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Should you DIY your own makeup remover?

Cleansing your face at the end of the day is a key exercise in keeping skin clear and glowing, experts say. However, not all facial cleansers are made to remove makeup, nor do they contain the correct ingredients to do so. If you’ve ever tried wiping off mascara while using just face wash, then you’re aware of its lack of skill in removing it. On the other hand, simply removing your makeup after the day is over is not enough to purify and moisten the skin, either — it appears to be a two-way street. 

According to most beauty experts, the best methodology to follow when washing your face is: 

  • Thoroughly remove all makeup using a good-quality makeup remover.
  • Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser for your skin type.
  • Apply a thin layer of moisturizer to rehydrate skin, preferably one containing an SPF.

But what qualifies as a good makeup remover? Like many other products, it’s important to read the list of ingredients to determine if that product is safe to use on your skin. Everyone is unique, and we all watch out for certain ingredients that may not interact well with our individual complexion while also seeking out products free from harsh ingredients. While there are several well-made, dependable makeup removers on the market these days (like this one from Farmacy), a homemade option is also a great alternative to mass-produced products.  

Brunette female cleansing face in bathrobe
BLACKDAY/Shutterstock

Why DIY? 

Personalized and tailored skin care is a benefit of preparing makeup remover at home. This allows consumers the ability to select the exact ingredients that will enhance their skin without any product additives or stabilizers. While these ingredients are not always harmful, their purpose is meant to give mass products their shelf life.  

Another benefit of homemade makeup remover is being completely aware of what ingredients are placed into it. There’s no guesswork or ingredient list Googling needed to see whether they are safe. In addition, experts agree that making your own small batch of makeup remover gives your face a fresh “product” every time you use it. Having that fresh product can also be a double-edged sword, however. It can create additional work, requiring consumers to prepare the remover each time it’s needed. A suggestion from do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty enthusiasts is to prepare several days’ (or up to a week’s) worth of remover and keep it in a sealed container. The amount of product that can be prepared ahead of time will be determined individually based on the ingredients used.  

Cotton facial cleansing pads
Zouls/Shutterstock

Mix it on up 

If you’ve decided to give DIY makeup removers a try, you may be wondering where to begin. A strong, well-thought-out recipe is a great place to begin, experts agree. Our staff has scoured the internet for just the right ones, choosing to stick with a few that work best for most skin types. The best parts about our first recipe suggestion? It’s incredibly simple, composed of just a few ingredients, and comes together in just minutes.  

Two-ingredient DIY makeup remover

  • 3 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice (we recommend fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)

Place ingredients in a sealable container, such as a travel storage bottle or small mason jar, and shake vigorously. When both ingredients are emulsified, apply a small amount to a clean cotton pad or facial cleansing pad and gently wipe away makeup.  

Avoid saturating the eye area with the remover, focusing more on a brief sweeping motion to remove eye makeup versus soaking the eyes with the liquid. Keep in the sealed container for future use, making sure to clean and sanitize the storage bottle between batches. 

Note: This product is not meant for long-term storage longer than one week.

Three-ingredient DIY makeup remover 

  • Equal parts 100% pure aloe vera gel and 100% raw honey 
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice (coconut, sweet almond, olive, avocado, etc.) for every 1 cup of cleanser

Combine equal parts aloe vera gel and honey in a bowl. You are free to use either prepared 100% aloe vera gel, such as this one from Botanic Hearth, or fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe vera plant. (It is strongly recommended that this ingredient is sourced from knowledgeable growers.)

For every 1 cup of cleanser, you will then add 2 tablespoons of the oil of your choice.  

Then, using an immersion blender (a food processor or blender will also work in a pinch), and blend this mixture until a smooth paste is formed. Transfer to an airtight container for storage. (If using fresh, preservative-free aloe vera gel, place the airtight container in the refrigerator for storage to prevent bacteria growth or spoilage.)  

At the end of the day, wash it off 

After thoroughly removing your mascara, concealer, blush, and bronzer, you’re ready to wipe it all away using a gentle cleanser. It is very important not to skip this step, as it removes any oils that are left behind from the homemade remover and gives your pores a good scrubbing. It also clears your pores of the day’s dirt and debris.  

The final step in the recommended washing method is applying moisturizer. While this may seem like a no-brainer to some, others may not realize that a light, daily moisturizer is highly recommended for almost anyone. This product adds much-needed nutrients and hydration back into the skin and allows it to stay glowing and healthy. Make sure your moisturizer contains at least an SPF of 15 to protect delicate skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. 

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