12 Best Expert-Approved Irritation-Free Waterproof Makeup Removers In 2024

Gently cleanse your face to remove stubborn makeup and help it breathe again.

Reviewed by Mary Ajaka, Makeup Artist Mary Ajaka Mary AjakaMakeup Artist insta_icon
Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijani Roy Chowdhury MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Rajeshwari Das MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijita De MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant Experience: 2 years
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The best waterproof makeup should be hand in glove with the best waterproof makeup remover. There’s ofcourse solid reasoning behind that. Water or regular makeup cleansers are often inadequate when it comes to removing waterproof makeup and nobody wants their face to be streaked and striped with mascara or lip color at the end of a long day. Waterproof makeup has many merits, but being easily removable isn’t one of them. Rather, it is exactly why waterproof makeup lasts so long without smudging, smearing, or transferring. But to remove them, you need a remover designed specifically for the task.

And there are plentiful options out there, from luxury brands with high-end makeup removers to efficient removers from popular drugstore brands. There is no dearth of the not-so-good ones either. To help you choose, we have narrowed down the options and listed the top 12 makeup removers suited for waterproof makeup removal.

Top Picks
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Best Overall:Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
Price on Amazon
Best Skin-Friendly Ingredients:Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water
Price on Amazon
Best Oil-Free Formula:Cetaphil Gentle Oil-Free Waterproof Makeup Remover
Price on Amazon
Best Vitamin-Rich Cleanser:DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Price on Amazon
Best Eco-Friendly:The Original MakeUp Eraser
Price on Amazon
Best Alcohol-Free Formula:iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil
Price on Amazon
Best Contact Lens Wearers:Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover
Price on Amazon
Best For Sensitive Skin:The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
Price on Amazon
Best Natural Ingredients:boscia Make Up-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil
Price on Amazon
Best Ophthalmologist Tested:Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
Price on Amazon

12 Best Waterproof Makeup Removers That Won’t Irritate The Skin

1. Best Overall:Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

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4.7
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes Image: Neutrogena

Whether you are too tired to clean your full face of makeup at the end of a hectic workday or if you need to cleanse your face while traveling but can’t afford to spend more than a minute on it, then these Neutrogena Waterproof Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes are all you need. Just pick one and swipe across your face and you are done! These wipes are ophthalmologist tested and gentle enough for your eyes to safely remove that stubborn waterproof mascara off your eyelashes. Also, being alcohol-free and dermatologist tested, these work well with all skin types.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 4.75 x 4 inches | Weight: 2.47 Ounces

Pros
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Alcohol-free
  • Convenient
  • Travel-friendly

Cons
  • Not fragrance-free
protip_icon Pro Tip

Gently press the towelettes down on the eyes for a while. Give them time to dilute the waterproof eye makeup before wiping it away.
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has gained over 5,101 positive reviews on Amazon, making it an all-time best-seller.

2. Best Skin-Friendly Ingredients:Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water

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Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water Image: Garnier
Now 25% Off

If you are looking for a gentle yet effective cleanser for your waterproof makeup, then the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water is just right for you. It is based on micellar technology wherein the micelles act as magnets to gently lift and cleanse the makeup and dirt in a single wipe. Whether you want to simply refresh your face or use it as a makeup remover, you will find this micellar waterproof makeup remover effective and handy. Infused with skin-friendly ingredients, it is deemed suitable for all skin types. Plus, the brand doesn’t test on animals, ensuring that your skin care is cruelty-free. This video takes you through the tester’s experience with the product and its specific details.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2.73 x 2.17 x 2.73 inches | Weight: 13.5 Ounces

Pros
  • Paraben-free
  • Multitasking
  • Cruelty-free
  • No greasy residue

Cons
  • Might not be suitable for sensitive skin
protip_icon Pro Tip

While using a sponge or cotton pad for removing makeup, do not scrub back and forth. Massage in the remover gently and wipe the pad over the skin in one direction.

3. Best Oil-Free Formula:Cetaphil Gentle Oil-Free Waterproof Makeup Remover

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4.5
Cetaphil Gentle Oil-Free Waterproof Makeup Remover Image: Cetaphil

Cetaphil is a brand that is trusted by dermatologists worldwide. It has always maintained its reputation of having products with a clean, gentle, and effective formula, for adults and children alike. No wonder this dermatologist-tested, gentle waterproof makeup remover from Cetaphil cleanses all your makeup with ease and care. Infused with the goodness of aloe vera and soothing botanicals like ginseng and green tea, it removes makeup without making your face too dry. It has a bi-phase liquid formula that gets activated on shaking. The hydrophobic and hydrophilic elements come together to dissolve the most stubborn makeup stains without leaving behind any greasy residue. To get a better understanding of the product, you can check out this video of the reviewer’s experience with it.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 1.49 x 2.58 x 6.71 inches | Weight: 6 Ounces

