Favorite Eye Makeup Removers

On Friday I posted a link to a news item about a woman who had not properly removed her eye makeup for years and sustained some terrible long-term eye injury as a result. I'm not going to re-post the link here - the photos are a little graphic - but the upshot is that over a period of a few decades, bits of left-behind mascara and eyeliner embedded themselves on the underside of this woman's eyelids, where they scratched her corneas and caused irritation and vision problems.

So, yeah, if you weren't already motivated to remove your makeup every night, maybe that story will do the trick?

I've been meaning to talk about eye makeup removal for a while, so I guess this is good timing. A few months ago, a work friend confessed to me that she'd been using micellar water to remove her mascara. I'm not sure that's the worst thing you could do - better to remove it somehow than to not remove it at all - but I suspect the surfactants in micellar water might be a little harsh. Wouldn't that sting if it actually got into your eyes?

Anyway, here, in order from least to most favorite, are my recommendations for eye makeup removal products.

All three of these products are great. They all remove even tough waterproof makeup with very little effort; that is, they dissolve the mascara so you don't have to tug and pull on your eyelashes. Some work faster than others, but the biggest difference between all three is probably the price point.

Use these with cotton rounds, not cotton balls (I find that cotton balls are more likely to leave behind stray fibers that can irritate your eyes; rounds, especially better quality ones, have dense surfaces that won't get caught on your lashes). Just wet the cotton round and gently wipe across your lashes:

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
This oil free remover is composed of glycerin and eye-safe surfactants that have to be mixed before use. It does what it says on the tin - removes even tough waterproof makeup with little effort - but I've found that this product stings sometimes, so I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive eyes.

Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips
This is a good mid-range product. I like that it's gentle enough to be multi-purpose, and I've never had any irritation when using it on my eyes. I think Clinique is one of those brands that's earned a lot of trust in the skincare, but if you want to try before investing in a larger bottle, they often include this cleanser in mini packs, samples, or special offers, so just check the Clinique web site every once in a while.

Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover
This is my HG remover. I don't always use it because it's a little spendier than the other brands, but it's so worth it. If you have sensitive eyes, if you've had trouble finding a makeup remover that doesn't hurt to use, this is the one for you. It's a powerful cleanser, but so mild, and it leaves your lashes gently conditioned.

Wipes for travel

I travel a lot, and when I do I rarely want to bring along a full bottle of this kind of cleansing product. Instead, I usually pack wipes - they're not the most thorough solution, but they'll do if you just want something quick and convenient. Remember, some cleansing is better than nothing at all:

Bits and Bobs

I did quite a bit of shopping last week, between Sephora, the drugstore, and even the health foods store, so it's time for a catch-up post!

I had a sample size of the AmorePacific Enzyme Peel on my bathroom shelf for ages, but I didn't want to use it. This is one of those powder products that you have to mix with water to form a paste, and I was convinced it was going to be too messy. When I finally tried it, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I just pour a little water in the palm of one hand, sprinkle some of the powder into it, then rub both hands together and onto my face as the paste forms. It's effective and gentle - my skin really glows once I'm done scrubbing, but I've never seen any redness or irritation. I got the full size ($60 for 2.5 oz.) and now it's the first step in my routine every morning.


Buxom is always coming out with cool new lip stuff. This weekend I picked up their PowerPlump Lip Balm in Flushed (a cool berry color). Flushed is a pretty color, a little more opaque than I would have expected from a lip balm. It was moisturizing and comfortable to wear, but I didn't feel any plumping action. I wore it out on a date with the boyfriend last night - it needed to be re-applied after dinner, of course, but otherwise it left me with a comfortable rosy lip all night.

(I was also considering one of the Buxom Holographic Full-On Plumping Top Coats but I couldn't decide on a color! They're all gorgeous, but definitely not practical for everyday wear.)


Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick: I had a hard time believing that a stick foundation could look natural - I'm old enough to remember the days when Max Factor stick foundation was still sold in drugstores, and it was as thick and unnatural-looking as you would expect stage makeup to be. However, I've been seeing so many raves about what a natural finish this has, I had to give it a try. As you can see, it comes out thick, but when it's blended across the back of my hand it does look very natural. I think the secret is buffing with a brush. Hourglass does sell a brush to accompany the foundation, but imho it's overpriced and the bristles are much too soft. I've been getting the best results with my Shiseido foundation brush. The shade I got (Cream, very fair with a cool undertone) is just a little too light, though. I might go back for a stick in the next shade up to mix. I did wear this foundation all day today, and the wear was great - I got a good eight hours out of it without any breakdown, and I probably would have gotten more but I decided to take it off so I could so some Sunday masking.


