The Best Facial Cleanser for Removing Every Type of Makeup
It used to be as simple as soap and water to wash away the days makeup. But as makeup formulas evolve (we’re looking at you, long-wear foundation and industrial-strength lipstick), so must the removers. In order to keep pace with makeups upgrades, there are now cleansers in every form imaginableoils, sticks, balms, watersthat do an even better job at taking off a full face than the standard foaming varieties of the past. So what to use, and when? We chatted removers with makeup artists Suzy Gerstein and Colleen Runne to help sift through the plethora of options out there. Because taking it off should be the easy part, right?
Use an oil cleanser if you’re a makeup junkie
Both makeup artists agree that oil cleansers are best at washing away heavy, long-wear cosmetics. Oils are great for removing waterproof or water-resistant products like foundation, concealer, eye shadow and mascara, explains Gerstein. If youre wearing a dark smoky eye or bold lip thats too stubborn to come off with your go-to cleanser, oil formulas can easily melt it all away. Massage a few pumps onto your dry face (this is importantthey don’t work on damp or wet skin). As the oil warms up on your skin, tough-to-remove products completely dissolve. You don’t want to have to scrub or tug at your skin, explains Gerstein. The product should be gentle and do all the work for you. Oil cleansers are also great as the bitter winter months approach and skin gets drier. We like Kiehls Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil, $32its blend of botanical oils leave skin soft and dewy.
…But steer clear from oil-based removers if you wear contacts
If you wear contacts, your remover won’t necessarily depend on your makeup of choices. You may want to avoid oil-based removers, Gerstein explains (think: melting balm cleansers, bi-phase eye makeup removers, and oils). Why? Even after you rinse your face, oil can remain on lashes and cause your contacts to become blurry. While it may not be the hugest deal (rinsing them should do the trick), it does add another step to your routine. To save time, use a watery oil-free option, like Make Up For Ever Sens-Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser, $11, for eyes and stick to traditional gel cleansers and micellar waters for your face.
Try a balm if you have extra-dry skin
Balms are great for people with dry, mature and sensitive skin thanks to their gentle and hydrating nature. They emulsify makeup like a cream cleanser, but they’re not as rich, Runne explains. Like an oil cleanser, you’ll want to massage balms onto drynot wetskin to melt away makeup. Some softer formulas, like It Cosmetics Bye Bye 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Balm, $38, emulsify and rinse away with just warm water, whereas thicker, waxier balms such as Pixi by Petra Nourishing Cleansing Balm, $20, or Eve Lom Cleanser balm, $80, require a damp washcloth to rinse clean.
Pick a micellar water for no makeup-makeup days
While oil cleansers work wonders for heavy and waterproof makeup, micellar waters are best for taking off your everyday no makeup-makeup. They clean quickly, and won’t irritate skin and eyes, Runne says. Because they’re foolproof and efficient, micellar waters are the main makeup remover you will see backstage at fashion shows. Simply soak a cotton pad in the solution and wipe your makeup awayno rinsing necessary. (For darker or waterproof eye makeup, hold the cotton round to the lid for about 30 seconds to allow to formula to work.) Both Runne and Gerstein recommend Bioderma Sensibio H20, $12. Its also a nice second step after oil or balm cleansing to give skin that toned, balanced feeling, Gerstein says.
PHOTO: Katie Friedman
Use wipes for lipstick that won’t budge
Sometimes you just need to change your lipstick middaywe get it. Easier said than done. Wipes are not only easy to carry, but also remove even the toughest formulas in a swift swipe. Bite Beauty Lush Lip Wipes, $12, are not only the perfect lip-size, but hydrate and leave lips matte for a clean application. If your lips are dry and flakey (from too much matte lipstick, perhaps?), try an exfoliating version. Kiko Milano’s Pure Cleans Scrub & Peel wipes, $9, are made with a textured cotton that’s ideal for sloughing off dry skin.
Consider a multi-step approach for glitter
Intentional glitter looks amazing, but the random flecks that can remain on your skin for literal days? Not so much. Both Gerstein and Runne suggest starting the removal process with a very unlikely tool: scotch tape. Press it against the glitter, then gently pull up and off to catch every particle. Next, follow up with a cotton pad soaked in an oil-based remover (we like Clinique Take Take the Day Off Makeup Remover, $19). Hold the cotton pad for 30 seconds to a minute, explains Gerstein. Finish with a swipe of micellar water to leave skin clean.
Try a nifty wand for makeup slip-ups
Even winged-liner maestros mess up sometimes. How to fix that extra mascara around your eyes, or a red lip gone awry without removing the rest of your face? We love Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Magic Wand for Lip & Eye Makeup Remover, $8, but you can also DIY-it with a cotton swab dipped in micellar water.
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