How to Remove Makeup

Lilly Wallace

A healthy, radiant complexion can be yours at any age, but it requires daily effort to properly remove your makeup. Although quick and convenient, makeup remover wipes may not be your best option; they tend to be drying and irritating (most contain alcohol, which harms the skin), and encourage rubbing and pulling of the skin, which can lead to wrinkles. Regardless of your skin type, you should cleanse your face every morning and every evening, and make sure you remove all makeup residue (and sunscreen) before you go to bed at night.

Lips: Start Here

Lilly Wallace

Typically the last to go on, lipstick should also be the first to come off. You don’t need a lip-specific makeup remover; just pick up some lip balm or oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil) on a cotton bud or round and gently massage your lips until the product comes off. You may need to repeat this step a few times to remove all traces of long-wearing or waterproof color.

Next Up: Eyes

Lilly Wallace

Remove your contact lenses before you apply any cleansing product to your eyes. Soak two cotton rounds with eye make-up remover and place them on your eyes. You can choose a makeup remover formulated specifically for the eyes, but make sure it does not contain fragrance, which can be irritating.

Keep the pads in place for a few minutes while the product breaks down the makeup. Do not skip this step: this gives the cleanser time to dissolve the makeup so you can wipe it off easily. Repeat as necessary until all of the makeup comes off. If you applied multiple coats of mascara, wipe your lashes from the roots to the ends.

Do not rub or scrub your eyes with the cotton rounds; besides being inefficient, this aggressive approach can also lead to wrinkles in the long term.

In place of a commercial eye-makeup remover product, you can use oil, such as jojoba, olive, coconut, etc. or even better, water-soluble cleansing oil. Oils effectively dissolve even waterproof eye makeup. Use it in the same way as described for the eye makeup remover.

The Facial Cleanse: Part One

Lilly Wallace

For this step you can use a commercial cleansing oil (or a cleansing milk/lotion), or you can use an oil such as jojoba, olive or coconut. Commercially prepared cleansing oils are a more expensive option, but they are usually non-greasy and easy to remove. Some of them are even water-soluble, meaning they can be simply rinsed off. Straight oil is a more affordable option, but it requires more effort to remove, and it can clog your pores and cause blemishes if you leave it on your skin. But even with oily skin you can safely use an oil to remove your makeup, if you make sure to promptly remove all residue from your skin.

Massage whichever product you choose directly onto your dry skin in a circular motion, making sure to cover your neck if you applied foundation there. Remove the oil with a wet, clean, soft face towel using hot (but not scalding) water or lukewarm water if you have delicate skin. Use the towel to lift off all the oil, grime and makeup, providing a gentle exfoliation. Rinse the towel and repeat until no residue is left on your skin.

The Repeat: A Second Cleanse

The first cleanse dissolves and removes your makeup; the second goes deeper to remove any leftovers and clear your pores. It also enables your skin to properly absorb treatments applied after cleansing. Massage your face with your favorite water-soluble cleanser, then rinse it off. Avoid foaming cleansers, which usually contain irritating foaming agents such as SLS, which can alter your skin’s natural pH. Gently pat your skin dry, and apply your favorite toner and moisturizer.

The Finish: A Quick Touch-Up

Lilly Wallace

Once you have completed your routine, you may notice a little eye makeup collecting next to your tear ducts. Delicately swab a clean, wet cotton bud under your lower lash line and over your top lash line to make sure that no makeup residue remains. If you find residue, dip a clean cotton bud in your eye makeup remover or cleansing oil and gently wipe it off.