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: