Makeup Remover Round-Up

Yee haw!

Okay cheesiness ends now. Promise. :) Rather than do a ton of short reviews about makeup removers, I thought I’d just do a big huge post with my thoughts on various removers I’ve tried, from cheapo to expensive! This post is for the makeup removers that are supposed to be just swipe and go, so I am omitting anything that needs to be rinsed off or followed with an additional cleanser.

Budget Makeup Removers

Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover – $4/2 oz. @ Avon
This one comes in a lotion formula. I don’t find it to be terribly effective on difficult to remove makeup, but it feels nice on the skin and for simple makeup removing it works a treat. It’s also great for quick mistake fixing, so I keep it in my freelancing kit.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover – $5.79/3.8 oz @
This is a bi-phase makeup remover. In other words, you need to shake it to mix the ingredients together before using it. I went through probably 3 bottles of this stuff before curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to try other things. It does work really well. For hard to remove eyeliner and mascara etc. you might have to “soak” the area by holding a cotton pad up to the makeup for a minute or so before wiping. I believe Target and/or CVS sell a knock-off of this that is just as good. Maybe Walmart too, I don’t know. What I do know is this is a solid choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive makeup remover. The reason I stopped using it is partly curiosity, and also because when I started tightlining my eyes I noticed that my eyes got irritated when I used this to remove makeup from that area. Sometimes it leaves a bit of a residue, other times not. I think maybe it depends on the makeup you’re removing.

ELF Eye Makeup Remover Pads – $1/18 pads @ ELF
I’m going to say this as nicely as possible: do. not. want. Don’t get me wrong, I love ELF. But not this product. It doesn’t remove very well and it made my eyes water and sting. They also leave a bit of a residue that you have to rinse off, which to me kind of defeats the purpose of having makeup remover in a little pad like this. The pads themselves are very thin, and also dry up quickly. Do yourself a favor and skip these please!

Almay Hypo-Allergenic Eye Makeup Remover Pads (Non Oily Version) – $4.99/80 pads @
As Randy Jackson says on American Idol, “it was just okay for me, dog”. I guess I just wasn’t feelin it. These were okay. Not terribly wonderful, not horrible either. Each individual pad isn’t that wet with remover, which made them lack effectiveness. This formula is supposed to be extremely gentle, and it was pretty gentle. I didn’t find them that great at removing all of my mascara. It was after trying these that I wondered if maybe I just don’t like makeup remover pads. Hmm.

Almay Eye Makeup Remover (Oil Free) – $6.29/4 oz @
I asked my Twitter followers what makeup remover I should try, and this got a lot of votes. It had been a couple years since my lackluster experiment with the remover pad version of this eye makeup remover formula, but I was still kind of dubious. I bought it, figuring I could always return it if it sucks…? It smells awful. Fragrance-free skincare often does. Companies add fragrance to things because the ingredients naturally smell awful. My first reaction when I opened the bottle: “is it supposed to smell like watered down paint thinner?” Apparently yes, because this eye makeup remover works really well! I’m a newly converted fan. NO stinging and NO residue. If you’re looking for a good gentle makeup remover get this, not the pads.

Mid-Range Makeup Removers

NYX All Purpose Makeup Remover Gel Type – $9/3.4 oz @ NYX
This stuff is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. It smells to me like coconuts. But I don’t know why. Looking at the ingredients, there’s no reason for it to smell like coconuts. Spooky. But I don’t care, because I love it! Leaves the face feeling soft, smooth, clean, and coconutty. Removes makeup very well! I like the gel formula as opposed to a liquid because you have more control with it, so it’s easier to put it where it needs to go. I have not tried the Eye & Lip Makeup Remover, so I can’t compare them, but I’m pretty happy with this unique, effective makeup remover.

High End Makeup Removers

Napoleon Perdis Makeup Remover (Foaming) – $25 @ Napoleon Perdis
Oh. Em. Gee. When I had the extreme delight andĀ privilegeĀ of meeting Napoleon Perdis and having him do my makeup, this was one product I tried where I wasn’t expecting it, but I was instantly hooked. It’s a bit on the expensive side for a makeup remover, so it’s a special treat for me, but holy hell I love it. You know those waterless foaming hand sanitizers? It’s like that, but for MAKEUP removal! It creates this luxurious foam that removes ALL of your makeup. No rinsing required. If you want to treat yourself to an awesome makeup remover, try this!

Special Mention Makeup Removers
These two are really difficult to find, but need to be mentioned because they are excellent. You’ll have to go online to try and find these. Google is your friend. <3

Sana Easy Peel Makeup Cleansing Water – $13.99/10.1 oz @ Webichi
When you read the ingredients of this product you’ll be like wait what? Use this on my eyes? OH HAIL NO. Except I promise you, this is as gentle as pure water. I don’t know how they do it, but this product has AHA and BHA and yet is totally fine for use on the eyes. It also has hyaluronic acid, which is so fabulous for moisturizing. This can also be used as a toner! It’s fantastic at removing makeup, even if I have no idea how it works.

Mandom Cleansing Express – $13.99 or so on various sites such as Amazon or Ebay
Similar to the Sana product above, this is a toner/makeup remover/cleanser in one that is as absolutely gentle as water. I’ve finished 2 bottles of it (which is saying something because they’re big bottles!). This is the ultimate lazy girl’s skin care product. I keep it or the Sana on my bedside table for lazy nights or nights when I’m so tired I might be tempted to sleep in my makeup. No excuses now! Mandom Cleansing Express has 3 formulas: Sebum (oily/acne-prone skin), Moist (dry skin), and Age Care (self-explanatory). I’ve used the sebum formula and the moist formula (which really will work on any skin type in a pinch…my skin was combo/oily at the time) and both work equally well to remove even the most stubborn makeup.

Whew! I hope that helps some of you who might be curious about makeup removers. If you have one that you love that you think I should try, please let me know in the comments. :)

Sample of NYX All Purpose Makeup Remover provided for review.


  1. Stavroula Plag says

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