DIY Makeup Removers That'll Help You Ditch Harsh Wipes

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At the end of the day, you take your makeup off to protect your skin from overnight breakouts and developing excessive oil. Unfortunately, the very products marketed for makeup removal, a practice meant to protect skin, can actually work against your skin and provide harm to the sensitive skin on your face, particularly around your eyes. Nor are makeup removing wipes a good option for the environment since the wipes — which come saturated in solutions for removing various cosmetic products — are single use, disposable, and rarely recyclable, per 100% Pure.

If you don't remove your makeup before bed or after the recommended time of wear, you may risk developing more than acne. Skin irritation, dryness, or even eye infections are common if eye makeup isn't removed in a timely manner, advises Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery. Concurrently, ingredients frequently used in the solutions in which makeup remover wipes are pre-soaked can be irritating and harsh to skin. In particular, synthetic components, preservatives, sulfates, and chemicals used in solutions concocted to break through layers of makeup and effectively remove beauty products from skin can do their own damage when absorbed. Saying goodbye to a toxic relationship with wipes containing emulsifiers, surfactants, solubilizers, and formaldehyde can be one of the healthiest decisions you can make for your skincare routine. It is also better for the environment and will likely make your wallet happier. Here are some DIY alternatives to harsh makeup remover wipes.

Baby wipes are better in many ways

Perhaps the easiest switch you can make is within the sphere of wipes itself. Though harsh ingredients are utilized in wipes meant for adult use, ones intended for application on the sensitive, soft, and brand new skin of babies are kept free from the inclusion of harmful components. So, fragrance-free baby wipes are a top option. Over recent years, there have been significantly more advances and advocacy for keeping detrimental ingredients out of products designed for use on the youngest among us, making baby products the safest option in the world of wipes. What's even better than baby wipes being free from harsh ingredients is that they are often cheaper than the ones marketed to adults, which will have you rethinking a lot more than your makeup removal routine. 

Since they are designed for cleansing skin of dirt and organic matter per their design for diaper changes, these baby products can be effective at removing a percentage of cosmetics. But, they won't be successful at eliminating all traces of heavy makeup on your skin, shares Lisa Boehm Beauty. Don't be discouraged though, baby wipes can be a great alternative to harsh makeup removing wipes when you're in a pinch. Or, you can supplement the removal of your makeup by pairing baby wipes with a double face wash using a cleanser with clean ingredients. For example, follow the formula of baby wipe, cleanse, cleanse, baby wipe, or use the combination of your choice.

Prioritize gentle, mild cleansers at the foundation of your routine

Baby wipes aren't the only item that can be borrowed from products designed for youngsters. Since solutions curated for little ones tend to be cleaner and milder in concentration than synthetic and chemical-based concoctions found in products created for adult use, swapping your irritating, harsh makeup remover wipes for baby products is beneficial. This is a way to create a skincare routine that is cleaner for the environment and for your body. For these reasons, baby shampoo is a recommended alternative for removing makeup — including on and around the eyes — and breaking through the elements in both regular and waterproof makeup ingredients alike, reports Apartment Therapy.

In case you aren't familiar, surfactants are active agents that break through compounds like dirt and thick layers of buildup. They're commonly added into adult products, including soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and, of course, makeup removers. Surfactants can be organic or synthetically crafted with the involvement of chemicals, but regardless of their origins they are facets of makeup removers that can be brash on your skin. While the degree of grime that surfactants can work their way through may be helpful if you're a marathon runner, or perform outdoor labor. But, most often it's possible to obtain sufficient removal of dirt, product residue, and layers of makeup without the use of those solutions. Try baby shampoo, which is free from surfactants, detergents, emulsifiers, and other harsh ingredients frequently found in makeup removal products.

EVOO will make your skin say whoo-hoo!

You likely already have extra virgin olive oil, aka EVOO, on your kitchen countertop or pantry shelf. What you may not realize is that your bottle of olive oil deserves a spot on your bathroom counter, too. Olive oil is a DIY hack for removing makeup while moisturizing skin, rather than stripping your face of its natural oils and moisture as makeup remover wipes with brash ingredients often do. Taking the benefits beyond removing makeup and cosmetic products, olive oil also makes for a great facial cleanser and toner by penetrating into pores and lifting dirt, dead skin, excess sebum, and residue from other beauty products. Insider reports that olive oil as a skin cleanser is used by celebrities, including Brie Larson and Jennifer Lopez, both of whom frequently wear heavy makeup in front of the cameras.

To apply olive oil to your face you can use a cotton swab, or pad, to cleanse your skin, or you can opt for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly method of incorporating reusable facial pads into your regimen, per Good Housekeeping. While olive oil has been used for multi-faceted purposes for ages, reusable facial pads are one of the most exciting beauty innovations as they negate the need for single-use wipes and paper products. Instead you can replace disposable ones with washable pads made from organic cotton, bamboo, microfiber, and other materials that are good for both your health and that of the planet.

