No makeup remover? faceplant into your cupboard

Well, not literally (this blog is not responsible for any damage or irrational behavior caused by the title of the post) but I’ve heard enough people saying “why buy makeup when you can use olive oil? or coconut oil?” to pique my curiosity. Those two oil are the most often mentioned, but does the type of oil affect how well it take off makeup? Let’s find out! I’m not going to use any skincare products (facial/cleansing oil) since that defeats the “don’t buy extra stuff” purpose. From a survey of my cupboard, I found the following oil:

  • Grapeseed
  • Sesame oil (normal asian grocery store)
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (normal grocery store)


How well do they remove makeup? Why would you want to use them instead of makeup removers? Will I ditch my cleansing water for cleansing oil (never! oops, spoilers~~)? I briefly considered whether or not the oil is organic, virgin, extra virgin, cold pressed, yada yada will affect the makeup removing effectiveness. And for answer to all that…..

I applied a couple long lasting makeup from different categories on my arm: Stila waterproof liquid eyeliner, Marc Jacob Highliner, Urban Decay Revolution lipstick, and Benefit Hello Flawless liquid foundation. They are all 1 swipe each. I waited a bit and blotted twice with a kleenex to help set it before begin the experiment (top row). I dabbed my finger in the oil, did 10 rubs on the area, wait 5 seconds for oil to break down the makeup, then 10 more rubs (middle row). Since it didn’t really remove all the makeup, mostly the Stila eyeliner, I dabbed kleenex in oil then a couple of wipes and everything is gone (ok, except for a couple dots of Stila for olive and coconut oil).


Now, I don’t think it matters that much which type of oil you grab out of your cupboard to remove your makeup since there isn’t that significant of a difference between different oils. Except for the eyeliner, where the sesame oil had some difficulty with Marc Jacob highliner while the coconut oil had difficulty with Stila liquid eyeliner. This is interesting, and I did another swatch to confirm, because it’s the opposite than when I used cleansing waters. The cleansing water took off Stila waterproof liquid eyeliner with little problem (ironic) but had difficulty with Marc Jacob highliner and the “cleansing” oil are the opposite.

My impression from stuff I read online is that oil cleanser is more effective, but now I’m not so sure. I think water is better than oil for some, and vice versa probably due to the formulation of different makeup products (like the two eyeliners I tested). However, water require you to soak and wipe while oil require you to massage it on, so that action may help break apart the makeup better? Either way, you want to let cleansing water/oil be on your face for 10+ second at least so they can work their way into the makeup and you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) rub that much to take everything off. In this case, an oil that suppose to have more benefit for the skin like grapeseed, olive or coconut is probably better than butter. Basically grab the one your skin type might like better. I do think that cleansing balms like the Clinique one in purple jar will work better/faster, but if you usually don’t wear heavy makeup or is out of makeup removers, any oil from your cupboard will work in a pinch (followed by a proper cleanser!)

If you have dry skin, removing makeup with oil is probably less irritating and more moisturizing. However, you most definitely have to cleanse thoroughly afterward to avoid the greasy feeling (for certain oils) and clogged pores while cleansing water is no rinse. You should always wash your face after removing makeup, but for temporary measures (before exercise/showering) or when you are too tired/lazy to take off makeup at night (don’t do it for consecutive days) cleansing water will function as one stop skincare. I will still splurge for cleansing water, but if I need an oil makeup remover, well, I might reach for my cupboard instead of spending money on it. Also, no oil were harmed or wasted in this experiment, if you scooped too much out to remove your makeup, do as I do: mix the leftovers together and slapped them on the hair for a pre-shower treatment. Woohoo!


8 thoughts on “No makeup remover? faceplant into your cupboard

  1. Oh i love this comparison! I use Coconut Oil as my makeup remover, as well as my other 5+ Makeup removers…. Lol, But it works and hey, $15 for a huge HUGE huge tub….Not too bad. It not my favorite method, But i do agree with what you said about if you have dry skin, My face always feels nice and supple when i use an oil. (I always double cleanse of course)

  2. Wow great post, so informative! I use light olive oil to remove my eye makeup everyday because I am yet to find an eye makeup remover that doesn’t sting my very sensitive eyes! I do find I have to rub a lot and it doesn’t remove my mascara very well but my cleanser removes my face makeup and remainder of eye makeup well.

    1. Aww, have you tried a cleansing water before? I’m paranoid about putting things in my eyes and like using KGD or Bioderma cleansing water on a cotton swab to remove makeup from waterline.

      1. I tried bioderma but I didn’t find it was good at removing my makeup however I did get it off eBay so I think it might have been fake. Might have to try it again and buy it in store now that its sold in Australia 🙂

      2. Australia! Lol, my current kpop idol (Hanbyul of LEDApple) is from there. That’s quite far away. I brought mine from Amazon, hope it works for you!

        Altho I usually don’t wear a lot of makeup. The oil cleanser and balms does work a bit better than kitchen oil, so you can try Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm if nothing else works.

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