Natural Makeup Remover: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

Natural Makeup Remover: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

While makeup looks amazing, getting rid of it at the end of a long day can feel like a daunting task. But a good makeup remover can do wonders. Taking a few minutes to completely wipe away any cosmetics on your face can be the difference between waking up to a clear, toned complexion, and a dull, acne-ridden one. What’s more, cleaning your face before going to bed will save you from several skin concerns like irritation, premature aging, and breakouts. 

Most stores are full of the common makeup removers, but using natural removers is by far the best way to clear your face of makeup. It’s the safer alternative to conventional chemical removers, which contain toxic ingredients that are harmful to the skin.

Why is it Important to Remove Your Makeup and Clean Your Face? 

When you clean off all the products on your face, your skin is able to breathe overnight. This allows your skin to go through the natural rejuvenation process that repairs the environmental damage caused during the day. Removing makeup and cleansing your face stimulates microcirculation on your skin because of the massage action. Cleansing also washes away cosmetics, dirt, and impurities from the surface of your skin. Furthermore, through exfoliation, new skin cells replace dead skin, resulting in a fresh, supple, and glowing complexion the next morning.

What Happens When You Don’t Remove Your Makeup? 

Most cosmetics contain ingredients that wreak havoc on the skin when left overnight. By failing to properly remove your makeup at the end of the day, you expose yourself to the following issues:

  • Premature Aging – During the day, free radicals in the environment combine with the products on your face. This exposes your skin to oxidative damage, which is one of the main causes of premature aging. Also, free radicals accelerate the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on your face. 
  • Breakouts – Not cleaning your face properly causes your pores to become clogged with all the dead epidermal cells, oil, and dirt. As a result, your skin can become inflamed, leading to breakouts. Blackheads may also appear around your lips if you don’t remove lipstick. That is because lipstick contains wax that also blocks pores. 
  • Dull Complexion – All the grime on your face prevents cellular renewal. Hence, come the next day, you’ll have a dull complexion. 
  • Eye Irritation – Failure to remove your mascara, eyeliner, or eyeshadow can cause redness, itchiness, and dryness. It can even lead to eyelash roots’ infection. This happens when some of the eye cosmetics get into the eyes, which is likely to occur if you leave it on overnight. 
  • Thinned Lashes – Mascara that has not been removed at the end of the day dries out lashes, making them brittle with time. Brittle lashes cause major thinning to your eyelashes, and eventually, they might fall off. 
  • Chapped Lips – Lips become dry and chapped when you fall asleep with your lipstick. That is because lipstick draws moisture from the lips.
  • Makes Useful Skin Products Less Effective – When there’s a buildup of makeup in the skin pores, absorption of useful skincare products is compromised. Moisturizers and cleansers may not penetrate the skin as expected, therefore making them less effective. 

Traditional Ways to Remove Makeup 

Traditionally, liquid makeup removers or wipes are used to get rid of the product buildup on the face. These wipes and makeup removers are made using artificial ingredients with solubilizing, emulsifying, and surfactant properties. Generally, they work in the same way as cleansers by dissolving makeup and separating it from the skin, thus making it easy to remove it from your face.

The Problem with Conventional Makeup Removers 

Conventional makeup removers are made to eliminate cosmetics, dirt, and impurities on the face. However, it’s highly likely that some dirt will remain on the skin. In addition, there will be residues of the artificial chemicals left behind. All these irritate the skin and cause it to dry up when not completely wiped away. 

Besides the ingredients that remove cosmetics, there are others present in conventional removers, such as preservatives. Many of these preservatives have been classified as harmful, with some causing irritation and others even increasing the risk of cancer. The best thing to do when you’re using traditional removers is to rinse off your face with water after wiping away the products. 

Some of the toxic chemicals found in conventional makeup removers include:

  • Mineral Oil – This is a common ingredient because of its ability to break down grease. However, it ends up coating the skin and clogging the pores if not washed off well. As a result, it inhibits the skin’s ability to breath and traps dirt and germs on your face, increasing the likelihood of developing acne. 
  • Diazolidinyl Urea (DU) – This is used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. However, this chemical can be extremely irritating to people with sensitive skin. DU makes the skin sensitive and causes allergic reactions, resulting in itchy, swollen, and red skin. 
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – This is a cleansing agent that can be irritating to the eyes and skin. It can also strip the skin of its natural oils, making it dry and irritated. 
  • Parabens – These preservatives are found in almost every artificial cosmetic product. Parabens are chemicals that have been proven by multiple studies to encourage the growth of cancerous cells. Hence, it’s best to steer clear of them. These preservatives can also be irritating to the skin, causing rashes, swelling, and conditions such as contact dermatitis. Methylparaben has been found to make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure. This leads to UV rays damage and premature aging. 
  • Formaldehyde – Also used as a preservative, formaldehyde is yet another carcinogenic chemical found in many makeup removers. It makes the skin sensitive and is also an allergen. Other preservatives to watch out for are ethenamine and DMDM Hydantoin, which release formaldehyde into products. 

