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.
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.
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
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, Castille Soap, & 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 (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…)
This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission.
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:
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.
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.
Homemade Eye Makeup Remover
Makes about 1/3 cup
You Will Need
2 Tbsp witch hazel
2 Tbsp oil of choice (like jojoba oil, organic almond oil, etc.)
2 Tbsp water (please use filtered water — see how to make your water safe)
Small Glass Jar with lid like this one or this one
Organic Cotton Rounds or organic makeup remover pads (I recommend the rounds since eye makeup will tend to be hard to wash off of the pads)
1. Add all ingredients to your container / dispenser
2. Shake well before using.
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 :-).
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 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!!)
This Baby Oil from Beautycounter is also super convenient as an Eye Makeup Remover plus it has no harmful additives like most Baby Oils on the market.
The pump dispenses just the right amount each time with no oil running all over the place onto your hands and your countertop, etc.
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. And the mascara doesn't smudge (and that's saying a lot for me–The “Queen” of Smudge.) I personally have never found eye shadows that I like until I found Beautycounter's. I'm a “winter” in terms of the colors that look good on me, and their Slipper / Slate combo in just lovely. Not overdone at all!
Interested in other DIY natural home / personal items? How about….
What eye makeup remover do you use?