We’ve all been there. Maybe it's late and you're away from home. Perhaps you had a makeup mishap while out and about. You desperately need to remove your makeup, but there's just one problem: you don't have any makeup remover handy.
We get it. When you're always on and on the go, life can often get in the way of your ideal nighttime skincare routine. SOS! Whether you're removing won't-budge-waterproof-makeup, or need to rinse away all the dirt and grime of the day, we've got you covered with some last-minute hacks and pro tips.
We've done the research so you don't have to. Here's how to remove your makeup without makeup remover (yes, even that stubborn waterproof mascara) with household items, all-natural oils, and even homemade makeup remover recipes.
With a bit of patience, your skin will be feeling fresh, fab, and makeup-free in no time. Read on for our ultimate guide to help you remove every last bit of your makeup without makeup remover.
P.S. Yes, it's tempting to just go to bed with your makeup on, but for the love of your skin and pores (and pillowcases), let's get a squeaky clean fresh start.
Pro Tips for Removing Your Makeup Without Makeup Remover
1. Be Gentle and Take Your Time!
The skin around our eyes is thinner and more delicate than most of the skin on your entire body, so always take your time and be gentle when it comes to taking off your makeup. If you’ve thoroughly removed all your makeup, your skin should be smooth and clean and fresh-feeling – not irritated or red.
We're way past the era of St. Ives and harsh, exfoliating scrubs that feel like sandpaper. Skin tears, who? Be extra careful not to scrub that beautiful face! Instead, if using a cleansing cloth, use gentle circular motions around your face and eyes to gently remove your makeup and any oil or bacteria that may have accumulated throughout the day.
2. Double-Cleanse to Remove Stubborn Waterproof Makeup and Longwear Foundation
When you don’t have any makeup remover or wipes on hand, it’s important to use available products you're cleansing with twice. Since you don't have double-cleanse essentials with you, consider what each step does and use substitutes that can take the place of remover.
Remember, double cleansing step 1 is using a waterproof makeup-removing oil balm or cleansing oil (or micellar water!), and step 2 often uses gel, cream, or liquid cleansers to remove remaining pollutants, dirt, and oil from the skin.
Read on to see our pro tips to double-cleanse without makeup remover using household products and hacks! But the first thing you should know is that your first cleanse should ideally be oil-based to remove your longwear foundations, waterproof eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner, budge-proof liquid lipstick, and smudgy, staining lip products.
The second cleanse can then effectively rinse away the remaining dirt, oil, and debris so you have a clean slate. When you deep clean your pores gently and effectively like this, your skin gets to breathe in a balanced state all night long.
3. Use Steam Heat To Remove Waterproof Longwear Makeup and Clear Your Pores
This is one of our favorite tips because it just gives spa. For this, you can use steam from the shower, or simply fill your sink or a nice big bowl with hot water. Let the steam envelop your face like a mini sauna – and boom, you've just achieved a deeper cleanse without makeup remover.
According to expert estheticians, face-steaming also helps to soften your skin (and soften blackheads) and open up your pores for a spa-grade at-home facial. Pro tip: Wear a bathrobe to complete the look.
4. Always Moisturize After Cleansing or Removing Makeup
How Do You Remove Makeup Without Makeup Remover?
So, now you know our #1 tip when removing our makeup without any makeup remover is to be gentle and take your time. But what can we use to actually remove makeup without makeup wipes or remover?
Here, we'll walk you through different ways you can still get a deep cleanse and rinse away all that stubborn makeup, depending on what you have on hand. (And don’t worry if you don’t have any of these items listed. More on that later.)
To ensure a clean, makeup-free face before bedtime, try one of the following alternatives for removing your makeup without the use of makeup remover or wipes.
Once a French beauty secret used by Parisian makeup artists backstage at fashion shows (Bioderma is our absolute favorite). Now a popular go-to for double cleansing, micellar water helps remove stubborn makeup and waterproof formulas without stripping the skin, and without the need for makeup wipes.
Micellar water can also be used as a simple waterless full-face cleanse when you can’t get to a sink, or simply refuse to get out of bed at the moment. (No judgement here, we're guilty of this on a near-weekly basis.)
