Eye Makeup Remover

Monday, 3 November 2008 | Tags: ,

Maintain healthy skin around your eyes by washing off your makeup every night before you go to bed. We find out about eye makeup removers and test which work best to clean and nourish our eyes at the end of the day.

The Basics

  • To remove waterproof mascara, choose a makeup remover with an oil base (e.g. mineral oil or plant oil).

  • Removers come in lotions, gels, liquids, and pre-soaked pads. Gels and lotions tend to be non-oil based. Pre-soaked pads are expensive and the pads tend to be too saturated. Not worth the cost.

  • If you wear contacts (and don’t wear waterproof mascara), avoid oil-based removers, which can leave a film on your lenses.

  • Extra ingredients like rose or cucumber oils are just that – extra. They don’t add anything to the process but drive up the price.

  • Avoid products with alcohol, which dries the skin.

Other Considerations

  • If you have sensitive skin, try a fragrance free product that is definitely oil-free and alcohol-free.

  • Most non-waterproof mascaras can be removed using a mild facial cleanser and water.

Be Aware

  • Excessively wiping the eye area can damage your skin, so avoid removers that leave an oily residue.

  • The term “hypo-allergenic” is found on the label of many makeup removers but this wording isn’t regulated by the FDA and is therefore meaningless. Ignore it. Same goes for “non-comedogenic” (non-pore clogging).


We invited some regular make-up wearers to help us out. We put on our regular eye make-up, as well as some waterproof mascara, and tested these products over a number of days.

Our test products: .  
  • Phisoderm (a general face cleanser): 2 cents/use
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Marcelle (a gentle makeup remover for sensitive eyes that claims to remove waterproof mascara): 4 cents/use
. .
  • Maybelline (an oil-free remover, does not claim to remove waterproof mascara)
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Andrea’s Eye Q’s (pre-soaked pads)
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Body Shop Chamomile (a gentle eye makeup remover gel): 14 cents/use.
. .
  • Estée Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (claims to be ophthalmologist-tested): 20 cents/use
. . The Bay Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Effectiveness Test

  • Maybelline did the job at a reasonable price.

  • The Estee Lauder was also good, but expensive.


Our beauty expert, Paula Begoun, says that there is no real difference between most eye makeup removers – except price! Shop at the drugstore and buy whatever’s on sale. We like using the cheapest makeup remover we can find! The Maybelline did the job for us.



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  • Susan Bellwood

    I have used the Andrea pads and find them too oily, my eyes are usually cloudy for a bit after. I mostly use Cetaphil which I find very good and also Lancôme’s Bi-Facil (samples from my sister) which is probably expensive, but also very good. Also Johnson’s Baby Head To Toe does the trick in a pinch.