I’ve been using makeup remover for as long as I can remember. Specifically, I’ve always loved using makeup remover wipes. It’s just so easy to pull out a little cloth that’s already moist and filled with makeup remover and then just throw it away when you’re done! But is it healthy for you? (It’s certainly not healthy for the environment to dispose of so many little wipes each year.) When I started looking into the ingredients in my beauty products, I quickly switched to using more natural or organic makeup remover instead. Here are some of my all-time favorites.
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The Best Makeup Remover Wipes
RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes
These wipes are individually packaged but compostable, and they only contain one ingredient – coconut oil. Super clean and hydrating (especially for those with dry skin), these makeup wipes are easy to use and make your skin feel great. They are available at Sephora (linked above), but you can get the best price on them at Thrive Market.
The Best Micellar Water to Remove Makeup
Garnier SkinActive All-in-One Micellar Cleansing Water
This one isn’t organic, but it’s very budget-friendly, and it is easy to find. Garnier’s micellar water is highly-rated and only has seven ingredients that give it one of the best ratings on the EWG’s Skin Deep database.
The Best Oil-Based Organic Makeup Remover
S.W. Basics 3-Ingredient Makeup Remover
Yes, it’s totally okay to put oil on your face. No, it’s not going to clog your pores. Oil is a natural cleanser (it’s one of the main ingredients in soap), and it actually does a lot of good for your skin. This is hands-down my favorite makeup remover, and I cannot live without it. It comes in a small glass bottle (and those 2-ounces last a LONG time). I use small, soft muslin cloths to rub it in and remove it from my skin.
The Best Oil-Free Natural Makeup Remover
Beauty by Earth Erase Your Face Makeup Remover
This makeup remover isn’t fully organic, but it does have mostly organic ingredients. It’s oil-free, and is very highly rated. It smells amazing too! You can use it with cotton balls, but I’ve found the most success by using it with my muslin cloths.
How to Find Safer Makeup Remover
Ingredients to Avoid
Some makeup removers use formaldehyde releasers as preservatives. Research has connected high levels of formaldehyde to cancer. While it’s true that a small amount of formaldehyde may not be harmful, if you keep your products stored for too long or at too high of a temperature, you may increase the amount of formaldehyde released, according to a 2015 study.
There are a range of different parabens that are often used in makeup removers and other beauty products. I’ve talked about them in my post about non-toxic soap, natural concealers, and many others. Companies use them as a preservative to keep the product from growing mold and/or harmful bacteria. However, many parabens are unsafe for human health and researchers believe that they are endocrine disruptors and may contribute to reproductive issues. Look for ingredients ending with “-paraben” in order to avoid them (isobutylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, etc.).
I’ve talked a lot about phthalates in previous posts. In fact, I have an entire post dedicated to them. Some research links phthalate exposure to endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, and cancer. They’ll be listed on the label under ingredients ending in “-phthalate” (like diethyl phthalate (DEP) and di 2-ethylhexl phthalate (DEHP)), but they may also be in fragrance ingredients. Read on for more information on avoiding fragrances.
As I mentioned above, fragrances may contain phthalates and other chemicals that can be harmful to our health. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require companies to disclose the ingredients in their fragrances because it is considered to be a trade secret. Unless a product clearly labels the ingredients they use in their fragrances (some do!), you should steer clear of the term “fragrance.”
Some people are allergic to phenoxyethanol, and using it can cause serious health issues. Babies are especially susceptible to the effects of phenoxyethenol, and we should try to limit their exposure as much as possible. It can cause issues with infants’ nervous systems and cause severe vomiting and diarrhea.
What to Look for in a Makeup Remover
There are some ingredients that can help remove your makeup more naturally, so if you find organic makeup remover with these particular ingredients, you may have even better luck.
As I said before, oils are a natural cleanser, and they are super hydrating and safe to use on your skin. If you find a natural makeup remover with coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc., you should grab it to try! (As long as it doesn’t have the harmful ingredients I listed above.)
Ever heard of a milk bath? Milk is great for our skin, and it can be a natural cleanser too. Some organic makeup removers use milk in their formulas, and they leave your skin feeling silky smooth and hydrated.
Cucumber has healing properties, and it can soothe irritated skin, including acne-prone skin. Makeup remover with cucumber or cucumber water in it can leave you feeling fresh, and you may wake up feeling even better than you did the day before!
DIY Organic Makeup Remover
Of course, you may enjoy making your own makeup remover (and you may find it to be more budget-friendly too!). Try putting a bit of cucumber into your food processor and letting it form into a paste. Then you can add some olive and/or almond oil to it. This organic makeup remover will feel great on your skin, and you’ll be amazed at how well it works. Let it sit for a minute or two and then wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Do you have a favorite natural, non-toxic, or organic makeup remover that I didn’t mention? Share it with me in the comments!