Sleeping with your makeup on is perhaps the most felonious beauty crime someone can commit. Especially, mind you, if you're on the perpetual pursuit of perfect skin. Even though more and more makeup brands are launching impressive formulas touted to last a full 24 hours with budge-proof stamina, that doesn't necessarily mean you should actually try it. I can count on one hand the number of times I've worn my makeup for 24 hours, and, I mean, I'd like to keep it that way.
Here at WWW HQ, we want our pores to look minute, our skin to be clear, and our complexions to be as humanly glowy and healthy as possible. Not surprisingly, how we take our makeup off and the specific formulas we use play a major role.
Because we're obsessed with our skin looking it's very best au naturel, we're sharing the 11 makeup remover formulas we swear by. These are the cloths, milks, and waters we depend on to banish every last trace of our makeup—even long-lasting waterproof formulas—with little to no effort. Curious to see which makeup removers are always stowed inside our bathroom cabinets and atop our vanities? Keep scrolling!
As a beauty editor, I know cleansing cloths and makeup remover wipes are seen as the "lesser" option compared to oils, micellar water, and milks, but honestly, I just can't quit them. As long as I'm gentle around my eye area and follow up with my weight in eye cream, I feel like it's fine?
If I had to choose, these Ole Henriksen ones are my favorite. They're fast, mess-free, and efficient and an essential part of my evening skincare routine if I've worn makeup that day. I've tried some truly horrific wipes in my day that are either A) irritating and harsh or B) completely worthless at actually removing makeup, but I've been obsessed with these ultra-gentle cloths since discovering them in the aisles of Sephora back in college. In addition to removing every last stitch of makeup (and quickly), they actually leave my skin insanely hydrated and glowy thanks to key ingredients such as borage seed oil and a nutrient-packed blend of vitamins C and E plus provitamin B5. These will be your best bet on those inevitable nights when you get home way past your bedtime and need a skin fix fast.
These iconic cleansing cloths from Koh Gen Do come in at a *very* close second for me. Sure, they're an investment at about a dollar per cloth, but they basically transform your makeup removal routine into a Japanese spa ritual from the comfort of your bathroom (a situation I'm definitely not mad at). Each cloth is strategically soaked with a mineral-rich concoction of rosemary, sage, lavender, artemsia princeps leaf, ginger root, and andperilla ocymoides, which work in tandem to cleanse, nourish, and protect the skin. You know the phrase "It's the little things in life"? Yeah, these epitomize that.
If you don't feel like blowing your budget but still like the idea of a spa-esque makeup remover moment at the end of a long day, I recommend these affordable wipes from Bliss. Not that I'm a total packaging snob, but it doesn't get more adorable than pink polka dots, and these nutrient-infused wipes make good on their packaging's bold claim. They do indeed melt your makeup right off. Even, mind you, the most stubborn of mascara and waterproof eyeliner with zero irritation. (One of my biggest pet peeves in a makeup remover is stinging and burning—like, why?!) They're also oil-free and boast a nice dosage of ingredients that are equal parts prettifying and soothing—think chamomile, marshmallow root, and aloe extracts.
Capping your spending at $5? Look no further than these nurturing makeup remover cloths from British skincare brand Simple. One of the few products I routinely pick up at the drugstore—especially if I'm traveling and forgot makeup remover—I can always count on the über-gentle blend of vitamin B5 and vitamin E to remove my makeup with little to no effort or mess. Oh, and my fabulous 71-year-old mom is also a fan.
Like I said up top, when it comes to makeup remover, I definitely gravitate toward wipes just because of how efficient, fast, and mess-free they are. However, I do make exceptions for a few fabulous formulas, which I'll shed light on here. First up: this French potion from Collosol.
Usually, anything described as milky is pretty much the last thing I want to put on my face, but this stuff is amazing. That's not too surprising considering it was first conceived in a Parisian pharmacy back in the '50s. Famous French actresses who were looking for an amazing makeup remover would use it regularly, so a pharmacist concocted this unique milk-water hybrid to satisfy customers' demand while abiding by pillars of ancient beauty ritual. To this day, the formula is still covetable both across the pond and here stateside (for those in the know) and is gentle enough to keep skin soothed and happy but effective enough to banish oil, makeup, and other environmental debris in one fell swoop.
Just as I adore Koh Gen Do's iconic makeup wipes (see above!), I also stan its just-as-iconic cleasning spa water, and I keep a big, pumpable jug (with the below pure cotton cloths) on my bathroom vanity at all times. In all honesty, I don't usually use the water alone (when I wear makeup, it's full-coverage), but I will use this soothing elixir as a second security step post–wipe-down to make sure my skin is 100% clean, soothed, and happy before I start in on the rest of my evening skincare routine. It has the same botanical composition as the wipes and, unlike a lot of liquid makeup removers I've tried, never leaves my complexion feeling oily, tacky, or riddled with annoying residue.
"This thick cleanser starts out like a gel, but as you get it wet and work it into your skin, it becomes a soft, milky cleanser. It doesn't lather, but I do feel like it breaks down even tough eye makeup and removes it without having to rub too aggressively."
"I like to go in with micellar water after the milk cleanser to get any stubborn makeup or product off. I'll completely soak a cotton pad in this stuff and go to town. I pay extra attention to my hairline and the areas around my eyes and eyelashes."
"My best friend got me hooked on these wipes in high school, and they're still my favorite to this day. I know makeup remover wipes aren't always eco-friendly, but these smell so nice, and the sheets are extra stretchy, so I can clean every corner of my face with just one."
"Of all of the makeup removers I've used, Bioderma's micellar water is the one I rely on most. I've been using it for a decade at this point, and it's always my go-to product to gently take off my makeup. Plus, it requires just a cotton pad and no water, so it's perfect for travel."
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.