Save VS splurge: best makeup removers, sorted!

Save VS splurge: best makeup removers, sorted!

I remember buying a super waterproof mascara (not my words; that was what it said on the packaging) once. It was a dream – it stayed on like how it claimed it would, and I didn’t have any smudges to deal with. Everything was fancy pansy, except when I had to remove it. True enough, even with my usually heavy duty bi-phase eye makeup remover, it refused to budge. I lost more than just my patience that night.


The next day, I went straight to the store and got the special mascara remover that I didn’t buy the day before because in my mind, I was all “meh, is it even THAT waterproof?”


Having learnt the hard way, I can confidently say YES.


That’s why it’s important to keep a stock of different types of makeup removers that do different jobs, depending on how frequently you use makeup. Here’s a roundup of our all-time favourites according to type and purpose:



1 Makeup remover tissues

These are literally lifesavers after a long night, especially if you’ve had one drink too many but still want to remove your makeup (somewhat) before crashing. Speaking from experience, those produced by brands that are either well-versed in makeup removal OR makeup itself work the best because these tissues really remove waterproof makeup to a certain extent.

Save: Biore Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets

biore sheet2

There are so many things I love about Biore’s Cleansing Oil sheets. They’re cheap but effective. They remove all sorts of makeup. And best of all they come in travel-friendly packs of 10 sheets, which saves money and effort to finish the entire packet before everything dries up to oblivion. A must-have in my toiletry bag, especially with I travel. Nothing bad to say.


Splurge: MAC Wipes


Makeup aficionados love MAC Wipes because they come in huge packs (like 100 towelettes) and the sheets themselves are also larger than the average makeup remover wipe. Every self-respecting beauty junkie out there knows that MAC isn’t playing around with its pigments when it comes to makeup, and therefore if they make cleansing sheets, they’d better be good enough to remove every damn bit of colour. However, there are also reviews on how strongly-scented the wipes are, so those with sensitive skin – please proceed with caution.



2 Cleansing/Micellar water

What’s micellar water? To put it simply, it looks like water, feels like water, but is not water. Micelles, microscopic oil molecules, are suspended in soft water. When applied over skin with a cotton pad, these micelles effectively clean up dirt, grime, makeup and all the nasties, dissolving everything bad while keeping your skin moist.


Save: Mandom Bifesta Cleansing Lotion


This huge bottle comes with a pump (v. convenient) and it lasts forever. RM30 worth of product doesn’t get any better than this. That being said, it’s strictly for tabletop use only, as the size and design is too bulky/unfriendly for travelling. Even though it’s touted as a substitute for actual cleanser, I use this all over my face after removing my eye makeup, then follow with double-cleansing. It also comes in a few choices like Whitening, Sebum Control, Anti-Ageing and Moisturising. For some reason it’s always on the bottom shelf at Watsons and Guardian (lack of advertising maybe?) so keep your eyes peeled.


Splurge: Bioderma Micellar Water


Like Bifesta, Bioderma also comes in different variants. There’s one for sensitive skin, one for moisture and one for oily skin. This brand is one of the pioneers of micellar water – despite the slightly steep price, thousands of women swear by it, and sometimes you can still find a pretty good deal online. Having tried it, I think it does what it says, and if you can’t bring yourself to part with RM100 for a big bottle, the small one comes in handy for travelling, filling in the gap where Bifesta doesn’t/can’t, but for the same price.



3 Bi-phase eye makeup remover

If you wear waterproof eye makeup regularly, you’ll definitely need one. This dual-layered eye makeup remover gives you the lightness of a watery remover, but removes waterproof makeup with its oil layer. To remove eye makeup, pour a 50-sen sized amount of remover on two cotton squares and place them over your eyes. Press gently for about 10 seconds and swipe the cotton up and out. Fold and repeat.


Save: Maybelline Eye & Lip Makeup Remover


Every time I stray away to try a different brand with the same price point, I find myself coming back to this. The packaging is nothing to shout about, but since Maybelline, L’Oreal, Biotherm and Lancome belong to the same company, I reckon that the technology trickles down eventually and becomes dirt cheap, albeit after a few years. So even though Maybelline is waay cheaper than its L’Oreal counterparts, this doesn’t mean that it’s less effective. Case in point: I have a shu uemura lipgloss from 4 or 5 years ago, which has exactly the same ‘stopper’ opening as the brand-new Maybelline lipcolour I got 2 months back.


Splurge: Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover


You know some bi-phase makeup removers that look legit but don’t do s**t? Well, this isn’t one of them, no sir. Despite not having liked any other Bobbi Brown products – we just don’t click – this is one of the exceptions I’m willing to made, and gladly at that. It removes waterproof makeup easily, if I dare say – it outperforms all of the others I’ve tried. But as you know, the price tag is a bit on the $$$ side, so it stays in the back of my little beauty ‘want’ list, saved but not forgotten.



4 Mascara remover

Only necessary if you wear super-waterproof mascara, but allow me to point out that Japanese waterproof mascaras work THE BEST to keep my stubborn lashes up all day no matter rain or shine. Nothing else works, so I guess a sacrifice must be made. And since I need to wear mascara every day, I’d rather fork out the extra cash to keep my lashes intact.


Save: Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara Remover


Firstly, ALL HAIL HEROINE MAKE. If you haven’t tried any of their mascaras, you’re missing out on a lot! By far the best-performing and best-priced mascaras in the market, because hey – if you buy five RM20 mascaras but none of them work to hold your curls, you’re definitely better off buying a RM50 mascara. I use this with the Super Waterproof Mascara of the same brand, and with the Canmake Quick Lash Curler (which is also an amazing mascara but hellishly difficult to remove).


Splurge: Too Faced Mascara Melt Off


If you don’t like getting cleansing oil into your eyes (neither do I), then you might want to give this a try. Available at Sephora, the Too Faced Mascara Melt Off has a bristle-less wand (as does the Heroine Make one) to coat heavily mascara-ed lashes with an oil-based remover infused with Green Tea extract. Leave for 30 seconds, and wipe off with a cotton pad dampened with makeup remover.




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