The Best Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

Ditch the toxins that are in most store-bought eye makeup removers and make your own instead! I tried a bunch of Homemade Eye Makeup Remover formulas, and this one worked the best.

homemade eye makeup remover in a jar with cotton balls and tweezers

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 afterward 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.

Homemade Eye Makeup Remover Formula Trials

Before I share the different homemade eye makeup removers that I tried, I should say that yes, I did try plain old coconut oil.

I love coconut oil for so many things, but coconut oil and my skin don't seem to get along well. It doesn't seem to sink in to my skin, I feel like I can't get it off of my eyes after removing makeup, and it tends to cause breakouts for me.

There are a few skincare products with some form of coconut oil in them that don't cause breakouts for me, but overall I don't like using it on my face.

So there--a few readers have commented about how much they like using coconut oil for an eye makeup remover, but I just don't.

Sorry.

So these are the different homemade eye makeup remover formulas (without coconut oil) that I tried.

Recipe #1 - 50/50 Witch Hazel & Oil

- 1/4 cup witch hazel (alcohol-free preferred)
- 1/4 cup oil (organic almond oil, jojoba oil, and organic olive oil are all decent choices)

Note (please be careful in choosing an olive oil since many are counterfeit. This Olive Oil has been shown in tests to be real olive oil.)

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, Castile Soap, & Olive Oil

- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon castile soap
- 1 teaspoon organic 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 tablespoons EVOO
- 3 tablespoons 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 tablespoons castille soap
- 1/8 teaspoon 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 teaspoons soap (I used castille 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...)

homemade eye makeup remover with jar of cotton balls and tweezers

Approximate cost (at time of publishing post):

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.

Eye make up remover in a small glass jar, a jar of cotton and tweezers on a white tabletop

Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Makes: 0.33 cup

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to your container / dispenser.
  • Shake well before using.
  • Moisten Cotton Round or Makeup Pad with the mixture, or alternatively you could place some of the mixture on clean fingers-- then wipe eyes gently.

Notes

TIPS:
To clean up stray makeup on face, put a small amount on fingers or dip cotton swab in mixture and clean up stray marks.
When washing face, make sure to get some cleaner on your eye area if you wish to remove any remaining oily residue.
UPDATE:  The witch hazel in this product will help a bit with bacterial growth, but please for now only make enough to use within 3-4 days and store this in the fridge.  If it seems bad, use common sense and don't wipe it on your eyes :-).
Update 3/17: WARNING.  Unless you are going to add a broad spectrum preservative to this lotion, please plan to use this within 3-4 days and store in the refrigerator.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Other Non-Toxic Eye Makeup Remover Options

Don't feel like making your own Eye Makeup Remover?

This Instant Eye Makeup Remover from Beautycounter is so great! No toxins and removes eye makeup effortlessly. I think it might be the best store-bought remove that I have ever used (and it's a large bottle too so it's a decent value).

I've tried others, but they don't work as well, or else they work well, but they STING!!!  (Just tried a new one this past week and man. Not going to use that one anymore!!)

Beautycounter Eye Makeup Remover

Side note: If you're looking for good non toxic eye makeup, my favorite mascara is Beautycounter's and I love their eye pencils too. "Just right" color without a heavy look.

Beautycounter's makeup is just lovely. I personally had never found eye shadows or lip colors that I like until I found Beautycounter's.

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 eye makeup remover do you use?

Photo Credits: Naomi Huzovicova

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426 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your research! My research brought your reasearch and we care for the same healthy, non-toxic, natural and minimal way of living.
    I am also writing to you to suggest a way to preserve the mix without preservative and without needing to refrigerate it: I got a 4L of distilled water at our drugstore, for only $1.60.
    Cheers!
    Marie
    Ottawa, Canada

    1. Hello there. Thanks! You could try something like vitamin E or rosemary or some other natural preservative. I don't currently have recommendations for amounts, however.

  2. Sounds wonderful, tomorrow I get the Jojoba and Witch Hazel and I will do what you said. Thanks a million. Gina

    1. Hope it works well for you! If you like it, we sooo appreciate 5 star reviews. Some bloggers falsify reviews but I don't and good reviews help us and help readers to find great things on the internet. Thanks!

  3. Hey! Thanks so much for sharing this. I have a couple questions.

    Should the witch hazel used in this recipe (the one you chose in the end) be with or without alcohol? I can imagine with alcohol would mean it mixes with the oils a little better?

    Also, I'm curious if you think it would work to initially mix only the oil and witch hazel together, and then add a bit of water on my makeup remover pad only during each use? The reason I would do this is to get around the 3-4 day shelf life of it when mixed with water. I assume it's the water that causes the reduction in shelf life, since the shelf life of jojoba oil and witch hazel are 5 and 2 years, respectively.

    Thanks for your time!!

    1. I am not a chemist but apparently witch hazel acts as an emulsifier so pure would be better. I think you could do that - sure. I can add a preservative to the formula as well. Will work on that.

  4. Used this last night and found it really effective! Just a quick question: how much do you put on a cotton round if you’re just taking off eye makeup? I struggle to get mine off completely, especially on the bottom lashes, underside of the top lashes. For instance: Do you soak one then ring it out? Do you keep the rounds in the jar at all times and ring out or just use? Is it user dependent? It is this more a question of how to effectively take off the eye makeup (i.e. wash face first, remove makeup, wash around eyes again)?

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I actually put it on my (clean) fingers and gently rub in w/ my ring finger. I then use a cotton / toilet paper, rag (typically a clean rag) to dab everything off and then wash my face. I will put this in the post now. Good question!

      1. OK it was already in the post.....just letting you know I likely won't be adding anything new. Hope that clarifies!

  5. Thanks, Adrienne, for sharing your excellent Best Homemade Eye Makeup Remover. I tried it and it works perfectly and was very gentle. For water, I used distilled and boiled it and allowed it to cool a bit. I did modify it a little: I used extra-virgin olive oil (because I had it on hand), I added one teaspoon of vegetable glycerin (humectant) and, as an added bit of preservation, 1/4 teaspoon of vodka.

    Again, many thanks for your great ideas.

  6. Hi! So how do you normally store jojoba oil and witch hazel then? Do they go in the fridge? Or only when also combined together and with water?

    1. Those can be stored on the shelf--oil will go rancid faster than witch hazel typically. It depends on the type of oil and storage and also the type of witch hazel b/c there are different versions.

  7. We can also make it a lot less complicated and just put a couple of drops of oil onto a moistened cotton pad, squish the pad a bit to make the oil mix with water in and proceed. No need to mix anything and worry about bacteria growth. Boom.

    1. Yes, that can work as well but this formula cleans better without the oily residue. What you are recommending is very similar to just putting oil on your wet eye (so that's even more simple :))--which I have found didn't work well for me. Thanks for reading and hope that explains things a little better. Hopefully I will be able to get some good preservative info in the post at some point.

      1. Could castor oil be added to the mixture? It helps promote hair growth and is good for keeping your lashes healthy.

        1. I'm sure that could work, however it can be hard to get out of hair / lashes so I would try it first to see how it works for you. Maybe just a small amount will work out instead of a higher percentage. Hope that helps!

  8. For years I have been using a combo of castor oil, apricot kernel oil and sunflower oil for washing off makeup (face and eyes) and not refrigerating it without an issue, ever. It usually takes a few weeks to use it up. I'd like to try yours but was confused about the need to use it up within such a short time and refrigerate it. I have to assume some person somewhere had a problem (hence the warning) but I can't imagine what would make this go bad so quickly.