Thou shalt take your makeup off before bed: The skin care commandment we all know and don’t really love, but just gotta do anyway. But to get a little more commanding about it, you should really be choosing a makeup remover based on your skin type — and for today’s purposes, we’re focusing on the best makeup removers for oily skin. They don’t contain any harsh astringents that can strip your skin of the oil it needs to stay properly moisturized, and since oily skin also tends to be prone to acne, some of these makeup removers also contain ingredients like zinc, clay, and rosehip, which can help calm breakouts.
Generally speaking, micellar waters and oil-based cleansers are ideal makeup removers for oily skin (and all skin types, for that matter). First of all, they’re pretty much the only types of makeup remover that thoroughly remove waterproof mascara, matte lipsticks, and other infamously stubborn makeup, without the need to scrub at your skin. In the process, they’ll also absorb excess sebum and other pore-clogging impurities that can lead to breakouts. That said, the other kinds of makeup removers on this list, including some gentle foaming cleansers, are equally effective for clarifying and balancing oily skin. Consider using them together — an oil-based cleanser or micellar water first, followed by a water-based cleanser (typically gels or foams) — for a deeper, more effective clean. This is called the double-cleansing method, and when you wear a lot of makeup, you'll probably find it quite necessary.
Now without further ado, scroll on to shop five of the best makeup removers for oily skin.
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1. Best Micellar Water
Micellar water is composed of micelles, which are tiny, oil-absorbing spheres that form when water, glycerin, and mild surfactant molecules bind together. So not only do those little guys suck up makeup, sunscreen, and the tiniest bits of grime that wind up clogging your pores, but they’ll also leave your skin feeling soft, supple, and properly hydrated — without a trace of oil or grease. As an added bonus for oily skin that's also acne-prone skin, this micellar water from La Roche-Posay contains zinc, a natural anti-inflammatory that can help calm acne flare-ups. No need to rinse this one off (but feel free to, obviously).
2. Best Cleansing Oil
Oil clings to oil, which is why oil cleansers (which are made with non-comedogenic oils) are so effective at breaking down the oils in your makeup and sunscreen, as well as the sebum in your pores. And this luxurious cleansing oil from clean beauty brand Pai is a particularly good choice for people with oily or combination skin. Relative to other oil cleansers, which can feel overly heavy and viscous, the consistency is light, fluid, and about as refreshing as an oil can possibly feel. (The fresh, citrusy scent helps with that, too.) Plus, the rosehip extract in here is beneficial for combatting acne, as well as reducing unwanted scarring from past breakouts. It’s free of virtually any additives, including fragrance (the scent is all natural), so it’s a good choice if your skin is sensitive, too.
3. Best Foaming Gel
This First Aid Beauty cleanser is the rare foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip or irritate your skin, thanks to the addition of moisturizing glycerin and calming plant extracts. But you’re still getting a super deep clean, courtesy of purifying red clay, while toning rosemary leaf oil and licorice help balance excess oil. This gets rave reviews (and several holy-grail statuses) from oily-skinned folks on Amazon, who say it leaves their skin clear, shine-free, and glowing. And another reviewer, who uses this “religiously at the end of the day,” confirms that it completely removes their budge-proof eye makeup with ease.
4. Best Hybrid
Another good choice if you like the satisfyingly deep clean you usually get from foams: This Garnier SkinActive cleanser, a foaming version of their fan-favorite micellar water. It works just as well as a usual micellar water at melting off all traces of makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil, and since it’s formulated specifically for oily skin, it’ll leave your skin with a matte finish. With this order you're getting two, big bottles for about $13, so the value is pretty unbeatable.
5. Best Eye Makeup Remover
All the makeup removers on this list can effectively remove eye makeup. But if you’ve really spackled on the mascara and eyeliner today, these Almay eye makeup remover pads are bound to come in handy (use these as a first step, then follow up with a proper cleanser). They’re oil-free, so they won’t leave your eyes feeling heavy, cloudy, and greasy; and since they’re ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-tested, and fragrance-free, they won’t irritate sensitive eyes. This is the only eye makeup remover that’s ever worked on my own sensitive, makeup-spackled eyes, FYI.