The Best Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

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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.


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 synthetic chemical-filled ingredients like that.

These are not things I want to use because I’m trying to avoid toxic synthetic 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.

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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.


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 synthetic chemical-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 synthetic 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.

jar of make up remover

Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

This Homemade Eye Makeup Remover works amazingly well and leaves no oily residue. It tested the best out of a variety of formulas that I tried. You're going to love it.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Makes: 0.33 cup



  • 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.


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!

Where to Buy Non-Toxic Eye Makeup Removers

Don’t feel like making your own Eye Makeup Remover? Here are a few options.

Crunchi’s I Am the Balm

I Am the Balm from Crunchi is an amazing product. Not only does it have no toxins and removes eye makeup effortlessly, it’s incredibly nourishing for your skin as well.

No stinging, and it works as an overall face cleanser, too!

crunchi i am the balm.

All of Crunchi’s products are clean, sustainable, and they perform well.
Get 10% off as a new customer with code ADVOCATE10 and they have a fantastic membership program with free shipping at $125, 10% credits back and special offers.

Poofy Organic’s Eye Makeup Remover

This makeup remover is a super easy to use product that’s very reasonably priced as well.

More DIY Non-toxic Personal Care Products

Here are some more great homemade personal care and beauty products that are simple to make. I love all of these and I suspect you will too.

Homemade Jojoba Face Wash
Easiest Baby Wipes
Homemade Foaming Soap
Homemade Shea Butter Lotion
2 Ingredient Homemade Hairspray

What eye makeup remover do you use?

Photo Credits: Naomi Huzovicova

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Recipe Rating



  1. Just something I have learned about mascara boo boo’s. People, please leave it alone until it dries. This usually only take a few minutes but will save you heartache in the end. I know this sounds hard to do, but once it is dry gently use a cotton swab to remove the boo boo and it won’t disturb the rest of your makeup. Crazy, right? Read this somewhere awhile back and believe me this is the greatest tip I’ve ever found! Hope this helps alot. Now for me to just try the eye makeup remover recipe to get it off for the night. =)

  2. Thank you for this post and for all that initial trial and error. I have tried your recipe and found that it worked fantastically and it is easy to make and literally takes about a minute to make. I don’t actually use eye makeup that often, so I’ve made a smaller batch and even then, I have kept it longer than 3 days in the fridge. it seems to be fine and it hasn’t gone bad on me yet. I think it’s been a little less than a week since I’ve made it. I think it just requires a bit of common sense on the readers’ part to figure out if the concoction has gone bad or not.

    Just a note: I used jojoba oil and it solidifies in the fridge. So I just have to take it out of the fridge for it to warm up a bit before using it.

    1. Hi there and thank you–good tip on storing in the fridge. Just keep in mind that bacteria can start to grow without being obvious but refrigeration does slow that growth down.

  3. Hi, you are using an image I created on Pinterest to lead people to this post, you don’t site the image or link to the website it’s from Marvelous Maskara, please remove this pin since it does not belong to you, thank you.

    1. Hello there. I haven’t done that — someone else is doing that and I don’t know how they did it. If you try to pin from my post you will see that that image doesn’t come up. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

  4. I’ve used Un-Petroleum Jelly (available on Amazon or in natural health food stores) for many, many years. It removes eye make-up wonderfully well (remove with a sheet of toilet tissue) and it doesn’t sting the eyes at all. You’re welcome!

  5. What about glycerin? Is that a safe ingredient to use around your eyes? Maybe mixed with water and jojoba oil, it might be another option. But I might be saying something really ignorant. Please let me know if you have any info. Thanks!

    1. I have actually heard of people using glycerin around the eyes for natural beauty reasons so I think it’s not a problem. You are so welcome!

  6. Olive oil or castor oil work perfectly. Many other products simply damage the eyelashes. It happened to me and I managed to restore them only with the help of (edited by blog owner) a lash serum. But it took time and I wouldn’t want it to happen with others.

    1. Hi Anna – are you connected to the company that you shared? I just ask b/c castor oil is terrible to get out of eyelashes typically and I have never had issues w/ other removers causing that problem. Thanks!

    2. If the blogger named a major brand product, more than once, then why would the blogger remove the brand name of the lash serum, that maybe some of us would be interested in checking out. Possibly the blogger has a vested interest in the brand name product they mentioned and doesn’t want other brands to move in on her territory?.

      1. The blogger did it b/c in recent months there have been a bunch of commenters dropping brand names in the comment area and the pattern is becoming suspicious. Companies pay people to drop comments directing blog readers to their sites and this one looked the same as others. I don’t mind honest referrals but I don’t want my blog to be a place for self-promotion or paid promotion of other products to occur.

        The main purpose of this post was to present a DIY option and I assure you that my commission on witch hazel is pretty minimal. If the reader wants to come back and tell me that she is just an honest reader she is welcome to do so. So far she has not.

        Additionally, she offered a product that was completely different than those mentioned in the post. Hers was a lash serum that doesn’t compete with what I mentioned so I’m not protecting my “vested interest” by removing that name.

        Hope that helps.

