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When it comes to removing makeup without using an oil-based product, the best oil-free makeup removers are undoubtedly micellar waters. Micellar waters are lightweight, non-greasy, and gentle enough for every skin type, and they remove makeup just as effectively as cleansing oils and balms. There are also more traditional makeup removers that are made without oil, and another option you have is a makeup removing towel (not a wipe), which cleanses your face using just water. In this article, you’ll find great options in every category, so keep scrolling to find your perfect match.
But before you get to shopping, don’t forget to stock up on some reusable cotton rounds, which, unlike their single-use counterparts, can be used over and over again, making them a much more eco-friendly (and budget-friendly) alternative. Since all of the makeup removers featured here are liquids, you’re definitely going to need cotton pads to get the job done.
Oh, and one other tip? Though these makeup removers are all incredibly effective, you’ll still want to follow up with a proper cleanser to get rid of any residue that’s been left behind. (You can find a list of the best oil-free cleansers, here.)
Scroll on to shop the best oil-free makeup removers, all for under $20 on Amazon.
1. The Overall Best Oil-Free Makeup Remover
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water is one of those beauty staples that belongs in every bathroom cabinet. Not only does it have a cult-like following among beauty pros, but even Amazon shoppers have caught on, having awarded it over 20,000 five-star ratings thus far. It really does feel as light as water, and it doesn’t leave any sort of sticky or greasy residue on your skin. After it’s removed all of your makeup, which it’s more than capable of doing, your face will feel soft, clean, and refreshed. It’s free of fragrance and alcohol, in addition to oil, and is safe for use on even the most sensitive skin.
2. The Best Oil-Free Makeup Remover For Oily Skin
Another great micellar water from a French pharmacy brand, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Water was specifically formulated for people with oily skin. The oil- and alcohol-free formula contains zinc to reduce excess oil, the humectant glycerin for grease-free hydration, and the brand’s mineral-rich thermal spring water to soothe and refresh your skin. For best results, follow up with the brand’s Effaclar gel cleanser (or the Effaclar medicated cleanser, if you have acne-prone skin).
3. The Chicest Oil-Free Makeup Remover
If you, like so many among us, choose your beauty products based on their chic packaging, you’ll love this TO DO LIST Cleansing Water. Made with soothing botanicals like calendula, mugwort, rosemary, sage, and lemongrass, and made without without oil, alcohol, and fragrance, it’s another gentle choice for all skin types, including sensitive skin. If you wind up loving it, consider checking out the brand’s equally gentle Bubble Cleanser, which would make an amazing follow-up to the micellar water.
4. The Best Oil-Free Makeup Remover Under $10
Though this isn’t a micellar water, it is an excellent, affordable, no-frills makeup remover that’s made without fragrance and oil. It contains aloe vera, ginseng, and green tea to gently nourish and refresh your skin, though it’s strong enough to remove even waterproof makeup. Just note that you’ll need to shake this bi-phase cleanser before you use it, and again, you’ll want to follow up with a gentle cleanser (like the brand’s best-selling product) to ensure nothing has been left on your skin.
5. The Best Makeup Remover Towel
If simple skin care is your motto, it’s hard to get any more no-frills than a nifty towel that you dampen with water and use to remove your makeup — almost like magic. The MakeUp Eraser works much like a dust cloth, and it’s far more effective than a regular bathroom towel. It’s double-sided and super soft, with a short-fiber side that you use to remove makeup by carefully rubbing your skin in circular motions. Want some light exfoliation? Flip the towel over to use the longer-fiber side. The MakeUp Eraser is reusable and machine washable, and effective enough to take off even waterproof mascara (again, using nothing but water). Cool, right?