Pros
  • Oil-free formula
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Ophthalmologist-tested

Cons
  • Bottle design not user-friendly
  • Might feel greasy
protip_icon Pro Tip

Steaming the skin before makeup removal will open up pores and deep clean your skin.
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
Best Overall
Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water
Best Skin-Friendly Ingredients
Cetaphil Gentle Oil-Free Waterproof Makeup Remover
Best Oil-Free Formula
Skin Type All All Sensitive
Dimensions 3.5 x 4.75 x 4 inches 2.73 x 2.17 x 2.73 inches 1.49 x 2.58 x 6.71 inches
Weight 2.47 Ounces 13.5 Ounces 6 Ounces
Rating
Reviews5,10129,70613,847
Price$10.27$8.97$10.36

4. Best Vitamin-Rich Cleanser:DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

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4.6
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Image: Dhc
Now 43% Off

Based on Japanese beauty traditions, the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is a cult favorite and one of the best deep-cleansing options. It has a water-soluble formula that nourishes and hydrates your skin while rinsing away any traces of makeup. On adding water, it transforms into a milky emulsion that rinses off all the makeup and dirt without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Reviewers love it because this oil based waterproof makeup remover is rich in olive oil, vitamins, and skin-defending antioxidants that protect the skin from pollution and other environmental stressors. This video will help you understand the product better.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 2 x 7.6 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros
  • Residue-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • For all skin types
  • Rinses off easily

Cons
  • MIght not be fragrance-free
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 5,397 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

5. Best Eco-Friendly:The Original MakeUp Eraser

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MakeUp Eraser, Erase All Makeup With Just Water, Including Waterproof Mascara, Eyeliner, Foundation, Lipstick and More 1 Count (Pack of 1) Original Pink Image: Makeup Eraser

Instead of using bottles after bottles of remover for your waterproof makeup, have you ever wondered if there could be a more eco-friendly option? Well, this unsuspecting piece of cloth works like a charm in removing all your waterproof makeup with nothing but just water! How amazing is that! This expert-recommended product is made up of millions of tiny hair-like fibers that when wet, work together in lifting all the tiny pigments of makeup, dirt, and grime out of every pore, giving you a squeaky clean feel. You just have to completely soak it in warm water and rub your face gently in circular motions. That’s all the effort you need to let this piece of cloth work its magic! Also, the product is not tested on animals, which makes it ideal for people seeking cruelty-free makeup choices.

0 | Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 6 inches | Weight: 0.05 Ounces

Pros
  • Reusable
  • Machine-washable
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Sustainable

Cons
  • Might get stained
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 3,495 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

6. Best Alcohol-Free Formula:iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil

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4.4
IUNIK Calendula Complete Deep Cleansing Oil Image: Cotheon Co., Ltd

iUNIK makeup removing oil is an oil-based makeup cleanser that is formulated with alcohol-free and all-natural ingredients. This natural waterproof makeup remover deeply penetrates pores to clean build-up that helps prevent acne and breakouts. Many reviews agree that the moisturizing formula gets easily absorbed through the layers of the skin restoring hydration and providing all-day moisturization. Just two pumps of this hydrating makeup remover are all you need to cleanse your face of all the layers of waterproof makeup and debris. It proves to be economical and affordable in the long run that way. Ethically conscious consumers are obsessed with this product as it does not undergo any animal testing.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Acne-prone | Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 8 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 6.67 Ounces.

Pros
  • Natural ingredients
  • Minimal packaging
  • Affordable

Cons
  • Need to follow up with a regular cleanser
  • Not odor-free

7. Best Contact Lens Wearers:Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover

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Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover Image: Lancome

Sometimes, other than the makeup remover for your face, you might prefer to have a different one, exclusively for your eyes. Few makeup removers work effortlessly for waterproof mascara removal like this one by Lancome. This Double Action Eye Makeup Remover Bi Facil is a bi-phase eye makeup remover that gets activated on shaking. Its lipid phase pulls off your waterproof eye makeup with utmost ease while the water phase uses unique tiny emollients to cleanse your face completely. This cult-favorite eye makeup remover feels fresh as water and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue. Suitable for all skin types and offering exceptional results, it is one of the best makeup remover options for the eyes.