Pro tip! To avoid unnecessary waste using facial cotton pads, we love using reusable cotton rounds that you can easily throw in the wash and reuse. Our eco-friendly About Face Double-Sided Cleansing Mitts are also fantastic if you're trying to reduce your single-use facial cotton carbon footprint and get a deep exfoliating cleanse at the same time.
Coconut oil has gained a significant amount of popularity throughout the last few years, and for a good reason! Its ability to draw oils and waterproof makeup from your face without the use of harsh products is second to none. It also has lash health benefits, according to Healthline.
Just be warned that due to its potential pore-clogging properties, if you are using coconut oil, you must double-cleanse if you don't have makeup remover!
Coconut oil is a great option for stubborn waterproof eyeliner and longwear lipsticks. Simply massage it onto your face in gentle circular motions, follow with a gentle soap-based cleanser, then rinse thoroughly.
A favorite of natural beauty enthusiasts on Reddit, Olive oil is another excellent option for removing your makeup without the use of traditional makeup removers or wipes. Plus, it’s another product you probably can find in any kitchen. Less is more with olive oil. Simply take a few drops of olive oil and apply it onto your face using your fingertips. After gently massaging the oil over your face – paying close attention to waterproof makeup like mascara – wipe off the excess with a cotton round or washcloth. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your face.
Pro tip! A little olive oil goes a long way. You’ll want to wash your face really well with your regular cleanser and warm water after using olive oil on your face, because it can leave a bit of a hydrating film on your skin. Remember why double-cleanses are so effective and skin-first? You're melting away makeup with oil, then using a gentle soap-based cleanser to get a pore-level clean.
Aloe vera has many beneficial uses around the home, but easy and efficient makeup removal is at the top of the list for some natural makeup lovers. If you have an aloe vera plant hanging out around the house, Redditor Treestalknonsence personally recommends using a 50/50 mix of aloe vera juice and olive oil for skin that feels fresh, clean, nourished, and healthy post-cleanse.
Byrdie agrees, but recommends a ratio of 1/2 cup EVOO to 1 whole bottle of aloe vera water for a quick cleanse. We love their sensitive skin cleanser recipe of 1 Tbsp. aloe gel and 2 Tbsp. rosewater. We feel refreshed just thinking about it.
Baby oil and other mineral oils are best used in moderation on the skin and only on the eyes. It’s possible to use it on the rest of the face, but can quickly dry out the skin if too much is used and rinsed off. To remove makeup with baby oil, simply dampen a cotton round or cotton pad with a small amount of oil and wipe makeup from your eyes in an outward direction. Be sure to rinse your eyes well with warm water after all makeup is removed.
Unfortunately, we don't recommend baby oil or mineral oils unless you're in a pinch, since its not considered to be environmentally friendly due to being petroleum derived and how it can accumulate in our waterways. A comparable eco-friendly replacement for baby oil when removing makeup that we also love (though it's not easily on hand) is argan oil for its silky, lightweight feel.
Are you having trouble removing your lip stain, longwear liquid lipstick, or balmy high pigment lip product? One of our favorite, best tricks for removing stubborn lip color at the end of the day is to apply lip balm – a lot of it. Simply apply your go-to lip balm, whether it's thicker and in a jar, or slick and in a tube – then rub your lips with a tissue or cotton pad. If you're trying to remove a deeper, more stubborn lip shade (like a classic red lip) without an oil-based makeup remover, you might have to repeat this once or twice.
What About Removing Waterproof Mascara Without Makeup Remover?
The short answer is yes. You can absolutely remove waterproof mascara without makeup remover. It may take some time and patience and elbow grease, but it’s absolutely possible. Remember our double-cleansing tips? If you don't have double-cleansing essential products handy, turn to eye-safe oils and/or micellar water first to help melt away even waterproof mascara.
Any of the above techniques should work when removing your stubborn waterproof mascara; the only difference may be that you have to moisten your lashes for a little longer with whatever method you choose, or repeat the process a second time.
