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
– 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 $.29 for 1 oz
Water – let’s call that “free” for 1 oz, OK :-)?

Total:  $2.54 for 3 oz.

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

Then your total is:  $.46 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 eyemakeup 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!

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?


    Speak Your Mind


  1. This is great, Adrienne! thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for this. As a cancer survivor I’ve tried to remove as much chemicals as possible. By the way, any one reading this who doesn’t know about the chemicals in makeup and health and beauty products should look it up. It’s staggering what is in stuff and what it can do to you :0)

    • I know, Sandra. I’m currently looking into more personal care products. Going to make what I can but some I am buying now and trying to get super “clean” ones. Hope to share soon.

  3. Terry Chandler says:

    I have been using the waterproof mascaras for over 20 years and haven’t had any trouble with losing eyelashes…thank goodness…

  4. Tara Peterschick says:

    I know you have been searching and now have found one you like but have you ever tried just using coconut oil? This is what I have been using for the past year and have passed it on to all my friends. All I do is put just a little on my finger and rub it onto my eyes and wipe off with tp or tissue and it is gone. I did find that not all coconut oil is the same, some are a little extra greasy but the one I use really soaks in right away and I even use it as my ONE AND ONLY lotion and face cream. I add YL lavender oil when I put it on my body, plus the lavender oil helps heal any cuts, burns and scrapes (especially on my kids) They love it and demand it after bath time. The coconut oil I use is Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Unrefined). It truly does soak in faster than most oils, so there is no worries about staining the bed sheets from the oil :) PLUS NO CHEMICALS!! side note, you can also add a drop of lavender or maleluka essential oil when using as a face lotion and it helps clear up blemishes and dry skin (just don’t put too close to your eyes). Gosh one more, I just sunburned my lips and face this weekend and I used lavender oil and aloe gel mixed on my face and it drew out the heat right away and I used lavender and coconut oil on my lips and it prevented them from getting extremely chapped.


  5. You should be careful when sharing such cosmetic recipes. All the typical cosmetic stuff has parabens etc. for a reason. If you are going to use water in your recipe, the shelf life of your end product becomes very short. Water is where pathogenic bacteria spread dramatically, and you definitely don’t want that. So I advice to use some sort of mild preservative, like ultra guard or else. (Vitamin E and honey etc. can’t be preservatives despite what some blogs claim). Also, methylparaben is naturally occurring in blueberries, so its use is kind of controversial. To avoid preservatives simply avoid water and anything that contains water in your recipe. Or make sure you use your product immediately and make it fresh the next time.

    Speaking of best oils, eyelashes love castor oil, and your skin loves macadamia nut oil (it’s considered to be the closest to the human skin oil). I suggest to combine them and possibly any other favorite oils to add some healing/antiseptic agents (like avocado, aloe or jojoba – love those) and apply the combo to your whole face. Then simple gently rub your face with a warm washcloth to shed the dead cells and improve circulation. Rinse your face with cool water afterwards. To avoid stinging don’t let oil get into your eyes, just wash it off with warm water.

    Great blog :) Cheers from Ukraine.

    • Well, how interesting. Then I have some questions – how long would the shelf life be – and wouldn’t the witch hazel help due to its antibacterial qualities? And then also, I have several natural cosmetic items that have water in them and they have a shelf life of 6 mos. So I am confused. I also think that the paraben issue is confusing. I don’t know about blueberries but synthetic chemicals are different than naturally occuring ones, as in the case of limonene.

      What is ultra guard??I have done the oils thing on my face and found it to be drying. You can look up my jojoba face wash. It worked well for awhile but I am on the hunt for something better now.

      Great comment – and my mother’s family is from Ukraine. Nice to meet you!!!

      • I really can’t tell – a few hours, I guess. The bacteria start growing as soon as they have the right conditions – water.Even if there’s no water in the formula, but you use it in the bathroom with wet hands (like dipping into a scrub bottle) – still same thing applies.

        You can use whatever oils you like, I just named a few I prefer. I would advice to use the carrier oils only for your eye-makeup job (all I named are carriers, you can easily look this up online). My skin is acne-prone, so using aloe and jojoba in a mix with the first two – it really helps to calm the skin and get rid of redness in minutes.

        Here’s the list of articles on the topic. You can find a lot of skin care recipes here as well:

        Ultra guard is a name of a preservative. You can easily find it in specialised online retail stores.

        Some oils are drying, some are not. Experiment, I guess. Try eye-shopping recipes from etsy to get an idea :) As I use oils as a wash, I always apply a moisturizer afterwards.

        Regarding your natural product, it gotta have a preservative inside, especially if it is a commercial product, which it is. Parabens can be called natural as they are often occurring in plants. You really can’t trust the marketing on the label, learn to decipher the ingredients and cover words.

