The Best Eye Makeup Removers That Get Rid of Every Speck of Waterproof Mascara

We like the gentle, yet effective, Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water.

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While there's lots to love about the pampering makeup application process, these best-selling eye makeup removers make the removal of those meticulously blended pigments equally as satisfying. There's no denying the benefits of long wear makeup, but removing those waterproof and smudge-proof lines can pose a challenge, and result in dry, red, and irritated complexions. That's where these effective, and exceptionally gentle, eye makeup removers come into play. These overachieving formulas dissolve makeup and dirt from the day, lifting budge-proof formulas with ease, without stripping your skin of every ounce of moisture.

From drugstore favorites – like the Neutrogena eye makeup remover supermodels swear by – to the splurge-worthy spends that add a touch of Red Carpet glamour to your nightly cleanse, these quality makeup removers include a range of pampering oils, rich balms, and refreshing micellar solutions that cleanse and refresh.

If you're searching for a quality everyday makeup remover, Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water received best overall for its ability to gently wipe away the most stubborn waterproof makeup and instantly refresh complexions.

Scroll below to shop the best eye makeup removers for any budget and skin type, including celebrity and expert-approved favorites.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1

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What We Love: The large bottle will last you awhile and the effective formula won't disappoint.
What We Don't Love: It can leave skin a tad greasy after use.

This tried-and-true drugstore favorite is one that delivers on all of its promises, without the overachieving price tag. It's an effective makeup remover that melts away waterproof anything, a gentle cleanser that rinses away oil and grime from the day, and an instant refresh that coddles skin and improves your complexion. "I press the pads to my lids to soak off my mascara and use a fresh pad to break down my face makeup," makeup artist, Ashleigh Ciucci told InStyle. The result is clean skin that looks refreshed and glowy.

Type: Micellar Water | Size: 3.4 - 13.5 oz

Best Value: La Roche Posay Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover

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What We Love: The fragrance-free eye makeup remover is ideal for sensitive skin.
What We Don't Love: You have to shake the water-and-oil formula to combine before every use.

Like most products from this dermatologist-favorite brand, this biphase formula is exceptionally gentle, breaking down waterproof pigments in seconds so they wipe or wash away without aggressive scrubbing or rubbing. The two-tone formula consists of a water-based cleanser and conditioning oils that dissolve makeup and wipe away clean without leaving skin coated in a greasy residue. The fragrance-free formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin, and sensitive eyes (including contact lens wearers), and even breaks down lash glue and adhesives so you can gently remove va va voom lashes with ease.

Type: Biphase formula | Size: 4.2 oz

Best Splurge: Chanel Demaquillant Yeux Intense Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover

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What We Love: It's especially effective at removing heavy, waterproof eye makeup.
What We Don't Love: The smaller bottle size is met with a higher price tag.

Like most things stamped with the coveted Chanel branding, there's an intentional and meticulous construction behind this formula, which makes it exceptional. While it dissolves all traces of stubborn makeup as good as any top-performing makeup remover, it's the pampered and hydrated skin that results that makes it such a stand out. The oil-based formula contains cornflower and rose extract which calm your skin, and your senses, adding to a truly luxurious cleansing experience that you'll look forward to every time you use it.

Type: Biphase formula | Size: 3.4 oz.

Best for Sensitive Eyes: Make Up For Ever Sens Eyes

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What We Love: The gentle formula won't irritate eyes and effectively removes waterproof eye makeup.
What We Don't Love: The bottle is smaller than other formulas.

This unique gel-like formula is a welcome alternative to traditional liquid removers, and conveniently packaged for travel in a sealable bottle under 3.5 ounces which is less likely to spill. "It has a light liquidly gel texture and does an amazing job removing even the most stubborn makeup," celebrity makeup artist, Quinn Murphy told InStyle. "I used it this summer shooting in Europe with Kate Hudson for Knives Out 2 and we had extremely long days. I would put a trace amount on a blending brush to revive the eye makeup." It's also formulated with honey extract to help to condition the delicate skin around the eyes.

