Today makeup isn’t just for weddings and other special occasions. Makeup is part of our daily life, no matter whether you’re only using a foundation and a mascara, or you have 17 products which you call essentials. We’re all different and yet, we all enjoy the effects of a good makeup routine.
Over time, people have found many arguments against using makeup, like the still controversial topic of whether makeup causes acne. We believe and are here to argue that makeup itself isn’t necessarily good or bad. The way you use it, however, it’s much more important.
One vital step is properly removing your makeup, which is why we’re here to discuss the end-of-the-day routine when the makeup comes off.
Because the makeup is such a big part of our life, you’ll find an abundance of makeup removing products on the market, including wipes, micellar water, oil cleansing products, oil-based removers, water-based removers, organic, natural, and so on.
Whether you’ve tried a bunch of them that didn’t work, or you wanted to try natural alternatives first, we’ll break down the most commonly used natural makeup removers and leave you with a better understanding of what’s good for your skin.
The truth is, not everything will work on your skin, as is the case natural makeup removers, too. You need to know your skin type, and then know your ingredients.
So, let’s dive in.
Before we start to list down all the benefits of using natural ingredients or DIY ingredients as makeup removers, let’s get something clear. It’s not our intention to start a war on bought versus DIY, or natural versus synthetic, because such discrimination between products is not only pointless, but it’s also misleading.
Whether something is going to be good for you and will work effectively depends on many factors like your skin type, your current skin condition, other products you’re using, the quality of the products, the purpose of the products, or how you’re using them, all of which have nothing to do with the above-mentioned categories.
Having this in mind, what are the actual benefits or reasons why would someone use natural ingredients to remove makeup?
First, there are always times when you can find yourself without a makeup remover, so you have to improvise. Never go to bed with makeup on. Second, it’s cheaper. You might not want to spend money on expensive makeup products.
Third, they’re equally effective but gentle at the same time. For some natural ingredients removing makeup is a piece of cake, while they leave the skin moisturized and soft. And last, most natural ingredients have a highly nutritious profile, being loaded with vitamins and minerals which can nourish and heal the skin at the same time.
If you decide to try out DIY makeup removers, here’s everything you need to know about them.
Pretty much the same as traditional makeup removers, by dissolution or solubilization. What this means is that the ingredients you’re applying should be able to break the bonds between the makeup and the cells on the skin’s surface. This way, separated from the skin, makeup residue can be wiped off with a cotton pad, or by rinsing the face with water.
Let’s try to explain this better and take foundation as an example. When you apply foundation, it dries and it adheres to the skin, mimicking the skin beneath it. Dry towels, cotton pads, or other tools break this bond, which is why rubbing the face harshly never helps. You can only irritate the skin.
Makeup removers, on the other hand, contain ingredients that can dissolve makeup or encapsulate it and gently remove it from the face.
Which natural ingredients have the power to dissolve and to gently remove makeup from the face?
A lot of natural ingredients can remove makeup, but the secret to soft, smooth, and clean skin is to know which of the ingredients that have this power, are the right choice for your skin type. And, of course, are there any risks or side-effects?
We’ll start with the most famous ingredient over-used in DIY skincare - coconut oil. It’s highly saturated oil extracted from raw coconut or dried coconut kernels. Coconut oil is mainly composed of medium-chain fatty acids, with lauric acid making almost 50% of the oil.
Pros: Coconut oil is a thick, highly moisturizing ingredient, which can easily remove makeup. It’s gentle on the skin, and it’s believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidative properties. Aside from removing makeup, it can benefit the skin by stimulating collagen production, killing harmful bacteria, and promoting wound healing.
Cons: The main problem with coconut oil is its high comedogenic rating. It has a comedogenic rating of 4, meaning it’s likely to clog your pores. This is why, although beneficial, it’s not recommended for oily and acne-prone skin. Some people with extremely dry skin, on the other hand, might use it without experiencing adverse effects. You still have to be careful and think twice before applying it directly to the face.
Verdict: The fact that coconut oil is frequently present in many skincare recipes, despite the problem with its comedogenicity, says a lot. Nevertheless, our advice is to dilute the oil and combine it with other non-comedogenic oils before using it. And, if you have oily, acne-prone, or even a combination skin type, it’s best to choose some of the below-mentioned alternatives.
Olive oil is known due to its high content of oleic acid - unsaturated fatty-acid, known for its many benefits on the skin. Unfortunately, although highly beneficial, oleic acid absorbs quickly into the skin, giving the oils a higher comedogenic value. It has powerful moisturizing properties and ingredients which can remove makeup without any problem.
Pros: Olive oil acts as a powerful antioxidant, scavenging free radicals. It also has antibacterial and anti-aging abilities. It’s loaded with A, E, D, and K vitamins, which can protect the skin, make it smoother, and prevent symptoms of premature aging.
Cons: Similar to coconut oil, olive oil has a somewhat questionable reputation as a trigger for breakouts. Some people find it too thick and heavy for their skin.
Verdict: Olive oil can be a godsend for people with dry skin who want a natural makeup remover that won’t leave their skin dryer afterward. For oily and acne-prone skin it can be too much, with the oil leaving a greasy residue.
Another gentle, but highly effective makeup remover is mineral oil. It has a large molecular size, which means it can penetrate the skin without clogging your pores. Its comedogenic rating is 0. Mineral oil has amazing occlusive and emollient properties (the degree to which the oil provides softness to the skin).
Pros: According to a study from 2012, published in the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, the occlusive effects of mineral oil lead to increases in stratum corneum water content by reducing transepidermal water loss. It improves skin softness and it’s considered a very safe ingredient for all skin types.
