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.

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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.

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.

And if you’re looking for a non-toxic option for your eye makeup, here is where I buy most of my products.

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?


    Speak Your Mind


  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

    • That’s fascinating. Thanks for sharing! I have heard over and over you can use vitamin E for scarring, etc. Oh well. Glad you like the remover :)!

    • Pat Chuckins says:

      Hello. No disrespect to you;however, anyone that has had a wound,etc. , will witness with their actual own eyes the healing effectiveness of vitamin E. Some REAL doctors even believe and recommend it to their patients. It’s like prayer: some people believe ; some do not. People do not need to take a person who “works around doctors” word as gospel. Those that have vision ; look and judge for yourself.

    • Pat Chuckins says:

      The reply that I posted under Adrienne was supposed to be in reference to emmi dee’s comment on how vitamin e does nothing for the skin.

    • Emmi Dee…..I think she was just saying that vitamin E is used as a natural preservative to give it longer shelf life, not as a product for the skin itself.

  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!

  11. 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 :(.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 :).

  15. 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!

  16. Cas Sgar says:

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

  17. 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

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

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

  20. In regards to the water and chance of spoil…. Use distilled water, pure h2O… Good for steamers and irons too.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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

  24. *hemp seed oil

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

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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!:)

  30. 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 ?

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

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

  35. 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.

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