How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How to remove makeup without wipes

It’s time to ditch the wipes—your skin will thank you!

Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team
Aug 19, 2022 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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You just got in from a night out with your besties and you're exhausted and ready to turn in. That’s when you realize you still have to remove your makeup. What’s more, you’re out of wipes. 

If you find yourself asking, “I don’t have makeup remover. What can I use?” Don’t worry! Here’s where we’ll show you how to remove makeup without wipes. But before we do, first things first. Let’s talk about why you should always take time to remove your makeup before you turn in.  

Why is it so important to remove your makeup?

If your makeup contains non-pore-clogging ingredients, like non-comedogenic liquid blush and highlighter, it shouldn't contribute to breakouts. Right? Well, not necessarily. 

Makeup does a great job of shielding your skin, especially if you’re wearing sunscreen, primer, foundation, concealer, blush, and eye makeup with waterproof mascara. But sleeping with your makeup can actually thwart your anti-aging efforts. You can't just slap your anti-aging cream on top of your makeup and call it. To be effective, anti-aging products should be applied to clean skin, free from barriers like makeup. 

5 ways to remove your makeup without makeup remover

Removing your makeup might feel like a chore, but it is necessary. Here are five of the best ways to remove makeup without wipes. The best part? They really work!   

  1. Cleansing oil: You can use a non-comedogenic oil like jojoba or mineral oil, which unlike coconut oil, won’t clog your pores. But when you use oil to remove makeup, you use a very small amount, about the size of a pea. “If you have oily skin, you can still using a cleansing oil to remove makeup,” says Nicole Hangsterfer, a certified physician assistant at Curology. If you’re prone to frequent breakouts, we recommend using acne-friendly makeup. And don’t forget to cleanse, treat, and moisturize! 

  2. Vaseline: You can also use about a pea-sized drop of Vaseline to remove makeup. Vaseline works great on stubborn makeup like waterproof mascara. Gently rub it into your eyelashes and let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe off the Vaseline (just as gently) using a cotton pad dipped in warm water. 

  3. Cleansing balms: These are salve-like, oil-based makeup removers. The oils dissolve heavy makeup products—even stubborn waterproof mascara—without stripping your skin. Just scoop a bit onto your fingertips and gently massage into your face using circular motions. Let it sit for a minute or two. Use a face wash with warm water to clean off balms. 

  4. Moisturizer: In a pinch, you can also use certain moisturizers to remove makeup. Just like when you use oil, a little goes a long way! Again, use a warm-water-soaked cotton pad to remove the moisturizer. This seems counterintuitive because the very next step after washing your face is putting on moisturizer. But when you use moisturizer to remove makeup, it’s dirty and full of makeup.  

  5. Micellar water: Micellar water is like a miracle elixir—or, in this case, miracle eye makeup remover! It’s also hydrating for dry skin. Dampen a cotton ball with micellar water and gently dab over the eye area and face. If you’re removing tough waterproof makeup, hold the cotton ball over the area for three seconds before wiping away. Micellar water is great because there’s no need to rinse. You’re ready to begin your regular skincare routine: cleanse, treat, and moisturize—sans makeup! If you’re interested in trying micellar water, check out the micellar makeup remover by Curology—a dermatologist designed makeup remover that’s made for all skin types.

how to use Curology micellar water for makeup removal

The downsides of using wipes to remove makeup

Makeup wipes are super easy to use and a quick way to remove makeup, so we understand why they might be your preferred cleanser of choice. While wipes may be convenient, we’re actually learning that many makeup remover wipes are bad. Why? Well, first off, it’s hard to know how many makeup wipes you should use. Use too few, and half your makeup remains on your face. Use too many, and your skin can become irritated. And that’s just the beginning. Here are some other downsides to using wipes:

  1. Wipes don’t really clean your skin. Many wipes are formulated to break down makeup—not to thoroughly cleanse skin. Because of this, they might not clean the skin as effectively as a regular cleanser or micellar water. What’s more, some may include ingredients that can clog your pores, leading to breakouts.

  2. Wipes often contain potentially irritating ingredients. Wipes can contain ingredients that irritate your skin. For example, many skincare products contain denatured alcohol, including toners and makeup-removing wipes. Alcohol can contribute to dryness and disturb your skin’s natural barrier. 

  3. Wipes can irritate your skin. Over-exfoliation, which can be caused by harsh rubbing or scrubbing, can damage your skin and lead to redness or irritation.¹ It may also lead to inflammation and worsen signs of premature aging. This is especially true around the eyes, where your skin tends to be more sensitive.

  4. Wipes can lead to inflammation. Combining excessive rubbing with potentially harsh chemicals can irritate your skin even more and lead to inflammation. 

Can you remove makeup with soap and water?

Bar soaps can be harsh for facial skin, but some may be fine to use. If you want to use soap, go with a gentle, fragrance-free variety, and avoid scrubbing with a washcloth. To remove your makeup using soap and water, wet your face using lukewarm water before massaging the soap into your skin. It’s not always easy to get mascara or other waterproof makeup off, so your best bet is to stick to a product specifically formulated for removing makeup.

Beat breakouts with Curology

Instead of wondering how many wipes you should use, try one of the methods suggested here to remove makeup before catching some ZZZs. Better yet, you can opt to include micellar makeup remover as part of your free 30-day trial with Curology.* 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Subject to consultation. 30-day trial. Just cover $4.95 in S&H.
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When it comes to your skin, Curology is there to help guide you on your skincare journey. We take the time to understand the nuances of your skin and provide a personalized solution that’s designed to work (nine out of 10 members see clearer skin in just three weeks*). To sign up, just take a short quiz and snap a few selfies. We’ll take care of the rest. Your 30-day trial includes your Custom Formula with three active ingredients to target your skin concerns, plus our dermatologist-designed cleanser and moisturizer.

Our products are non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, dye-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic. Interested? You can get a free month of Curology—just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling on your first box. After that, you can cancel at any time or choose the subscription plan that works for you.

FAQs

Why is it so important to remove your makeup?

Sleeping with your makeup can actually thwart your anti-aging efforts. To be effective, anti-aging products should be applied to clean skin, free from barriers like makeup.

How to remove your makeup without makeup remover?

  1. You can use a non-comedogenic oil like jojoba or mineral oil, which unlike coconut oil, won’t clog your pores.

  2. You can also use about a pea-sized drop of Vaseline to remove makeup.

  3. Cleansing balms are salve-like, oil-based makeup removers.

  4. In a pinch, you can also use certain moisturizers to remove makeup.

  5. Micellar water is like a miracle eye makeup remover! It’s also hydrating for dry skin.

Can you remove makeup with soap and water?

Bar soaps can be harsh for facial skin, but some may be fine to use. If you want to use soap, go with a gentle, fragrance-free variety, and avoid scrubbing with a washcloth.

What are the downsides of using wipes to remove makeup?

  1. Wipes don’t really clean your skin, many wipes are formulated to break down makeup—not to thoroughly cleanse the skin.

  2. Wipes often contain potentially irritating ingredients.

  3. Wipes can irritate your skin. This is especially true around the eyes.

  4. Wipes can lead to inflammation.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. How to safely exfoliate at home. (n.d.). 

*Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary. 

*In a clinical trial of 150 Curology patients. Self-reported.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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