Skin Type: All, Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.75 x 1.75 x 5.1 inches | Weight: 3.2 Ounces

Pros
  • Award-winning
  • Safe for sensitive eyes
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers
  • No oily residue

Cons
  • Expensive

8. Best For Sensitive Skin:The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover

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The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover Image: The Body Shop

This Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover by Body Shop removes all traces of your waterproof mascara and transfer-proof lipstick in one clean swipe. Its bi-phase formula is soothing, gentle, and effective. Just squeeze a little amount onto a small cotton ball, place it on your closed eye for a moment and gently wipe it outwards for easy waterproof eyeliner removal. You will also be able to get rid of all your stubborn mascara in a flash. After a hectic workday, if you want to seamlessly squeeze into an evening party look, you can easily use this remover to change the shade of your waterproof lipstick and mascara and be party-ready in a jiffy. This Body Shop waterproof make-up remover is alcohol-free, color-free, and 100% Vegan, making it one of the best sensitive skin makeup removers.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.32 x 2.32 x 5.28 inches | Weight: 8.82 Ounces

Pros
  • Silicone-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Paraben-free

Cons
  • Not suitable for the whole face

9. Best Natural Ingredients:boscia Make Up-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil

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boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil - Vegan Cruelty-Free Image: Boscia

Formulated with a blend of botanical amino acids that help maintain the skin’s natural moisture, this oil-based makeup remover by boscia, removes all traces of makeup and dirt without leaving any residue. It is a gentle but effective cleansing oil that not only removes the stubborn waterproof makeup but also cleanses and refines the appearance of your pores simultaneously. It has a gel-like texture that emulsifies on adding water, and this makeup remover gel glides the makeup off your face and rinses off easily. The packaging is sleek and nice and one pump gives you enough product without being wasteful.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 6 x 7 x 6 inches | Weight: 6.4 Ounces.

Pros
  • Natural ingredients
  • Rich in vitamin E
  • Color-free
  • All skin types

Cons
  • Might need a double cleanse for oil-based makeup
  • Might be drying

10. Best Ophthalmologist Tested:Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover

A waterproof eye makeup remover that contains cornflower extract with its soothing properties and provitamin B5 to protect the eyelashes. The bottle is made up of 100% recycled plastic that comes in a mini travel-friendly size as well as a regular classic size for everyday use. Free of parabens, sulfates, SLS, and other harmful chemicals, this ‘clean product’ from Sephora is also ophthalmologist-approved makeup remover for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. This lightweight formula is gentle on lashes and brows and is suitable for all skin types and removes all kinds of heavy eye makeup effortlessly.

Number of Items: 1

Pros
  • Ophthalmologist-tested
  • Value for money
  • Vegan
  • Recyclable packaging

Cons
  • Might leave an oily residue

11. Best Gentle Formula:ELEMIS White Flowers Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover

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Elemis White Flowers Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover Image: Elemis

This luxurious eye and lip makeup remover by Elemis has a bi-phase formula that is one of the most effective at removing mascara. It is made of nourishing cleansing oils that break down the tiny pigments in the makeup. The ‘water’ phase contains natural ingredients like the luxurious white water lily, the skin nourishing white peony, and the soothing white tea along with the lash-conditioning vitaminB5. It can be safely used on sensitive and irritated skin without any stinging. It has a nice soothing fragrance that gives you a luxurious feel after every cleanse.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2 x 6 inches | Weight: 4.16 Ounces

Pros
  • Gentle formula
  • No greasy residue
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes

Cons
  • Doesn’t last long

12. Best Non-Greasy Formula:Paula’s Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover

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Paula's Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover Image: Paula's Choice

This makeup remover by Paula’s Choice is one of the most effective yet gentle makeup removers out there. Infused with aloe and green tea extracts, it has a balanced pH and is suitable for even the most sensitive eyes. It works mildly but efficiently on the most stubborn waterproof mascara and the multiple layers of your favorite transfer-proof matte lipstick. It acts as a facial moisturizer that leaves the delicate areas around your eyes and lips moisturised, soft, and refreshed.

Product Dimensions: 1.58 x 1.58 x 6.3 inches | Weight: 5.44 Ounces.

Pros
  • No parabens
  • No fragrance
  • Non-irritating
  • No greasy residue

Cons
  • Pricey for the amount provided

With so many makeup products and corresponding makeup removers available in the market, it might seem a bit daunting at first to choose a gentle cleansing solution from among the slew of options. Now that you know the top effective makeup removers for waterproof makeup, let us also help you decide how to choose your makeup remover with the buying guide below.

Buying Guide

1. How to choose the best waterproof makeup remover

Skin Type:

All of our skin types are different and react differently to various products. When you intend to use something on your face, you must first be certain of your skin type. Then make sure the makeup removal products you choose will enhance and heal your skin along with proper cleansing.