        You can drop me a line and I’d be glad to send you more info.

        • I will look into this but I must say, I am still not a fan of preservatives. And I was using jojoba which isn’t supposed to be drying. I think it really depends what else you are using. From what I understand, an oil won’t moisturize alone. It needs something else in order to moisturize. I am forgetting this info now but I just learned about it this past month. So oil alone on your skin typically won’t do much.

    • magnoliasouth says:

      It’s important that you understand that some natural ingredients are also natural preservatives. In the recipe that she likes, she has Witch Hazel which is a natural preservative.

      I suggest you all (author included) do research on natural preservatives so that you understand when and why you need them, and how it works.

      One more thing to consider is pH balance. Anything with water will need to be pH balanced to equal your skin, unless you’re seeking to heal, which is another kind of post.

      I’ve been a nurse for 23+ years and I often encouraged holistic approaches to these things for poor patients.

  6. I use lotion or conditioner, and it takes it right off without stinging my eyes. Lotion on a q-tip cleans up makeup mistakes nicely too.

  7. I’ve heard straight Coconut oil does a good job. What are your thoughts on this?

    • I’m just going to have to try it out – maybe I’ll have a new post soon :-).

    • I, too, have been on a quest for a good, non-toxic, easy eye-make-up-remover. I’ve tried a bunch of things, including olive oil & jojoba oil, but my favorite so far is DEFINITELY straight coconut oil! I buy mine from Tropical Traditions (LOVE them!). Thanks for all the great info! Love your blog.

      • Hi there. I am intrigued by everyone saying this. I think the makeup comes off well, but it still is too oils for removing stray marks – what do you think about that? Thanks!!

    • I also use coconut oil and find its the best thing out there. Also the better than any other shaving crème. I am just very careful to rinse the shower / tub after as it is slippery.

  8. why not just baby oil?? Works for me and waterproof mascara.

  9. I’m a non make-up person, never had the patience for it. So this i share without firsthand experience:


    If you’ve heard of it, they’ve good homecleaning “products”. They also sell a (microfiber)cloth that, it seems, removes make up without hassel and without any chemicals/stuff.

    Btw, i don’t happen to sell it or anything. Just wanted to share..

  10. Thank you for doing the research! I’ve been using 2/3 EVOO and 1/3 water for a while and it works, but leaves me greasy, so I will try your recommendation. Yay!

  11. This is so timely. I have needed a new makeup remover. And I happen to have witch hazel in the cupboard. I think I will try it with coconut oil. That may also help keep it shelf stable longer.

  12. I use olive oil and water, mixed that day. I haven’t thought of using witch hazel with it. It does get a little greasy, or messy, depending on how I apply it, but I tend to just rub it into my dry spots as moisturizer.

    Like I said though I mix in small amounts, just enough for that day, so I have no idea how shelf life is.

  13. Pure Raw coconut oil….best for skin, hair, removing makeup, cooking with, removing internal parasites and removing internal Candida.

    Beware of anything hydrogenated.

  14. I agree with Michelle. Norwex makeup removing cloths are the way to go. They are made out of thin suede and you just get them wet with water, wring out and wipe away eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow SO easily! They are $20 for a package of 3 and you can use one about 4-6 times before you have to wash it. I have been using them for over a year and simply LOVE them!!! You can also use them to exfoliate/wash your face using just water and not all those harmful ingredients in soaps!

  15. What a helpful post! My mother-in-law keeps a bottle of olive oil in her bathroom as eye makeup remover, but I’ve never tried it. I’d love to try your version! Found you from We Are That Family

  16. where could i find jojoba oil? I really want to try this

  17. I tried the “winner”. Too much oil. Couldn’t get it off and had a terrible day with my make-up melting. Could you look into an oil-free version?

    • Really? Did you wash your face after using it? That was more of a problem w/ me with the straight oils. I haven’t found anything that is oil free. I think minimizing the oil helps a lot though.

  18. will have to try this- tried one with baby oil, tear free baby shampoo and water. it worked but I had to scrub a lot harder than I do with my makeup remover wipes that I usually buy. The wipes work so well, I’m not sure I’ll find a DIY solution quite as amazing..

    • I hope you like it. I assume you mean store bought wipes? It’s so nice to be able to ditch the store bought stuff, you know? I mean, you still have to buy oil and witch hazel but you can use those for other things too :)

  19. Thanks for all the info from your experience! I love DIY natural solutions. Visiting form the Simply Designing Link Party.

  20. I have been using straight up coconut oil as my eye make up remover for years and it works great and moisturizes, too.

    • Hi Kristina. Several folks have mentioned that – but it wouldn’t work well to get stray makeup marks, would it? I think it would be way too greasy. I am also learning that straight oil seals – but doesn’t moisturize. So I am still trying to sort this out. Let me know what you think.

