How to Remove Makeup

Three Methods:Removing Eye MakeupRemoving Foundation and BlushRemoving Lip Color

At the end of a long, exhausting day, or on weekend nights when you get home from a party in the wee hours, you may be tempted to skip removing your makeup before you crash into bed. Probably doesn't seem like a big deal, right? Wrong. Leaving makeup on overnight can cause your lashes to dry out and break, can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Take just a few minutes to follow this easy make up removal routine and wake up with refreshed, happy skin.

Method 1
Removing Eye Makeup

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    Saturate a cotton pad with eye makeup remover. A dual phase eye makeup remover works for most eye makeup. It combines the dissolving power of an oil-based remover with the gentle, soothing qualities of cleansing water. This is a good choice for heavy eye makeup--just make sure you shake the bottle thoroughly before use, as the formula tends to separate.[1]
    • If you use waterproof mascara and liner or very stubborn eye makeup, use an oil-based cleanser. It will dissolve the waterproof makeup so you don't have to scrub or pull on your skin or lashes.[2]
    • Cleansing water works well for extra sensitive skin and should easily remove lighter makeup and liquid liner.[3]
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    Hold the cotton pad against your closed eye for about 20 seconds, applying gentle pressure. Don't scrub your eye at all, just hold the pad in place and allow the make up remover to dissolve your makeup. This will allow you to wipe your makeup off with ease and as little rubbing as possible.[4]
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    Use a downward motion to gently wipe off makeup.[5] Getting too rough with the delicate skin around your eyes can encourage wrinkles and fine lines. Use multiple strokes with light pressure.
    • Place the fingertips of your free hand against your eyebrow and pull up slightly as your other hand sweeps down. This will prevent you from pulling too hard on the skin around your eye.
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    Turn the cotton pad over and use the clean side to wipe your eye with an upward stroke. This will allow you to clean underneath your lashes, too.[6]
    • If you still have some stubborn mascara on your lashes, try using a clean mascara wand to brush your lashes.[7]

Method 2
Removing Foundation and Blush

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    Apply a quarter-size amount of your daily cleanser to dry skin. Use a circular, massaging motion. Use your fingers to spread the cleanser all over your face, including your hairline. This should take about 45 seconds.[8]
    • Make sure your hair is pulled back away from your face with a ponytail, headband, or bobby pins.
    • Long-lasting or liquid foundation should be removed before you wash your face.[9]
    • Choose a mild cleansing oil or water designed to remove makeup, or go natural with coconut oil. Look for water-soluble formulas that will rinse away with no residue.[10]
    • If your skin is oily or prone to breakouts and not too sensitive to friction, try a makeup removing wipe. This will gently exfoliate your skin while removing makeup.[11]
    • Do not use baby wipes, which are designed to clean a baby's skin, not interact with and lift off makeup.[12]
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    Use a wet facial sponge, washcloth, or cotton ball to wipe your face. Most of your foundation and blush should come off--you should be able to see it on the washcloth.[13]
    • Make sure you get your hairline, under your chin, and around your ears.[14]
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    Use cold cream if you are having trouble with residual makeup. If you find that you are breaking out along your hairline or you go super heavy on makeup (if you are a cheerleader or actor, you probably have to wear a ton of makeup while performing), try applying a thick layer of cold cream to your face and let it sit for a few minutes.
    • Wipe the cold cream off your face with a warm washcloth and the stubborn makeup should come right off with it.[15]

Method 3
Removing Lip Color

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    Use your finger to spread a thick layer of petroleum jelly over your lips. You can really slather it on--not only will this help you remove the lipstick in one attempt, but it will also moisturize your lips.[16]
    • Don't bother investing in an expensive moisturizer for this. You will use a lot of product and remove it almost immediately, so an inexpensive, drug-store brand is perfect.[17]
    • You can also try subbing olive or coconut oil for petroleum jelly, but it can be a bit messy to apply to your lips.
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    Wait about five minutes for the petroleum jelly to do its work. The oil in the petroleum jelly is dissolving the oil in your lip color, which is what makes it so effective. It is drawing the oil out of your lips instead of repelling it, like water would.[18]
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    Press a cotton pad against your lips for a few seconds. You can wipe your lips in a small, circular motion, but try not to move the pad too much--you don't want to wipe the jelly all over your face.[19]
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    Remove the cotton pad, wiping the petroleum jelly (and lipstick) off your lips. Most, if not all, of the lipstick should come off on the pad.[20]
    • Repeat if necessary. If there's still some lipstick left, don't go rubbing your lips raw trying to get it off. Getting too rough can chap your lips.[21]
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    Exfoliate and moisturize your lips. Exfoliating will remove any remaining color tint or flakes.[22] Moisturizing will keep your lips soft and healthy so your pout is lipstick-ready when you wake up.[23]
    • You can use an exfoliator specifically designed to buff your lips; a clean, wet tooth brush[24], or a mix of brown sugar and honey.
    • Use gentle, circular motions to exfoliate your lips. Again, you don't want to be too rough and end up with raw, chapped lips.[25]


  • If you have extremely sensitive eyes, ask about the pH of your makeup remover before you buy. Your tears have a pH of 6.9-7.5, so cleanser with a similar pH should be gentle enough for you to use.[26]
  • The skin around your eyes is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your face, so it's important to find a cleanser that is gentle, effective and made specifically for your eyes.[27]
  • When removing waterproof mascara you should use tea tree oil face wipes.


  • Try to avoid getting oil-based make up remover in your eye, as it may temporarily blur your vision.[28]
  • Don't use a cotton ball to clean off your eye makeup. It's too fluffy and the fibers can get separate and get stuck in your eye. A washcloth is way too harsh for the sensitive skin around your eyes.[29]

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber band, bobby pins, or cloth headband
  • Cotton pads
  • Eye makeup remover
  • Makeup remover
  • Facial wash
  • Facial moisturizer
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Washcloth, cotton ball, or facial sponge

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Makeup