Whether you’re exhausted after a long work day or home late from a night on the town, removing makeup before bed can feel like an insurmountable task. Between waterproof mascara, smudge-proof foundation and lip stain that lives up to its name, sometimes it can seem easier to just ignore the chore and deal with it in the morning. We’re here to tell you that removing makeup is a non-negotiable for the long-term health of your skin. Read on to find out how to make the whole process easier on you and your complexion.
Is sleeping in your makeup that bad? In a word, “yes”! New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum explains: “Oil, dirt, pollutants and makeup when left on the skin [overnight] can lead to breakouts, irritation, styes and even accelerated aging of the skin." In other words, you’re doing damage when you go to bed without a good cleanse. Taking five minutes to tackle the issue head-on will make a world of difference now and later.
And we get it, after a long day or night out, it can be tempting to hit the sheets without washing your makeup off, but this skin care step isn't optional. While one slip-up won’t ruin your complexion, consistently skipping your nighttime cleanse can cause cumulative damage. Some of the other effects of inconsistent makeup removal include:
- Dull skin
- Free radical damage
- Clogged pores
Skin renews itself overnight, so when you leave makeup on, you are interfering with the skin’s natural turnover process whereby dead and damaged skin cells are shed from the surface and replaced by new, healthy cells. Hence the term "beauty sleep."
Now that we've established that going to bed with makeup on is not the move, what's the best way to remove it?
It's been buzzy in the skin care world for a minute and for good reason. Double cleansing is the most effective way to break down makeup and other surface impurities like dirt and oil. This face-washing technique begins with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a second cleanser of your choice, usually gel-based or foaming.
Double cleansing can seem daunting to anyone with oily skin but don't let it scare you. The reasoning behind slathering your face in oils in the name of cleansing stems from the idea that “like dissolves like.” According to Healthline: "Putting clean, nourishing oils on your skin aims to help ... lift excess sebum, the oily substance produced by glands on your skin, clean out clogged pores, like blackheads and whiteheads, and remove dead skin, pollutants and makeup."
Because oil attracts oil, it's a gentle first step to get rid of some of the pollution, dead skin, makeup and general gunk of the day that have accumulated on your face. This is why many makeup removers contain oil. That makes sense, right?
Ready to give this a try? These are the steps to perform a double cleanse:
- Break down makeup with a cleansing oil, balm or a creamy cleanser. The oil in the cleanser will solubilize oil-based products like foundation and mascara so they lift easily from your skin’s surface. Consider applying the Coconut Milk Cleanser, which is creamy and gentle enough for all skin types. Place a small amount in your hand and dilute it with water. Then, use your fingers to swipe it across your eyelids and lips and use circular motions to lightly massage it over your face. Rinse clean with lukewarm water.
- Remove remaining impurities with a second cleanser. Now that you’ve loosened and lifted your makeup, you need to sweep away stubborn dirt, grime and bacteria that are left on the skin. Simply apply your favorite cleanser to wash your skin more deeply and target specific skin concerns such as acne or aging. With this two-step process, you clear both types of impurities that can clog pores, dull your skin and contribute to premature aging. Ideally, the second cleanser should be gel-based or foaming.
The Stone Crop Gel Wash works for all skin types and hydrates while cleansing, thanks to the inclusion of shea butter and stone crop ingredients. For those with problem skin, consider the Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam to clear blocked pores and cleanse the skin. This foam features time-released encapsulated salicylic acid to unclog pores and contains a natural herb blend. Alternatively, if you’re concerned with large pores, the Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser minimizes the appearance of pores. This milky gel contains a Lactic Acid Complex that works together with mangosteen to give the skin a smoother, more radiant complexion by sloughing off dead skin.
Our Eminence Organics Product Support Representatives also recommend the Pineapple Refining Tonique to lift any residual debris from the skin. It reveals a brightened and smoother-looking complexion that will be even more receptive to the application of subsequent products.
Ready to start double cleansing? Watch this video for tips and product recommendations from our Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar.
Other Makeup Removal Tips
Avoid Cleansing Wipes
Skip the cleansing wipes. While they may be convenient, most makeup wipes won’t fully remove your makeup. As James C. Marotta, MD tells Good Housekeeping, “very few makeup wipes contain ingredients that can actually break down all of your face oils, makeup and gunk on your skin, so you’re really just rubbing bacteria, irritants and makeup wipe residue around your skin.” Plus, many cleansing wipes contain chemical ingredients and preservatives that can irritate the skin and cause dryness. And if you're looking for one more sign to ditch the wipes, think of their impact on the earth. Most makeup wipes aren't biodegradable, and some estimates suggest that over 20 million pounds of them end up in landfills every day!
Removing Eye Makeup
Waterproof mascara and eyeliner can be notoriously difficult to remove. If you’ve done a double cleanse, you’ve probably removed most of your eye makeup, but it’s worth touching up the area with a natural and organic product like our Herbal Eye Make-up Remover.