      • Vicki Lehmann says:

        To remove stray makeup marks, like mascara or eyeliner when your hand slips, try a bit of your normal makeup on a q-tip.

  21. I do essentially the same thing. I have been using sesame oil to remove and I always tone with witch hazel. I don’t mix the two, but I guess it winds up being the same result. The grease cuts way back after toning with witch hazel for sure. :) I have always had drier skin too so the oil doesn’t bother me that much. Good to know I’m on the right path.

    • :-). Do you like how the witch hazel works? I’ve been really shaking up my skin care and am even using an expensive line right now since a lot of DIY stuff wasn’t cutting it. I even find the oil makes me a little dryer now. It’s all a puzzle. Take care!!!

  22. I love the witch hazel . . . now. At first I was doing what you are doing. Using some ‘clean’ skin care product plus the witch hazel to tone since it was natural. But it wasn’t the best and I has some splotchiness (spelling?). I decided to try cleansing with just an oil cleansing routine (which also works as an eye makeup remover) then toning with the witch hazel. I follow up with a tiny amount of coconut oil to moisturize. It has been working like a champ! My skin looks great.

    • Interesting. I haven’t been toning for a long time. My skin looks really good now too. I guess I could try what you are doing as well. I have never felt the coconut oil sunk in though. Maybe you are younger than I am too :). I have found things have gotten dryer and more difficult to moisturize but since I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing I’ve had a number of folks tell me my skin looks great. So for now -expensive will have to do until I figure something else out :).

      • I’m sure I’m older than both of you (60)and when I first started using coconut oil, I found that the coconut oil needed a little warmth either from my hands or a warm cloth to be absorbed. Now it seems my skin has learned to absorb the coconut oil because I just put it on and go. I get lots of compliments on my complexion. Eating right helps too.

  23. What a wonderful, well researched post! I found it so interesting reading about your experience with various natural eye makeup removers, and how you developed your own recipe.

    • Thanks, April – it honestly has stung a tad the past few times I’ve used it so I might have to go back to the drawing board, but it’s working well w/o too much oil :-)!

  24. I’m stopping over from Fat Tuesday. Love this eye make up remover recipe! I don’t wear much make up either, but this could come in handy when I do. : )

    I recently launched a new real food blog carnival called Fill Those Jars Friday. I’d love to have you come stop by and share this on it:

    See you there!

  25. Very easy eye makeup remover that requires no mixing:

    Spray Chamomile hydrosol on a cotton round until damp, drizzle or drip oil (I use sunflower oil, 5 drops is all I need) on the cotton, then fold the cotton in half & squeeze together so the oil gets absorbed some. Gently rub off eye make-up. Follow with your normal face cleaning routine.

    Too much oil can clog your tear ducts and cause puffiness under the eyes.

  26. Thanks for doing all the research and coming up with a great recipe! I have to admit I rarely wear mascara, and when I do, I don’t wipe it off with anything special. I was having too much trouble finding a good method. Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday!

  27. The real question is: which mascara do you use? :-) I’m looking for a good, natural one. Considering 100% Pure. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • I think I tried that one but not sure. If a mascara is going to run, it will run on me. Right now I am using Being True which isn’t everything I would like but it’s OK. Someday I would like to try more but I am not sure what else to try. I think I tried about 5 kinds and this one ran the least. Any other ideas???

    • From I like 100%Pure pigment mascara.
      100 Percent Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara
      Our Price: $18.00

      100% natural mascara lengthens, separates, thickens and glosses lashes with fruit pigments and Black tea pigments.

      Uses Certified Organic Ingredients, Iron Oxide Free, Titanium Dioxide Free

      It is a bit thin, but in searching homemade mascara, I tried adding activated charcoal to it, and it helps. Soon, I will make my own, rather than buy anything: there are several recipes that look good. I already bought my mascara tubes, from Amazon. But for now, I am good with thickening up the pure pigments . (BTW: they SMELL wonderful! Actually smell like blueberries or blackberries!) I only use on clean skin/lashes after showering, and NEVER touch it up in order to reduce the contamination aspect.

  28. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been using the OCM for a few months now with great results. Like you, I was using my oil to remove my eye makeup then wetting some TP to wipe it off. While it does work, it tends to leave a little residue. I’ve been desperately searching for something else so I’m glad I found this!

  29. I use raw coconut oil to remove eye makeup and I love it. It makes for a great overall moisturizer. A little goes a long way, so one jar though pricey lasts forever.

  30. With three females in the house, we were going through a $14 bottle of Mary Kay eye makeup remover rather quickly. I’m for all-natural AND inexpensive!

