Clean That Stuff Off: The Makeup Removal Post

This was requested AGES ago by my friend Sophie of “I Am Very Busy and Important”. Sorry it’s taken me so long, Soph!

Makeup removal is a fairly personal thing, I think. I have a few different techniques that I use, I don’t think any of them are particularly out there, they’re pretty standard. But they work great for me so I’ll post about them, shall I? Ok then.

Eye makeup removal is one of the things that people seem to struggle with the most. It’s that eternal battle between coveting something that’s as long-lasting as possible (because fuck touching up all the time, am I right? You know I’m right) and not wanting to need battery acid to remove it. The best combination I’ve found is to use a cleansing micellar water for a bit of a soak, followed up with an oil cleanser. Let me explain.

The Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Cleansing Water (previously called Crealine H2O) does not look like it should work. It literally looks like water. It doesn’t have that dual-phase thing where you shake it up to activate it, it just looks like water.


But it’s not. It is magical and special. Now, I’m not a scientist, and others are better at explaining why it actually works. But it does. So this is always my first step for removing makeup. I put a decent amount of it on 2 cotton pads, like I don’t SOAK them until they’re dripping but I put quite a bit on each pad so that when you press the pads onto your eyes, you get a lot of product contact onto the eyelid. You want to press them on for awhile, I usually try to count to thirty, slowly. I gently move my fingertips around on the other side of the pad to make sure the product comes into full contact, but I try not to rub it on my eyelid skin. When I take the pads from my eyes, I wipe gently outwards to make sure I lift as much as I can off my eyelids. I then turn the pads over and repeat, making sure I press into all the crannies. I have deep sunk eyes so… there are crannies. You can get this product from lots of different places in Australia – interestingly, it’s very hard to find in the USA apparently?! But in good old Australia it’s available at Priceline, Terry White Chemists, Adore Beauty and plenty of other places. It comes in 3 different sizes – 100mL (dinky and cute for travelling / small spaces), 250mL and 500mL. There are cheaper dupes available which I have not tried myself, but I have heard good things about both the Garnier one, and the L’Oreal one as well as a brand-favourite of mine, the LaRoche Posay one. Would love to know if anyone has tried these!

So that’s my first step. Following this is always an oil cleanser, without exception. Most makeup will contain a bit of oil, or oil-mimicking ingredients. It is, in my opinion, very difficult or impossible to remove makeup without an oil cleanser. It is for me anyway. I absolutely love oil cleansing. The one I’ve been using for the last year or so is the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil.


I really love this product. It’s fabulous. It’s a nice light oil, it’s not too dense or thick or greasy. You can get it from Aesop Australia for $57 (200mL) or from Adore Beauty for the same price but with free shipping (not sure if Aesop does free shipping). One thing I’d definitely recommend with this is grabbing a pump for $1.95 – it’s a bastard to get out of the bottle without one. I put a couple of pumps of this into my dry hands, then rub my hands together briefly and massage it into my face (again dry, don’t add water to anything yet!) for quite a long time, as long as I have time for really. A minute is great. Take this opportunity to give yourself a lovely facial massage. I find this really soothing and therapeutic. Use your fingertips, be gentle but firm, go in small circles. Rub into your eyebrows and as close to your eyes as you like, this is TOTALLY personal. I know some people hate having oil cleansers near their eyes but I don’t mind it, and find that it always gets rid of any excess that has been left behind after the micellar water. After you’ve given it a good massage and you feel like you’ve really lifted up all the makeup on your face, wet your hands thoroughly and go back in with the rubbing. This will turn the oil into a kind of milky consistency. I then use a muslin cloth or any cloth that’s soft and not overly scratchy to remove the oil and water and makeup mixture from the skin, thoroughly. My absolute all time favourite cloths for this are the Mecca Clean Slate Cleansing Cloths. One side is a muslin-style loose weave cotton and the other is a suede type material which is brilliant for the delicate eye area.


They’re extremely durable and machine washable unlike your usual bought-from-Spotlight-and-cut-into-pieces muslin cloth – this is a great thing for value, it’s about $2.50 a metre, but they go a bit funny in the wash if you don’t wash them in a delicates bag. I often give my face cloths a good soak in some napisan etc before they go into the wash, just to make sure all the crud gets out. Whichever cloth type you use, don’t re-use them before washing them. Straight in the laundry hamper ladies! And blokes.

Okay so, I know I said I loved the Aesop cleansing oil and I do. But I have been cheating on it lately with one of my latest loves. I did talk about this in a previous blog post, the February Favourites, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s in this lot of products. It’s the Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly, $54 from Mecca.


It is wonderful stuff. It’s not quite an oil, but kind of a balm/gel/oil hybrid. It’s very dense and thick, and requires a bit more working in than the Aesop oil, but it probably works just a smidge better. It’s faster and more effective at removing makeup. However, it’s not amazing value. For your money you get not much – about 100mL, half of the Aesop amount. But it is great stuff, and I’ll be repurchasing it. For an amazing, clever and full review of this product check out my beautiful friend’s blog post about it on

The final step is just using your usual cleanser to get rid of any makeup / oil remnants. To be honest, I do this step maybe 50% of the time. Sometimes I feel very thoroughly cleansed already and just don’t want to add more stuff to my face. But I know that people say it’s quite an important step so I try to remember to do it! My current cleanser is the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser ($54 from Mecca), recommended for oily to normal skin. I definitely would NOT use this if I had dry skin. But for combo skin it’s lovely!


I wasn’t sold at first but now that I’ve been using it consistently I do find it mostly does what it promises which is – ‘This cleanser purifies the skin, tightens pores, and supports natural collagen and circulation with natural essential oils to tone and balance the skin. It detoxifies, minimizes pore size, and helps you achieve a flawless, “ceramic-smooth” complexion.’ I say “mostly” because I’m not sure about ceramic-smooth – perhaps if your skin is pretty smooth already? And I have crater-pores so I’m not sure about that either but still, the rest is about right. Is it worth the money? Well you get a decent amount and only need a little bit, so I would say probably. If you have a cleanser that’s working for you though, I suggest you stick with it.

As with all cleansing routines, following up with a moisturiser is essential. I also love a toner but that’s just me, I know people are sometimes pro toners and sometimes not. I’m pro. My current love is the Ren Clarimatte toner. But at least moisturise, and do it well. Night time moisturising is essential!

Thanks for reading. Please, as always, I welcome all feedback!

Off to Sydney on Monday for my visa interview. I am hoping to be given a visa! Cross your fingers for me, dear readers.


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