Type: Gel formula | Size: 3.38 oz

Best Wipes: Clean Skin Club XL Premium Face Wipes

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What We Love: The size of the wipes are larger than most and they are biodegradable.
What We Don't Love: They are not as effective for removing waterproof mascara.

There's no denying the convenience factor that comes from a pre-soaked makeup remover face wipe, and this biodegradable version is one you can feel good about using for many reasons. "They're fragrance free, pH balanced and not irritating," board-certified dermatologist Papri Sarkar, M.D. told InStyle. "We actually use these in clinic for our patients. I love the extra-large size because one wipe gets the job done," she adds.

Type: Wipes | Size: 30 count

Best for Sensitive Skin: Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water

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What We Love: The simplicity of the ingredients and effectiveness of the formula.
What We Don't Love: You'll want to follow with a cleanser to remove sunscreen or heavy pigments.

This no frills micellar water is refreshingly simple by design and that's precisely what we love about it. "The third ingredient is glycerin and there aren't any harsh ingredients, so although it cleans the skin it doesn't leave it feeling dry or squeaky," Dr. Sarkar says. It's effective at removing makeup along with grease and oils that build up on skin during the day, and it does so by soothing skin, instead of aggravating it. "For best results, for any micellar water, I recommend using it as a makeup remover and then using a face wash afterward especially if you have sunscreen or any heavily pigmented makeup on," Dr. Sarkar adds.

Type: Micellar water | Size: 13.5 oz

Best for Mature Skin: Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover

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What We Love: The formula won't leave your skin feeling dry or tight.
What We Don't Love: It can leave a subtle greasy sheen on skin after use.

This bottle of makeup melting magic is your invitation to swipe on that waterproof, smudge-proof, budge-proof mascara with no fear of how you'll get it off. Apply the biphase formula to a cotton pad or corner of a washcloth, then gently hold against your eyes – don't worry, it won't sting or irritate—and in seconds the most impressive long wear eye makeup dissolves and wipes away without a tug. It's even gentle enough for contact-lens wearers.

Type: Biphase formula | Size: 4.2 oz

Best Micellar: BioDerma Sensibio H2O Make-up Removing Micelle Solution

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What We Love: This gentle formula doesn't have to be rinsed off.
What We Don't Love: The formula does not contain additional hydrating ingredients.

The celebrity fan club behind this French pharmacy favorite is enough to convince anyone to give it a try – enter exhibit A, B, and C: Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Hale. Follow that with a wipe of the gentle, makeup-melting formula and you'll be clearing a spot in your starting lineup. The impressive micellar solution is void of skin irritants like oils, alcohol, or parabens, and full of skin-loving goodness like fatty acid esters and cucumber extract which leave skin cleansed and complexion refreshed.

Type: Micellar Water | Size: 16.7 fl oz.

Best Balm: Clinique Take Off the Day Cleansing Balm

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What We Love: This hydrating balm leaves your complexion looking brighter.
What We Don't Love: You have to rinse off this formula with water.

There's a reason this OG cleansing balm has comfortably maintained its position at the top of most "best of" eye makeup remover lists: it works! And really, really well, at that. The product is formulated with safflower oil which melts into a light, silky oil as you apply to skin. The fragrance-free formula gently lifts makeup, grease, and sunscreen so you can easily rinse away, without any rubbing, to reveal a noticeably smoother and glowier complexion.

Type: Balm to oil | Size: 6.7 oz

Best Cleansing Oil: Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

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What We Love: The formula transforms from oil to milk and easily removes makeup.
What We Don't Love: The fancy formula comes with a fancy price tag.

