Beauty Finds

Beauty Test Drive: Choosing an Eye Makeup Remover

Eye makeup removers come in a bunch of forms, but which one works for your needs?


There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day to eye makeup that won’t budge. But how to choose a remover that will wash away your mascara, eyeliner and shadow without nasty stinging and burning? Follow our guide to choose the form that’s best for you (liquid, pad or towelette), plus three drugstore brands that we look to for our makeup removal needs.

If you like a fully made up face:

Almay Longwear & Waterproof Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, $8, at mass market retailers.

A liquid remover is probably your best bet if you prefer layered makeup because you can control the amount of remover that you use at one time (unlike in pad or towelette form). Almay’s liquid option gets rid of long-wearing and waterproof makeup formulas while feeling gentle on the skin, though it still stings a little if it comes in contact with your eyes (so be careful, as always). To avoid this problem, use a cotton pad (rather than a cotton ball that absorbs a lot of liquid) to apply. The liquid will leave your eye area slightly oily, but the feeling washes away with water.

If you have sensitive skin and eyes:

Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover Pads, $10,

If you find that your eyes tend to burn no matter which brand you choose, try Marcelle’s remover pads. They are paraben free, fragrance free and hypoallergenic and even though they’re damp, it’s near impossible to get remover in your tear ducts—plus they’re oil free, so they don’t leave a residue. Only apply to your eye area and use your regular cleanser on the rest of your face to keep sensitive and acne-prone skin happy. There are 80 pads per pack and it takes about one per eye for light makeup removal (just mascara and eyeliner).

If you’re a little bit lazy:

Maybelline Clean Express Makeup Remover Facial Towelettes, $10, at mass market retailers.

With their light, clean smell and moisturizing capabilities, these towelettes are perfect if you hate too many night-time skin care steps. They can be used to cleanse your whole face and require zero rinsing, so you don’t even need access to a sink. Keep a pack next to your bed because they’re ideal for those days when getting up to wash your face seems like too much effort (we’ve all been there).