These doctor-recommended products are gentle yet effective.
While removing your makeup is probably the last thing you want to do after a long day, it’s definitely one of the most important steps in your daily skincare routine. While makeup removers are supposed to be cleansing and refreshing, some actually contain ingredients that can irritate your skin or make you break out.
If you’ve noticed any skin flare ups after using your current makeup removers, it may be time to invest in a gentle yet effective formula that’s free of any harsh chemicals and fragrances. With so many on the market, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out which ones will remove all your makeup without irritating your skin. To help you find the best options available, we turned to three top dermatologists to get their expert opinions.
From alcohol-free cleansing wipes to ultra-gentle micellar waters, keep reading to see which six makeup removers the doctors recommended.
1 Lierac Gentle Cleanser Micellar Water
This gentle makeup remover by Lierac is infused with honey and flower extracts that work together to soothe and soften your skin. “It is one of my favorites,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It's not drying like a toner or astringent since it contains no alcohol. I like to use it after a cleanser to take off the last traces of makeup. It can be used on sensitive skin like mine and it also has a great scent,” she adds. Besides removing makeup in a snap, the effective formula also helps remove any dirt and excess oil on your skin.
2 Cetaphil Gentle Makeup Remover
Dendy E. Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon, loves this option by Cetaphil because, “it is an oil-free, bi-phase liquid that gently dissolves even waterproof makeup.” The affordable makeup remover is specially formulated with aloe vera, ginseng, and green tea for skin that feels clean and refreshed, and it won’t leave behind any oily or greasy residue. “It is also fragrance-free so it can be used all over the face, including the delicate eye area,” adds Dr. Engelman.
3 Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
Prefer the convenience of makeup removing wipes? Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital, suggests you try these gentle cleansing towelettes from Neutrogena. “They are a great go-to option, especially when removing makeup after the gym or on the go. And they are fragrance-free so they can be used even if you have sensitive skin,” he says.
Over 1,200 Amazon customers are also fans of the wipes. One reviewer wrote, “After years of trying different makeup removers and every one of them burned my eyes. I came across Neutrogena and tried it. Best product I have ever used. Does not cause any irritation whatsoever on my eyes.”
4 Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths
Dr. Engelman is also a fan of makeup removing cloths. “Wipes are a wonderful option for when you’re on the go or in a pinch, like when you’re too tired after a long night and can’t go through your 12-step regimen,” she says. She recommends these cleansing cloths by Philosophy because the makeup wipes are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, and are gentle enough to be used on all skin types. They also have over 10,000 likes at Sephora, with many customers calling the wipes their favorite makeup remover of all time.
5 Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover and Cleanser
This Garnier makeup remover is one of the most popular options on Amazon for a reason. “This micellar water is a great option for someone who wants to make sure all traces of makeup are gone,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It cleanses, removes makeup and refreshes the skin, and you don’t have to rinse it off.” Besides being dermatologist-recommended, the makeup remover also has a coveted Amazon’s Choice recommendation thanks to over 2,300 customers giving it perfect 5-star ratings.
6 ProactivMD Deep Cleansing Wash
No matter how powerful your makeup removers are, there’s always a chance that some makeup can be left behind. So Dr. Engelman recommends following up with this cleansing wash by ProactiMD. “To effectively remove all traces of makeup and cleanse the face, make sure to add a second step on top of makeup removers and wipes. This gentle liquid cleanser helps to resurface the skin and unclog pores to prevent breakouts,” she says. The cleansing wash also works as a gentle exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and leaves skin looking brighter and more refreshed. It was designed specifically for acne-prone skin, so it’s extremely gentle as well.