Why It’s Important to Use Natural Products 

Natural makeup removers are by far the best way to remove makeup. With natural makeup removers, you don’t have to worry about artificial chemicals that might not just be harmful to your skin, but also your general health. Because most of the ingredients in artificial products are harsh to the skin, going natural is the best way to prevent both physical and chemical irritation to the delicate epidermal tissue. 

By using organic ingredients, you avoid putting more artificial products on your skin, as you may have already done with the makeup you use. Even better, you can make natural makeup removers at home, which means they’re relatively affordable.

How Do Natural Makeup Removers Work? 

Natural makeup removers gently peel away the cosmetics, dirt, and oil from the skin. They do that by first dissolving the foundation, concealer, lipstick, and other cosmetics, and then lifting them off the skin. All that is done without leaving any toxic traces on the skin, and without requiring much rubbing.

Best Natural Makeup Removers 

Micellar Water

This is a skin product made by suspending tiny balls of oil molecules known as micelles in soft water. These oils attract dirt, drawing it from the skin. Micellar water is suitable for people with sensitive skin. It’s also hydrating, which is great for dry skin types. Micellar water works well with light makeup, but it may not be as effective on excessively oily skin. The Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Water is an excellent natural option. 

Oil Cleanser 

Oil cleansers are products made using natural oils such as coconut, olive, and castor. When applied topically on the skin, they bind with the makeup and grime. They are then wiped away without stripping the skin of its sebum. With a natural oil cleanser, your skin will also get the added benefit of useful nutrients and minerals. 

The best oil cleansers may come with a combination of oils. One such product is the Pendulum Potion Cleansing Oil from May Lindstrom. It’s made using olive oil, sweet orange oil, tamanu oil, macadamia oil, among other organic oils. With such a mixture, there are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and a myriad of other skin benefits. 

That said, many are concerned that oil cleansing for acne will only add to the buildup on the skin. On the contrary, the oil will remove the acne-causing substances from the skin.

Eye Makeup Remover 

The skin around the eyes is more sensitive and delicate than the rest of the face. It’s, therefore, easily irritated and should be cleaned using gentle products. Organic cleansers are the best eye makeup removers. Some of these products contain a mix of ingredients such as green tea, olive oil, and orange oil, all of which are non-irritating, non-toxic, and skin-rejuvenating ingredients. The Organic Makeup Remover by Herbal Choice Mari is a good chemical-free, paraben-free product that effectively removes heavy eye makeup. 

Cleansing Wipes

Cleansing wipes are one of the most convenient ways of removing makeup. The wipes are pre-soaked sheets so that all you have to do is wipe them across your face, and you’re done. Organic wipes are soaked using natural oils such as coconut oil. Unlike the traditional types, these natural wipes get rid of all the makeup without exposing your skin to toxins. Also, they work well when rubbed over the face gently, thus preventing skin irritation. A good example is the RMS beauty – Ultimate Organic Makeup Remover Wipes. Using both sides of the sheet, you can get rid of all the makeup on your face and eyes. 

DIY/Homemade Makeup Remover 

The fact that you can whip up your own remover is what makes natural products even more desirable. With the right ingredients, you can easily come up with a mixture that will help you take off all your makeup at the end of the day. 

Most of these natural ingredients can be found in the kitchen or at the local store. By knowing how each of them works, you can make a recipe that will not only remove your makeup but also give your skin a host of other benefits.

Natural Makeup Remover Ingredients 

Some of the ingredients needed for your homemade makeup remover include:

Coconut Oil

You’ve probably heard coconut oil being proclaimed as ‘a miracle worker’ for various reasons. You can also add another one onto the list—it’s an excellent cleanser, making it ideal for makeup removal. All you need to do is apply it on the face using your hands, then rinse with warm water, and the job is done. With this application method, you save your delicate facial tissues from the physical stress that comes with using chemical removers. 

Over time, your skin will reap other benefits of coconut oil, such as becoming more hydrated. This leads to improved elasticity and gives you a natural glow. Coconut oil also contains vitamin E and A, which fight oxidative damage and slow down skin aging. 

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is gentle on the skin, which makes it a good product for removing makeup. It has a soothing effect, and as such is ideal for people with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema. To remove makeup from your face, put some oil on your palms, then gently massage on your face. Next, use a dampened soft cloth or cotton ball to rub it off. This will remove the oil, cosmetics, dirt, and other impurities from your face.