Cons: Although technically it doesn’t clog the pores, if your pores already have a plug, mineral oil can trap dirt, dead skin cells, and other impurities inside it. This is why you should always cleanse your skin before using it, or rinse it off afterward. Additionally, because mineral oil doesn’t get absorbed, people with oily skin might dislike the greasy feeling.
Verdict: Mineral oil is very safe and deserves more recognition. It’s an amazing makeup remover that will leave your skin soft and smooth. With a comedogenic rating of 0, we can say it’s suitable for all skin types.
If you like almonds, you’ll love almond oil. It’s a wonderful ingredient with many benefits. Almond oil is packed with high amounts of Vitamin E and healthy fats, from where most benefits arise. It has a comedogenic rating of 2, meaning it’s unlikely to clog your pores. You can safely use it to remove water-resistant makeup.
Pros: Aside from removing makeup easily, almond oil is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative stress, sun damage, and symptoms of premature aging.
Cons: You need to make sure you’re not allergic to nuts. People with nut allergies might experience a mildly negative reaction when applying the oil directly on the skin. It’s important to do a patch test before you use almond oil for the first time.
Verdict: Sweet almond oil is another well-balanced ingredient, gentle, beneficial, and effective. It can especially help people with sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin, although it’s safe for all skin types.
When we’re talking about balance, we can’t skip jojoba oil. Coming from a strong plant that survives very harsh climate conditions, the nut of the jojoba plant has many beneficial properties. Jojoba oil is one of the top choices for makeup removal.
Pros: Jojoba oil is one of the most gentle oils, which is the reason why it’s frequently used as a base and carrier oil in many recipes. It's non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types. It’s believed that jojoba oil can moisturize the skin, kill certain bacteria, prevent oxidative stress, stimulate collagen production, control sebum production, and it doesn’t irritate the skin.
Cons: It’s hard to find a downside to this oil that seems to have it all. Because it’s hypoallergenic, it’s considered safe, but it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before trying it for the first time.
Verdict: Unless you have extremely dry skin and you want something thicker like coconut or olive oil, or you have extremely oily skin and you want something more watery like witch hazel, jojoba oil would be a very smart and safe choice.
Witch hazel is a potent healing ingredient used in medicine for many years. Today, it’s dominantly used in cosmetics for tightening the skin and relieving acne symptoms. Unlike the above-mentioned alternatives, witch hazel is a thin and watery ingredient that has the potential to treat many skin conditions. According to anecdotal evidence, witch hazel removes all water-based and oil-based makeup in a swipe.
Pros: Witch hazel is a blessing for people suffering from oily skin. It doesn’t leave a greasy residue, and yet it can still very effectively remove makeup and make the skin soft. It also tightens the pores and helps prevent frequent acne breakouts.
Cons: Witch hazel is gentle, yet if you don’t moisturize the skin after, it can dry it out. This is bad news for people with dry skin.
Verdict: Witch hazel is an amazingly effective makeup remover, most suited for oily and acne-prone skin.
If you have a normal skin type one wonderful blend to use is sweet almond oil and aloe vera. With it, you can remove makeup easily and without pressure. The aloe vera will refresh and soothe the skin.
Simply mix both ingredients in a small bottle or container, and stir well until the substances blend completely. After this, close the container and store the mixture. Whenever you need to use it, simply pour a few drops on a cotton pad and gently rub over the face.
If you have dry skin type you can afford to use a thicker, more dense oil as a carrier, like a coconut or olive oil. For this recipe, we chose olive oil, as it has a lower comedogenic rating, but your preference is coconut oil, you can use that. Shea butter, on the other hand, is non-comedogenic ingredients with high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins, making it ideal for softening the skin.
½ cup of olive oil
½ cup of jojoba oil
¼ cup of shea butter
Mix all the ingredients in a small container. You can heat the blend over low heat, for a few minutes, just so that the ingredients fuse and form a smooth blend. After this, store the mixture and use it whenever you need it.
Mixing watery, skin tightening ingredients with a potent, moisturizing, but non-comedogenic oil might be just the right combo for your combination skin.
With this simple mixture you can easily remove makeup without having dry patches afterward, or a greasy residue.
½ cup of witch hazel extract
½ cup of jojoba oil
Mix both ingredients in a small container. Close it and shake it well, so that the ingredients blend. After this, store it among your other skincare products, and use it whenever you need it.
In this situation, we chose a mixture without oils that can still remove makeup gently and effectively. Witch hazel is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin. Plus, aloe vera can soothe redness and irritation, while also killing harmful bacteria on the face.
½ cup of witch hazel
½ cup of aloe vera
Mix the ingredients in a small bottle and stir or shake until the substances blend. After this, you can store it and use it whenever you need to remove your makeup.
Mineral oil is a great ingredient for sensitive skin because it has a large molecular size and it can’t penetrate the skin. This prevents it from irritating the face. Aloe vera is also a soothing and calming ingredient, great for sensitive skin.
½ cup of mineral oil
½ cup of aloe vera gel
In a small container mix both ingredients and still well until you get a smooth paste-like consistency. To use it, dip the cotton pad in the paste and gently rub it on a clean face. Don’t use pressure!
After you remove your makeup, it’s important to rinse with lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer or night cream. With this simple routine, you’ll prevent your skin from drying out or leaving a greasy residue.
If you have a specific skincare routine before going to bed, that’s even better. First, you remove your makeup gently and thoroughly. Then, you rinse off with lukewarm water. Finally, when your skin is completely clear and clean, you can start your routine.
Don’t ever apply skincare products over makeup.