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How to remove eyeliner

For most makeup lovers, eyeliner is an everyday staple. Whether you want to go bold and dramatic or add a little definition for a natural look, eyeliners bring on all the color and fun. What’s probably not so fun, though, is having to take it off before you go to bed.

You know the importance of taking off all your makeup at the end of the day. (If you don’t, just know a whole bunch of skin concerns like eye irritation and unwanted breakouts can occur when sleeping with your makeup on.) So while it may be tempting to skip out on it, it is beyond worth doing — for your skin’s sake.

You’ll want to keep this guide handy the next time you wake up with remnants of yesterday’s eyeliner smudged on your face. Here, global senior artist at M.A.C. Cosmetics Michelle Clark breaks down the four best ways to remove stubborn eyeliner.

1. Use Micellar Water

Clark says the best way to remove eyeliner is to dissolve it with either micellar water or oil. For non-waterproof liner, she says using micellar water should do the trick. This is especially great for those with sensitive eyes as it’s a very gentle remover.

It’s pretty simple to use. She recommends wrapping a makeup-removing micellar water wipe, like M.A.C. Cosmetics Gently Off Wipes + Micellar Water, around a cotton swab and gliding it along the lash line. After that, you can then remove the wipe from the cotton swab and use it to remove any residue.

She also likes using a micellar water-based product for waterline liner removal. “It’s gentle and it won’t get into your eyes and leave a film as oil can,” she says. For this you’ll want to dip a cotton swab in micellar water. Then, gently press down just below the waterline and slowly glide it along to remove.

Whether you’re taking it all off at the end of the night or you’ve fallen victim to a line gone wrong mid-eyeliner application, you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to removing this beloved eye makeup product. Well, lucky for you, there’s more than one makeup remover option you can use to swipe away undesired eyeliner. In fact, we’ve compiled a list of three ways to easily remove eyeliner—no need to fret over a spoiled makeup look or seemingly irremovable cat eye. Interested? Let’s get to it!

OPTION #1: MICELLAR WATER

Micellar water will always be one of our favorite, tried-and-true methods for removing makeup, including eyeliner. Powered by micelle molecules that cluster together to surround and lift away impurities and makeup, there’s no rinsing or harsh rubbing required. This is a great option for those who may have flicked their wing a little too far or simply want to remove a misdrawn line without ruining the rest of their eye makeup look.

Simply dip a cotton swab in the liquid formula and swipe away the liner mishap in question. Since there’s no rinsing required, you don’t have to worry about washing away the rest of your look in the process! Want to use it for a total removal? Saturate a cotton pad and hold it over your eye for a few seconds, then gently wipe.

OPTION #2: EYE MAKEUP REMOVER

Of course, eye makeup remover may seem like an obvious option, but it’s an option worth mentioning. As opposed to traditional makeup remover, eye makeup remover is ophthalmologist tested and formulated specifically for use on the eyes. If you’re looking to wipe your liner away, consider it a foolproof choice!

Product pick: Give the L’Oréal Paris Clean Artiste Eye Makeup Remover a try. This oil-free eye makeup remover removes eye makeup instantly with its gentle formula, cleaning the delicate eye area without leaving a greasy film. Wearing waterproof eyeliner? Use the L’Oréal Paris Clean Artiste Waterproof & Long Wearing Eye Makeup Remover instead. The formula instantly dissolves every trace of eye makeup, even long-wearing products, while gently conditioning your lashes. To use either, saturate a cotton ball with your remover of choice, close your eyes, and sweep the cotton ball gently across your lids.

OPTION #3: MAKEUP WIPES

Last but not least, we couldn’t leave makeup wipes off this list! They’re a convenient option for traveling, as you can easily stash a pack in your purse or backpack for on-the-go removal. Not to mention, it’s perfect for those nights you just can’t wait until you get home to take your makeup off. Say goodbye to your liner during your commute!

