Makeup artists will never head to bed with a face full of foundation, mascara and lipstick. They're not made of stronger stuff than us; they just know very well the perils of sleeping without a squeaky clean face. Wayward acne and bumps love to thrive on clogged pores. It's why cleansing is always a two-step process - once with a trusty makeup remover and then again with your regular cleanser.
Is a makeup remover necessary?
It doesn't matter what your bottle of face wash promises. A separate makeup remover on the bathroom counter is a no-brainer, according to experts. Aliya Fatima, a Sharjah-based beauty influencer and a bridal makeup artist, uses a cleansing balm to melt heavy, waterproof makeup and sunscreen.
"You might see some makeup residue after just using a facial cleanser, and then you have to wash your face again, which isn't good for the skin. Makeup removers prevent acne, and break down makeup, dirt and sunscreen easily," said Aliya.
Vlada Elchava, a pro makeup artist in Dubai with a broad clientele, from celebrities to brides, insists on going over with a makeup remover before a fresh look, even if her clients say they've cleansed. "There should be a minimum of two steps when it comes to cleaning the face," said Vlada.
Makeup removers are effective not only at wiping away multiple layers, but also lifting the day's grime and dirt from the pores.
Which makeup remover is the best for me?
There are several ways to gently wipe off any makeup product. Micellar water is a popular choice for many, whereas Vlada prefers an easy carry-on alternative, like makeup remover wipes.
If cotton pads and wipes seem too abrasive for your sensitive skin, try oil-based makeup removers, says Aliya, who's battled with acne for years. "It's important to choose a cleansing balm or oil that's suitable for your skin. For instance, if you have an oily skin type, look for removers that regulate oil production, are non-comedogenic and such," she added.
Cleansing balms and oils don't need a cotton pad as a medium. They go directly on the face: "I'll use a bit of water to emulsify the balm between my fingers. This makes it easier to take off anything on your face, without any friction," said Aliya.
As a general rule, avoid mineral oils, paraben, alcohol and fragrance on sensitive skin. We've gathered recommendations from our experts on the best makeup removers below. Shop with an Amazon Prime membership for free, fast delivery.
1. Best Overall: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, 125ml
Suitable for all skin types, whether oily, dry or sensitive, the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm is Aliya's number one pick. She loves it for its simple formula, which is non-comedogenic and free of fragrance, drying alcohol and gluten. Its key ingredient is safflower seed oil, an emollient rich in linoleic acid that breaks down natural oil on the skin, along with stubborn eye and face makeup, and sunscreen. Reviewers say it neither stings the eyes nor dries the face after use.
2. Best Micellar Water: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water (Pack of 2)
When it's not wet wipes, Vlada picks up her bottle of Bioderma's Sensibio H2O micellar water. Formulated for sensitive skin, this cleansing water is made up of surfactant micelle and three biomimetic soothing sugars to prevent inflammation. There are no fragrances, parabens, oil or alcohol in the remover. It's gentle enough for daily use, in the morning and evening, and goes over the eyes without irritating. Reviewers who have lash extensions, allergies and acne leave five stars. They love that it's a no-rinse makeup remover, and sometimes use it after washing their face.
3. Best Cleansing Oil: DHC Double Cleanse Duo, with Deep Cleansing Oil and Mild Soap
Aliya says she surprised herself with this purchase on Amazon. "I've gone through bottles and bottles of this cleansing oil. I was very cautious at first because it looked thick, but it's been really effective in removing makeup," she said. DHC is a Japanese skincare brand that takes pride in their organic olive oil-based products. The deep cleansing oil features rich, antioxidant rosemary leaf oil for toning the skin and vitamin E for better absorption. With a bit of water, the oil emulsifies into a cleansing milk that removes excess oil, sunscreen and impurities, besides waterproof makeup. It works superbly well as a double cleanser with the included mild soap bar, even if you don't wear makeup. According to reviewers, their face never feels dry after use, and it's especially gentle on mature skin.
4. Best Makeup Wipes: Biore Kao Makeup Removing Cotton Sheet Refill, 46 Count
Another Japanese skincare brand worth looking into is Biore. Vlada swears by Biore's makeup-removing wipes that are made of pure cotton. "I find it more convenient than carrying bottles around. You don't need to rub your skin, either; it removes waterproof makeup, too," she added. Since it's an imported product, Vlada points out that the wipes can be hard to purchase. We've picked a 46-sheet refill pack on Amazon, but these require an airtight container to keep the serum from drying out. Long-term users say that the wipes are far better than other contenders on the market. They can be pressed onto the face and then swiped lightly, without any aggressive rubbing, and effectively take off mascara and eyeliner.
5. Best Hydrating Remover: The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, 90ml
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter has a light fragrance, though Aliya finds the balm non-irritating on her skin. It's her go-to choice for an affordable cleansing balm. The buttery consistency melts away makeup and purifies pores in seconds, but it does more than just that. Chamomile helps soothe the skin, creates a moisturising veil after use, and speeds up cell regeneration to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The cleansing butter does its job so well that reviewers have been able to wipe off permanent marker and hair dye stains from the skin. Many find their face feeling softer afterwards, too.
6. Best Value Micellar Water: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water For Sensitive Skin, 700ml
A value find for micellar water, Garnier's hypoallergenic formula is also an option, says Aliya. It's currently Amazon's number-one bestseller in water-based makeup cleansers. In one swipe, it promises to clean makeup, dirt and impurities, and pollution grime. The cleansing water is free of perfume, alcohol and oils. Our pick is a large 700ml bottle, but if you're travelling soon, you can always opt for the 100ml travel size. Reviewers call it a cleanser that's affordable and effective. They find it lightweight and non-drying on the skin.
7. Best Quick Remover: Kose Cosmeport Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil, 230ml
We can't not talk about the TikTok-viral Kose cleansing oil. It's olive oil and safflower oil-based, like our DHC pick, but also features sesame seed, shea and jojoba seed oils. The lightweight remover melts makeup residue inside the pores, waterproof mascara and more, without drying out the face. Reviewers say it only takes them a single pump to do the work. While the formula doesn't contain any fragrance, it does have mineral oil listed as its first ingredient. To clean off any trace, make sure to follow up with a face wash.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.