The Battle of the Homemade Eye Makeup Removers (and the Winner!)

Did you know that there are 82,000+ chemicals in use in the US today, and only 1/4 of them have been tested for safety. I try to buy clean personal care products and make as many of them as I can. I tried a bunch of Homemade Eye Makeup Removers and this one worked the best. Ditch the toxins, save money, and make it yourself!

One of the best ways to get toxins out of your home is to make your own personal care products – like homemade lotion, toothpaste, hairspray and more.

I set out this past week to try and figure out a good homemade eye makeup remover to share with all of you.

Little did I know that I’d have my work cut out for me.

There are a bunch of recipes out there on the internet touting to be great homemade eye makeup removers — so which one was the best?

Or was there an even better option?

Bet you just can’t wait to find out, right?

Now just to be clear, I don’t wear a bunch of makeup.  In fact, I’ve been a real makeup minimalist most of my life.

I pretty much wear a little something under my eyes, some eyeliner (as natural as possible) and some mascara–and that’s it.

So I don’t have a lot of “stuff” to take off my face at the end of the day.

But I do need something that will take off mascara and eye liner.

I used to use a drugstore brand of remover, but when I finally read the label on that stuff I figured there had to be a better way.

Here’s the not-so-nice list of ingredients I had been putting on my eyes:

Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Polyethylene, Ceteth-20, Trihydroxystearin, Sorbic Acid, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Vanillin, Titanium Dioxide.


In fact, if you look at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Rating on these ingredients, you will see that you really don’t want to be putting this on your eyes (a rating of zero is the best that you can get. As the numbers go higher, the ingredient is most likely more problematic.

mineral oil – (1-3):
ceteth 20 (2):
sorbic acid (3):
methylparaben (4):
titanium dioxide (1-3):

So for the past 2-3 years, I’ve been using straight jojoba oil as a “homemade eye makeup remover” — nothing really to make there, though.   Just use it :-).  And I’d put a little water on afterwards and then do a quick swipe with some toilet tissue.

But it was really just too oily and I was using a lot of jojoba.  It’s not crazy expensive, but I really wanted to find something that worked just as well and wasn’t such a mess.

Also, you know when you’re putting on mascara and you miss?

Well, when I’d try to clean up that stray mess with straight jojoba oil I’d end up with an oily mess on my face.  Not good when you’re trying to get out the door quickly.

So…I perused the internet, came up with a bunch of homemade eye makeup remover recipes to try, and got to work.

First of all, a number of the recipes were “no go’s” from the start.

Like ones that contained:

  • Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Wash
  • or other chemically ingredients like that :-(.

‘Cause we’re trying to get rid of the chemical junk and not just save money, remember?

I came up with a list of 6 Eye Makeup Remover Recipes to Try.

Here are the results of each one …and at the end I’ll share which one was the winner.

Recipe #1 – 50/50 Witch Hazel & Oil

– 1/4 cup witch hazel (alcohol free preferred)
– 1/4 cup oil (your choice)

This one was the first recipe I tried.  My initial thought upon mixing it up was, “Isn’t this going to sting my eyes?”

The first time I tried it, it didn’t.

The second time–stinging.  Not good.

Recipe #2 – Water, Vitamin E Capsules & Oil

Honestly, I didn’t try this one.  My reason?  Seemed like a good recipe, but it’s basically just water and oil with a little added nutrition for your eyes.  And since we don’t take Vitamin E currently (maybe we should??) I felt I couldn’t justify having myself or my readers purchase vitamin E oil just for making eye makeup remover.

Recipe #3 – Water, Castille Soap, & Olive Oil

– 1 cup water
– 1/4 tsp castille soap
– 1 tsp olive oil

This one plain stung and didn’t work well.  I had to rub at my eyes several times to get my makeup off (and I’m not wearing waterproof mascara anymore).  So this is a no-go for the delicate eye area.

Recipe #4 – Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Almond Oil

– 4 Tbsp EVOO
– 3 Tbsp almond oil

Well, this one I really didn’t have to try either since it’s basically just the same as my current method – straight oil.  Just with different oils.

I love these oils but I need something different to take the makeup off my eyes without too much greasiness.

Recipe #5 – Water, Castille Soap, and Oil

– 1 cup water
– 1 1/2 Tbsp castille soap
– 1/8 tsp oil

This one, again, didn’t really work and stung somewhat.  Stinging and my eyes just don’t go together.  And well, if something doesn’t work–it just ummm…doesn’t work.

Recipe #6 – Water & Soap

– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tsp soap

Stinging.  Again.  And not good results.

So.. what’s a gal to do when these are the results she gets?

Well, here’s what happened.  I came up with a winner that works like a charm and doesn’t sting:

May I humbly present to you, the Best Homemade Eye Makeup Remover?

What I wanted was the:

– removing power of the oils
– some added ingredients to make it less oily and easier to remove
– clean ingredients
– works even for waterproof mascara (for whenever you really need to wear it — e.g. swimming, events where you expect to be sobbing, etc.)
– no stinging

Here it is (drum roll please…)

Please note there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.  Thanks!