Don't forget, the skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate, so it’s important to be gentle. Instead of scrubbing vigorously, saturate a cotton pad with remover and hold it over each eye for ten seconds. This will give the remover time to break up and dissolve the makeup products before you gently wipe them off. If you need to get into the eye line and inner corners, gently wipe with a cotton swab to complete your cleanse.
Don’t Forget Your Neck And Hairline
You may have removed a layer of foundation from your face, but be sure you haven’t skipped your neck and hairline. If you stop short of these easy-to-miss areas, you can accumulate makeup residue that clogs pores and leads to breakouts. Pull back your hair with a headband and extend your face wash past your jaw to ensure you catch every last bit of makeup.
Try our Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser to remove the impurities of the day from your skin. Infused with chamomile, arnica and rosemary, this calming cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin prone to redness and makes a great second step in a double cleanse.
If you're fighting the appearance of breakouts, our Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser is the best choice to remove excess sebum from your complexion. It’s a clarifying cream-gel cleanser that treats oily and problem skin with cucumber and tea tree oil. Sweet almond milk and yogurt reduce the visible signs of problem skin without stripping the skin of moisture. In other words, it can help your skin recover from past “mistakes.”
Some occasions (like your wedding day) call for heavy-duty makeup, while others (Halloween parties) require full-fledged face paint. Whether your look is more romantic comedy or horror movie, the removal part can be a little scary. But fear not, we have a few tips, tricks and treats to help.
Since wedding makeup is essentially just long-wearing and waterproof makeup, you don't have to veer too far from your usual routine, with a couple of exceptions. You have probably been spending extra time taking care of your skin leading up to the big day, so don't stress too much about the aftermath of a very long day in full makeup, but all the more reason to get it off before bed!
Start with the eyes. Your false eyelashes may have stayed on through your vows, first dance and those tear-jerker speeches, but they shouldn't stay on overnight. Just like with waterproof mascara, your best bet is to use makeup remover on a cotton round and hold it over the eye for 10 or more seconds. This should loosen the glue and allow you to gently pull the false lashes off without taking any of your real ones with them. If you don't have eye makeup remover, use your oil-based first step from your double-cleansing routine or simply place a warm, moist face cloth over the eye for 10 seconds. Long-wearing eye shadow can be removed the same way. Make sure you're treating the delicate area gently to avoid irritating to the skin.
To tackle the heavy-duty foundation, a double cleanse is recommended. Follow the instructions above and if you have the time and energy, finish off with an overnight mask to help replenish any moisture. The Kombucha Microbiome Leave-On Masque is a great option.
Halloween makeup is a whole different beast. Not only is it usually applied with a heavier hand than regular makeup, it can be a nightmare for your skin. While we strongly advise against it, the face paint sold at Halloween stores often gets used that one night of the year. As with all products you apply to your body, do your best to avoid ingredients like heavy metals, formaldehyde and petrolatum.
To remove your Halloween makeup, start with an oil-based cleanser like the Stone Crop Cleansing Oil or a cream-based cleanser like the Coconut Milk Cleanser. Another option that can help break through that thick layer is the Kombucha Microbiome Foaming Cleanser. Crafted with micelles, an aggregate of mild surfactants gently trap and lift oil, dirt and debris like a magnet from the skin. The liquid-to-foam formula gently breaks down the makeup without over-drying.
The next step in the process is a second cleanse. Whether the first cleanser was oil-based or foamy, chances are, there is still some makeup lingering. A gel or foaming cleanser is your best bet. And follow that with a swipe of toner like the Pineapple Refining Tonique for a gentle exfoliation or the Kombucha Microbiome Balancing Essence to help soothe dry, dull skin.
Pro tip: If your costume includes body or face glitter, a lint roller will lift it off the skin. The adhesive is much gentler than what you'll find in regular tape (which is what a lot of people use).
Still not feeling squeaky clean? You can give your skin a facial steam to deepen your cleanse. Steam softens surface debris and releases any leftover grime and makeup that is still trapped in your pores after washing. Follow these steps for a facial steam at home:
- Fill your sink or a bowl with hot water.
- Place a large towel over your head.
- Hover your face 5 – 10 inches away from the steam. Lower or raise your head for more or less heat.
- Steam for 5 – 10 minutes (we recommend 2-minute intervals so you don’t overheat).
Makeup removal gives your skin a clean slate, but it needs to be followed with proper care to maintain your skin’s health and resilience. After cleansing, continue your skin care routine with these essential steps:
- Use a serum, oil or concentrate to target specific skin concerns and conditions.
- Moisturize to lock in hydration and protect your skin’s lipid barrier.
- Tap on an eye cream for a bright and smooth eye area.
- Apply SPF to protect your skin from the drying and aging effects of UV rays. We recommend the Radiant SPF Protection Fluid that helps keep skin looking smooth while offering broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
Are you looking for more advice about which products to use in your cleansing routine? Visit an Eminence Organics Spa Partner for skin care recommendations from a licensed esthetician!
This article was originally written in August 2019.