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The Best Ways to Remove Different Kinds of Makeup

If you’re worried about the condition of your skin and want to treat it like the precious gift it is, the first thing you’ve got to do is cleanse it properly. Get on board with double-cleansing, and then follow with a good point makeup remover.
As a makeup artist, I always need to have something on hand to erase little accidents, and the big messes that might crop up on set. I’ve done entire looks to completion and had art directors saunter over and tell me, “Yeah! Exactly like that, but make it purple!” You may not face situations that extreme in your day to day life, but you still need good quality products to remove your point makeup.
Point makeup is lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, and blush. Since point makeup usually has some rich pigments, it’s a little more difficult to remove than, say, your BB cream or powder. It requires a little extra something to ensure that it’s completely removed. Today I’d like to explore some of the many options available for the removal of point makeup, how to best use them, and let you know some of my favs!

Liquid remover

Great for:

Waterproof makeup
Let’s start with the kind of point makeup remover we’re probably all familiar with: the traditional “shake-up-the-bottle-to-mix-the-oil-and-water” type. This is the kind of makeup remover your mother probably used.
However, unlike your mother’s Clinique Take The Day Off, or Lancome Bi-Facil, we now have products like Missha Green Tea Lip & Eye Makeup Remover that has added skin care benefits because of ingredients like camellia sinensis leaf extract — green tea extract!
Green tea has natural antimicrobial, antioxidant, astringent, and emollient properties. It keeps skin clean, protects it, and hydrates it — always a welcome addition to anything we’re going to put on our most delicate, thinnest, sensitive areas of skin.
To use this type of product, shake the bottle to mix the two layers, dispense onto a cotton pad, and gently wipe away your lip and eye makeup as the name suggests. It does a really nice job of removing even your darkest shadow, liner, and lipstick with no harshness. Even waterproof formulas are no match for this stuff.
Use it at the end of the night when taking your makeup off, or whenever you’re planning on re-washing your face completely and starting over with fresh makeup.
It does leave a slight film behind that’s not friendly to putting makeup on right over it, but if you’re in search of something that functions as well as this product for cleaning up makeup application mishaps, boy, do I have just the thing for you…

Cotton swab remover

Great for:

Precision makeup
This is one of those products you never want to be without because of its insanely handy and portable delivery system. Really it’s genius, and frankly, I’m mad I didn’t think of it first 😉
These ingenious little cotton swabs (or magic Q-tips as I call them) are self-contained “oops” erasers. You know when you’re having an off day and you just can’t get that other eyeliner to wing out properly, or you’ve gone overboard on that bottom liner and don’t have time to start all over? This is where your new best friend comes in! The Skinfood Eggplant Eye Make-up Remover Bar is essentially a cotton swab with makeup remover housed inside.
To use, hold the cotton swab with the tube side pointing towards the sky, then gently twist the tube off. From there you can hold it while the bottom swab soaks up the remover from the tube. You use the end soaked with the remover to quickly resolve any mistakes, and the dry end to wipe up anything remaining. It’s genius!
The remover doesn’t leave a residue, so you’re free to immediately re-apply makeup to the area you’ve just used the swab on.
I always keep one with me to deal with any eyeshadow fallout that might happen while out and about, and one next to my makeup mirror to contain any gel liner or mascara related disasters that might arise.

Cleansing tissues

Great for:

On-the-go. Best for non-waterproof makeup.
Here’s another handy little product that is a hybrid between a liquid remover and spot remover. Tissues are perfect for one-time use makeup removal. They’re especially good on the run or when you’re too lazy to deal with more than one tool to get your makeup off because it’s a remover and applicator in one.
Enter Manefit Avocado Lip & Eye Remover. This product is self-contained and includes 100% cotton sheets soaked in just the right amount of makeup remover that is great for removing non-waterproof point makeup.
I love the cute little size of these things. They’re about a quarter of the size of a typical makeup remover sheet, which actually makes them a lot easier to handle when working with the small, delicate areas of the eyes and mouth.
Make a mistake in your makeup application? No worries! Because of the tissues’ wide surface area, these are awesome for removing an entire eyeshadow look from your eye if you need to start over again. (Bonus: No need to wash your whole face again with these guys.)
Also a plus: Its avocado oil is wonderfully moisturizing.

Oil cleanser

Great for:

Cleansing every day (maybe even twice!).
Okay, so this isn’t exactly point makeup remover, but it is essential. If you are rocking the most tenacious of waterproof cosmetics, fear not because oil cleanser will make short work of that.
I love a good sherbet cleanser. Truth be told I always have three or four in rotation at all times.
Tony Moly Aquaporin Sherbet Cleanser is a cleanser you absolutely need as part of your double cleansing routine. Unlike messier liquid oil cleansers, this comes in a solid oil form. You simply scoop out the desired amount and massage it onto a dry face as you would your foam cleanser. It then melts with your body’s temperature and sweeps away your makeup — all of it. I repeat: ALL of your makeup. Trust me, nothing is getting by this champion. Once you’re done with your annihilation of the day’s gunk and buildup, rinse with water.
You might think from the looks of it that it would be hard to completely wash away, but au contraire mon frère! As it comes into contact with water it emulsifies (gets milky as it breaks down gunk), and rinses away easily.
Tony Moly Aquaporin Sherbet Cleanser also has something that I’m a sucker for: a gorgeous scent! It has a very light, non-cloying, heavenly light floral smell that makes my oil cleansing step a treat. It’s a great way to end a stressful day.
Solid formulas are my personal preference over the liquid oil cleansers and they’re especially great for travel as you don’t have to worry about them leaking. Most importantly, the only way to completely remove the sunblock that I’m going to assume you’re wearing (and you better be wearing it!) is a thorough oil cleansing. For all of their benefits, point makeup removers just can’t provide that. But they have their place in your makeup bag too. another sherbet type cleanser I’m a huge fan of is Banila Co. Clean It Zero. It works exactly like that Tony Moly Aquaporin, but has little to no scent and is great for sensitive skin.
SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick is another product I personally love that can also function as a cleanser to help remove makeup. It has a divine rose smell and feels so luxurious on the skin. It’s probably the most glamourous product for overall makeup and sunblock removal. I feel like a QUEEN every time I use it.
Think of these products as a team, if you wear makeup, there’s a place for all of them in your current skincare routine, they work beautifully in conjunction with one another in different situations, and with teamwork lead you on a path to your best skin ever!
Coco Park, a.k.a. The Beauty Wolf, is on the prowl for beauty in all its forms including, but not limited to, makeup, art, and hip-hop. She’s a city slicker from the South living in Montreal with her family. Catch @thebeautywolf on Instagram.
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