8 Ways to Remove Makeup When You Don't Have Makeup Remover

No remover, no problem.

<p>Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images</p>

Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Whether you’re a total DIY beauty queen who loves to concoct your own recipes or you’ve found yourself in a pinch without your trusty makeup remover, there are simple alternatives to manufactured products that work brilliantly. We reached out to a handful of makeup artists who were happy to share the DIY makeup removers they swear by, which range from single-ingredient lifesavers to simple formulas that work like a charm. No matter what option you choose, that sticky mascara and longwear foundation doesn’t stand a chance. 

Olive Oil

By this point you probably recognize that olive oil is basically liquid gold, but did you know it doubles as a DIY makeup remover? It’s the go-to choice for Marie Watkinson, beauty expert and founder of NYC’s Spa Chicks On The Go.

“It’s a wonderful, easy way to take off your eye makeup,” she says. “I wet a cotton round first with some water and then add a generous amount of olive oil. Then I swipe it over my eye area to instantly remove eye makeup including mascara in a flash.”

Olive oil is typically a clean and non-processed oil that won’t cause breakouts. Plus, it has a softening, conditioning effect.

Coconut Oil

Rachel Lozina, esthetician and founder of Blue Water Spa in New York, notes that any oil is usually a great option. “Oil dissolves dirt and makeup on the skin and really modifies everything so when you put a cleanser on top of it, it comes off cleanly,” she explains.

Her favorite is also olive oil, but you can use coconut oil if you’re feeling the tropical vibes or it’s what you have on hand. Just note that this one’s better for people with dry skin versus oily or acne-prone skin, and you’ll want to make sure you rinse it off completely. 

Jojoba Oil

Another top notch oil you can use for makeup removal is jojoba oil, which efficiently dissolves makeup, dirt, and impurities without stripping skin of its natural oils.

“Jojoba oil closely resembles the natural sebum produced by the skin, making it non-comedogenic,” explains Alexis Pfropper, an esthetician and founder of asthetik skincare. “It is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to acne breakouts, making it suitable for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin.” 

Oil & Tiny Pinch of Baking Soda

"If you have a very stubborn silicone-based and conventional foundation, you can mix any oil with a tiny pinch of baking soda,” says Elina Fedotova, aesthetician and founder of Elina Organics. “It will remove more residue from the silicone. However, I do not suggest using baking soda around the eyes; only for the rest of the face.” Jojoba, coconut, or olive oil can all work. Make sure to cleanse and rinse thoroughly. 

Micellar Water

If you’ve got micellar on hand, you’ve got an easy built-in makeup remover! Lozina says it’s an excellent and super effective makeup remover alternative that you can lean on in a pinch. “Micellar water is oil suspended in a soft water and it tends to pick up any residual makeup, oil, or dirt left on your skin,” she explains. 

Aloe Vera

For a soothing and gentle DIY makeup remover, look no further than your trusty aloe vera plant. Suitable for sensitive skin, this ingredient does a surprisingly good job of tackling light, non-waterproof makeup.

“Simply apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to a cotton pad or your fingertips and gently massage it onto your face to remove makeup,” advises Pfropper. “Rinse with water afterward. While it may not be as effective on waterproof makeup as other options, it's great for light makeup removal and leaves the skin feeling refreshed.” 

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is another readily available option. It’s an astringent ingredient, making it more suitable for those with oily skin, Lozina says. That said, if you have normal or dry skin then it’s probably not the best bet unless you follow up with a hydrating serum and moisturizer. 

Oat Flour, Water, and Honey

For a gentle scrub that doubles as a DIY makeup remover, Fedotova recommends combining oat flour with water and honey. It’s one of her favorites for those with congested or oily skin. Combine ¼ cup water with ¼ cup flour, then add a teaspoon of honey and blend into a creamy consistency. “Apply that mask for up to 10 minutes,” Fedotova instructs. “When you wash off, massage your skin with it very well and that way little particles of oat will act as a scrub. Honey has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and decongests your pores.” 

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