Nailing an intricate makeup look always feels like an accomplishment: Think an Impressionist creation using only cream shadow, a fat cat eye à la Brigitte Bardot, or an ombré lip using three (three!) shades of lipstick. But at the end of the day, no matter how much effort it took, there is one universal truth...what goes on must come off. That might sound like a small task, but anyone who uses long-wear makeup (or any makeup at all, really) knows it can take forever to properly remove every stitch of pigment from their face. Sometimes, it just sounds easier to just collapse into bed and worry about it in the morning.
However, that's a big mistake when it comes to the long term care of your skin. Leaving makeup on your face overnight can clog pores and cause breakouts due to an overgrowth of bacteria—but it's a problem that can easily be solved by finding an efficient way to take it all off pre-REM cycle. But finding the right remover can be tough. While some mascaras or lightweight CC creams call for more gentle micellar waters, long-wear foundation and waterproof mascara may need something tougher. And let's not forget about skin type—from dry to oily to super sensitive, certain complexions need specific formulas to keep their skin balanced while cleansing. Here, we've rounded up the removers with editor endorsements, all-star reviews, and all-around excellent formulas so you can remove your makeup and move on with your night.
The Cult Favorite
A French favorite, this is as simple as it gets—in a good way. Bonus: This no-frills remover actually moisturizes the skin as it cleanses it.
For Lazy Nights
For those nights that you close your eyes for a peaceful night's sleep and then realize you've tucked in without removing that glittery shadow you were so pumped about earlier. Even waterproof makeup slips right off after a few motions with one of these. Kobe-shoot it right into your trash, and zzzzz.
The K-Beauty Fave
K-beauty has seldom steered me wrong, and this is no exception—in fact, this is my favorite remover of all time. Give the bottle a good shake to mix the oil and water together, then apply the formula with a cotton pad. The oil helps to loosen even the heaviest mascara and foundation, and the micellar water lifts away the pigment so you're never left with those sad cheek streaks.
Best Organic Pick
Finding an organic remover that actually works is tricky, but this effective has you covered. Calendula flower cleans and disinfects the eye area, while cucumber and comfrey keep the skin supple and prevent irritation.
For Hyper-Sensitive Skin
If your skin erupts in red spots or blemishes when you cleanse it too harshly, Cetaphil's wipes are the easy-to-use answer to your removal needs. Aloe vera and chamomile help sooth the complexion while you wipe away any impurities.
For Contact Wearers
Contact wearers, rejoice: soothing vitamin B5 and white peony extract are easy on already sensitive lids so you can remove your cat eye look without yanking out your lenses.
For Dry Skin
This French export is creamy, gentle, and apparently luxurious enough for fashion royalty: Karl Lagerfeld once told ELLE he used to bathe in the stuff daily.
For Oily Skin
Lifting dark spots doesn't have to be an invasive process. The formula contains licorice extract to brighten skin, and it's fragrance-free for the scent-averse.
Alright, the French clearly have a monopoly on delicate removers and micellars. For those who love a floral scent in their skincare, this one calls Claude Monet's garden in Giverny to mind.
The Luxury Pick
Sure, it's pricy, but the bottle will last you months, and it can take down even the most stubborn mascara without irritating your precious little bags.
For Liquid Lipstick
Some lipsticks are made not to budge, but when the time comes to wipe it way, you don't want to spend forever in front of the sink. Enter Lauder's duel-phase formula, which breaks down and removes even the most stubborn shades.
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Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
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