How to choose the right makeup remover

Do you know which is the best face cleansing method for you? We compare the three main types to help you get fresher, more radiant skin
By Alex Laws
makeup remover, skin care tips, beauty Getty Images

We all know that it’s imperative to remove our makeup before bed, but if you’re anything like me, you’re not certain of the best way to do it. I know people who use everything from Vaseline to baby wipes, but I’m not sold on those options so I set out to find out what I should be using and why.

Choosing the right makeup remover, or “cleanser” is super important because it dictates how your skin will respond to the other products you apply to your face. For example, if you use a product that’s too harsh, your skin will be dry, no matter how much moisturizer you put on it. Removing your makeup by wiping off a greasy cream can clog pores and leave a film on the skin, which will prevent your other products from penetrating, explains Paula Begoun in her book, The Beauty Bible, where she introduces three main types of cleanser.

1. Wipe-off cleansers

What they are: Milky formulas, creams and lotions that are removed, along with makeup on a cotton pad.
Benefits: This product can be gentle and effectively removes makeup while leaving the skin feeling cool and clean.
Look for: A variety that is designed for sensitive skin that is less likely to cause irritation through rubbing and you want one that doesn’t leave a greasy film on the skin.
Examples: Bioderma Sensibio H20 sensitive skin solution, NeoStrata oil free gel cleanser,
Nivea eye make-up remover

2. Wipes

What they are: Disposable cloths that come pre-soaked in wipe-off cleansers.
Benefits: Easy, effective and efficient. Especially good for travel because there’s often no need to rinse afterwards.
Look for: Cloths that are ultra soft and not abrasive on the skin or with a gentle formula for sensitive skin.
Examples: Neutrogena make-up remover cleansing towelettes, Yes To cucumbers natural glow facial towelettes, Sephora Face 25 makeup removing wipes – face, eyes and lips

3. Water-soluble cleansers


What they are: Creams, lotions that you emulsify with your fingertips, massage into your face and rinse off.
Benefits: Most gentle way to remove makeup because they’re less drying than other makeup removers and require less pulling of the skin to remove than wipe-off formulas. There’s no need for extra cotton pads.
Look for: A clean feeling after all of your make up and the product has been washed off, without a greasy residue left behind.
Examples: La Claree Oliv’ gentle cleansing milk with olive leaf extract, Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser,
Dove sensitive skin non-foaming facial cleanser


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