What's the right makeup remover for you?

As much as we love our makeup, wearing a fully made up face also means taking it off at the end of the day. But with so many makeup removers in the market right now, how do you choose which one to get? Liz answered this question a couple of years back but we’re giving you an update with this handy guide. Makeup removers like micellar water and sherbet cleansers have since become staples in our cleansing routine, and we find ourselves reaching for the much improved makeup wipes after a tiring day. Read on to figure out which makeup remover is right for you.

Makeup Wipes

Who it's for: Busy bees, lazy types (we get ya)

Makeup type: Light makeup, non-waterproof

The quick pull-and-wipe process of using makeup wipes is heaven-sent for days when you’re dead on your feet after a loooonnng day. One sheet is usually enough for a full face, depending on the amount of makeup as well as the formula and size of the sheet. While you can go to sleep immediately after, it's still advisable to go through your skincare routine as much as possible.

Most skincare brands have come out with their own version of wipes, and some of our faves include the Bioré Cleansing Oil Facial Cotton Sheets, Celeteque Hydration Make-Up Remover Cleansing Facial Wipes, and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths. Nivea even has two variants for their wipes: the Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes and the Exfoliating Wipes, which we make sure to hoard whenever Nivea goes on sale. And if ever your wipes dry out before you use them, don't throw them out yet! Liz's trick of rehydrating them with water easily brings them back to life.

Micellar Waters/Cleansing Waters

Who it's for: Normal to oily, sensitive skin, those who don't like the feeling of oily residue after removing makeup

Makeup type: Heavy makeup, water-resistant bu non-waterproof

Removing makeup is a breeze with this product type. Squirt on a cotton pad, place on top of makeup to allow it to “soak”, and then wipe it off. Micellar waters often can't take off waterproof makeup like mascara and eyeliner though, so you would need to grab a specialized makeup remover like the Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover or the Laneige Lip & Eye Remover Waterproof.

If you haven’t tried this yet and want to understand how it works, do check out our Micellar Water 101. When you’re ready to try them out, consider getting Bioderma Sensibio H2O (great for sensitive skin), Bifesta Cleansing Lotion (available in different variants to match skin concerns), and the Maybelline Micellar Water (a budget-friendly option).

Facial Cleansers

Who it's for: Busy bees, lazy girls, oily skin, those who don't like the feeling of oily residue after removing makeup

Makeup type: Light makeup, preferably not water-resistant or water-proof, 

Removing makeup and cleansing your face at the same time sounds like a good idea, but only works if you have light makeup on. The Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser for Face and Eyes and the Bioré UruUru 2-in-1 Instant Foaming Wash both feel gentle on the skin but wash off makeup. You can also check out the Etude House Every Month Cleansing Foam and the Etude House Baking Powder BB Deep Cleansing Foam for under 500 facial wash options that can remove remove BB creams. Remember though: no matter how good your facial wash is, if you’re not doing it properly, you’ll still have dirt and makeup residue left on your skin! Massage your face thoroughly to break down the makeup before washing it off.

Cleansing Oils

Who it's for: Dry, sensitive, mature skin

Makeup type: Heavy, water-proof

The idea of deliberately putting oils on your face and using them to clean your skin may seem baffling for some but actually makes a lot of sense, especially when you need to remove very thick or waterproof makeup. The idea is to use oil to breakdown the makeup formulas and dissolve impurities without causing the skin to dry out. Make sure to read our oil cleansing 101 guide to learn how to do it properly and use the right type of oils. We love the Human Nature Gentle Cleansing Oil, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil, and Muji Mild Cleansing Oil. If you have the cash to spare though, consider the VMV Hypoallergenics Gentle & Softening Makeup Removing Oil, the Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil or the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil. I personally swear by the Anti/Oxi variant of Shu Uemura, which made our list of cult favorites that are worth the hype.

Cold Creams

Who it's for: Dry, mature skin

Makeup type: Light to medium coverage, non water-proof but could be water-resistant

Who hasn't heard of using the classic Pond's Cold Cream as a makeup remover? Just massage it onto the skin and either wipe off or rinse with warm water. The creamy lotion feel is perfect for those with dry skin! You can also try the Mizon Almighty Cold Cream or the Etude House Happy Tea Time Cleansing Cream.

Sherbet Cleansers

Who it's for: All skin types

Makeup type: Heavy, water-proof (especially handy when you love to wear water-proof mascara)

Although it also comes in a tub and is massaged all over the face, this is a vastly different product from cold creams! The most famous one of course is the Banila Co Clean It Zero, which can remove even the hardiest of waterproof makeup without needing much effort or leaving the face too dry. It's like cleansing oil in solid form that melts when massaged onto dry skin. Other Korean brand releases of this type of cleanser include the Tony Moly Aquaporin Sherbet Cleanser, Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet, and Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make Up Zero Sherbet Cleanser.

Bonus: Towels

You read that right. Some people actually use a wash cloth coupled with facial wash to remove their makeup, but a regular towel would have rough fibers that can cause abrasions to your face. The Makeup Eraser is a washable cloth made of super soft fibers, and is designed to remove makeup (including waterproof ones!) with just warm water. You’ll get years of use out of a single towel, so it’s both a budget- and eco-friendly alternative! If you wanna give it a try, it is currently available in four colors at Sephora PH

(Editor's note: Personally though, a plain microfiber towel would work just as well!)


  • Which of these makeup remover types are your go-tos?
  • What would you like to try?
  • Do you mix up your makeup removing techniques or just stick to one type?