May 15th 2019
If there is any such thing as 'normal' skin, those who have it will still be extra protective of one part of their face - the eyes. Not just sensitive for the easily irritated, the eye area is thin, fragile and needs tender loving care at all times.
You can imagine, then, that for we sensitive and allergy-prone folk, picking an eye makeup remover is a little easier than other skincare as half the work is done for us: the brands know they need to be gentle. Yet still, fragrance and harsh preservatives make their way into some, sparking reactions for many. With my pick of the top eye makeup removers for sensitive skins, here's hoping there'll be no tears from now on…
A cornflower-based cleansing water, this is my kind of fuss-free solution for heavy eye makeup. With anti-inflammatory properties it's ideal for sensitive skins, though still contains alcohol so one to avoid if that's on your blacklist. It leaves a fresh, pure scent behind (but is fragrance-free) with no residue. An absolute steal for the price, too.
£9.50 for 200ml, buy online
These mini 5ml tubes of perfume-free, preservative free eye makeup remover are genius - more brands should do them as not only a hygienic option but a smart travel solution. Packaged as a box of 30, a month's supply is more than enough to get you hooked; two cotton pads each soaked with half a tube's worth is enough to cleanse makeup from both eyes (though my stronger eyeliners took a little effort). Skin is left soft and completely bare; sterile and efficient, what's not to love?
£15 for 30 doses, buy online
Loved by many, Bioderma hardly needs an introduction; makeup artists swear by this for fast, gentle yet and efficient cleansing and I use it daily to wipe away eye makeup until there's not a speck left. I'm cheating, slightly, since it's a micellar rather than an eye makeup remover specifically (I have a separate edit of the best micellar waters for sensitive skin here) but it's so brilliant at the job that it deserves a mention. Fragrance-free and with no alcohol, it's incredibly easy going on fragile eyes yet makeup doesn't stand a chance - even my Double Wear liner is gone in seconds. Just don't use it as your main cleanser; it's fine for quick makeup removal but skin still needs a thorough wash.
£10.80 for 250ml, buy online
Camomile is a dream ingredient for sensitive skin, so this fragrance, colour and alcohol-free option from The Body Shop is a no-brainer. A bi-phase makeup remover with both an oily and watery layer, once mixed this makes for a super gentle and skin-friendly formula. Shake well, put a few drops on a cotton pad and press gently on the eyes to allow it to sink in (harder wearing makeup will need a couple of minutes). Soft, cleansed skin is left behind.
£10 for 160ml, buy online
Minimalist packaging encases this dual formula eye makeup remover in true Suqqu fashion, but there's nothing minimal about the way it works. Shake it up to mix the water and oil solutions and it will make light work of stubborn eye pencil and mascara. It is more oily than most, so can feel a little greasy to the touch but my dry skin drank it up and was left feeling softer as a result. Plus, followed with my usual hot cloth cleanse there was no residue to be worried about.
£30 for 120ml, buy online
Another two-phase formula, Chanel's offering is wonderfully gentle. Though it has a mineral oil base (a problem for some; I don't mind it), the remainder is rich in rose water and cornflower extracts and once mixed they gently, carefully remove mascara, eyeshadow and liner with a few swift strokes. I found it does leave a shiny film behind but this soon melts away and leaves softer skin in its wake.
£23 for 100ml, buy online
A lotion cleanser with no fragrance as per Clinique's brand ethos, this is about as kind as you can get in terms of makeup remover. Rather than applying with a cotton pad, massage it directly onto made up eyes and when you wipe away with cotton it simply dissolves away. I had to take a little longer for my toughest liquid liner, but all in all an impressive formula.
£17 for 75ml, buy online
With spa-like packaging, this bottle is easy on the eye in more ways than one. The grease-free two-phase formula is based on lotus water and rice bran oil and is as refreshing as it is effective. The only snag was trying to get enough drops from the bottle - but this only stands to mean it'll last well for the already pretty reasonable price. Win.
£4.50 for 30ml, buy online
Everything you need to know is in the name; REN's clean skincare has long been a favourite of mine and this remover is a happy addition to my collection. A super-soft creamy lotion in a large pump bottle, the dense, milky formula instantly removes all evidence of makeup in a sweep of a cotton pad while smelling ever so slightly of fresh rose (all natural). Pure beauty.
£15 for 150ml, buy online
When I first dabbed this bi-phase remover onto a cotton pad I worried it would be greasy - it has that sheen to it and feels so much softer thanks to the oil base, but in fact it’s incredibly refreshing. More importantly, it works, and removes even the toughest of makeup with no elbow grease required, making clean and non-itchy eyes a doddle. A little goes a very long way and our resident Makeup Maniac Anna Hunter is a fan too, a true testament to its unbeatable formula.
£12, buy online
I really rate B.’s skincare line - it’s cruelty free, vegan and usually pretty sophisticated in its ingredients despite its bargain pricing, and the newest product on the exclusive Superdrug brand’s shelf is this B.Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. It contains niacinamide, a barrier-boosting ingredient that derms always recommend for sensitive skin, as well as cucumber and allantoin to soothe, so it feels like a real skincare product as opposed to something for a quick and hasty makeup removal - though it makes light work of any eye makeup too.
£7.99, available in Superdrug stores now
This rosewater based makeup remover can be used on the whole face, but I prefer to use it just on my eyes. A water-oil combination, it’s paraben free, vegan and even contains hyaluronic acid, though if you tend to avoid witch hazel for your sensitive skin be warned it contains witch hazel leaf water which may be off-putting. I find it not only gentle but pleasant to use - the rosewater feels soft on the skin and with a few seconds allowing it to soak in, mascara is swiped away in an instant.
£6.95, buy online
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