  31. Hi Adrienne! I found a recipe online for makeup remover containing oil and witch hazel. I tried it and liked it, but felt it needed something else, so I added an equal amount of water and was pleasantly surprised to find the consistency and efficacy was much improved. I loved it and it worked much better than ANY makeup remover I’d ever purchased. I found your site after I’d made mine and was thrilled to see your recipe was what I had ended up with. Your blog is great and I’ve found a new resource for more natural living! Thanks!

  32. Forgive me for silly question: can you put some links to what witch hazel are you using? I tried searching online and there are way too many options:)

    • I had some old witch hazel and then I bought a generic brand at Walmart. What type of info are you looking for? I didn’t realize that there were different kinds.

      • I was looking for one i can use for this recepie. I simply put witch hazel into google search, then picked Shopping and there were too many different ones to pick from. So i didn’t know which one is better, since i am not familiar with it at all:)

  33. To avoid the problems discussed about using regular tap water, recipes should us distilled water…

    Mineral oil, which is what J&J’s baby oil is made from, is liquid petroleum. Mineral oil is produced as a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Here is a site that might be worth reading:

    For people using coconut oil to nourish their skin, try using a hot damp cloth on the skin first, this should help to improve the penetration of the oil.

    Ghee has a higher smoke point than coconut oil so is better to cook with at hight heat.

  34. Please use a glass container. I noticed that your older bottle (like some of mine) contains BPA. Also,try to buy organic products not packaged in any petroleum product -no plastics. And glass can be sterilized and reused, plastic cannot be sterilized.

  35. Might want to try an alcohol free witch hazel as the regular stuff contains 14% alcohol. That sure can’t be good for the delicate skin around the eyes. Food grade vegetable glycerin is wonderful for skin and has been used for cleansing skin for years – that’s an alternative to straight oil for someone who has oily skin like me to begin with. It doesn’t leave your skin with an oily feel. I’ve never tried it for removing eye makeup though. Guess this calls for a little experimentation.

  36. I think if you’re concerned about the water causing the need for a preservative, but want the dilution, it would be really easy to mix up the oil and witch hazel and keep that part in the bathroom, and just mix it with a few drops of water in the palm of your hand when you use it. Since most of us wash our faces at a sink, water should be readily accessible at that point.

    My mom recently started selling Norwex, so she’s been trying the makeup removal cloths. They do seem to work very well, but I doubt they’d work on waterproof mascara. That requires something other than the water you put on a microfiber cloth, in order to dissolve it.

  37. skip the mixing, extra ingredients and storage concerns and use coconut oil! I’ve also been using it for about 3 yrs as a makeup remover and LOVE it. I take it off at night, and get a shower in the morning. I don’t have to worry about it being smeary when it’s time to apply the makeup again, even though I do lightly use the CCO as a lotion after the shower. I let it soak in all over my WHOLE body, then when I need to apply makeup, I lightly dab an excess remaining off my face and eye area. In my bathroom, I have gone down to only one body product for EVERYthing..

  38. Thanks for the post Adrienne! I am a little off topic, but i saw your comment about oils doing very little for your skin without the use of another ingredient. I hae been using coconut oil as a moisturizer and would love your info on exactly what oils need to soak in and do the job. Thanks!

  39. Dear Adrienne,
    Roaming through a couple of pages I found your recipe, and I totally want to thank you for sharing these great ideas.
    I got one question though: I’ve heard that once I use oil to remove makeup, I am supposed to wash the oil off asap, or the oil will “carry” the makeup deep into my skin. Is that true? Because I usually do the oil thing, and wash my face while showering. That makes approximately a 10-minute stay (longer in winter). I’ve been fine so far but I really don’t wear much makeup, so I’m not sure.
    Thank you again for sharing!

  40. Thank you for your reply! I used to think likewise– that the makeup is removed and I shouldn’t worry. But some friends commented that the need for further washing indicates there are residues of makeup combined with oil, which cannot be 100% taken off with cotton/pads. And since skin absorbs oil quickly, the residues are also absorbed. They say this will likely cause skin irritations and/or acne. I don’t know. Maybe because they’re wearing heavier makeup?

    • Hmmm. What do you mean by “the need for further washing.” You mean after taking off the makeup with oil? Thanks. Hopefully we’ll figure it out. I know I feel the need to add quite a bit of water to my eyes after using this. — or any remover, really.

  41. I’m so glad I’ve found this! I haven’t tried it yet though as I’m waiting on the ingredients to come through the post. Here’s a though: Vitamin E is meant to work as a natural preservative (with the added bonus that it’s great for the skin!), so anyone concerned about the remover not keeping might want to put a few drops of this in to the mix, maybe in place of some of the other oil :)

  42. Adrienne, thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I just made a batch and tried it out. It was awesome! It cleaned off all of my mascara,etc and left no oily residue!

