The “Best” Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

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.

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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.

Eye Makeup Remover Recipe Trials

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!

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!

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 (not including vitamin E)

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!


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.

Other Healthy Options

If you’re looking for a non-toxic option for your eye makeup, here is where I get my cosmetics.  They have NO heavy metals and their ingredients are almost completely organic.  Make sure you check that out – there are heavy metals in almost all color cosmetics.

Don’t feel like making your own Eye Makeup Remover? Try Ava Anderson’s products.  They have a Makeup Remover that works pretty well (I find I need more of theirs than of my DIY version), but their cleanser is AMAZING!  I use just a little bit more than a pea size and it takes off almost all of my makeup, including my eye makeup.  It’s the best cleanser I have ever used.  Then I only need a tad of their eye makeup remover to get the remaining bits of makeup off.

Ava Anderson Cleanser

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?

Photo Credits: Naomi Huzovicova


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Have you ever tried coconut oil for eye make up remover? That’s what I use. I like it cause there is no mixing anything just rub it on my eyes as it loosens my mascara I use a kleenex to wipe it off and do this till all the black for the mascara is gone.

    • I have, but I find it leaves too much residue for me. Plus I tend to get acne when I use coconut oil on my face so in general I keep it away from my face. Thanks!

  2. The owner of my local vitamin and herb store recommended 25% castor oil and 75% almond oil. Rub together in palm of hand and apply to face and eyes. Lay a warm washcloth over face for a few seconds and wipe face. Use the warm washcloth 3-4 times. Your ace is clean, moisturizer and the almond oil is a natural sunscreen. I love it!

  3. Thanks for this! I used hemp oil as that’s the only thing I had on hand, from my oil cleansing days, that I knew doesn’t break me out. After removing all the makeup, I just rinsed with water and toned with my diy apple cider vinegar toner (1/4 acv + 3/4 water + a few drops of tea tree oil) to remove the rest of the oil from my face. I feel like it really got all the makeup off. I might try another oil like sweet almond because hemp has a rather strong scent

  4. *hemp seed oil

  5. what can you add to the oil water to make it stay mixed but you wont break out?

  6. Karla Vasquez says:

    I want to THANK you for this. I have been using your recipe for over a year now and LOVE it. I have now added a couple of essential oils to it. Cedarwood and lavender–both great for those lashes. Thanks again!

  7. I also think the water, from the research I’ve been doing that has led me to your website, is supposed to be distilled. That may help with the preservation.

  8. Thank you for this post. I have tried some of those other recipes too that made my eyes sting so I can’t wait to try yours!
    My question is, how do you clean out your old plastic jojoba containers? I like to reuse mine as well but find it difficult to get them very clean.

    • I think I used a lot of soap!! This time I went w/ a travel size liquid container and it’s working well.

      • Donna Govan says:

        Hi Adrienne,
        I came across your blog searching for remover for the waterproof mascara. I am a grandmother, been a mother a while back! And just so I won’t sound like I am promoting my own product I will tell you up front that I found I was using the same things you discovered, and quite by accident.

        I usually use a mineral based mascara, but since I get teary watching the grandchildren, I decided to try te waterproof, then I could not get it off. So, I resolved to research it online, and finally took time yesterday – and much to my surprise you discovered witch hazel & good oils. I enjoyed reading your discoveries, and concluded that I just have to “rub a little longer!” My concoction uses aloe vera instead of water. Let me know if you want to know the name, as it might be a good find for you, already mixed and a good price.

        My daughter in Columbia, SC with a 10 year old and 3 year old makes a lot of things like her detergent and I don’t know what all, but you remind me of her! Thanks for all the good tips.

  9. Hey there:)

    I wanted to try this make up remover but can’t get witch hazel oil anywhere … is there another option to use instead if the witch hazel oil?

    Thank you!:)

  10. I am from Germany… the amazon link above tells me that it is not possible to ship it to Germany … I have to look in stores if I can get it somewhere but is ther an alternative ?

  11. Melissa Emmons says:

    Thank you for the fabulous makeup remover recipe! I love it!! :-) I’ve been looking for one for a while now. Thank you again!

  12. I see the witch hazel bottle has a caution “when using this product avoid contact with eyes”.
    But you use it for makeup remover?

    • Hi there. I spoke with a representative at a witch hazel company. She said the warning there is basically because it might sting. She said she uses it all the time on / around her eyes and that it’s personal preference. I think diluted like this it barely, if at all, stings. Hope that helps!

  13. I assume that this should work to remove concealer, foundation and powder which is what I wear around my eyes every day, right? Thank you, I always have all the ingredients at home and have frequently used witch hazel for a toner.

  14. My mom wont let me use oils because it will make me break out.

  15. Hi I’m in the process of getting ingredients together. I bought the witch hazel but didn’t read enough on this page first as my witch hazel has alcohol in it. I will return it tomorrow but it was $4.46 for 100 ml. I will try health food store tomorrow and hope I can find alcohol free witch hazel. A bit worried the jojoba oil will be expensive but will soon find out. Thanks for your recipe.

  16. This worked amazingly for me! I only have the cheap witch hazel with alcohol but I had no trouble and it got my waterproof mascara off no problem. I was using a Norwex cloth but felt I had to scrub/pull at my eyes which I didn’t think was good for that delicate skin.

  17. Samantha Stevens says:

    I really thought this recipe would be novel and useful, after the big buildup. The addition of water is a problem. You replied to a comment about this not with evidence but with your own opinion. I already have two great home solutions and I will stay with those. This recipe just isn’t helpful. Advertising this as the “best” recipe is just wrong.

    • Hi there. I’m sorry you feel this way. I don’t know what comment you are talking about. I just went through several pages but can’t find them. If you care to point me to the one you are concerned about I can try to help. There isn’t always evidence for everything so I do my best. Of course you are welcome to use what you like but I do love this and so many of my readers do as well. I called it the “best” with quotations b/c of course anything you read evaluating a variety of products is doing a subjective job. You can’t evaluate for everyone. What one person likes may not be what another person likes. I don’t think I did anything wrong and the quotation marks were there b/c of that reason. I hope that helps. Thanks!

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