10 Hard-Working Makeup Removers That Won't Strip Your Skin

No harsh rubbing or tugging necessary.

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Removing makeup at the end of the day is one of the most collectively dreaded rituals. We get it: You're tired and all you want to do is crawl into bed rather than hover over your sink and painstakingly sweep away stubborn waterproof mascara. But that's exactly it—removing makeup shouldn't feel like a painful chore, nor should it take up a ton of time. With the right makeup remover, taking the day off can be an easy, stress-free and—dare we say it—enjoyable experience.

With so many formulas and types of makeup removers, there’s one that’s sure to fit your lifestyle. You can choose a pack of wipes to keep next to your bed for those late nights that you’re tempted to skip cleansing altogether or opt for a stick formula to store in your gym bag so that you can remove your makeup before your sweat session. Makeover removers also come at various price points so you can find an option that suits your budget.

Read on to learn about the best makeup removers you can buy now.

Best Overall: Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

drunk elephant slaii melting butter cleanser

Courtesy of Drunk Elephant

Watch makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and pollution melt off your face after coming in contact with this effective oil-to-milk cleansing formula. It boasts a mix of moisturizing oils—think: marula seed, kalahari melon seed, mongongo and more—to nourish the skin as it gently removes a buildup of grime, leaving you only with a healthy-looking glow.

Best for Touch Ups: e.l.f. Cosmetics Clear Makeup Remover Pen

elf makeup remover pen

Courtesy of elf

Sometimes all you're looking to do is fix a bit of smudged liner or smeared mascara without ruining the rest of your look or starting over completely. Instead of using your fingers or a Q-tip soaked in liquid remover, opt for this handy makeup-removing pen. The fine tip allows for precise removal of errors and smears without impacting the rest of your makeup.

Best for Eye Makeup: Simple Kind to Skin Eye Makeup Remover

Made up of two parts, a cleansing oil phase with pro vitamin B5 and a tripled purified water phase with vitamin E, this makeup remover stands up to makeup better than most other removers. The oil phase dissolves oil-based makeup (even waterproof formulas!) and the water phase makes it so it doesn’t feel too greasy. Because it removes makeup so effortlessly, there’s no reason to rub harshly, which is especially bad for the delicate eye area.

For more options, check out our guide to the best eye makeup removers.

Best for Lips: Maybelline SuperStay Eraser Lip Color Remover

The lips contain no oil glands, which makes them more susceptible to drying out. That's why you want to remove any lingering bits of lipstick with a gentle product formulated specifically for this delicate area. Enter: Maybelline's SuperStay Eraser Lip Color Remover. Simply glide this oil-based stick formula onto your lips when you're ready to remove your lip color and tissue off any excess. It couldn't be any easier.

Best Wipes: Olay Daily Gentle Clean 5-in-1 Water Activated Cleansing Cloths

Unlike your typical wipes, these come dry and lather up after contact with water. Ideal for traveling (no leaks, no mess), you can just grab the number that you’ll need ahead of a trip and pop them in your makeup bag. Also, you don’t have to worry about them drying out, a frustrating (and unfortunately, common) occurrence with pre-moistened wipes. Choose from four types: aloe, shea butter, grape seed extract, and a vitamin complex. Each one smells great and won’t leave your skin feeling tight or stripped.

Best Micellar Water: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Pump (Limited Edition) 16.9 fl oz
Courtesy of Walmart

Ever since micellar water hit drugstore shelves in the U.S., rinse-free cleansing really took off. That's because most micellar waters can be used without rinsing afterward, eliminating the need to maintain close proximity to a sink. They're a game changer for quick, bedside cleansing as well as cleansing on the go.

This micellar water just might be the mother of all micellars, and you don't have to book a plane ticket to France to get your hands on it. It works by putting tiny micelles to work. These molecules cluster together to lift away dirt, makeup, oil, and debris off the skin's surface in a pinch—no harsh rubbing, tugging, or rinsing required.

Best Balm: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm

IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Makeup™ 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
Courtesy of Sephora

Cleansing balms, though they might be a little messier than other cleansers, are formulated with skin-loving ingredients, making them perfect for even the most sensitive skin types. This one is laced with hyaluronic acid for hydration and ceramides, which moisturize and support a healthy skin barrier.

Massage onto dry skin and watch how your makeup quite literally melts away. Follow by rinsing and wiping with a clean cloth. For some extra pampering, leave on as a mask for a minute before washing off.

Best Cleansing Oil: Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil

BOSCIA MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of Sephora

Cleansing with oil sounds intimidating, especially if you already deal with a greasy complexion, but the truth is oily skin types may actually benefit from cleansing oils the most. The reason boils down to rules of basic science—like attracts like. The oil in cleansing oils helps to break down pre-existing sebum on your skin's surface, helping to mattify the skin and prevent dryness.

This cleansing oil from Boscia is intended to melt impurities and makeup without leaving behind any greasiness. You can expect to see a brighter complexion with less pronounced pores with continued use.

Read more reviews and shop the best cleansers for combination skin.

Best Stick: St. Ives Glow Apricot & Manuka Honey Cleansing Stick

St. Ives Glow Apricot & Manuka Honey Cleansing Stick - 1.59oz
Courtesy of Target

You don't want to sleep in your makeup, nor do you want to exercise with it on. The mix of sweat and cosmetics makes the perfect environment for breakouts to thrive. An easy solution to keeping your skin clean and clear while breaking a sweat is to throw this cleansing stick into your gym bag. There are three different types—Apricot + Manuka Honey, Cactus Water + Hibiscus, and Match Green Tea + Ginger—and all made with 100% natural coconut oil. Now there's no excuse not to remove surface makeup, dirt and impurities before hitting the elliptical.

Best for Waterproof Mascara: Too Faced Mascara Melt Off Cleansing Oil

TOO FACED Mascara Melt Off Cleansing Oil
Courtesy of Sephora

At first glance, you may mistake this mascara remover as mascara itself. It's shaped like a mascara wand but instead of lathering your lashes in pigment, it's packed with cleansing oil to kick regular and waterproof mascara to the curb.

Coat lashes from root to tip and allow the formula to penetrate for about 60 seconds and the mascara will slowly dissolve. Then, just wipe away with a damp cloth or wipe. The formula is also conditioning thanks to green tea extract so that lashes don’t undergo any unnecessary damage during removal.

Want to take a look at other options? Check out our guide to the best drugstore cleansers on the market.

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