How To Remove Mascara Without Makeup Wipes

reusable bamboo cotton makeup remover pads in net bag on pink background

Don’t want to use makeup wipes to remove mascara? We’re going to show you how to do it. Keep reading!

So you’ve probably had a rough day at work or you just got back from a night out. All you can think about is letting your hair down and getting some much-needed rest. But you remember the daunting task of removing your mascara.

You know, the one with several layers that have dried up over the course of a long day. Maybe you have sensitive eyes, which tend to water when trying to remove eye makeup. Or perhaps you’re just over the painful tugging sensation of trying to scrub your mascara off with makeup wipes.

If your heart sinks at the thought of this, worry not. In this post, we’re going to walk you through how you can effectively remove mascara without makeup wipes. And we’ll tell you what could go wrong if you don’t remove eye makeup before you sleep.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Makeup Wipes

Makeup wipes contain harsh chemicals that destroy the acid mantle of your skin. And disrupt the pH balance leaving your skin prone to breakouts. Regularly using wipes just isn’t doing you any favours and you might need to replace them with gentler alternatives.

The acid mantle is a very thin, protective layer of the skin. It is made up of lipids from oil glands (sebaceous) and amino acids from sweat. Its function is to seal in the natural oils and moisture in your skin. It also acts as the first line of defence against dirt and other impurities. And it repels microbes such as bacteria or viruses etc. Essentially, losing this layer robs your skin of its moisture. Leaving it dry, and prone to cracking and skin infections.

Although dry skin isn’t usually a problem when cared for. If left untreated, atopic dermatitis (eczema) can creep in resulting in redness and inflammation. And because of the force needed to wipe off makeup. Some micro-tears may form, these form tiny boroughs that eventually mature into full-blown wrinkles. So, wipes can quicken the ageing process.

Since wipes have a considerably rough texture, they are considered an exfoliant. If you’re already on a regular exfoliation regime you run the risk of over-exfoliating. Which will undoubtedly damage your skin potentially leaving it thinner and more sensitive.

Makeup remover wipes are designed to break down makeup. And sadly, don’t do much for the oily residue that remains. Even though your face would be makeup-free, the residues and pollutants can clog the pores of your skin and potentially trigger acne.

Lastly, single-use makeup wipes seem benign but have terrible consequences for the environment. The issue is waste accumulating in dump sites and blocking sewerage pipes. Flushed wet wipes combine with congealed fat dumped in sinks and forms fatbergs that go on to block drainage pipes.

What Are The Best Makeup Wipes Alternatives?

Now that we’ve seen how bad makeup wipes are, here are some alternatives. Fortunately, these are both skin and environment friendly. The first on the list is reusable makeup wipes. These can be washed after each use and they’re ready to be used again. Their biggest advantage over their single-use counterparts is how they minimise the waste that ends up in landfills.

The second runner up is bamboo-based wet wipes. The plant-based wipes boast being biodegradable. Nature can reclaim them by decomposing them. This makes them a lot safer for the environment in the long run. Also, microfibre makeup remover cloths can be used. The microfibres use water and the power of many tiny fibres to cleanse the skin and wipe off any makeup. These can be reused many times over making them a sustainable option.

The next alternative is the double cleansing technique. Starting with an oil-based cleanser will help break down the makeup particles. Then followed by your usual cleanser to clear up the skin of any residue that could potentially clog your pores. Water-resistant makeup is dissolved by the oil making removal a tad easier. And last but not least, micellar water. This product is made of purified water, a cleaning agent (surfactant) and moisturizer such as glycerine. It works much as the oils do in double cleansing but with greater efficacy.

Furthermore, while I do have my favorites and even preferred brands of makeup remover, there are times when these options are not available to me. I am on a budget and love to get my money’s worth. The other week, I needed some makeup remover but the preferred brands I normally buy were not available.

Thus, I decided to experiment with DIY mascara removers. I used inexpensive natural ingredients that can remove my mascara just as effectively as chemical makeup removers. For the lowdown on effective makeup remover substitutes, read my post entitled “How To Take Off Mascara Without Makeup Remover.” In this guide, I will tell you about the makeup remover alternatives I currently use and why I love them!

What Can I Use To Remove Mascara Without Makeup Wipes?

Necessity is the mother of all invention. And removing stubborn mascara has long been a challenge but we have learnt how to work around it. Some methods might not be pretty but they sure get the job done.

Here is a quick list of what you can use to remove mascara without makeup wipes:

  • Vaseline
  • Micellar water
  • Oils (coconut, castor, olive and even baby oil)
  • Makeup removing toilettes such as those made by Loreal Paris

Instructions for removing mascara without makeup wipes:

Step 1:

Soak a makeup pad, cotton ball, or swab with any of the items listed above.

Step 2:

Rub the makeup pad, cotton ball, or swab around your eyelashes to remove all of the mascara.

Step 3:

Rinse the makeup pad, cotton ball, or swab and repeat until all the mascara is gone.