Sweet almond oil contains vitamin A, which encourages the production of new skin cells. The oil also has zinc, which helps get rid of acne. Regularly using almond oil on your face will have you looking younger, give you softer skin, and reduce the appearance of facial scars.

Jojoba Oil

You can get rid of your makeup by massaging a few drops of unrefined jojoba oil onto your face, then wiping it off with a clean, dry cloth. Finally, give your face a water rinse to complete the process. 

This oil is not only a good substitute for toxic liquid cosmetic removers but also a great skincare product. For starters, it’s lighter than most oils, allowing it to be quickly absorbed into the skin. This means that it easily moisturizes the skin, which keeps away fine lines. Secondly, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help with conditions such as rosacea and reduces redness in dry skin. Lastly, jojoba oil also has antimicrobial properties that prevent the growth of bacteria, which causes pimples.

Olive Oil

When olive oil penetrates the skin pores, it brings makeup and grime to the surface. After wiping with a wet microfiber cloth or cotton pad, you remove the makeup and get rid of dead cells and blackheads. What makes olive oil an amazing ingredient for facial cleansing is the fact that squalene, one of its active compounds, is quite similar to sebum. Using it, therefore, contributes to healthier skin. Moreover, it contains antioxidants that prevent skin damage from environmental elements. All you need to do is rub the oil onto your face as you would with any remover, then wipe it off using cotton. 

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is an herbal extract that has, for years, been used for its medicinal properties, which have also been found to be beneficial in skincare. It’s used as an astringent since it’s able to get rid of excess oil and dirt from the skin. This property also enables it to shrink pores. You can use witch hazel to get rid of makeup by putting some on a cotton pad, then wiping over your face. This ingredient removes both water and oil-based cosmetics. Because of its anti-bacterial properties, witch hazel inhibits bacterial growth that would otherwise result in breakouts. There are some ready made witch hazel toners on the market to check out like the one mentioned here by Brigette Danielle.

Castor Oil

Castor oil has a thick texture that makes it an excellent exfoliator. This vegetable oil that’s derived from castor seeds is common in cosmetic products thanks to its myriad of skin benefits. It has ricinoleic acid, which fights bacteria that can clog pores and cause pimples. Castor oil is known for its hydrating effect. It moisturizes skin, thus preventing wrinkles. In addition, it’s a humectant that draws moisture from the air and into the skin. And that’s not all. The fatty acids present in castor oil promote the growth of skin tissue, resulting in healthier skin and an even skin tone. 

Hazelnut Oil

To remove makeup using hazelnut oil, you first need to cover your face with a warm, wet cloth for about 20 seconds. Once that’s done, massage half a teaspoon of the oil onto your face. Wait for 30 seconds, then use a damp washcloth to remove the oil, cosmetics, and grime from your face. 

Hazelnut contains Vitamin E, a nutrient that encourages the production of collagen by destroying collagenase, a harmful enzyme that accelerates skin aging. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its firmness and elasticity, therefore using this oil results in supple skin. Amino acids found in hazelnuts form a barrier on the surface, which helps the skin retain moisture.

Shea Butter 

Shea butter is creamy, a consistency that makes it easy to apply and wipe off the skin. You can use it to remove all kinds of makeup, including waterproof lipstick and mascara. Shea butter has a high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, making it a constant in skin softening products. Fatty acids and vitamins enrich it with healing properties that are useful in treating eczema, dermatitis, and blemishes. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is popular in skincare products, and for a good reason too. When it comes to getting rid of makeup, it does so gently without irritating the sensitive skin around the eyes. Like most other natural ingredients, all you need to do is apply it on your face using your fingers or a clean cotton ball, then rinse it off with water. 

The gel derived from aloe vera is rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This gel has a high percentage of water, so it acts as a moisturizer when topically applied to the skin. The gel also forms a mask over the surface, locking in moisture. Another useful component in aloe vera is salicylic acid that unclogs pores and reduces the occurrence of breakouts. 

Rose Water

Rose water is an ingredient that can be used for dry, oily, or combination skin types. You can mix it with coconut oil to get rid of makeup. Rose water is derived from soaked rose flowers. It’s quite soothing, making it an excellent product to use on irritated skin. It also helps balance the skin’s pH, thus keeping the protective acid mantle in place and preventing damage from external factors. 

Honey

Honey is another versatile natural product that can be used to remove cosmetics from the face by adding a little water. To make it a better exfoliator and ensure the removal of all dirt, use a little baking soda, which adds texture. With its strong anti-bacterial qualities, honey will not just leave behind a clean face, but also one that doesn’t have any harmful microbes. In addition, honey contains hydrogen peroxide. Hence, when used frequently, it can help reduce hyperpigmentation and the appearance of acne scars. 