This pampering cleansing oil feels so luxurious it turns your daily cleanse from a chore, to a treat. The gentle oil is formulated with castor oil and transforms into a milky cleanser that conditions skin as you cleanse, leaving complexion clean and glowy, instead of tight and stripped. "This oil based cleanser is a great product to use at the end of a day to feel pampered. It's super moisturizing from the [castor] oil and great for dry or mature skin," Murphy says. "It isn't greasy. It's light and very effective. And leaves skin fresh and clean"

Type: Oil | Size: 5 oz

Best Clean Formula: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm

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What We Love: It has a satisfying smooth, velvety texture that melts into skin.
What We Don't Love: It has a clean, herbal scent that is not for everyone.

This satisfying balm starts as a solid and melts into a velvety oil as you apply over skin, effectively lifting and dissolving a full face of makeup in seconds. A gentle massage around the eyes is enough to loosen waterproof liner and mascara so you can gently rinse clean without any aggressive scrubbing. The label reads more like a grocery list than a science experiment, with delicate ingredients like papaya, moringa, and sunflower oil that speak to sensitive skin types.

Type: Balm to oil | Size: 1.7 oz

Best for Waterproof Makeup: Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover

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What We Love: The sensitive skin formula is oil- and fragrance-free.
What We Don't Love: The biphase formula requires a good shake before each use.

Anything Cetaphil is known for being uber-gentle, and this makeup remover is no exception. The formula is exceptionally kind to skin, but it's equally as powerful at lifting waterproof pigments and dirt off it, too. "The formula is effective enough to get every last trace of makeup, while aloe, cucumber and green tea soothe and condition," Ciucci says. This soothing combination leaves skin feeling conditioned, instead of stripped or greasy.

Type: Liquid | Size: 6 oz

Best Oil-Free: Neutrogena Oil-Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

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What We Love: The oil-free formula is particularly gentle on skin and equally as effective at removing waterproof mascara.
What We Don't Love: You have to shake the bottle to activate the dual action formula.

This drugstore staple has been around for decades and continues to be a favorite among supermodels, beauty professionals, and everyday makeup wearers alike. Gigi Hadid revealed the beloved bottle held a spot in her "post-shoot skincare lineup", while makeup artist Ciucci shared she's been "using this eye makeup remover since 1998 for a reason." That reason being "it breaks down the most waterproof makeup in a snap, it's super gentle on skin, and doesn't sting your eyes," Ciucci says.

Type: Bi-phase liquid | Size: 5.5 oz

What to Keep in Mind

Type of Remover

Makeup removers come in many different forms from balms, gels, cleansing oils, and wipes, to micellar and biphase solutions. Sensitive skin types should steer clear of gritty scrubs or foaming cleansers and opt for formulas spiked with conditioning oils that will hydrate, instead of strip. For those who frequently wear heavier face makeup and daily waterproof eye makeup, look for pampering balms and biphase formulas that gently lift away stubborn pigments while simultaneously refreshing complexion.

Skin Type

Choosing the right makeup remover for your skin type is important for optimum results. Oily skin types should look for micellar solutions which use water mixed with minerals to help draw out impurities and dirt on skin. Dry skin reacts well to creamier, oil-based formulas that deliver a dose of hydration as they cleanse. Sensitive and mature skin types should look for more mild formulations that are fragrance-free and void of common skin irritants.

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best way to remove eye makeup?

The short answer: gently. That's why it's important to use a good-quality eye makeup removing formula that helps to loosen and gently wash away the makeup on your face, without the need for aggressive rubbing that inevitably aggravates your skin. Use light pressure and allow the formula to break down the makeup before very gently adding water and wiping away with a washcloth.

Which eye makeup removers are best for sensitive skin?

Those with sensitive skin and eyes may need to be more careful about the formulas they choose. You'll want to look for formulas chock full of skin-conditioning goodness like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and plant oils, and void of common irritants and harsh cleansers like alcohol, fragrances, and sulfates. You may also want to avoid makeup wipes if you have sensitive skin. The ingredients in the wipes and the rubbing may aggravate your skin.

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