If you wear makeup, you need to eventually remove it somehow. If you're anything like us, you've probably tried a handful of different products. Buying whatever is listed as a makeup remover on the shelves of your local grocery or pharmacy can work, but you know, maybe it's not the best option. A plain store-bought makeup remover has a few major drawbacks.
- It's a specialty product. A makeup remover is good for one thing, and that's removing makeup. You can't necessarily use the same product for other skincare purposes, or other purposes around the house.
- It can go bad. Many makeup removers are made of chemicals that degrade over time and lose potency. If you wear makeup every day and remove it every night, that's fine. If you only wear makeup for special occasions, though, your makeup removers might go bad before you've used them all.
- They're often harsh chemicals. Cleansers and makeup removers can be distressingly harsh on your skin, and the last thing you want before going to bed is redness, tenderness, and soreness in your face. Plus, those chemicals can cause other irritations and require other products to counteract.
The alternative is, of course, something more natural. Many natural ingredients can remove makeup, you just need to give them a try. Here are fifteen options you can experiment with to see which ones agree with your complexion. Remember that not all options will work for everyone. Some people have skin sensitivities to certain organic compounds. You also have to remember that different kinds of makeup will react to different kinds of compounds. Some aren't easily washed away with one type of compound but may wash away flawlessly with another. You'll have to experiment and adjust.
1. Aloe Wipes
First up on our list is a new product we've decided to carry, a makeup remover wipe made with all-natural ingredients. These wipes in particular are made with aloe vera.
If you've read other posts on our blog before, you may have seen that we're big fans of aloe for a variety of purposes. It's a great plant with a lot of uses, both as a dietary supplement and as a skincare product. That's why it crops up everywhere from health drinks to skin creams to makeup removers. Aloe vera is a natural cleanser, which means it's very effective at removing dirt and oils, including the chemicals in makeup that help it stick and stay on your face. Aloe is also a natural moisturizer, and it's much more pleasant than pure oils and cleansers like chemical soaps. Give it a try!
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a staple in the organic beauty industry for two reasons. First and foremost, it's a great carrier oil for other chemicals, both natural and artificial, that you want to be infused into your skin. Whether it's your favorite lavender essential oil, a bit of vitamin E-based moisturizer, or a UV-protective sunscreen, coconut oil makes a great carrier. Secondly, coconut oil is stable as a cream at room temperature. It can be easily heated to mix in other ingredients, then solidifies into a pleasant cream to work with. Coconut oil is a great makeup remover because oils naturally dissolve oils. Makeup products are often made of oils to make them more resilient and waterproof – so they don't run throughout the day – so another oil like coconut oil can help remove them naturally.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another good skin cleanser for exactly the same reason as coconut oil; oil dissolves oil, so you can diffuse oil-based products and skin oils with an organic oil like olive, then wash it all away with a simple cleanser. Follow that up with the rest of your evening beauty routine to go to sleep feeling clean and wake up refreshed.
The biggest benefit of olive oil is simply that you're likely to have some in your kitchen all the time. It's about as far from a specialty product as you can get, so it's commonly and readily available. The downside is, well, it can feel a little weird using something for both cooking and rubbing on your face. That natural skepticism can make for a difficult obstacle until you get used to it, and some people never do.
4. Micellar Water
Micellar water is primarily water, with some organic chemicals suspended in it. These chemicals include mild surfactants that break up oils and dissolve chemical compounds like makeup, as well as moisturizers like glycerin to ensure that your skin stays moist and healthy. The surfactants and glycerin combine to form spherical molecules called micelles, hence the name. Micellar water isn't really something you can make at home, but it's a natural and easy to find product. It's extremely safe on almost all skin types, though there are different formulas for different kinds of skin and different purposes. Feel free to play around to find the one that's best for you.
5. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a natural remedy that comes from the plant of the same name. It's a powerful natural astringent, which on its own wouldn't be very good for removing makeup.
The best way to use it is to mix some witch hazel with a carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil. Three tablespoons of alcohol-free witch hazel, mixed with two tablespoons of carrier oil, gives you a preparation that you can use for a few months before needing to make more. Just make sure to follow up with other moisturizers as part of a skincare routine; you don't want to cleanse your skin and leave it open to contamination.
6. Beeswax Balm
Beeswax is similar to coconut oil in that it's a great carrier for other ingredients. One good option is a balm made from beeswax and olive oil. Heat up and melt about a tablespoon of beeswax, and mix in a quarter cup of olive oil (or another oil, see #15). Let it solidify and you have a thick balm that works great as a cleanser. To use it, simply take a cotton pad and scoop out a small amount of the balm. Rub the balm across your skin to remove the makeup, then wash away residue with a cleanser and restore with a moisturizer. You know the drill!
