How to Remove Makeup Effectively


Hi everyone! I often get asked about the best ways to remove makeup effectively so today I’m sharing a few of my tips on how to cleanse well. If you are a regular makeup wearer, its very important to remove every last bit of makeup to maintain healthy skin. If you’re cleansing halfheartedly, you’re bound to get clogged pores, breakouts and dull looking skin.

The kind of cleansing routine you have at the end of the day depends on your skin type, the kind of makeup you wear during the day and your preference, of course. Some people like to only use watery cleansers like micellar waters while some people jump in straight with a face wash, whereas others like a deep oil or balm cleanse. I personally tailor my cleansing routine based on the kind of makeup I’m wearing and the state of my skin. On days when I’m wearing heavier makeup, particularly waterproof mascara, I will use a cleansing oil or dedicated eye makeup remover. And on days when I have just little or no makeup on, I like to use a micellar water. In either case, I like to follow up with a gentle face wash to remove all traces of the cleanser, for thoroughly cleansed skin.


Eye and Lip Makeup Removers for Waterproof Makeup
Eye and Lip Makeup Removers for Waterproof Makeup


The most common kind of cleansers that almost every makeup brand makes is a bi-phase makeup remover for the eyes and lips. These contain a watery phase and an oil phase which are supposed to be mixed by shaking well before use. The presence of the oily phase ensures removal of all makeup that the water phase cannot remove. Among the more affordable options, the Maybelline Express Eye & Lip Remover does a great job though I like the Chambor one a little more. Among the higher end options, nothing beats the Clarins one which is super effective but not harsh and has the right balance of the water/oil phases. The Shiseido one is good for lighter makeup but doesn’t work as effectively on waterproof mascara. The Elizabeth Arden one on the other hand has a generous proportion of the oil phase which makes it a little greasier, but also more effective against long lasting makeup.

Keep in mind that these kind of removers are only meant for the eyes and lips, for wateproof and long lasting makeup. They can be a little dehydrating when used all over the face.


Micellar Waters for Makeup Removal
Micellar Waters for Makeup Removal


Micellar waters are very convenient as they don’t need to be rinsed and are very gentle on the skin. They are ideal for when you have light or no makeup and suit sensitive skin types as well. You can read more about Micellar waters in my recent post here.

Tip : For removing kohl or eyeliner from the inner rims of the eyes, you can use a cotton bud dipped in micellar water. I do this for the lower lash line as well to remove the smudged kohl between the lashes.


Cleansing Wipes for Makeup Removal
Cleansing Wipes for Makeup Removal


Talking of convenient makeup removal options, makeup removing wipes are a godsend, particularly when you’re on the move. My absolutely favorite ones are the Clinique Take the Day Of Micellar Cleansing Towelettes which are basically wipes soaked in micellar water. They are effective, cleanse well and the wipes are made of ultra soft material. The Colorbar Makeup Wipes and The Body Shop Vitamin E wipes are slightly more affordable options though I would recommend the Clinique ones over those two.


Cleansing Oils for Makeup Removal
Cleansing Oils for Makeup Removal


My favorite kind of cleanser is an oil-based cleanser that removes all makeup in one go and leaves the skin nourished and soft. I love cleansing oils and balms as they contain a little surfactant that helps it emulsify when you add water to it. As a result, they can be rinsed off completely without any oily residue on the skin. I’ve tried quite a few cleansing oils and balms and some have worked really well for me, like the MAC Cleansing Oil and the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. I’ve been trying out some new ones recently like the Clarins Total Cleansing Oil that contains olive oil as one of the primary ingredients. It removes all makeup, emulsifies really well and rinses off completely with water.

The Camomile Cleansing Butter from The Body Shop has a thick balm consistency and would work really well for drier skin types. It does leave a bit of oily film on the skin so I like to follow up with a gentle face wash since I have oily skin and I prefer a thorough cleanse. The Forest Essentials Floral Makeup Remover is not a cleansing oil i.e it doesn’t emulsify and rinse with water but it is a beautiful blend of plant oils that feel great on the skin.


Cleansing Oils for Makeup Removal
Cleansing Oils for Makeup Removal


I always like to end my cleanse with a gentle face wash so any residual oil, makeup remover residue is cleansed off. I prefer soap-free face washes as they are not harsh on the skin and don’t strip the skin dry. The skin stays well balanced if you avoid harsh soapy washes. Two of my all time favorites are the Just Herbs Silksplash (lovely fresh orange scent!) and the Kama Ayurveda Rose Cleanser (gel based, gentle, mild rose scent).

For times when my skin is breaking out, there’s nothing better than Avene Cleanance Gel which is effective against acne but non-drying, unlike most anti-acne face washes. For dry, sensitive skin, the Aloe Gentle Face Wash from The Body Shop is really good while for oily, sensitive skin, I quite like the Avene Cleansing Foam.


5 Gentle Face Washes for all skin types
5 Gentle Face Washes for all skin types


Hope you found this post helpful! How do you like to remove makeup?

Share your comments below!



  1. I was using oil nd creme based makeup removers previously, after trying the bioderma sensibio water I'm in love with this one. My favourite cleanser is the body shop vitamin e face cleanser, it makes my skin very soft nd nourished.

  2. I don’t wear makeup on day to day basis, so just to wash the face with face wash to clean the face. But after following CTM routine religiously I used to get pimples. So, I started using makeup remover even on days when I don’t put any makeup but just a moisturiser and sunscreen and my acne problem reduced by 95%. So ladies, even if you don’t wear makeup make sure you use makeup remover before face wash. You will definitely notice a change. This is a very informative post with varied list of products which I can give a try.

  3. Nice post Ankita, really helpful.. I don't use makeup that often, so will it help if I use a face wash n then cleanse-tone-moisturise routine??

  4. Very informative post Ankita👌🏻..
    Clinique take the day off balm is my holy grail for makeup removal ..
    I quite liked the Clarims one too when they used it on me at the workshop.

  5. Please suggest a skin and hair care regime for a 2-year Study Abroad program in US. I have oily acne-prone skin and very oily scalp with fine hair with split ends.

  6. such a thorough post! it’s been around 6 months since i first tried bioderma and i’ve never looked back! i tried the body shop chamomile bi-phased cleanser but it didn’t really work for me personally. i’d like to try out skincare from avene, i think the cleansers might be a good place to start!

  7. Such great tips. Thank you for always providing the best and most helpful information to us. I like the part about cleansing not just based on skin type but also the type of makeup used.

  8. Hi Ankita ,very very helpful post Ankita. Thank you so much u really helped a lot actually i have a question which is what u would suggest me for foundation brush which gives full coverage . Actually i really trust you Ankita. I think brushes are best for buildable coverage o f foundation . What u would suggest me brushes , sponges , fingers or anything else.

  9. Thanks for the information.I have tried maybelline and lakme lip and eye makeup removers but on regular basis I use cleansing milk and sometimes use olive oil also.I finish off with a aroma magic grapefruit facewash.

  10. This is such a detailed post on effective ways to remove makeup..Thank you ankita..I have acne problem so I prefer using oils followed by a cleanser ..

  11. hey..ankita..very informative post.. i just want to ask u about just herbs products.. hv u tried ne othr products from that brand excpt silksplask facewash.. n please do post on makeup brushes..

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