Coconut oil is a celebrated DIY hack

Another culinary oil that needs a permanent space in your bathroom is coconut oil. As a DIY product for removing makeup, thus replacing disposable wipes containing harsh components, it is an excellent choice for the dual purpose of moisturizing skin while ridding lips, eyebrows, and lashes of water-resistant makeup products as it's able to disintegrate common waterproof cosmetic solutions, per StyleCraze. Given the popularity of waterproof mascaras, coconut oil may just be the organic, holistic superhero you've been waiting for.

Though, be mindful of removing makeup from your eyelids, lashes, and the very sensitive area around your eyes regardless of the makeup removing option you pursue. Don't scrub too vigorously as you could risk damage to your eyes, including infection if you haphazardly scratch anywhere around the delicate area. For the purpose of protecting the most sensitive parts of your face, coconut oil is one of the safest barriers you can use. It provides antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory results on the skin, eradicating harmful pathogens (via Healthline).

To use coconut oil as a skincare product and alternative to irritating makeup remover wipes, warm a small amount of oil in the palm of your hand or on a reusable facial pad prior to rubbing it onto your face. For any type of oil-based DIY method, you can give the oil a few minutes to hydrate your skin, but always rinse off excess product using a gentle facial cleanser. 

Remove makeup with a method as smooth as honey

Once again reaching into your kitchen cabinet for a holistic DIY hack to remove stubborn makeup and rid your skin of pathogens, you'll find sweet relief in that jar of honey you may already use for a natural sweetener in your morning oatmeal or evening cup of calming tea. Similar to coconut oil, honey has a plethora of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which can prevent acne breakouts and keep your skin at peak health. A 2014 study from Emory University School of Medicine documented that honey has been a health aid for almost 3,000 years, with new discoveries of honey's antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties being found nearly three millennia after the first human documentation of honey as a powerhouse for your body, both inside and out.

When it comes to removing makeup, honey is the bee's knees! For the best results in removing layers of makeup and buildup from hours of wearing foundation, concealer, contour, and more, create a homemade super recipe of honey combined with EVOO, coconut oil, or include both for a terrific trifecta, advises Good Housekeeping. Honey's sticky texture can literally pull dirt, grime, and makeup particles from your pores, and its sweet antimicrobial elements can keep your skin clean and clear. Rinse your face with a mild cleanser after removing makeup with any DIY recipe, but especially one involving honey so you don't risk waking up in the morning with your face stuck to your pillowcase.

Vaseline provides laudable leverage against makeup's laborious layers

If you aren't already convinced that tossing out traditional makeup remover wipes is a must, another piece of the problematic puzzle appears within the texture of disposable wipes. The Everygirl reveals that single-use wipes, which are sold pre-soaked in harsh irritants, tend to have rough textures that place sensitive facial skin at risk of microscopic tears and cuts, potentially creating openings for infection-inducing bacteria. Even without harshly textured, tossable wipes, your skin can become prone to microtears from a variety of daily elements, including your hands, towels, exfoliating products, and more. Fortunately, a DIY hack exists for keeping skin hydrated, quickly healing microtears, and penetrating stubborn makeup. This superhero product is Vaseline, otherwise known as petroleum jelly.

Lingering lip products, sticky glosses, and thick lipsticks are no match for Vaseline. By letting the jelly sit on your lips for a few minutes prior to washing it off, the compounds in Vaseline perform the laborious task of breaking through barriers of otherwise unyielding cosmetics. Not only can Vaseline remove makeup, but it can itself protect against free radicals, pollutants, and environmental threats damaging your skin, reports Medical News Today. But, leaving Vaseline on the skin for too long can lead to acne flare-ups and excessive oil accumulation. To properly remove Vaseline from the skin after it has worked its makeup removing magic, gently wash your face with a mild soap and warm water, then pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

Tips for DIY success for removing stubborn makeup

There are some overarching best practices for incorporating new products into your skincare routine. While there's sufficient evidence that traditional single-use makeup removers, particularly pre-soaked disposable wipes, can thwart skin's wellbeing with harsh ingredients and brash irritants, including synthetic compounds and chemicals, you should be cautious when trying new DIY techniques. Prior to using any form of alternative method to makeup remover wipes, take time to do a spot test before spreading the formula on your entire face. Everyone responds to products, ingredients, and variations of the same solutions across brands, and even batches, so be certain that you know how your skin will react to a certain substance before going full throttle with a full-face application. Reasons to do a patch test with any DIY makeup remover alternative include determining if you might be allergic to the new product, assessing if your skin reacts with sensitivity, which can appear via symptoms similar to irritation, and being informed about potential side effects of the formula being introduced into your makeup unwinding regimen. 

StyleCraze advises that for DIY makeup remover hacks, it is recommended that a patch test of any given solution or ingredient be performed on the back of your neck or on your forearm since those areas react akin to facial skin. No matter which DIY method you decide is best for you, be mindful to always remove makeup gently since aggressive scrubbing can cause irritation and damage to skin.