  7. Hi
    I have a very simple make up remover i use a small teacup of water (filtered), i than add a pinch of MSM powder to the water i use a rounded kitchenknife and scoop the msm on it heaped, so that’s my pinch. I stirr it and in another small glas bottle with a dropper i add some almond oil . I add some of the msms mixture on a cotton pad and squeze out the excess water and than add to the cotton pad 4 drups of almond oil . That’s it , the msm mixture i make every other day and ofcourse the almond oil stays well for quite some time. It works great even on hard to remove eye make-up which i personally would not recommend but accidently bought one time

  8. Do I get this , right? Make up remover that I need to cncoct twice weekly? So disappointed. Facing reality of still having to buy a remover.

    1. Hello Heidi.

      I never had that info in the post until I started getting more aware of the possibility of contamination. It’s a real problem with many DIYs that people often ignore. It’s up to you. You can make it and use it for longer, or whatever you like. I’m trying to provide a real option for people but I don’t want to recommend something unsafe.

      I used this myself for years and never had any issues.

      I hope that helps. There are some great safer options listed in the post if you still wish to purchase one. Thanks for reading :).

  9. I wear full eye make up every day, and have really sensitive eyes, so I cant use most makeup removers you find at the drug store. I now use the Made from Earth Green Tea Cleanser to remove my eye makeup and this takes it off really well without making my eyes water. No eye irritation what so ever, and I also use it as my night face cleanser. Its a creamy liquid, so it works for removing eye makeup as well.

    1. AGREE!!
      I opened this column out of curiosity because all I ever have used for years is coconut oil. Simple, easy, and it works so well. No recipes, no formulas…. I sticking with it.

      I really thought that would be the conclusion. A little surprised that it wasn’t, nor even in the running.

      1. Hey there. I just added a little bit of info into the post about why I didn’t like using coconut oil. So it’s kind of in the running now–or kind of not. Well, yes but it didn’t win. Thanks for reading!

  10. I would think that if you used Distlled water and added Silver Colloidal-then solution would not go bad as quickly.

  11. Walkers Natural Body Care – Effortless Eye/Makeup Remover & Conditioning Cream is the best I have found. The only bad thing is that they do not ship this product when the weather is hot (it melts). I do not like the removers with oil – I prefer creams. The one that I loved the best was NuSkin’s eye makeup remover. Unfortunately, they discontinued it.

  12. Thanks for the receipes. I use the one with witch hazel, oil, and water. But I’m having a problem with my vision being blurry right afterwards for a few minutes. I think it’s the oil because I’ve noticed this with all oil based removers. But oils seems to be the only thing that works for my eyeliner & mascara. Any suggestions?

    1. I think it’s just the oil film which is why you want to use a non toxic oil. Hope that helps and hope you are using non toxic cosmetics. If you aren’t sure you might want to check out Beautycounter – they just came out w/ 2 new mascaras and they are really nice. No pressure, of course, but I think you would be really happy with their cosmetics.

    2. I agree with Adrienne in regards to the blurry vision. I used Clinique “take the day off” for years (a freebie from a friend that had like 5 bottles, it’s awesome, if a bit expensive) and experienced blurry vision after every use. I switched to a jojoba and coconut oil concoction that I had made at home for my dry skin when I ran out of the Clinique and experienced the same blurry vision, along with needing to clean the oil off of my eyes afterward. I’ve tried the witch hazel, jojoba and water and that seems to be the best for a quick, easy and inexpensive way to take off all of the extended wear makeup out there nowadays. It works great on lipstick too!

  13. Quick tip for removing mascara smudges… leave it till you’re done doing your makeup then take a dry q-tip and gently brush it off. 🙂

  14. I use a 50:50 mixture of pure Aloe vera gel and sweet almond oil. I mix it up in a 4 oz travel container. Shake it before each use to mix the ingredients. I may add a couple of drops of Vit E oil to the mix but haven’t really decided if it’s beneficial.

  15. Thank you for the trails & recipe! I feel confident in your results knowing exactly what you went through to reach this conclusion. One follow-up question: any concern about oil remaining in/around eyes for us contact lens wearers?

    1. You are so welcome. I don’t know! I don’t wear contacts but I haven’t seen anything about that from the small amount of research that I did.

      1. Just wanted to follow up to say I’ve been using this mix in my eyes since August & have had zero problems with oil on my contacts! I take them out before removing my eye makeup & have had no problem with residue. So yay! This recipe works so amazingly well, better than anything I’ve tried commercially.

  16. I have made and used this a number of times. I love it. I have never had it go bad. I leave it in my bathroom cabinet. It lasts me a few months. No problems!

  17. Hello!

    I stumbled upon your blog while researching a diy makeup remover. I make a lot of my own beauty products and I prefer to not add any preservatives so I am careful about the ingredients and shelf life. Now, I noticed you indicated that this is probably only good for 3-4 days without a broad spectrum preservative. I have maybe perhaps a silly question. If I was to use Thayers Witch Hazel with Rose Petals which already contains purified water and jojoba oil and not add any additional water, would I still need a preservative? I wouldn’t think so since both products have a longer shelf life on their own. I don’t see how mixing them would reduce the shelf life.

    1. Hi there. I think you are right – I think it will be pretty strong on your eyes, however so please do be careful. I would increase the carrier oil to dilute it.