  43. Adrienne, what do you use to remove makeup from your face? I loved your recipe for the eye make-up remover so much, I would like something all natural and home-made for my face. thanks!

    • Thanks! Well, honestly, I don’t wear that much, but I am using a fairly pricey cleanser right now. I love it but it’s not homemade. I could dig around for something if you like. I’m hoping to post a hair rinse soon…… :).

  44. Adrianne, I use coconut oil to remove all makeup. Eye & face. I travel quite often & find it very easy to use the little cotton rounds. I put a small dab of coconut oil on each little pad & stack them in a little sealable plastic container for travel. I do this for travel because coconut oil melts when it gets warm & this way it doesn’t leak. It takes off all my makeup & leaves my face feeling clean & moist. It also offers a small amount of natural sunblock & moistens my lips. It’s something my dermatologist recommended because it’s so mild on my rosacea.

  45. i use straight witch hazel, follow with baby magic or johnsons lotion. thought those would be ok. since put on babies bottoms:) for yrs.

    • I am OK w/ witch hazel, but the other substance you mentioned have a lot of artificial ickies in them, including fragrances that I really can’t handle. You might want to try something else :).

  46. Huh ….. maybe I should be using an oil of some kind (???) but, I found that witch hazel alone, is enough to remove my eye makeup gently.

  47. Coconut oil removes everything, by the way. Just a bit melted onto your fingers and it lifts it all. Then you just wipe clean.

  48. June matranga says:

    Organic Unrefined coconut oil removes all makeup & its conditions your lashes to

  49. Thanks for the review and great recipe! One question for clarification: does your witch hazel contain alcohol?

  50. Thanks for the recipe! I have used almond oil for years and just recently switched to coconut oil, which i find works well. I am going to give this a try to switch it up a bit though.

  51. Hello~ I’ve been using Vitamin E and aloe vera gel. Works great! Melts all the makeup off. Zero residue.

  52. This just what I was looking for Thanks for all your experimentation and for sharing. It sure beats my now $18 per bottle make up remover.

  53. Margaret says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. Right now I’m using Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser to remove my eye makeup. Just a few pea-sized drops on a cotton ball, and wipe the makeup away. No smearing, no greasiness, no stinging. Then I wash the rest of my face, and rinse eyes and face with water. I’m very happy with the Cetaphil but am curious about your recipe, so I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

  54. When I was a little girl I remember my aunts using vaseline, so along that idea I tried coconut oil, and it’s THE best makeup remover I’ve ever tried. I just dab it on and use a cotton ball to remove all my eye makeup. Then I rinse off with soapy water, and I do mean soapy water, not soap and water, which could be a bit drying. I use a natural organic plain soap bar. Simple and dirt cheap!

    • I like the idea but it really leaves me feeling greasy. I’ll have to try it again

      • I should clarify, I have an oily complexion, so oily feeling is a problem for me. I use coconut oil for removing eye makeup mostly. I dab it on my eye area, wipe up with a cotton ball, then rinse off the oil and my entire face with the soapy water and it just feels clean. I used to buy expensive makeup removers from Clinique, Lacome, Estee Lauder, and have used inexpensive options like Witch Hazel, and none of them were as effective in removing waterproof mascara or any other kind of makeup as coconut oil has been. I mean, even my laugh lines have diminished a LOT since I started using it 3 years ago. I use baking soda to exfoliate once in a while and leaves the skin baby-butt smooth!

  55. Alexandra says:

    I have discovered about 2 years ago and use all their line for body and makeup and the face wash removes makeup including mascara, one step and I’m done. I find interesting the home made products but are they effective? What is the shelf life before they get bacteria?

    • I looked at Arbonne and felt that they had a lot of ingredients that were not wholesome. I have felt that the DIY versions are often just as good and I am working w/ another company that has much higher standards than Arbonne. I don’t mean to be condescending about it so please don’t take it that way–I was just disappointed with their ingredient line. I can’t comment about shelf life b/c that would be dependent on the water quality and the cleanliness of the containers but the shelf life of the products I am purchasing now is over 6 months. I’d be interested in what you think about the Arbonne ingredients. Have you checked them out on EWG – Skin Deep?

  56. Hi All, what is “witch hazel”. Is it a kind of water or a kind of oil? Where can I buy it? Regards
    An Ja

    • Witch hazel is easily found in drug stores and the like. It’s pretty cheap. It’s an astringent made from a plant called witch hazel :).

  57. I keep a small jar in my bathroom cabinet, and I have it filled with coconut oil. It works GREAT for removing makeup, especially waterproof mascara. It will never go bad, and it is super cheap, and it is good for your skin. (I also use it to help dry skin areas). Personally, I hesitate to put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat, because our skin absorbs whatever we put on it, and it goes directly into our bloodstream.