Since waterproof mascara is often oil-based or contains water-repelling compounds. Using water to wash it off simply won’t work. That’s where the oils come into play. They function by breaking down the mascara since they share a similar molecular structure. They gradually dissolve away the mascara so you can easily wipe it away.

How Can I Remove Mascara Naturally Without Makeup Wipes?

The most effective natural way to remove mascara is by using a mixture of oils. This method adopts the same principle as that of oil cleansing. And the most common combo is mixing coconut oil, castor oil and witch hazel. This requires that you have cotton swabs or pads.

Here’s how you can make your DIY mascara remover:

  • Put 2 teaspoons of coconut oil into a small jar.
  •  Add 1 teaspoon castor oil.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of witch hazel.
  • Mix the contents of the jar to a uniform consistency.

You can also throw in some essential oils to make it smell nice. But that’s a preference. To remove mascara, cover a cotton pad with 2 or 3 drops of DIY remover and place it over the eyes. Allow a minute or two to pass. And wipe downward and away from the eyes and the mascara should come right off. The oil works by breaking down the mascara, while the witch hazel helps treat any acne together with anti-inflammatory qualities.

The second natural method is using olive oil. Used in a similar way to the DIY remover above. Again, soak a cotton pad with a few drops of olive oil and place it over the eyes and finish how you would with the DIY remover. Using oils on the skin can leave it feeling heavy. Fortunately, you can counter this by washing off any excess with a cleanser or warm water. 

How Do You Remove Makeup Without Makeup Wipes?

Cleansing is another way of removing mascara, eyeliner, and other makeup. The term is broad to cater for the many ways you can cleanse your skin. These include oil cleansing, or using gels, creams and aloe vera. 

We’ll look at oil cleansing first. And this can be carried out using coconut oil or olive oil and sometimes aloe vera. The basic principle here is that the oils will dissolve the oil-based makeup. And in turn, break it down allowing you to easily wipe it off. 

Oil cleansing can be done by placing a few drops onto your palm or cotton pad. Then gently massage the oil on to the face. Then wipe off the oil and makeup residue with a clean cotton pad or clean cloth. Finish up with a cleanser of your choice or some warm water to get rid of any grime left over.

 Here’s how you can use aloe vera as a cleanser:

  • Mix (1/4 cup) raw honey and (1/4 cup) aloe vera gel in a bowl.
  • Pour in 2 tablespoons of oil. This can be coconut oil, olive oil or any of your choice.
  • Blend the mixture until it forms a paste and store in an airtight container. If your aloe has no preservatives, you will have to keep the DIY cleanser in the fridge.

When it comes to cleansing, massage a small scoop of the DIY cleanser onto the face and wait for one or two minutes. Then wash off with clean cool water.

The next method is micellar water. Since it contains both water-loving (hydrophilic) and water repellent (hydrophobic) elements its ability to remove makeup is increased. It can lift away dirt and impurities while being gentle on your skin. Micellar water is a gentle version of makeup remover combined with a cleanser in one. 

Lastly, you can use some good old soap and water. This method is the slowest of the above but it gets the work done. It also takes time and a bit of elbow grease. But minimises the waste at the end of each wash. And depending on the soap you use, it can be less harsh on your skin.

What Happens If You Don’t Wash Off Your Mascara?

Although it may not seem as dangerous, not removing your mascara can have some nasty health issues. When you sleep with mascara on, the makeup will dry and clump overnight. Making your lashes brittle and prone to breaking. The weight of multiple coats of the product gradually weakens your lashes causing many of them to fall out.

Also, as you turn in bed there is friction between your mascara clad lashes, skin and pillow. This contributes to skin irritation on the eyelids. Also, leaving the mascara on clogs up oil glands and hair follicles. And creates a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in eye infections, such as eyelid dermatitis and pink eye (conjunctivitis). The worst case scenario includes the appearance of bumps on your eyelids called styes or hordeolum. While the body can usually heal itself back up, medical attention may be necessary. But in all honesty, that’s a trip to the doctor’s office you’re better off avoiding altogether.

How To Remove Mascara Without Makeup Wipes: Final Thoughts

Mascara is one of the most popular makeup products, but sometimes it can become difficult to remove. Luckily, there are many ways to remove mascara. One of the most popular is washing your face with soap and water, which removes the oil that helps makeup stick to the skin. This method is effective but can take some time. There are also commercial products designed for removing makeup, but these can be expensive and contain harsh chemicals.

Some people prefer to use a DIY mascara remover using oil, or a DIY makeup remover using micellar water. There is an ever-growing world of DIY makeup removers now available to test out. Although some are more effective than others. The challenge is to find a remedy that effectively removes makeup while being gentle on your skin. Provided you understand the basic process of removing makeup. You too can cook up your recipe. The aim is to have sustainable beauty habits, as well as minimize damage to the environment.


Jessica Crawford

Jessica Crawford is a beauty editor at Kintegra Research. She writes stories about beauty for the internet. Obsessively writing about new eye makeup launches, the best eyelash products: mascara, fake lashes, and eyelash extensions. She also has an unhealthy crush on Brad Pitt and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.

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