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

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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.

Ugh.

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.

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

Then your total is:  $1.79 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!

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. 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?

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

  3. Sylvia Molina says:

    Love this eye make -up remover ??For anybody that is trying this for the first time remember she is recommending the witch hazel to be alchol free and to use a carrier oil! Not essential oils!! Have made this 3 times already , and my daughter and I use it every day.

    • Thanks! I use it every day too!!

    • I used to use baby oil for years. Switched to organic extra virgin olive oil to remove my waterproof mascara, organic coconut oil for removing makeup on my face, and use the oevoo again to moisturize. From everything I’ve read over the years, changing up face cleansing routine usually will cause break-outs until an adjustment has been made. I’ve also used castor oil occasionally on my eyes and eyebrows after reading it helps to thicken lashes and hair. I think it has helped, but hasn’t caused them to be thick. Thanks for the tips!

      • Jen, what do you think the castor oil has helped if it didn’t cause them to thicken? I tried castor oil on my hair and it was a horrible mess trying to get it out :(.

        • I think it helped the lashes from falling out. I think it helped them to grow better but not thick in the sense of lush lashes like the commercials imply. As for my eyebrows, I noticed more hair growing, but nothing really where I wanted it be. Too many years of over plucking, I guess.

  4. Witch hazel is terrible for your skin! Even the alcohol free kind – the tannin content (normally a low content is ok and beneficial for its anti oxident nature) is quite high which constricts blood vessels,irritating your skin over a period of time. I would def not use around my eyes.

  5. Paula Fetter says:

    In trying to find an alcohol free witch hazel, I used the link in your recipe which took me to Thayers Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula Toner on Amazon. Is this the product you use? I can’t seem to find a product that is simply alcohol free witch hazel with no other added ingredients. Do you think these other ingredients would make this unusable in the eye area? I have very sensitive skin and I’m having trouble finding a product to remove waterproof mascara, which I have to use because of weirdly oily eyelids! Appreciate any help you can send!

    • Hi there. Sadly, all I had in house was witch hazel w/ alcohol and it really doesn’t bother my eyes except once in awhile. I changed the link to the witch hazel now so it doesn’t have the extra additives – only a very small amt of a preservative. Otherwise most of those ingredients looks pretty benign to me – I have used aloe on my eyes – just see how it works for you and decide which one you like, I guess. Thanks and hope that helps!

  6. Just wanted to tell you, I made some eye makeup remover over the weekend, I used the almond oil, witch hazel, & water recipe………It was incredible! Fantastic results. Thanks so much!

  7. Use distilled water.
    It will increase your shelve life. It does not have the impurities that tap water (even filtered) has. Of course the cleanliness of the container and the method of dispensing are also big factors in keeping homemade products from going bad longer. But really, making a new batch every 30 days should take care of any issues.

  8. Adding a few drops of vitamin e will help give the oil a longer shelf. I see it in a lot of the homemade recipes I like to use.

  9. Vitamin e capsules will do nothing for your face. The molecular structure of the vitamin is meant for digestion. It cannot penetrate through the epidermis to have any benefits for the face. I’m a medical aesthetician its funny when people think smothering vitamin e capsules all over your face will do something. Its not the same as buying specific product that are designed to penetrate they are changed to be absorbed by the skin. Maybe it can preserve you’re product more. But I’m not an expert in preservation haha all in all just wanted to say I love this eye makeup remover… but the vit e thing… well if you research molecular structure and how vit e is made for skin care products its much different then how its made for food and digestion

  10. I use a fantastic witch hazel non alcoholic with aloe and cucumber, squalane (pure and light Olive oil) then water. It smells so good and works well. I soak the make up pad then pat the pad on the eye lids to soak the make up then swipe. Love it!