  58. Have you ever tried it with jojoba oil? I think it would work pretty well! My dad has a jojoba company Pure Jojoba, so I think I am going to have to take some of his jojoba to try out this recipe!!!! Thanks

  59. You could add a couple of drops of colloidal silver to keep it from spoiling.

  60. The reader who mentioned the water is right and why are you suggesting using witch hazel on the delicate eye area? it is an astringent… why not just straight oil or better yet coconut oil if you need something fancy to take your make up make an unscented whipped body butter or lip balm and then you will have “a product” hazelnut oil is a thin fine oil and macadamia nut oil is fabulous for hair/eyelashes so many choices ;)

    • There were quite a few recipes w/ witch hazel, which is why I tried it. Not sure you mean about the water. Using straight oil seems to leave the area way too greasy so I was trying to get away from that. Thanks, though. :)

      • hi Adrienne… thanks for all your trials and postings. I’ve been unhappy having to spend so much $$$s on eye-make-up remover in the past and to think I can not only svae money but use pure, natural products is just wonderful.
        I went out and bought a bottle of Witch Hazel (couldn’t find any sans alcohol so hopefully it won’t sting me)and some jojoba oil…. i spent over $20 but figured it will last me 3 times as long as a bottle of remover would. Haven;t tried it yet but looking forward to – my only question is, I was quite dismayed to see it separates… the oil was sitting on top (sorry I suppose oil and water will always separate, it’s just not something I considered) and so I’m worried I will be getting all the oil only even if I shake well???
        Will update you anyway! x THANKS AGAIN

  61. I use plain old, simple, coconut oil. Terrific and good for my eyes as well.

  62. Aw, thank you so much! This was perfect :}

  63. Shiloh P. says:

    thanks! but, just wondering…..can you make this into a wipe that you can just pull out of a jar? or will the mixture separate on the towels? I really like this and it works really well but I feel it would be easier if it was in wipe form. just wondering :)

  64. Hi! When you say witch hazel, it’s witch hazel water?

  65. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi Adrienne,

    I stumbled upon this website yesterday while looking for a homemade alternative to eye makeup remover & thank you heaps. I tried the recipe as soon as I got home as I had all the ingredients & it worked great. I only wish I had found this recipe earlier because the one I buy is $15 aussie dollars & it is natural. This beats is hands down with only 3 ingredients. I agree with you about witch hazel it can act as a preservative due to the alcohol in it (it’s used to extract the witch hazel). Also to help keep shelf life when the weather is hot, place in the fridge. :)

  66. For many years now I have used A Handi-Wipe fresh out of the package (or a warm/hot wash rag); the Handi-Wipe warmed also from the water . I use Vaseline or the store brand of the same kind; I put it on my eyelashes on top and underneath. I leave the Vaseline on for several minutes to soften mascara (waterproof) before removing mixed with the warm rag. I tried using tissues to remove the eye makeup but it was not good. Tissues are made from wood; consistently using them on my eyes made my eyelids very, very dry.

  67. Monica Lynn says:

    So, most witch hazels have some type of alcohol..must be how they render it. I am rather leery about exposure to isopropyl alcohol and have not been able to to determine what type of alcohol is used in the common brands of witch hazel. Have you ever looked into this?

    • Very good thing to think about. It is isopropyl from what I can tell. I am not totally thrilled w/ that either – but it is rinsed off and surely isn’t as bad as the other “stuff” in commercial removers. What do you think?

  68. I would like to share my recipe:
    3tbs almond oil
    3tbs apricot kernel oil
    2tbs castor oil
    8tbs rose water

    Try it and you will never use anything else!!!

  69. Hi Adrienne,
    I tried this tonight – worked quite well. I’ve tried half baby oil, half water- didn’t work, just smeared the makeup around. But this formulation removed it -still had to work it a bit, but was quite effective. Thanks for sharing.
    Now, for an easy formulation to make to cleanse the face…. does anyone have an effective recipe?


  70. Letty Chen says:

    Which “Witch Hazel” do you recommend?

  71. i used sesame oil instead of hazel and it works really good! takes everything off no stinging at all! (i used a cotton swab and my hand slipped and it went in my eye and it was just fine!)
    i even added a tiny bit face wash (less then half a table spoon)

  72. Thank you so much for your recipe. I will try it! I am looking at the ingredients of my natural make up remover (No miss eye make up remover) which I love and wonder 2 things:

    1) Could one substitute glycerin for the oil – mine has glycerin and
    2) There is sea salt as a preservative……but I suppose witch hazel is a preservative as well? Let me know what you think! Can I also put a drop of lavender oil?

    Love the Au Naturelle!