Product pick: Give the L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean All Skin Types Makeup Removing Towelettes a try. These alcohol-free, ultra-soft towelettes gently yet effectively remove all traces of makeup, mascara, and even long-wear formulas—including that waterproof liner you swear by—without drying out your skin. Dirt and oil are dissolved for clean and visibly tightened pores.

Want a deeper cleanse at the end of the night? Use the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Wet Cleansing Towelettes. These towelettes are specially formulated to nourish skin and boost radiance while gently exfoliating and removing all traces of impurities and makeup. What eyeliner? Bonus: Your skin will look smoother, brighter, and more refined.

Next up: What about the rest of your complexion? We’re sure eyeliner isn’t the only makeup product you’ll want to remove at the end of the night. To get makeup-free skin, head on over to our article, How to Remove Every Kind of Makeup.

Cleopatra-inspired makeup and a black smoky eye is all fun and games until it comes to the part where you have to take it all off. Even as beauty editors, we can admit that makeup removal is a hassle and sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do, especially after a long night out. Throw in a stubborn black eyeliner on your waterline, and you’ve got a recipe for spending way too long scrubbing your eyes until they’re red or worse, giving up altogether (PSA don’t sleep with makeup on, kids). Here, to shed light on the gentle way to remove eyeliner from your waterline are celebrity makeup artists Billie Gene and Jenna Kristina. Ahead, read on for their expert tips and tricks. Tip #1: Use a Q-tip “To remove black eyeliner from the waterline, I simply suggest using a Q-tip dipped in an oil or water-based makeup remover,” says Gene. The idea here is that an oil-based remover can easily break down the eyeliner, making it a cinch to remove without harsh scrubbing. Tip #2: A Little Goes a Long Way “A common mistake people make when removing eyeliner from the waterline is applying too much remover to the Q-tip or eye area,” says Gene. A little remover goes a long way when removing eyeliner in those hard-to-reach areas, especially your inner tear duct. Kristina says it’s important to avoid harsh cleansers with acids and exfoliators when removing your eye makeup as doing so may cause further irritation. Tip #3: Liquid Removers and Cleansing Balms Are Your Best Friends In this case, you want to put the makeup wipes down and opt for a liquid makeup remover or cleansing balm. “I love both types of removers because they are super effective and are also extremely quick to use,” says Gene. “Some of my favorites are the Lancôme Bi-Facial Double Action Eye Makeup Remover and the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm.” Pro tip: “If you are using a balm, rub it all over your face and then use a super soft warm cloth to massage the product off. This is an amazing treatment for your skin but also helps to melt your makeup off,” says Kristina.

Tip #4: Always Remove Your Eyeliner First Because your waterline is one of the most tedious parts of your makeup removal, Gene recommends getting it out of the way first. “It makes the process so much easier because then you can immediately (and easily) wash the rest of your makeup off with your remover or face wash.” Read More: 5 Golden Honey Makeup Products We Can’t Stop Buzzing About Upgrade Your Winter Makeup Routine With These 6 Product Swaps 5 Best Clear Lip Glosses for Every Budget

­Sometimes when you’re in a hurry with your eye makeup, it’s your furniture and other furnishings that end up needing a makeover. Avoid all that ugliness with some helpful stain removal techniques.

The first step in removing makeup stains is to identify the stained material.­­­

­Below are the most common types of materials that can become makeup-stained, with steps on how to remove makeup from each:

  • Non-washable fibers such as Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk Triacetate or Wool
  • Washable fibers such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester or Spandex
  • Hard surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Alabaster, Asphalt Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Cork Enamel, Glass, Gold, Ivory, Jade, Linoleum, Marble, Paint/Flat, Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Stainless Steel, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile or Vinyl Wallcovering
  • Stone surfaces such as Bluestone, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate or Terrazzo
  • Leather or Suede
  • Wood

Follow these steps to remove makeup stains from Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk Triacetate, Wool:

  • Brush (the method of using a stiff-bristled brush to gently remove dried stains and spots) or blot up any excess, taking care not to spread the stain.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining materials and residue from stain removers) with a dry-cleaning solvent such as Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the dry spotter.
  • Check the stain every 5 minutes.
  • Before changing pads, press hard against the stain.
  • Continue the alternate soaking and pressing until no more stain is being removed.
  • Flush with one of the dry-cleaning solvents and allow to dry.
  • If any stain remains, flush it with water and apply a wet spotter with a few drops of ammonia. (Do not use ammonia on silk or wool.)
  • Cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter.
  • Let it stand as long as any stain is being removed.
  • Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep the stain and pad moist.
  • Flush well with water. Repeat if necessary; allow to dry.

Follow these steps to remove makeup stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Spandex:

  • Brush or blot away any excess, taking care not to spread the stain.
  • Flush with a dry-cleaning solvent such as Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with a cloth dampened with the dry spotter.
  • Check the stain often, tamping (the method of bringing a brush down with light strokes on stained durable fabrics and materials) before changing the pad.
  • Continue alternate soaking and tamping until no more stain is lifted.
  • Flush with one of the dry-cleaning solvents and allow to dry.
  • If any stain remains, try the same procedure of soaking and tamping, using a wet spotter and a few drops of ammonia.
  • When the stain is gone, be sure to flush the area with water to remove all traces of ammonia. Launder as soon as possible.

Follow these steps to remove makeup stains from Acrylic Plastic, Alabaster, Asphalt Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Cork Enamel, Glass, Gold, Ivory, Jade, Linoleum, Marble, Paint/Flat, Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Stainless Steel, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Wipe any spills or brush away any excess.
  • With a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water, wash the surface.
  • Rinse well with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Follow these steps to remove makeup stains from Bluestone, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Terrazzo:

Wearing elaborate eye looks is all fun and games until you get to that part of the day where you have to remove every bit of it. Makeup removal is not an easy task (nor is it fun either), especially after a long night when all you want to do is go to sleep. But that’s a risk we don’t want you to take — going to bed without taking your makeup off because it can cause extensive damage to your skin.

While foundation and lipsticks are easy to take off, eye makeup is particularly stubborn to get rid of. Girls who wear kohl or eyeliner on their waterline would know that the struggle is far too real. Buuut, instead of firmly scrubbing or rubbing your eyes to get rid of the eyeliner, go ahead and take a look at some effective methods we’ve listed down that will help you get rid of every last trace of eyeliner effectively — yes, promise!

Tip #01: Use a Q-tip

Simply dip a Q-tip in micellar water like the Pond’s Vitamin Micellar Water D-Toxx Charcoal or oil-based makeup remover like the Lakme Absolute Bi-Phased Makeup Remover to get rid of the eyeliner with ease. Both products have the ability to break makeup particles so that they can be easily picked by the Q-tip; thereby preventing harsh rubbing that can damage the delicate skin around eyes.

Tip #02: Don’t use too much remover

Even if you drew a thick line on the waterline, don’t use too much makeup remover. You require very little product to reach tiny areas such as your tear ducts. Steer clear of any harsh cleansers that might cause irritation. Instead, opt for a gentle cleanser like the Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water.

Tip #03: Give makeup wipes a break

While makeup wipes can be great for on-the-go cleansing or when you’re on vacation and can’t be bothered to do the whole shebang, we suggest not using it to get rid of eyeliner from the waterline. No matter how soft the wipe claims to be, you won’t be able to reach nooks and corners. And, even if you do use wipes, don’t forget to follow it up with a gentle cleanser to thoroughly get rid makeup and oil from the skin.

Tip #04: Always start by removing your eyeliner

As a general rule of thumb, it is best to first get rid of eye makeup and then the rest of your face. This prevents the risk of transferring makeup from the face into your eyes and also picks off any makeup that may have spread outside the eyes. Start with the stubborn eyeliner on your waterline and then move on to your eyelids.