If you have dry skin, you can opt for a cleansing oil. They cleanse with an oil base and add moisture to the skin. If you have oily acne-prone skin, then you can opt for a micellar makeup remover for oily skin that cleanses with micelle technology, without adding any oil to your skin. This also works best for sensitive skin. Combination skin people can get the best of both worlds but make sure to do a trial patch test first for any new product you use.

Usage:

The kind of makeup remover you need also depends on how often you use makeup. Are you someone who likes a flawless full face makeup with foundation and concealer each time you step out or are you one who prefers just a dash of mascara and a swipe of lipstick? Do you wear waterproof makeup every day? Do you go for layers of eye makeup each time or do you invest more time on your lipliners and lipstick? Well, if you are someone who focuses primarily on the eyes and lips, then a good hypoallergenic makeup remover for these delicate areas is important. If you are a regular user of heavy makeup, then you can have something like a reusable makeup eraser cloth for a more sustainable option. If you wear makeup just on occasions or while traveling, then the biodegradable remover wipes may come in handy for you each time.

Formula:

Based on your preference and the above criteria, you can opt for a makeup cleansing balm, micellar water for waterproof makeup, a cleansing oil, makeup cleansing wipes or the more eco-friendly makeup eraser cloths and towelettes for everyday use.

2. How to remove waterproof makeup with makeup remover

For most makeup removers, all you need to do is pour a few drops onto a cotton round placing it gently on your face. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then lightly wipe it outwards to cleanse the makeup off. Makeup remover wipes can be used on the face directly, wiping off makeup from your eyes and lips instantly. The eco-friendly makeup eraser cloth should be soaked in warm water and then rubbed on the face in light circular motions to clear off your makeup and debris. Some waterproof makeup removers might need a double cleanse afterward with another mild facial cleanser to give you a clean and fresh canvas all over again. Celebrity makeup artist Mary Ajaka says, “Apply a generous amount of makeup remover or cleanser onto a cotton pad and gently wipe your eye makeup first, then focus on the rest of your face. You can repeat this technique to ensure all the makeup is removed.”

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the longevity of makeup, we prefer using waterproof makeup products. However, traditional makeup removers might not remove them effectively, and that is why you need the best waterproof makeup removers. You can explore a variety of products, including the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes that are ophthalmologist-tested and safe for all skin types, or the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water for gently lifting the grime and makeup for a refreshing feel, and the Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover cleanses well to protect sensitive eyes and best suits contact lens wearers. These products will not only remove stubborn, waterproof makeup in just a few simple swipes but also will not irritate your skin. There is an option here for everyone, from luxury and high-end brands to drugstore ones. These waterproof makeup removers have a dermatologist-tested and alcohol-free formula without leaving a greasy residue. Consider your skin type, formula, and product usage before choosing the best waterproof makeup removers for an enhanced beauty regime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does micellar water take off waterproof makeup?

Micellar water makeup removers are based on the micelle technology wherein numerous clusters of molecules, the ‘micelles’ adhere to and gently pull off the makeup, dirt, and grime from the face. These are good at removing waterproof makeup, especially for oily and sensitive skin since they help maintain the skin’s natural barrier.

Should we use a facial cleanser after using a waterproof makeup remover?

Well, most makeup removers do a nice job of removing makeup and cleansing your skin as well. The whole idea should be that you won’t need another cleanser to follow up the routine at the end of a tiring day. But few may leave an oily residue, that’s when you might feel the need to add another rinse off with a mild facial cleanser.

Does baby oil remove waterproof makeup?

Yes, baby oil helps remove waterproof makeup without causing skin irritation.

Does waterproof makeup come off with soap?

Yes, waterproof makeup comes off with soap and warm water.

Is olive oil suitable for removing waterproof makeup?

Yes, olive oil is suitable for removing waterproof makeup. Olive oil helps dissolve the oil in your cosmetics, making it easier to remove.

What is the difference between makeup remover and micellar water?

Micellar water is a water-based product with a more watery consistency and fewer oil components. It helps remove minimal makeup or the dust, oil, and dirt accumulated throughout the day. On the other hand, makeup removers contain more oil than water which is ideal for a makeup remover for waterproof foundation, concealer, blush, and contour.


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Mary Ajaka

Mary AjakaMakeup Artist

Mary Ajaka is a celebrity makeup artist with 15 years of experience in TV/media, editorial, and bridal makeup. She has a keen eye for detail and understands that each face is unique, which is why she uses different makeup techniques tailored to the individual. Mary's passion for makeup artistry is evident in her work, and she strives to achieve excellence...read full bio