Pro Tip: Use a Tubing Mascara That Can Be Removed with Just Warm Water
Okay, want a crazy pro tip? Just use a tubing mascara! Tubing mascaras coat every lash hair in little "tubes" that literally rinse away with a gentle rub and some warm water.
Tubing mascaras are known to last all day, stay smudge-proof (no raccoon eyes detected!), don't flake, and somehow are also water resistant – while simultaneously being effortless to remove with just water.
Our Go the Distance Lengthening & Strengthening Mascara is a clean tubing mascara we designed for these exact reasons above. It's a winner!
Can You Just Use Water to Remove Makeup?
Absolutely! You can always turn to plain water to remove your makeup (including your eye makeup). It'll take longer, and you might not get as smooth and clean of a finish if you don’t use some kind of oil or cleanser, but it will eventually mostly come off. You just need a little elbow grease, gentle circular motions, and ideally a washcloth.
Simply use a washcloth or cotton round and wet it with warm water; microfiber washcloths or exfoliating mitts are a huge plus with stubborn makeup. Gently press that moistened cloth on your eyes to soften and loosen your eye makeup, and then rinse and repeat. Repeat this process until you feel you've removed as much makeup as possible.
Then, gently press your warm washcloth onto the rest of your skin, opening up your pores and loosening any foundation and blush from the day. Patience is key here. Another option is to use a cleansing mitt like our About Face Double-Sided Cleansing Mitts to cleanse and exfoliate your skin.
One side uses sensitive skin-friendly microfiber cleansing action, and the other exfoliating side is for deep cleansing dirt, oil, and debris from pores for a baby smooth, clean finish. Our mitts are eco-friendly and compact, making them easy for traveling or a life on the go. It's why we made them for you (and ourselves) after all.
Can You Use Regular Soap and Water?
Yes, you may! If you don't have any cleanser in sight, you can always use plain soap and water. Of course, be gentle around the eyes or use only water when removing eye makeup! Most hand soaps and detergents are not eye-safe, so be sure to check the label.
Pro Tip: Use a Travel-Friendly Waterless Cleansing Stick (Like This One By Yours Truly)
One of the best products we personally love when removing makeup in a pinch is our Clean Slate All-in-One Cleansing Stick. It’s a waterless, super compact solid cleansing stick that melts away makeup while rehydrating skin with a boost of antioxidants like Green Tea Leaf Extract and vitamin-rich Spinach Leaf Extract.
Our All-in-One Cleansing Stick is TSA-friendly, so it’s ready for any adventure when you are! It's also formulated for all skin types (even super sensitive skin like Leila, our founder's). We even added Parsley Extract to help calm the skin against irritation and redness. It's a win-win.
Your Dream Clean Team
To effectively remove your makeup without makeup remover, remember to always be gentle on your skin, especially around the eye area. If you have coconut oil, aloe vera, olive oil, baby oil, or lip balm, you can achieve a clean, fresh face for the night before you hit the hay.
However, if you’re looking for an easy (and effective) way to remove makeup and deep cleanse dirt and buildup, any time, anywhere – take a swipe with our Day Away Duo. This easy-to-use mitt and waterless cleansing stick duo is all you need for a quick, deep cleanse on the go. Extra points for being super compact and cute too.
Our About Face Cleansing Mitts are even double-sided! Use the microfiber side to gently and effectively remove waterproof eye makeup, or flip it and use the exfoliating side for a pore-level deep clean, especially around your T-zone. We created the Clean Slate All-in-One Clean because we were tired of our gel and liquid cleansers leaking during travel, and wanted a mess-free solution that leaves skin feeling hydrated – never stripped.
Now that's a clean you can count on.
P.S. Less Is Most Definitely More
If these tips have you questioning how many products you really need in your arsenal, it might be time to clear the clutter once and for all. All we make here at Alleyoop are multi-tasking products, made for your busy lifestyle, meant to take on the go and give you precious time back in your day. It's our reason for being and we love setting new standards to make things you need, and nothing you don't.
Take our Find Your Routine Quiz to get a personalized bundle of compact, time-saving products to help get you on your way. You'll even unlock a discount for your first Alleyoop starter kit – made just for you.