As much as waterproof mascara is a godsend, it is a nightmare to take off. Makeup wipes don’t cut it. Soap gets in your eyes. And, no matter which method you choose, there’s a lot of excessive, irritating tugging and pulling along the delicate skin around your eyes. One night, while trying to remove my usual waterproof mascara and liquid eyeliner combo, an alarming thought occurred to me: Is removing my eye makeup giving me wrinkles?
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While I’m all about aging gracefully, I’d rather not accelerate the process, so I turned to two experts for advice: New York City board certified dermatologist Melissa Levin and celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendaño.
“Repetitive, harsh rubbing, whether its your hand, a cotton pad, or a Clarisonic, can not only break your skin barrier but also form small little blood vessels and increase irritation,” Levin warns. The more rubbing you do, the more the thin skin around the eyes is stretched and the structural elastin proteins break down.
She continues, “I always say leave your cotton pad with remover in place for 30 seconds, let it gently break up the product, and gently wipe it off. Then, for whatever residue is left, gently line the eye with a soft cotton Q-tip and follow with facial cleanser.” Levin suggests either a bi-phase makeup remover and micellar water—she’s a new fan of Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover.
Avendaño, who does makeup for the likes of Camila Cabello, Vanessa Hudgens, and Zendaya, swears by French pharmacy staple Bioderma. “If I’m doing eye changes, I literally do one swipe and even mascara is gone. Bioderma gets it off so fast. I gently rub it and just keep going until it’s all off,” he says. The makeup artist, also a Differin partner, says he also uses Make Up For Ever Sens’Eyes (“It’s not irritating at all”) and Clinique Cleansing Balm (“It takes off everything“). Avendaño is also a fan of oil cleansers because “they have such a squeaky clean finish without feeling like you’re stripped.”
Once you’ve properly cleaned off all your eye makeup, Levin suggests following up with an eye cream. “I never tell people that eye cream is going to take away deep wrinkles that already exist, or significant pigmentation, or blue veins under the eyes. But, certain eye creams can help rebuild the barrier,” she says, “Wash your face morning and night and your first step should be eye cream.”
Shop your waterproof eye makeup-removing arsenal, ahead.