Mascaras have a come a long way from the flakey, brittle formulas of years past. Today, you really can apply mascara and – through blood, sweat and tears (well, maybe not blood, but you get the idea) – it will steadfastly stay put throughout the day. We thought we were thrilled. We loved not worrying about raccoon eyes or eye dandruff, if you will. We loved being able to confidently bat our lashes for hours on end, confident that their curl, length and thickness were just as picture perfect as when we left our bathroom mirrors hours ago. That is, until we realized that the same formulas that weren’t budging throughout the day, well, weren’t budging at night either.
With cotton ball after cotton ball we would dutifully remove our mascara. And remove more mascara. And remove more mascara. It seemed that no matter how many cotton balls dipped in remover, there was always more to be removed. Even when we were convinced it was all off, we would inevitably wake up the next morning with black streaks on our pillows and down our cheeks. So, again, we would hit the remover.
We loved our never-budging mascaras until, well, we wanted them to budge – and hated waking up looking like we hadn’t wasted countless cotton balls trying to remove our eye makeup. Not enough, of course, to revert back to our flaking formulas that were oh-so-easily removed, but enough to try to find a better solution.
So, we called in the pros, turned to our trusted advisors and put the best of the best to the test! Here’s what we found.
Clinique Take The Day Off Balm, $27 at sephora.com
This ophthalmologist tested, lightweight balm is gently massaged into dry skin as a solid balm, transforming with your body’s heat into a silky oil that seamlessly dissolves even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup. It rinses off completely with warm water, leaving skin clean (pillow cases too!). Scared of the word “oil”? don’t be! This formula is not greasy at all and really does rinse off entirely.
La Prairie Cellular Eye Makeup Remover, $60 at saks.com
If a more traditional liquid eye makeup remover is your preference, this one from La Prairie is the best we’ve tested. The gentle formula is safe for even the most sensitive peepers (even those with contacts) and removes mascara without irritation or residue. To remove really stubborn formulas, saturate a cotton pad and gently press onto lashes for 30 seconds before softly massaging makeup away.
Almay Hypo-Allergenic Eye Makeup Remover Pads, Moisturizing, $4.99 at drugstore.com
For the ultimate in convenience, these pre-soaked wipes not only remove the most stubborn of eye makeup (and long wear lipsticks!), but also moisturize the delicate eye area too, perfect for fending off the signs of aging. The fragrance–free formula is also 100% hypoallergenic, although the oily consistency of the solution can be a bit too much for women with skin not quite so dry – but a welcomed relief for those of us trying to save time on our evening routines!