Sephora Collection Rouge Lip Tint in Violet: I went looking to test some of the new cream lip stains, but my local store only had the mattes out, so I'm glad I stumbled on this instead. For a shade named 'Violet' it's actually closer to a bright pink. This is a seriously good stain - it's lasted as long as eight hours (even through meals) on me. The only issue I have is that it sets very quickly, so you have to work fast to get it blended across your lips. My favorite look so far has been a sort of 'popsicle lips' stain - I focus the color around my inner lip area, blot a few times, then dab on some clear lip balm to give it a glossy look as it sets.

Peace Out Acne Dots: These are the real deal! I'm at that unenviable middle age where I have laugh lines around my eyes, but I still get pimples on my chin, and boy did I have a doozy going on Friday. But I stuck on one of these dots and within a few hours (just two, not even the recommended six) it was noticeably smaller in size and there was barely any redness. By the end of the next day it had grown again a little, but that just tells me that these dots are really more of an emergency, last-minute, "I've got a hot date and I need to hide this zit fast!" kind of solution. For long-term care, my favorite solution is still bacteria-killing tea tree oil.


My local health food store was having a sale on Andalou Naturals, so I picked up two of their tinted moisturizers, the Vitamin C BB Beauty Balm and 1000 Roses CC Cream. I've been a fan of Andalou's skincare for a long time - I use the foam cleanser from their 1000 Roses collection, and their Age-Defying Reservatrol Q10 cream, but this is the first time I've tried cosmetics from them. The CC cream had light, buildable coverage and was comfortable to wear, although it faded within a few hours. The Vitamin C beauty balm, though, was pretty much invisible on my skin. It had less coverage than Glossier's foundation, and I didn't think that was possible. It's really only good for someone who already has perfect skin and wants to give it that little extra glow.


Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Bright Berry: I swear by these lip crayons in the summer time. The colors are subtle, just enough to give you a healthy flush, so they look fresh and effortless on a warm day. And I can't lie - I love the fragrance. It's not overwhelming, but you do get just a hint of fresh watermelon or grapefruit or raspberries.

Wet'n'Wild MegaCushion Color Corrector in Green: I've had a lot of generalized redness around my chin and a few places on my cheeks lately. I've been using Urban Decay's Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid, but that stuff is almost too green - I have to be really careful about how much I use, or when I blend it out, I'll look like a ghoul. So I'm hoping this will give me some color correction that will be less visible, masking the red without leaving me with a green cast. On the other hand, I haven't had a lot of luck with lasting power when it comes to Wet'n'Wild products, so fingers crossed that this plays well with my foundation and concealer and doesn't get patchy over the course of a day.


Here's the one product from the past month or so that I've been really disappointed with: the Marc Jacobs Beauty Finish-Line Perfecting Coconut Setting Powder. I was so excited when the new coconut line dropped last month. I have a few favorite Marc Jacobs products - the Air Blush duos, a couple of the eyeshadow palettes, and when I do wear eyeliner (which is admittedly rare) I reach for his gel crayon liners. The products in the coconut line all looked like they were geared towards a warmer skintone, but at least I could wear the powder, right? So that's what I ordered.

But it's sadly mediocre. It's not finely milled at all, and although this is just a pet peeve of mine, it's in a jar with one of those mesh nets over the dispenser. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the net before I cut it out, but I removed it with a craft knife so that I could more easily get to the product inside. As you can see, it's a little clumpy - I'm sure that's why the net is there, to make it seem smoother, but I'd rather have direct access to my powder. I want to be able to control exactly how much I have on my brush, and sometimes that's more than whoever designed this dispenser intended for me to have. Oh well. Anyway, I've also worn the powder a few times, and it's fairly drying on, so this is probably going to be shoved into a drawer, not to be seen again until a few months from now when I go on a cleaning binge and either throw it out or give it a more appreciative home.

Beauty News: May 4, 2018