Recipes

If you have been wondering about how to remove makeup without makeup remover, these ingredients have got you covered. Here are some ideas on how you can use them.

Oil Cleansing Recipe 

You’ll need:

For oil cleansing, different ingredients work well with each skin type. For oily skin, use a mix that is a third (⅓) castor oil and two thirds (⅔) olive oil. A quarter (¼) hazelnut oil with three quarter (¾) olive is suitable for combination skin. For dry skin, opt for just olive oil. 

How to Use

  1. With your hands, massage the mixture onto your face. Rub it for a minute, using a circular motion. 
  2. Wet a washcloth in hot water and wring it out. Hold it on your face, allowing it to steam your skin for 30 seconds. 
  3. Wipe your skin with the cloth. Any oil that doesn’t come off can be safely left on the face for a nourishing effect. 
DIY Makeup Remover Wipes Recipe

You’ll need:

  • Cotton pads
  • 3 tsp witch hazel extract 
  • 1 tbsp aloe vera
  • 1 tsp liquid castille soap
  • 8 drops lavender oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 8 drops rosemary oil 
  • Small jar with lid 

How to Make and Use

  1. In the jar, put the aloe vera, lavender oil, witch hazel extract, rosemary oil, coconut oil, and liquid soap. Then, shake to combine.
  2. Place the cotton pads into the jar and shake until they’re coated with the mixture. 
  3. Anytime you need to remove your makeup, take a cotton pad and wipe away. 
  4. Rinse your face with warm water after.  
DIY Eye Makeup Remover Recipe 

You’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp jojoba oil
  • 2 tbsp witch hazel 
  • 2 tbsp filtered water
  • Pint-sized glass jar with lid 
  • Organic cotton pads

How to Make and Use

  1. Add the jojoba oil, witch hazel, and water in the glass jar and shake well. 
  2. Dampen the cotton pad with the mixture, then pass it over your eyelids and the area around your eyes. 
Natural Eye Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes

Removing makeup from the eyes requires a little more concentration and care and usually takes more time than the rest of the face. This process becomes even more difficult if you have sensitive eyes because they can easily become swollen, begin itching, or suffer from a burning sensation. The best remedy for all that is using natural removers. They work fast without requiring a lot of physical exertion, and they also don’t contain artificial chemicals that cause irritation. 

Here’s a recipe for a natural eye makeup cleanser for sensitive eyes:

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp witch hazel 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp natural aloe vera gel
  • Small jar with lid 
  • Cotton pads

How to Prepare and Use

Combine aloe vera gel, olive oil, and witch hazel in a jar. To use, shake the mixture, dab in a cotton pad then clean your eye area. 

How to Store Your Homemade Products 

Chemical makeup removers come with a stipulated shelf life for when they become unsafe to use. With DIY products, however, that’s not the case. Since no chemical preservatives are used, they will not last for years as conventional types do. To ensure that you can use your homemade combination for more than a few days, add natural preservatives. 

For instance, rosemary oil and grapefruit seed extract are two essential oils with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that will ensure your remover remains fresh for about a month. Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of oils, while antimicrobials hinder the growth of bacteria. Together, these actions lengthen the shelf life of homemade removers. 

Homemade makeup removers can be stored at room temperature in the bathroom. However, they will last longer when refrigerated. 

It’s All in the Label

As consumers become more aware of the toxic chemicals found in conventional makeup removers, many are turning to natural products. This means there’s an influx of removers in stores claiming to be organic. Therefore, when you go shopping, take the time to read the label carefully. That’s where you’ll find out whether there are any chemical ingredients that you should avoid. To be extra safe, look for products with the Environmental Working Group VERIFIED mark. These are products that have been tested and found to be free of toxic ingredients. 

Never Skip a Night 

While putting on makeup makes you look absolutely gorgeous, it’s understandable that getting rid of it in the evening can be quite a drag. There are days when you are completely drained, and all you want to do is get into bed. But, you should always remember that failing to take a few minutes to remove makeup from your face can pave the way for skin problems the next day. 

Now that you know how to remove makeup without exposing your skin to harmful products, you can always keep your favorite organic remover close by. That way, when you’re pressed for time, sleepy, or you’re just too lazy to wake up and fetch it, you can simply reach over and get your concoction, dab some on your face, and allow your skin to breathe. 

Finally, always remember that, while you may get away with sleeping with your makeup, repeatedly doing so can lead to skin problems. Make sure you routinely remove your makeup every night. Your skin will thank you for it. 

Clean Beauty Gals

Created by three friends, Clean Beauty Gals are a collective of women passionate about clean beauty. We created this website to help you demystify the confusing clean beauty space and detoxify your routine one product at a time.
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