Do you need a Makeup Remover to go with your Facial Cleanser?

As if a woman’s skin care routine was not complicated and cluttered enough, now there is the question of whether you need to use a separate eye makeup remover in addition to your facial cleanser. But the truth is, some of the facial cleansers you use may not be able to remove all eye makeup, especially stubborn waterproof mascara. Removing all that cakey eye makeup is an essential part of a skin care routine.

Facial cleansers are either soap-based (this includes synthetic detergents) or oil-based. Soap-based cleansers will remove powder-based makeup, but it will leave behind waterproof mascara because it contains water-resistant waxes and polymers. Thus you need a special cleanser to remove waterproof mascara.

If you don’t want to purchase a separate eye makeup remover, you may consider switching your facial cleanser to an oil-based cleanser. Before you balk at the idea of rubbing oil all over your face, consider the fact oil is an excellent makeup solvent. While soap and water won’t bind to waterproof mascara, oil will dissolve even the toughest mascara—and all other makeup, too. Remember Ponds cold cream; the stuff your grandmother used to use? That is a mineral oil-based cleanser.

However, many fear introducing more oil onto skin. Therefore, you may be comforted to hear there are products called cleansing oils. For those who are concerned, many cleansing oils do not use mineral oil, but instead use olive, avocado or many other natural oils. You slather the facial cleanser over your face, which will feel a little greasy at first. But then you add water and- voila! Suddenly the cleanser foams! This is due to the emulsifiers that have been added into the mix. The emulsifiers allow the cleanser to be rinsed away cleanly with water. So eye makeup, dirt and grime are removed, and any traces of oil cleanser are rinsed away. How is that for an all-in-one facial cleanser?

Alas, cleansing oils seem to come with a price. But with some searching, you might find a good cleansing oil to try at a price you’re willing to pay.

If you decide you want to use a separate eye makeup remover, some of the best products are dual phase eye makeup removers. Some contain oil and others are oil-free. You need to shake the bottle to mix up the two layers. One is an aqueous phase which helps control the pH; the second phase either has oil-based or silicone-based eye makeup removing solvent. Silicone-based ingredients work as the name sounds, by making waterproof mascara (and other makeup) more slippery and thus easier to remove with water. However, nothing beats oil in removing all traces of makeup.

So do you need a separate eye makeup remover? It depends if you don’t mind washing your face twice. The only facial cleanser that is guaranteed to remove all traces of makeup is an oil-based cleanser. Or if you are worried about harming the delicate skin around the eyes, then you could consider using an eye makeup remover separately. In either case, be sure to remove all makeup as part of your skin care routine.


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Sabrina James writes reviews of facial cleansers of all types, from drugstore varieties to the expensive ones found in spas. Her insight into the best products allows her readers to gain insider knowledge prior to making their own purchases.

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