ Travel-sized
✓ Simple to use
✓ Lasts a long time
Cons✗ Small bottle doesn't last long✗ Some people don't like the fragrance✗ May dry out✗ Expensive✗ Not as effective on tough waterproof makeup
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The Best Eye Makeup Remover

A young woman removes green eye shadow with a wipe.
Ekaterina Jurkova/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Eye Makeup Removers

Removing makeup - closeup portrait of a pretty young woman using cotton on closed eyes.
Marko Marcello/Shutterstock.com

Why buy eye makeup remover?

While eye makeup is pretty to look at, if left on your skin indefinitely, it can wreak havoc. Sleeping in your eye makeup can cause infections, redness of the eyes, breakouts on the eyelids, and even corneal abrasions, not to mention dirty pillowcases. But simply splashing your face with water will not be enough to remove stubborn eye makeup. This is especially true if you prefer smudge-proof or waterproof eyeliner, mascara, or eye shadow, or if you use setting sprays or powders. High-quality eye makeup removers cleanse your skin at the end of the day, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your eyes or your bedding.

What should you look for in an eye makeup remover?

  • Purpose: Some eye makeup is more difficult to remove, such as waterproof eyeliner and mascara. So, you’ll need an eye makeup remover that’s specifically designed to break down more heavy-duty cosmetics, unless, of course, you opt out of using waterproof cosmetics.
  • Cleansing Style: These days, you can use more than a cold cream to remove your eye makeup. The choices are wide and can range from micellar waters and wipes to cleansing balms, gentle liquid cleansers, and reusable cloths.
  • Quantity: Depending on how frequently you wear makeup, the amount of product you get in a container will matter. If you wear your eye makeup almost daily, you’ll want to look for eye makeup removers that offer a good quantity-to-cost ratio, so you’re not frequently replacing the remover and spending more money.

Is a cotton pad or wipe better than using a reusable makeup-removing cloth?

There’s often a debate within the makeup community over whether reusable makeup-remover cloths are better than using traditional makeup remover products. There’s no dispute that makeup-removing cloths are convenient. But the general consensus is that reusable and disposable cloths tend to be less effective than using a traditional cleanser, oil, or balm. This is because cloths only remove visible makeup on your skin’s surface. This means that any makeup that’s in your pores may remain. While occasionally using these products for those late-night bedtime routines won’t cause long-term damage, you should avoid making this a go-to practice. In other words, wash your face frequently the old-fashioned way for the best results.

Our Picks for the Best Eye Makeup Removers

Pros: With this eye makeup remover, you can gently remove your eye makeup without harsh scrubbing. This effective and gentle makeup remover is ophthalmologist-tested and developed by dermatologists to be safe for contact lens wearers. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and eyes, and it won’t cause irritation for most people. And this eye makeup remover is easy to use. Simply apply it with a cotton pad or cotton ball on closed eyelids, then gently rinse with warm water. It’s also oil-free and won’t leave unwanted residue on your face.

Cons: This small bottle doesn’t last very long.

Bottom Line: If you want an effective eye makeup remover from a trusted brand, this may be a great choice for you. It contains aloe and cucumber extracts that soothe your skin and leave it feeling cool and refreshed. And it won’t leave you feeling greasy.


Best Pads

Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads with Aloe

Specialized for the eyes, these makeup remover pads whisk away makeup at the end of the day.

Pros: From another trusted brand in cosmetics and skincare products, this eye makeup remover is as gentle on your skin and eyes as pure, clean water. Yet it can easily cut through caked-on eye makeup. The circular pads are easy to use and don’t stick together. And when you wipe your eyes with these cloths, they don’t leave residue or the ultra-fun “raccoon” look behind. With a blend of aloe, cucumber, and green tea, these eye makeup remover pads feel clean and soothing on your skin. And they’re ophthalmologist tested, dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free.

Cons: These makeup remover pads have a fragrance that some people don’t like.

Bottom Line: These makeup remover pads get the job done gently. They feel smooth and soft on the skin. And they’re made to be very safe even for sensitive eyes.


Best Wipes

Neutrogena Day & Night Wipes

These micellar-infused facial cleansing cloths remove over 99% of makeup.

Pros: Depending on your needs, you can order these makeup remover cloths in packs of 20, 25, 50, or 75. That way, if you’re trying them for the first time, you don’t have to overdo it. Or, if you love the product and need to keep a lot in stock, you have that option as well. These towelettes are sustainably sourced and made from 100% plant-based fibers. And they leave your skin refreshingly clean with no heavy residue, so they don’t require rinsing. They can cut through tough, waterproof eye makeup, and they can be used to remove makeup from the rest of your face gently and safely.

Cons: These makeup-removing towelettes may dry out quickly.

Bottom Line: These compostable towelettes are highly effective at removing eye makeup, facial makeup, dirt, and pollution from your skin. They’re a name-brand product from a trusted brand. And they’re gentle on the skin.


Best for Sensitive Eyes

La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover

Easy on the eyes, this makeup remover instantly and completely erases your makeup.

Pros: For those with very sensitive skin or eyes, these gentle waterproof eye makeup removers are effective and won’t irritate. They contain a bi-phase formula that instantly removes face and eye makeup without rubbing or scrubbing. This eye makeup remover is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free. And for eye health, this brand has been ophthalmologist tested. It’s also easy to use. Simply shake the makeup remover bottle, apply a small amount to a cotton ball or a cotton pad, and gently wipe the makeup from your eyes.

Cons: This makeup remover is more expensive than similar products.

Bottom Line: For those who need to effectively remove eye makeup without irritating sensitive eyes, this makeup remover works quickly and effectively. Using this product is easy. And it also won’t congeal or dry out, so it will last a long time.


Best Lotion

Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover

Just a drop or two of this eye makeup remover will cut through stubborn, waterproof makeup in a snap.

Pros: This name-brand travel-sized eye makeup remover is super effective and simple to use. Pour a small amount on a damp cotton ball or pad. Go over your eyes once, and the makeup will break down and come off with ease. It won’t make you feel greasy, so you won’t need to wipe with a wet cloth afterward unless you choose to. It’s super gentle and won’t irritate your eyes, even if you wear contacts (though it’s best to use it once your contacts are removed). Best of all, a little goes a very long way. So this product should last you a long time. And you can travel with it, too!

Cons: This eye makeup remover is only ok at removing waterproof eye makeup.

Bottom Line: For everyday makeup, this eye makeup remover is effective. Although it doesn’t work as well on heavy glitter makeup or waterproof makeup, it cuts through most other eye makeup with ease.

Final Thoughts

You know that sleeping in your eye makeup is forbidden for a myriad of reasons, particularly for your eye health. But finding the right eye makeup remover can feel like trial and error. Remember that you can match your eye makeup remover to your beauty habits. Occasional or light eye makeup wearers can easily opt for wipes or micellar water, while those who rock full, waterproof lashes and daring eyeliner may do better with pads or liquid eye makeup remover.

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