Unless your name is Charlotte Tilbury or Dolly Rebecca Parton, chances are you’re haunted night after night by the chore of having to remove your makeup before you go to bed. We’ve rounded up the best makeup removers out there to make the task slightly less aggravating. Whether your removal process takes place above a sink, in the shower, or completely horizontal in bed (better than nothing), here are 12 makeup removers in various forms (watery, oily, balm, fabric) that get all that stuff off your face without a lot of tugging, scrubbing, skin-stripping, drying, or — most importantly — time.
The Best Miceller Water
Micellar waters are an excellent way to gently and painlessly remove makeup, and this one — which used to exclusively live in French pharmacies — is the mother of all micellar waters. It’s capable of correcting flubs backstage at Fashion Week, remove a full face of makeup sans sink, and make even the most sensitive skin feel balanced, and people love it so much that it and its pink cap have ascended to cult status.
The Best Cheap Miceller Water
If you’re looking for another cleansing water with a pink cap at a single-digit price point, Garnier’s formula has found a similar place in the spotlight. Its gentle yet effective formula is so nice, I actually think of this product rather than those lime green shampoo and conditioner commercials with the Transplants song playing in the background whenever I read “Garnier” now, which is truly saying something.
The Best Luxury Makeup Remover
If you want the first step of your nighttime routine to be on the same luxurious level as the rest of your precious skin-care routine, consider investing in this stuff. Though it’s just as liquid-y and French-sounding as the aforementioned cleansing waters, this is a cleansing lotion. Once you sweep it across your face, you’ll get it — it leaves your skin feeling complete, like you cleansed, toned and did a whole serum situation. Other perks include a light, luxurious scent that makes you feel fancy and a very convenient press-down dispenser top so you never have to lift the bottle.
The Oily One That Means Business
If you’re no stranger to eye primers and extensively drawing on and decorating your eyes (who among us isn’t these days), this dual-phase remover will be your new best friend. It’s basically like double-cleansing your sensitive eye area in one fell swoop. The oil phase cuts through all that waterproof mascara and liner with minimal effort, while the water phase gently wipes everything away, leaving the eye area feeling silky and smooth.
The Oily One That’s Down for Anything
Glossier’s cute l’il Milky Oil is another solid dual-phase remover that will get the job done without burning your retinas or smearing your former cat eye all over your face. But where it truly shines in its convenience and portability. While most liquid removers are homebodies, Milky Oil is a perfect 3.4 ounces, meaning it’s always down to be tossed into a carry-on and accompany you on your travels.
The Oil-Free One That’s an Oldie But a Goodie
Nostalgia is really in right now, and few things pull on the heartstrings more than seeing this blue bottle continue to thrive. Everything you need to know is right there on the front: this stuff is effective and gentle, and it does remove even waterproof mascara! If you’re wary of putting oilier formulas like the dual phase ones mentioned above (and the rich balms that will be mentioned below) on your face, but want something less water-y feeling than a micellar water, this is the solid Goldilocks pick that still won’t let you down.
The Cleansing Balm That Does More Than Remove
If you view makeup removal as a physical manifestation of all the day’s stress and anxiety being washed down the drain, allowing you to end your day at peace and start anew in the morning, then this luxurious cleansing balm will fit right into your ritual. The rich green formula feels indulgent from first scoop to final rinse off (especially if a muslin cloth is involved). Similar to the fancy cleansing lotion, this leaves your skin feeling like you did a whole lot more than remove makeup and realign your chakras; it’s left cleansed, toned, and suspiciously moisturized in one step.
The Cleansing Balm You Can’t Believe Isn’t Butter
If you have a lot of makeup to melt, rest assured, this will melt it. The extra- rich consistency is not for the faint of heart, oil phobic, or breakout-prone, but one teeny-tiny scoop of this fragrance-free fridge butter-like formula instantly melts into an oil situation that makes even the blackest mascara literally disappear into oblivion. You’ll start to wonder if you ever had it on in the first place.
The K-Beauty Cleansing Balm
This cult-favorite K-beauty cleanser is so light, pleasant, and soft that you truly look forward to hanging out with it. Makeup gets removed with minimal rubbing; add some water to give your face a nice milky cleanse that doesn’t leave your skin feeling too oily, or too stripped. The lighter consistency of this formula makes it a great introductory cleansing balm for anyone looking to finally dip their toes (or cute little included spatula) in.
The Portable Wipe That Has Your Back
My face was first caressed by one of these heavenly wipes following a particularly deathly hot yoga class, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. They’re so damn soft and come in individual packets infused with goodness like aloe, green tea, and willow bark, allowing them to moisturize and gently exfoliate in addition to gently getting makeup, dirt, oil et al off your face. They’re great for stashing in case of makeup meltdown emergencies, like voluntarily trapping yourself in a 100-degree room with sweaty strangers after work, getting trapped on a sweaty subway before work, or crying through your mascara at work.
The Super-Soft Wipe That’s Like a Hug
If you’re looking for a larger wipe to leave at home, these fragrance-free towelettes are on a similar so damn soft level. Each wipe is extremely moist and so smooth that it almost feels like the pillow you want to pass out on instead of being awake and removing your makeup. I actually look forward to rubbing my face with these. These are great to leave within arm’s reach of your bed in case things ever truly get dire.
The Reusable Cloth That Loves the Earth
If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option that isn’t reliant on cotton balls, cotton pads, or disposable wipes, this long, ultra-soft towel is for you. Simply wet a portion of it with warm water and watch as it nonchalantly draws your foundation, smoky eyes, and liquid lipstick right off your face like it’s no big deal. Throw it in with a load of laundry and revel in your reduction in waste for a good three to five years. If seeing your former face hang out on the bright pink cloth makes you feel some type of way, consider getting the black version.
If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.