The last thing most people want to do when they roll home at 8 pm after a long day of conquering the world (one email at a time) is suffer through a five-step routine just to wipe away makeup. As tempting as it may be to hop straight into bed with the last remnants of foundation on, however, the pimples that pop up as a result just aren’t worth it. Luckily, there are now cleansers that can clean away all the dirt from your day—AKA the makeup, pollution, sweat, and whatever other grime has latched on to your complexion—and get you off to dreamland in no time.
“Don’t underestimate the power of a cleanser that doesn’t necessarily get marketed as specific makeup remover,” says Kavita Mariwalla, a West Islip, New York dermatologist. “The principle behind removing anything on the skin—whether it is dirt or makeup is that ‘like dissolves like’ so oil-based cleansers will remove thicker makeup and a regular cleanser will do enough to remove light makeup.”
Here, she shares which cleansers will leave your face feeling clean—in just one simple step.
Keep reading for 4 different kinds of cleansers to get your makeup off.
The idea of washing your face with oil might seem counterintuitive (I’m trying to get the oil off, not put it on) but based on the whole principle that “like dissolves like,” they’re stellar at wiping away makeup. “For waterproof mascara, you want something with an oil so it dissolves and removes the mascara,” says Dr. Mariwalla, who notes that oil cleansers work for cream-based makeup, as well. The Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser ($72) for instance is chock-full of vitamins A, C, and E, and Omega 3, so as it’s cleaning your face, it’s also nourishing it.
Whether you have oily skin or dry skin, cream cleansers are a gentle way to remove makeup and also hydrate your complexion. They tend to contain plenty of emollients, so they’re easy on your complexion without clogging your pores. “Similar to oils, the creams help dissolve and remove dirt and makeup, but are not as comedogenic as some of the oils,” says Dr. Mariwalla. Try one like Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk ($22) which contains safflower oil, chamomile, and aloe to soothe your complexion.
If your skin tends to get overly dewy, try something gel-based before bed. Gel cleansers tend to pack a little more oomph, says Dr. Mariwalla (they have higher surfactant levels than many other cleansers), so people with oily skin or those who wear a lot of makeup can reap two-in-one benefits, nixing oil and makeup when using this as their cleanser of choice. Try Osea Ocean Cleanser ($44), which is packed with algae extracts to help balance the complexion as you cleanse. Win-win!
When it comes to skin care (and style and baguettes), French women know what’s up. So it makes sense that their go-to cleansing-toning-moisturizing product also nixes all signs of makeup. “Micelles themselves pick up the oily makeup and incorporate them into their structure, which can then be wiped away with a cotton ball,” says Dr. Mariwalla. Best yet? The Burt’s Bees Micellar Water ($12) doesn’t even need the assist from the sink to do it all.
Originally published on November 7, 2017. Updated on September 9, 2018.
To further simplify your nighttime skin-care regimen, try one of these super-minimalist routines (perfect for the lazy girl in all of us), then use your all your newfound free time to take up one of these productivity-inducing habits.
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