Yes, that's right; the humble vegetable can be used as a makeup remover. In fact, we've seen several different versions used.
- Cucumber slices. Slice a fresh cucumber and use the slice the same way you would a makeup remover wipe. You may need more than one slice depending on the makeup you use. Oh, and don't eat it afterward, please.
- Cucumber juice. Squeeze and juice the cucumber and use that juice, either on its own or mixed with one of the other items on this list, for a natural makeup remover with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cucumber puree. Take the whole cucumber and puree it into a thick paste. This paste doesn't last more than a day or two, but it's very powerful at cleansing and moisturizing the skin.
The best part is, cucumbers can be found in grocery stores year-round unless you live somewhere far out of the way.
Centuries past, milk baths were a common beauty treatment among those blessed enough to be able to afford the excess, typically royalty. Milk is full of fat and proteins, which moisturize and hydrate your skin. Milk can help fight skin conditions such as eczema, and the topical application can soothe acne. To use milk as a cleanser and makeup remover, you want to mix in a bit of natural oil. If you want to warm it up, coconut oil can work, but we recommend another option from #15 on this list. Soak a cotton pad or washcloth in the mixture, and use that to wipe away your makeup and moisturize the skin beneath, all in one action.
If you thought milk was the only form of dairy on this list, you thought wrong! Yogurt can be equally beneficial and effective in skin treatment as milk. It has all of the same benefits as a fatty, protein-filled dairy product, but has additional benefits simply because of its thicker consistency. Take a bit of yogurt on a pad and use it as a makeup remover, rubbing a bit extra in to help moisturize your skin beneath.
The trick here is to get the right kind of yogurt. You want to get the plainest, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt you can find. Make sure to get real dairy yogurt too; the soy or almond milk stuff won't work the same way. If you want, you can even learn how to make some yourself in your kitchen, since it's really not very difficult.
10. Natural Baby Shampoo
Anything that's safe enough for a baby is safe enough for your skin, right? Natural baby shampoo can be purchased from your favorite store or made at home using a combination of organic soap, glycerin, oil, aloe vera, water, and the essential oil of your choice. These ingredients all have their own array of benefits, but they all infuse the skin when you strip off both makeup and the skin oils that build up throughout the day. It can be a two-in-one cleanser and moisturizer, though you may still need other skincare products or homemade items when all is said and done.
Steam uses heat to soften makeup and make it easier to wipe away while infusing your skin with moisture. The heat also helps open your pores so they can be cleaned more easily, keeping your skin bright and soft. To steam, simply boil some water and hover over it to let the steam infuse your face for 5-10 minutes. Once infused, wipe away your makeup and replace it with a moisturizer. As an added bonus, you can use the hot water for some tea to help you calm down for the evening!
12. Shea Butter
Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. It's an anti-inflammatory, an emollient, and a great moisturizer. You can use it alone as a cleanser, or infuse it with other ingredients such as honey and oil to make a mask.
13. Honey and Baking Soda
Speaking of honey, mix two spoonfuls of honey with two of baking soda. The resulting thick substance makes an excellent skin mask that not only strips away makeup, it infuses your skin with moisture. Baking soda helps wipe away contaminants, and the antimicrobial properties of honey cleanse and moisturize.
While most of the items listed above are individual ingredients you can use to remove makeup, they might not work all that well on their own for some specific kinds. So why not combine them? You can experiment with any combination you want, none of these are going to interact with each other. Just mix a tablespoon of anything above with each other, and you're sure to find something that works great for your skin.
15. Other Organic Oils
We've mentioned this section a couple of times, so here it is. Just about any natural organic oil can be used as a cleanser the same way coconut and olive oils can. Coconut oil is great because it's shelf-stable, and olive oil is great because it's widely available and you probably already have some. Here are some alternative oils you can use.
- Jojoba oil. Jojoba is a moisturizer and cleanser, has antibacterial effects, and is an effective antioxidant.
- Almond oil. Almond oil comes with a lot of healthy vitamins, zinc, and fatty acids that infuse the skin and keep it healthier. It can also treat dry skin and reduce puffiness.
- Grapeseed oil. Made from the seeds of grapes, this oil is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and a vitamin-infused moisturizer.
Really, just about any skin-safe carrier oil can be an excellent makeup remover. All you need to do is avoid essential oils in their pure form (adding a few drops to your cleanser is fine) and inorganic oils like mineral oil. So why did we choose to list a bunch of other oils here? Mostly because we didn't want to make this entire list all oils and nothing else. Oils work great, but they aren't perfect for everyone, so it's important to consider your options.