Beauty Edit
The Best Ways to Remove Eyeliner Effectively & Safely

The Best Ways to Remove Eyeliner Effectively & Safely

Eyeliner is often the final touch on the perfect makeup look. Applying it takes a gentle and thoughtful approach, and you’ll want to show off your hard work as long as you can. But at the end of the day, it still needs to come off.

While you might think this requires heavy scrubbing, going this route will only hurt the surrounding skin and likely leave you with makeup lodged in your lashes and smeared around your eyes. If you want a more thorough technique for clearing your eyes, we’ve got you covered.

How to Effectively Remove Eyeliner

Eyeliner is applied on some of the most delicate skin on your body, and to prevent smudging and smears, it is often made to be one of the most difficult types of makeup to take off. However, with the right product in hand, it can be done without any extraneous effort that might harm your eyelids and lashes.

How to Remove Eyeliner With an Eye Makeup Remover

If you put on eyeliner every day, it’s not a bad idea to invest in an eye makeup remover specifically formulated and tested for use on the eyes. While they can be a tad more expensive, they consist of stronger ingredients than what is found in your typical facial cleaner and will have your eye makeup off in a snap.

For the best results, look for a dual-phase product, which consists of water and oil, as they can easily tackle most types of eyeliner. They also hydrate and moisturize the area to prevent dry skin, itching, and further irritation.

Step One: Add Makeup Remover to a Cotton Pad or Swab

To start, add an eye makeup remover to a cotton pad or swab.

Step Two: Apply the Makeup Remover to Your Eyelid

Starting at the inner corner of the top eyelid, apply the cotton and move toward the outer corner. Avoid cleaning underneath the top lash line near the eye to prevent accidentally getting the remover or cotton fibers in the eye.

Step Three: Let the Makeup Remover Sit On Your Eyelid

Hold still and let the product sit for a few seconds or minutes before wiping it away with the clean side of the pad or swab. Be careful not to wipe back and forth, as this can irritate the skin and pull out the lashes.

Step Four: Repeat, If Necessary

If any smudges remain, get a clean pad and repeat the process.

Step Five: Repeat Steps 1-4 On Your Bottom Lid, If Needed

If you applied eyeliner underneath your eye, repeat these steps on the bottom lid.

Step Five: Repeat the Process On Your Other Eye

Make sure to use a clean pad on the other eye to prevent transferring residue.

Step Six: Remove the Rest of Your Makeup

When finished removing the eyeliner, remove the rest of your makeup with a full-face makeup remover. Then use a facial cleanser before rinsing with water. This gets rid of any remaining residue around your eyes and face and prevents that unfortunate raccoon-eye look the next morning.

Step Seven: Apply a Moisturizer or Eye Cream

Finally, make sure to apply a moisturizer. Even the gentlest eye makeup removers can strip away the oils in this region. If you suffer from oily skin, choose an oil-free moisturizer to prevent clogging your pores.

Which Other Products Can You Use to Remove Eyeliner?

To prevent excessive scrubbing, which will only lead to redness, irritation, and fine lines, it’s essential to choose a product specifically for cleaning away eye makeup. Harsh cleaners containing alcohol, acids, and exfoliators can dry out the skin around the eyes.

Micellar Cleansing Water

If you have sensitive skin or are fond of liquid eyeliners, micellar water is a gentle and highly effective product you can use. It consists of purified water, glycerin—a moisturizing element that attracts water—and mild surfactants, which join together to form micelles.

The micelles consist of a spherical chemical structure that helps to pull dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin. This makes it ideal for cleaning the rest of the face and can help you to eliminate other products from your skin care routine.

How to Remove Eyeliner With Micellar Cleansing Water

It’s easiest to apply this product with a cotton pad. After saturating it, press the pad to your eye and hold for at least 20 seconds. Don’t wipe or rub, but you can slightly wiggle the pad to catch any residue that might have moved between your lashes before making one clean wipe across the lid.

Oil-Based Remover

Products containing natural oils like coconut, olive, or jojoba oil are incredibly effective at removing eyeliner. They are hands down the best option for taking off waterproof makeup, and as a bonus, they will condition your lashes and the surrounding eye skin.

How to Remove Eyeliner With an Oil-Based Remover

Use your fingertip or a cotton swab to run the oil across the lash line over the applied eyeliner. After a few minutes, the oil will naturally dissolve the makeup, and you can use a cotton pad to wipe off the remaining oil.

Makeup Removing Wipes

When you are pressed for time, too tired, or traveling, makeup wipes can be a blessing to have. They often come in small carrying cases, so they can fit snugly in a purse or bag. However, make sure to choose an alcohol and fragrance-free product that is specifically made for the delicate skin around your eyes.

Normal cleansing pads are often too drying on this area of the skin and can speed up the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Dry skin on your eyelids can also make it difficult to smoothly apply eyeliner in the future. Also, while baby wipes can be used to clean your face, they aren’t very effective at getting off eyeliner.

How to Remove Eyeliner With Makeup Removing Wipes

When cleaning your eyes with wipes, use one corner for each lid. Also, never apply makeup wipes to the underside of the lashes as it could accidentally make contact with the eye and cause irritation.

Petroleum Jelly

Makeup lovers have long been a fan of using petroleum jelly products to remove lipstick, but for those not in the know, it is also great at taking off eyeliner. Just make sure to select a highly-refined product. Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil refining, so it is available in different purity grades. Those that haven’t been properly purified could contain harmful toxins.

If you are prone to dry skin around your eyes, using petroleum jelly—particularly products containing aloe vera or cocoa butter—to remove your eyeliner will help to retain moisture. It will also soften and smooth the area, reducing the effects of aging.

How to Remove Makeup With Petroleum Jelly

Use your finger to place a tiny dab over the area where the eyeliner was applied. Let it sit for a few minutes to break down the eyeliner. You can then wipe it away with a cotton pad.

Why It’s Important to Remove Eyeliner Before Bed

woman removing eyeliner

It can be easy to stumble home after a long day and night and immediately fall into bed. However, not taking the time to remove your eyeliner, and the rest of your makeup, can be disastrous for your skin and eyes.

Your skin is always hard at work. During the day, it is mostly in defensive mode protecting you against UV light, but when your body enters the rest phase, your skin kicks into regeneration mode. While you are sleeping, your body increases collagen and melatonin production to repair UV damage, decreases cortisol—the hormone responsible for increasing stress levels—and releases more human growth hormone used to tighten skin.

If you’re still wearing makeup during this renewal stage, your skin won’t reap these benefits. Because the skin around your eyes is so much thinner, it is more easily damaged. And while this pertains to all makeup used on the eyes, including eye shadow and mascara, leaving eyeliner on overnight can lead to eye irritation, itchiness, and infection.

When eyeliner remains in the area for long periods it can trap bacteria under the skin. This can result in a stye—a painful bump usually filled with pus—near or underneath the eyelid. It can also clog the meibomian glands—the tiny oil glands lining the edges of the eyelids that are responsible for coating the eye surface with water, which can lead to itchy, gritty-feeling eyes and blurred vision.

What to Remember About Eyeliner Removal

Eyeliner can make your eyes pop, but without a delicate removal plan, you can dry out and irritate the fragile skin located around your eyes, making it more difficult to smoothly apply makeup in the future and increasing the development of wrinkles.

There are a variety of trustworthy options on the market today to meet any budget and skin care requirements. After choosing the perfect eyeliner for your fashion sense and skin type, get a dedicated removal product specifically for taking this makeup off without a fight.