Approximate cost:

Even if you buy a more expensive oil like jojoba, you can make this chemical-nasty-free eye makeup remover for:

Jojoba oil – About $2.25 for 1 oz
Witch Hazel – About $1.62 for 1 oz
Water – let’s call that “free” for 1 oz, OK :-)?

Total:  $3.87 for 3 oz. which is $1.29 per ounce

And if you use olive oil instead, my EVOO from Costco costs about $.17 per ounce.

Then your total is:  $1.79 for 3 oz, which is $.60 per ounce.

Compare that to one chemical-laden brand I was using – $4.99-ish for 2 fl oz.

I’d much rather the pure stuff!

And if you’d like the extra healing qualities of vitamin E have some around the house, go ahead and throw in 1-2 capsules worth to make your eye makeup remover more soothing!

This will even take off waterproof mascara, but you do have to work it in a little more and for a little longer.  On a side note, I’ve heard that waterproof mascara can lead to lashes falling out and apparently the loss is sometimes permanent.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I seem to have fewer lashes than when I was younger and I used to use waterproof mascara all. the. time.  Sigh.

I so hope you like this as much as I do!

Note about the witch hazel.  The one I link to has a small amount of a preservative.  There are plenty of other alcohol free witch hazels – they all (from what I could find) have additives like rose water, aloe vera, etc.  I think the added fragrance, if they are all natural oils, would be nice – just choose whatever you would like.

Interested in other DIY natural home / personal items?  How about….

Homemade Jojoba Face Wash
Amazing No-Streak Glass Cleaner
Easiest Baby Wipes
Homemade Foaming Soap
Easy Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid

What are you using for an eye makeup remover?

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  1. Coconut oil is also a natural exfoliate, which means using it every day is too much and will probably break you out at least temporarily until you get used to the frequency, like glycolic acid and retinol. Best to use things that exfoliate every other day anyway..

    • I read that on some sites, but for other people they continue to breakout. I think I am in the second group. I use an exfoliant a few times each week and have no issues w/ acne when using that. I so wish it weren’t the case :(.

  2. I’m confused by your math:
    Total: $3.87 for 3 oz.
    And if you use olive oil instead, my EVOO from Costco costs about $.17 per ounce.
    Then your total is: $1.79 per ounce!

    $1.79 per ounce is $5.37 for 3 ounces… so it’s more expensive to use the EVOO.. right? Your wording makes it seem like EVOO is less expensive than the jojoba.

  3. Cryslyn says:

    I’m going to try your eye makeup remover, as far as mixing witch hazel and oil, and vitamin E, and just dilute it with water as I go, rather than mixing water in with it. Avoid cross contamination from tap water that way (not planning to buy filtered water for this purpose). Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. What about any natural eye cream or eye makeup remover that also helps with fine lines & wrinkles / anti aging, (or at least slows down aging ;-))

    I currently use pure coconut oil to remove my eye makeup & have for years – just wondering if there is a “nut” oil that might help with crows feet, laugh lines & dryness of the delicate skin around the eyes???

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi there. Well, I am not sure. I don’t use coconut oil on my face b/c it is comedogenic for me (causes acne).

      I don’t know if there is an all natural DIY version to do this, but I have two purchase options for you:

      1. This essential oil blend. There are some reviews stating that folks are seeing their crows feet, etc. diminish: (affiliate link).

      2. This eye cream. I have tried ALL of them (that’s almost a completely true statement), and I have never been happy with any of them. This one is working. My eyes look younger and the puffiness is diminished. The company is very concerned about safety and bans over 1000 ingredients that are banned or restricted in Europe and are on the forefront of pushing for safer beauty products. I’m writing a post on them today about dangers in cosmetics. It’s a small container but you only use a teeny bit. I’ve had mine for 5 months and I think it’s only about 1/2 gone. Here’s the link:

      I hope that is helpful :).

  5. Cas Sgar says:

    Hi there
    Just want to say thank you for providing all these invaluable recepies! I have tried to minimise chemicals and waste in our family for a number of years as it is hard to ignore the evidence that chemicals are negatively impacting on our health. Now I want to try and replace each product one by one using your recepies. Also is there a way I can subscribe to a mailing list?
    And do you have any suggestions for sunscreen? We live under the harsh Australian sun and as well as avoiding melanomas, I am vain and want to minimise wrinkles! Do I use straight zinc oxide and try and make a lotion with it?
    Thanks in advance and keep up the great work 😉

    • You are so welcome! I did make my own sunscreen and it worked well but was fairly heavy – I would do a lighter cream next time. I would have to look for the recipe – basically it was zinc and moisturizers. You don’t want too much zinc. This brand, from Australia, is very natural if you end up thinking about purchasing instead of doing the DIY thing. (you can get a discount if you sign up as a customer).

      Thanks for the kind words!

  6. Cas Sgar says:

    Oops just saw the link up the top for subscribing! ??

  7. Cas Sgar says:

    Thanks Adrienne! Ahh Miessence is a lovely company, I will take a look at what they have to offer, cheers ???? We have a company calked Moo Goo here that makes beautiful products and as much as I love their sunscreen, I am looking for a more affordable option.
    Take care

  8. Is purified water the same as filtered water to use for this? I am confused

  9. Can u use olive oil ? I can’t get the almond oil and etc here in the small town I live in.