    • I don’t know about the glycerine but maybe you could try it. And I don’t know if w. hazel is a preservative. Lavender might be fine. Sorry I can’t be more help :).

  73. Makalani Adolpho says:


    Girl you are one patient person! Props to you!

    Please have a little more patience for my question. Is distilled water and filtered water the same? Well I know it’s not the same but could I use either?

  74. As an avid label reader, skin care producer and nurse, I am so happy to have found your forum. It is refreshing to see people reading labels and being informed consumers.

  75. I also have tried various recipes and settled on witch hazel and olive oil as well.

  76. Hello! Great post. I tried mixing witch hazel, water, coconut oil, vitamin E gel, and little bit of aloe vera gel together for a makeup remover and it works nice although the coconut oil keeps separating from the rest of the ingredients… what can I do to stop this? Thank you!

  77. Hi,
    I love With Hazel, but I have dry skin so it dries my skin more. Instead, try Rose water. It leaves your skin very soft and its cheap.

  78. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    I’m wondering why the first one you listed was the same one you named the winner, minus the water, yet you didn’t mention the winner stinging your eyes on the second try like #1. What was the difference? The water alone? Sounds suspect to me.

    • And your name sounds suspect to me :). It is the water that makes the difference. There’s a tad of discomfort but not at all like the first one and not all the time.

  79. I use my e-cloth eye make up remover cloth with my organic face wash. Mascara and eyeliner comes off easily! And the cloths are re-usable. :) I was an e-cloth customer and then ended up being a blog seller just like you do with the EO’s. It’s been a wonderful partnership. I’m all about homemade cleaners but when you can use just water…it’s so much easier! :)

  80. If you add a few drops of tea tree oil to your home made make up remover, this will greatly extend the life of your cleaner. Tea tree oil has natural anti microbial and anti fungal properties.

  81. I think its wonderful & very thoughtful of you to go thru the hard work and share it with all of us. It saved us the trouble. You are greatly appreciated. ????

  82. This formula works like a charm and takes eye makeup (including mascara) in a few swipes. Very little lash loss and it doesn’t sting my eyes. I mixed up a batch in a mason jar and put cotton rounds in it to soak up the solution, viola, eye makeup remover pads at the ready!

  83. Thank you for the tips I’m gradually switching over to more natural solutions for my personal care after realizing that everything you put on your skin your kidneys and liver have to process it (yuck) I will surely try the final recipe. I once again thank you for taking the Trial and error out of a lot of them for me (also have sensitive eyes).
    You also mentioned the thinning lashes. I just finished some research on that problem myself. Basically it’s an aging/abuse to them problem. But I may have found a cure…. The best recipe I’ve found is coconut oil, castor oil, and almond oil equal parts in a very clean old mascara tube (cleaning it was tricky) or they say you can use a clean perfume oil roll on tube. I have been brushing this on my eyelashes for about 3 weeks nightly and I’m already noticing longer and slightly thicker lashes. The original recipe said could take a few weeks to a few months to see results. So far so good! Thanks again!

    • Now that is interesting. I had heard about using aloe. Why do you think it works? I have been using coconut oil but no change yet. And I heard it can be comedogenic so that would be counterintuitive.

  84. Does anyone have any ideas for a remover without oil? I used coconut oil as a makeup remover and then used water to wipe off my face and put on a little more coconut oil all over my face. During the night I must have rubbed my eyes and got some in my eyes and now my contacts are all nasty and I can’t see out of them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coconut oil. It has resolved my winter dry & painfully chaffed skin. When I put lotion on my face it turns bright red reacting to all the chemicals. When I tried coconut oil…no reaction. Just soft skin and I swear my mild rosacea is better. I just shower, turn off the water, smear some on. That knocks off most of the water and just pat dry. My skin has never felt so soft. I saw a recipe for making it into lotion with some vitamin E and a hand mixer. I am sure the vitamin E would be good for my skin but I think I will just try it alone and see if that doesn’t make it a little easier to apply.
    Someone mentioned they use Vaseline…that is made from petroleum…just a thought

  85. charlotte brady says:

    I am looking for a natural, harmless, and homemade eye makeup remover. I found a recipe calling for equal amounts of witch hazel and olive oil, mixed it up, used it. First time it did not burn, second time it did. That’s when I read the witch hazel label. This product contains 14% alcohol and the warning says to avoid contact with the eyes. Hence, the burning. The remover you made that you like the best contains oil, water, and witch hazel. You didn’t mention that it burns. Is it the addition of the water that stops the alcohol from burning?

    I don’t want to go blind, I just want to clean off the eye makeup? Any suggestions, answers?
    Thank you.

