18 Best Makeup Removers of 2022 for Refreshed Skin

Anyone who’s ever fallen asleep with full makeup on knows how important it is to remove makeup at the end of the night. But the best makeup removers aren’t just the ones that remove foundation, mascara, and lipstick: they’re also designed to remove the day’s dirt and grime.

“I’m a big proponent of smart cleansing, not aggressive cleansing,” says a board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Rachel Nazarian. “Using the right cleanser can effectively remove dirt, oil, makeup—even heavy Halloween makeup!—without irritating or inflaming the skin.

If you’re considering doing makeup for a Halloween costume, she says it’s a good idea to start working on your skin barrier now: “Switch to milder cleansers, avoid chemical peels or exfoliating products for a week before, increase the use of humectants and emollients, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, allantoin, glycerin.

The mark of a good cleanser, she adds, is one that you don’t have to use aggressively for it to work effectively. “Often this can trigger flare-ups of underlying skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, and also make acne breakouts worse, increasing the risk of scarring,” she says, noting that makeup thick can make flare-ups even more likely. She recommends choosing one that’s formulated with calming and hydrating ingredients to improve the moisture barrier and strengthen the skin, such as antioxidants or aloe.

Dr. Avnee Shah, Board Certified Dermatologist Schweiger Dermatology Group in Verona, NJ, says the best way to remove makeup is to start with a wipe before using a more thorough cleanser. “For my daily routine, which usually consists of skincare and tinted sunscreen, I like to use a makeup wipe remove what has accumulated throughout the day on the surface,” she says. “Then I’ll follow up for a more thorough cleanse with a liquid facial cleanser.” (On the contrary, Dr. Loretta Ciraldoa board-certified Miami-based dermatologist says makeup wipes are potentially irritating — especially for sensitive skin — so proceed with caution.)

Find the best makeup removers, including makeup remover wipes, balms, reusable pads, and natural products that experts swear by.

$9.79 to Target

A Shah’s favorite, Simple Makeup Wipes have hundreds of 5-star reviews. They gently remove stubborn makeup and are perfect for travel.

$9.78 to Amazon

Neutrogena Makeup Removing Cleansing Cloths, 2 Pack

“I like to use a makeup wipe to remove what’s built up throughout the day on the surface,” says Shah, who says these wipes from Neutrogena do the trick.

$9.97 to Amazon or $11.99 at Target

CeraVe Herbal Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes

Another Shah favorite is these wipes from CeraVe, which, according to one reviewer, “are actually super hydrating” and they “don’t strip you down or leave a hydrating feeling behind. You can feel how soft they are compared to other large wipes. I really recommend!”

Make-up removing balms and cleansers

$11 to Amazon and Target

Elf Holy Hydration!  Melting Cleansing Balm Makeup

With hundreds of 5-star reviews and a cult following from editors, this cleansing balm — which Shah says emulsifies in water to remove makeup and dirt — melts into your hands while hydrating your skin.

From $12 at Amazon or from $24 at Sephora

Farmacy Green Clean Make-Up Remover Cleansing Balm

This cleansing balm, which the celebrity makeup artist Melissa Hernandez calls its product the Holy Grail, is packed with sunflower root and ginger oils. “It melts away everything, including stubborn waterproof products, and it’s super gentle on skin,” she shares.

Starting at $24 at Amazon and Sephora

Farmacy Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

The fragrance-free, sensitive-skin-friendly version of Farmacy’s Cleansing Balm is another expert favorite. “Start by applying a small amount of balm to dry skin,” says Shah. “Then massage into the skin for about 30-60 seconds and you will see the balm transform into more of an oil as it melts away the makeup. Rinse off gently with warm water or a damp cloth.

$39 to Amazon

Toyo Cure Water Gel

Less balm but just as effective, Nazarian recommends Cure Natural Aqua Gel. “It uses hydrogen-activated water to gently cleanse the skin; activated hydrogen was found to relieve oxidative stress and enhanced antioxidant activity.

$10.49 $7.97 to Amazon and walmart or $9.79 at Target

Garnier All-in-1 Waterproof Micellar Cleansing Water

“I’ve been a lifelong fan of this, especially for theater and Halloween makeup,” the celebrity makeup artist shares Neil Scibelli. “It removes all traces of even the most water-resistant makeup, leaving your skin with the soothing effects of Garnier’s gentle micellar formula.”

$19.99 $14.99 at Amazon

Juno & Co. Clean 10 Cleansing Balm

If you have dry skin, professional makeup artist Joann Solomon recommends a cream or oil-based makeup remover. You also need to “make sure it’s compatible with all skin types so you can use it safely without any irritation or discomfort,” she explains. Award-winning special effects makeup artist Evilise Quijano’s go-to is this cleansing balm, adding that she “generally prefers [makeup] make-up remover creams or balms to wipes”, which can sometimes leave the skin feeling tingly.

$16 $9.60 to Colorpop

Colourpop Sol Cleansing Body Oil

“One of the best makeup removers is oil-based,” says Solomon. They are gentler on the skin, which is crucial. And contrary to what might initially make sense, they’re a good option for those with oily skin, says Solomon. This body cleansing oil is a must-have for makeup artists and content creators Brooke Ellis. “I highly recommend applying these makeup removers and leaving them on the skin for a few minutes so they have time to break down the [makeup]”Before rinsing,” she explains.

Starting at $11.99 at Amazon or $20 at Ultimate

The Original Makeup Eraser Original Pink

Forget disposable tampons or wipes and opt for a durable, high-quality option. A Shah favorite, this reusable makeup remover has also received rave reviews from customers. The soft towel removes makeup, even long-wearing formulas, with just water. But you’ll still want to follow up with a cleanser to make sure your skin is completely clean.

$21 to Amazon

Face Halo, pack of 3

One customer calls this choice – a recommendation from Shah – an “amazing product [that] removes all your makeup without heavy exfoliation. The pads are the perfect size for removing eye makeup.

$13 to Biosance

Biossance Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice Cottons

Shah recommends these reusable bamboo cotton pads for removing face and eye makeup. They work great with micellar water and are easy to toss in the laundry for cleaning and reuse.

From $16 at Sephora

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

Nazarian recommends everyone, especially those with sensitive skin, “avoid scrubs or pearl cleansers and choose unscented options and those with no added fragrance.” This coconut oil pick from Drunk Elephant is sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free.

Starting at $4.99 at Burt’s Bees

Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil

“My favorite natural product for removing heavy makeup is organic coconut oil,” says Ciraldo, who advises patients to rinse off coconut oil after using it to cleanse. This coconut and argan oil-based cleanser has rave reviews, leaves no residue on skin, and is made with naturally-derived ingredients.

$65 to Creed

Wonder Valley Oil Cleanser

Shah agrees that coconut and jojoba oils are excellent natural makeup removers, and this antioxidant-rich option contains the latter, along with other natural oils such as sunflower, grapeseed, avocado and Moreover.

$32 to Sephora or from $16 at Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Take It All Off Eye Makeup Remover

Nazarian says it’s a “great oil-based option that uses oil-based chamomile and botanical extracts to remove dirt, makeup, and surface oils, but is less irritating and more soothing than traditional scrubs and exfoliating cleansers.It should be applied to a cotton ball and gently swept along the surface of the skin to remove makeup.

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