4 Tips for Thoroughly (and Easily) Removing ALL Your Makeup

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Mascara smudges, flakes of foundation, lipstick stains — you don't want to see these on your face or pillowcase after you've removed your makeup, but they can sometimes remain if your cleansing process could use some work. If you can relate and want to actually walk away from the sink with a completely bare face, read on for tips on how to making your makeup-removal routine more efficient.

Use a Cleansing Balm

Cleansing balms are oil-based cleansers that melt away makeup and lift dirt off the skin. They usually have the creamy consistency of a balm or a thick moisturizer, but they become oily or milky after being massaged onto the skin or contact with water.

Because cleansing balms are so efficient at removing makeup, they help eliminate harsh rubbing or aggressive scrubbing that can harm the sensitive skin on your face. They can also be used with just your fingertips, so you don't have to reach for a reusable or disposable pad.

If you need a restock, consider the new Keys Soulcare Nourishing Cleansing Balm ($30), which is made with bamboo charcoal to help sweep dirt, makeup, and excess oil away from the skin. It also helps moisturize the skin, thanks to additional ingredients like shea butter and sunflower-seed oil.


This classic K-beauty skin care method essentially involves washing your face twice, but with two different products. It helps thoroughly cleanse your skin of dirt, excess oil, makeup, and remnant cleanser. The first step is cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, like a cleansing balm or a cleansing oil, to lift away makeup and dirt. After rinsing with lukewarm water (never hot!), follow up with a traditional cleanser (usually one that's water-based), like the e.l.f. Cosmetics Pure Skin Cleanser ($9).

Take Your Time Cleansing

If you want to remove all your makeup, chances are 15 seconds with a makeup wipe isn't going to cut it. Avoid rushing (and potentially aggravating your skin) and give yourself plenty of time to gently remove all of your makeup. A few minutes should do the trick, depending on how much and what type of makeup you're wearing.

We also recommend not waiting until you're half asleep on the couch to remove your makeup, since you'll be as likely as not to skip that step.

Skip the Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is designed to withstand water and moisture, leaving you with perfectly defined lashes and no smudges of pigment on your face. Because of its budge-proof formulation, however, waterproof mascara tends to require more effort to fully remove, which means you might need to enlist the help of two cleansers instead of one.

But if that's not appealing to you, and you'd rather have your mascara slip right off with the help of a makeup wipe, you might want to opt for a non-waterproof mascara. The good news is there are plenty of mascaras that aren't technically waterproof but are still resistant to smudging and flaking, like the e.l.f. Cosmetics Big Mood Mascara ($7). It's also available in a traditional waterproof formula for the same price.