  86. Witch Hazel says right on the bottle “avoid contact with eyes”

  87. Tracey Jones says:

    Hi Adrienne, Great recepie! I too like avoiding chemicals and making my own cleansers, moisturisers etc. I have been looking into eyelash conditioning. I have used a mix (in a 30 ml dropper bottle) of:
    10 mls: Almond oil (natural source of Vitamin B5,
    10 mls: Wheatgerm oil
    9 mls: Jojoba oil
    1ml Hylauronic acid gel (bought on Amazon).
    I have used it now for a month to recover my lashes from some abuse (wearing falsies etc). I can happily report that they are now longer and thicker than they have ever been. – Give it a try! This recipe was inspired by the very expensive ‘natural’ conditioners out there on the market. I use a redundant mascara wand to apply it every night after cleansing. I have been a massive fan of Neals Yard Gentle Eye make up Remover, but I am about to try making one with Glycerine, Rosewater, eyebright, witchazel and argan oil. I will adapt the one you have posted and see how it turns out! Keep up the good work babe! – making your own totally rocks and totally works.

  88. I keep like 4 different oils in my bathroom and am constantly experimenting with different uses for all of them. Lately, I’ve been using straight up EVOO as an eye makeup remover and I love it. Since I use it at night, I don’t mind leaving a little oil behind on my eyes as an overnight moisturizer. Never occurred to me to try to mix it with other things. Might have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing your trial and error!

  89. my favorite is:
    baby shampoo
    coconut oil

  90. Angela B. says:

    I use plain organic extra virgin coconut oil on my eyes after I wash my face. The water helps to loosen the make-up and the oil leaves your eyes silky smooth.

  91. KarenLopes says:

    Coconut Oil is Anti-Bacterial
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great for removing water proof makeup
    both are great for the skin
    together the make a GREAT EYE MAKEUP REMOVER.

    my question is: Are They Ok To Use With Contacts? It works better than my Almay eye makeup remover, but the bottle tells me that it is safe for contacts…. I would really like to save my money and go natural, but is it safe for my contacts?

  92. Liam Tover says:

    WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS – ! I followed your instructions for the “best” eye makeup remover, and, after one tiny dab of the solution to my eyelid, was writhing in pure agony for a solid hour. I was literally screaming in pain from this toxic combination, truly believing that I was going to go blind from it. And I don’t understand why, if this has been working for others… I did use essential peppermint oil. Perhaps that’s why it stung me so hard? I really don’t think that witch hazel should be applied ANYWHERE near the fragile eye area. The pain was indescribable.

    You have been warned.

    • I think you misunderstood. You are supposed to use an oil like olive, almond, or jojoba – not an essential oil. I will make a note on the post.

  93. Hi! Do you think i can use “rose water” (aka rose hydrosol) instead of witch hazel (hammamelis)?

  94. This is great! Thanks so much for the tip, Adrienne!

  95. I’ve been searching for a DIY eye makeup remover!! Question, where do you get witch hazel for that price??

    • I think I bought mine at Walmart – but not sure. It was a long time ago. I don’t shop there often but that seems right….Otherwise I might have gotten that price off of a website. Walgreens maybe?

  96. I think the eyelash loss is due more to age? I hardly wear makeup at all and I have fewer lashes than when I was younger. I do wear mascara on occasion, and sometimes it’s waterproof, but it’s so little that I hate to equate the loss with that.
    Kudos to the recipe! I am going to make some up and have it on hand. Thanks!

  97. This is all great information. I suppose a lot of it depends on your own skin type or reaction to some of these oils. I will try the remover recipe. Now I use baby oil and it works great, but has mineral oil in it. So more natural/organic is best. Thanks for all of your comments. Very informative.

  98. P.S. Anyone know of a good remedy for hair loss??? ugh

    • I have heard of many but of course, it is important to try to figure out what is causing the hair loss, but I personally have found that thyroid and adrenal work is a big help and I like drinking as well as applying nettle tea to my scalp. You might wish to try that. Of course, none of this is medical advice – please seek the care of your physician before changing your diet or adding supplements to your diet. :)

  99. When you say ‘ugh’ to the list of ingredients, is that just because they sound chemical-ly and not-so-nice, or is it because you actually know that they’re not good for you?
    I highly recommend the well-researched ingredient dictionary at for you to make an informed decision about what you’re putting on your face.
    P.S. witch hazel is a worse ingredient than anything that your drugstore remover contained.

  100. Thanks for sharing your research with us. I’m excited that I already have these things at home and will be making it right away!

  101. I love coconut oil! I started using it on my skin so decided to use it on my face and I broke out like crazy. It was like I went back to the teenage years of acne. When you are using it on your face, do you leave it on like a lotion or wipe it off? My face is usually dry after a shower so I like to put some kind of moisturizer on my face. Maybe I’m using the coconut oil wrong? What do you recommend?

  102. What is witch hazel and where would you find it, at a health shop?