We've all done it: dragged ourselves into bed and passed out without taking our makeup off. Sometimes, it's from exhaustion, but sometimes it's the lack of cleanser; we've got people to see and places to go, and the drugstore hasn't been on that list in a minute. Luckily, there are a few DIY makeup remover options for those times when a makeup wipe can't be found anywhere, including ingredients you can find in your pantry. We spoke with clean beauty expert Jazmin Alvarez and dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian to offer tips for whipping up these recipes at home. Below, find everything you need to keep your face clean and makeup-free before bed.
Meet the Expert
- Jazmin Alvarez is an esthetician and founder of Pretty Well Beauty. She is a prominent clean beauty advocate and has worked in fashion and beauty for 14 years.
- Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist who practices at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York. She is also a faculty member at Mount Sinai Medical Center's Department of Dermatology.
Best for Oily Skin: Jojoba Oil, Witch Hazel, and Aloe Vera
“Jojoba oil is the type of oil that most closely resembles the skin's natural oil/sebum and is non-comedogenic," says Alvarez. Witch hazel has been used for decades as a natural oil-control ingredient; combining these two ingredients makes a great solution for combo and oily skin types.
- 2 Tbsp. witch hazel
- 2 Tbsp. jojoba oil
- 1 Tbsp. aloe vera
Using a funnel, pour witch hazel, jojoba oil, and aloe vera into a small container with a lid. Swirl to combine ingredients. To use, dispense a small amount onto a cotton pad and wipe gently over the eye area. Store in a cool, dark location.
Adding some vitamin E oil to any oil-based product will help extend shelf life, says Alvarez.
Best Quick Solution: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Aloe Water
This combo could not be any easier unless someone was making it and applying it for you—in which case, we want your life.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bottle aloe vera water
Pour the olive oil into a bottle of aloe vera water. Shake the mixture.
Apply to a cotton pad before the two ingredients separate. Gently wipe over your face and eye area. Water-based solutions will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
Best for Dry Skin: Green Tea, Glycerin, and Grapeseed Oil
"Green tea is an anti-inflammatory ingredient to calm skin, glycerin is great for moisturizing, and grapeseed oil is an antioxidant-rich oil," says Nazarian. This combination is a home run for anyone with dry or more sensitive skin.
- 1 Tbsp. brewed green tea
- 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable glycerin
- 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
Combine the mixture in a spray bottle. Shake well, so the ingredients thoroughly blend. Spray onto a cotton ball and apply directly to your skin. Let it sit for a few seconds as it breaks down the makeup and lifts it from the skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Rosewater and Aloe Gel
"Rosewater is a soothing topical ingredient, as is aloe," says Nazarian. In addition to breaking down water-based makeup, we're betting this would smell divine. "This would make a nice toner, too," recommends Alvarez.
- 1 Tbsp. aloe gel
- 2 Tbsp. rosewater
Mix rosewater into aloe gel, stirring to combine. Apply to a cotton round and massage into skin to remove light makeup, or spray directly onto the face as a toner, making sure to press the product into the skin.
"Those with sensitive skin or underlying skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or rosacea should be extremely cautious with a DIY regimen," cautions Nazarian. Consult with your dermatologist before incorporating any homemade products into your routine.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Honey and Calendula Oil
"Honey is anti-microbial and a natural humectant, which makes it an excellent ingredient for drawing moisture into the skin while killing acne-causing bacteria," says Alvarez. "This is a super ingredient that should be a staple in any DIY formula." The addition of gentle calendula oil provides additional moisture and soothes the skin.
- 1 Tbsp. of honey
- A few drops of calendula oil
Combine the honey and oil, and apply directly to your face. Use circular motions with your fingers to emulsify and break down the product on the skin (add a little splash of water if the consistency is too thick). Wipe away with a warm, wet washcloth.
Best First Cleanse: Shea Butter and Tea Tree Oil
Shea butter is known for its intense moisturizing properties, and tea tree oil is another anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory ingredient. If you like following a mega-rich cleanser up with a second, lighter wash, this balm is for you.
- 1.5 oz. of solid shea butter
- 1 Tbsp. tea tree oil
Heat shea butter in a double boiler over medium heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in tea tree oil. Pour into an airtight container and seal, letting the balm sit for two to three hours before use. Take a scoop of balm, work it between your fingers to warm it up, and then massage it onto your face to break down makeup. Rinse and follow with a toner or second cleanse.
Best for a Full-Beat Face: Baby Shampoo, Oil, and Water
You can bust out this powerful combo for when you've gone full glam without worry; "Baby shampoo and water is a fantastic combination to remove makeup, and is generally well-tolerated," says Nazarian. For more stubborn, waterproof products like eyeliner and mascara, mix in a few drops of calendula, jojoba, sweet almond, or argan oil to cut through the smudge-fighting ingredients.
- 1/2 Tbsp. of baby shampoo
- 1/4 Tbsp. of whatever oil you prefer
- 8 oz. of water (scale up your measurements for larger quantities)
Mix the baby shampoo and oil in a lidded container. Use water to fill up the container the rest of the way. Shake the mixture well before application; wet a cotton round or washcloth and massage onto your face to break down makeup. Let the cotton round sit for a few seconds on any stubborn areas before swiping to give the mixture extra time to work.