The Greatest Makeup Removers Of All Time (Drugstore Gems Included!)


makeup remover cleansers

If you’re reading this rn, and *seconds* away from sneaking some shuteye with a full face beat on, consider this as a reminder to get cleansing babes. Cause no matter how tired (or tipsy you are), sleeping with makeup on is never allowed. And we get it — as soon as your bed starts calling, a makeup removal routine seems ten times more laborious than usual. However, with these bomb eraser-like cleansers, all it takes is a literal blink of the eyes (and a thorough rub down), and your skin will be duvet-ready in a flash. 

From cleansing oils, butters, and miracle micellars, we’re rounding up our fave makeup-removing solutions for all budgets — from drugstore faves to boujee buys.

Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm, $12


Source: Amazon.

There’s nothing this sorbet-to-milk balm can’t handle — from the smokiest of smokey eyes to full-coverage, long-wear base as well, just scoop, rub and rinse, and the result is bare, hydrated, and smoother skin. The silky and glowy finish you’ll experience after is all thanks to sunflower and ginger root oils and papaya extract, which is known for its amazing gentle exfoliating and skin-brightening properties. And a noteworthy side note, their jars are 100% recyclable and TSA-approved, too, so you can carry them in your carry-on and not have to worry about parting ways with them at the security check.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, $15


Source: Amazon.

The micellar water that needs no introduction. It’s the beauty kit staple you’ll find on every MUA’s makeup table at fashion weeks, and let me tell you, it’s 100% worthy of its hype. In this solution are tiny micelles, which are quite similar to the lipids in our skin — meaning, throughout cleansing, your skin’s hydrolipidic barrier is replenished and kept intact. This is why your skin feels soothed after use and not dry or irritated, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

Paula’s Choice Gentle Touch Oil-Free Waterproof Makeup Remover, $16


Source: Amazon.

This is another star liquid makeup remover that effortlessly breaks down and dissolves all types of makeup, from stubborn matte lipstick to waterproof mascara. And despite its impressive cleansing abilities, it’s still gentle enough to use on fragile and delicate areas such as eyelashes, lids, and the under eyes. It also brings together two sets of powerhouse ingredients — aloe and green tea for a splash of hydration and potent antioxidants, and licorice and allantoin to soothe any redness and skin sensitivity.

Banila Co Clean It Zero 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm, $19


Source: Ulta.

If you don’t know about Banila Co, it’s a K-Beauty holy grail. Available in five variations — original (pink), clarifying (green), nourishing (yellow), purifying (lilac), and revitalizing (blue), there’s a cleanser for everyone. The formula is a sherbet-like texture that melts into your skin as you rub and turns milky as you add water and rinse it away. It really deep cleans without leaving your skin feeling parched or stripped of moisture. You’ll find hot springs water, vitamins C and E, and a few botanical actives in the mix.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, $28


Source: Ulta.

Inspired by the Japanese beauty tradition of natural oil cleansers and the practice of double cleansing, this oil functions as the first step of your cleansing routine and is formulated with 100% organic olive oil. Basically, it works according to the logic of ‘like attracts like,’ so the olive oil latches onto ‘oil-based impurities’ on the skin and dissolves anything from makeup to sunscreen. This oil cleanser is one of the OGs!

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover, $34


Source: Ulta.

Clinique’s Take The Day Off doesn’t fall short of its promise. From shaking off foundation layers to long-wearing mascara, lipstick, liners, and shadows, it effectively melts away all. This award-winning bestseller is formulated with safflower seed oil (high in linoleum acid) to clarify and brighten your complexion as you cleanse. 

WISHFUL Clean Genie Cleansing Butter, $35


Our vegan cleansing butter is another gem that’s worth the splurge. In it are three superstar ingredients — malachite stone, green tea, and cherry blossom extracts. Malachite stone comes through with antioxidants and does wonders for congested and dull skin, detoxifying it and unclogging pores while warding off any environmental stressors that may sabotage your complexion. Green tea extract clarifies skin further and keeps hydration levels steady post-rinsing while cherry blossom extract conditions, leaving you with that supple skin feeling. It works like magic for all skin types thanks to its gentle formula, but don’t let that fool you, it will take off every last spec of Huda Beauty’s long-lasting makeup formulas.

Youth To The People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm, $34


Source: Sephora.

This dreamy oil-to-milk balm consists of a dynamic trio of oils: moringa, jojoba, and sunflower seed. These not only dissolve makeup, but they provide a good dose of skin-loving perks, too — rebalancing your skin’s sebum levels all while delivering some omegas and antioxidants for a silky-soft and nourished complexion. 

Sarah Chapman Ultimate Cleanse Cleansing Oil, $69


Source: Sarah Chapman.

Glow chasers, this one is for you. Abundant in omega fatty acids, this decadent balm goes above and beyond to ‘deep clean, condition and brighten’ skin simultaneously. It consists of a blend of skincare MVPs: Dermaxyl, a peptide known for its collagen-boosting abilities, antioxidant vitamin E to scavenge and shield skin from damaging free radicals, vitamin A to boost skin health and suppleness, and lastly, rosehip, meadowfoam, Abyssinian, and jojoba oils (all rich in vitamin C) for enhanced glowiness.

Sisley Triple-Oil Balm Make-up Remover and Cleanser, $105


Source: Harvey Nichols.

In the more boujee department, Sisley’s is the be-all and end-all cleanser. It’s a triple-oil formulation — babassu oil adds a nourishing touch, while shea and macadamia oil soothe, repair, and soften skin. Mango butter is another lush emollient included in this blend to double up on hydration. Using this really does feel like you’re adding a nourishing step to your skincare routine, and not just taking off your makeup.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. We never take payment to review products, although some brands allow affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.