Do Your Eyes Always Sting After Removing Your Makeup? Try This

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Summer Style Portraits Of Pretty Woman Posing In Cafe removing makeup

You've likely heard it a million times, but let's say it one more time for the people in the back: Your eye area is the most fragile and delicate skin on your entire face. We know this, you know this, and so you may painstakingly apply your eye cream each night, using your ring finger (aka, your weakest digit) to tap along the orbital bone. 

But let's back up a few skin care steps, shall we? If you wear eye makeup, do you swipe at the lids until the cloth comes back clean? Or do you scrub vigorously with cleanser to melt away all traces of pigment?

While you should always, always take off your makeup before bed, the how is just as important to keep in mind: Constant physical stress (like the aforementioned scrubbing and swiping) can damage the lid skin, exacerbate fine lines, and may even cause delicate lashes to fall out, as board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., once told us about losing lashes.

Not a fun situation by any means, but it's a super-quick fix—just make sure you're following one of the below methods.

How to gently remove your eye makeup. 

First step? Choose your remover wisely. Many traditional makeup removers come laden with alcohols and harsh surfactants that can strip the skin dry and cause irritation, especially around the fragile eye area. Makeup wipes can be especially abrasive, as physical rubbing can lead to irritation and wrinkles down the line (not to mention, these single-use products tend to pile up in landfills). 

Instead, experts suggest you opt for one of two methods: a double cleanse (with a cleansing oil or balm) or a reusable cotton pad or cloth soaked with an oil-based natural remover. Both are much gentler methods, and your fresh, bright eyes will thank you come morning. 

Although, they come with slightly different directions. See below:

  • If you’re using a cleansing oil or balm, spread the product onto your face and neck, making sure to slick all the surface area. Massage your skin to break down the makeup, but keep your pressure slow and gentle. "Take a full minute to work the oil into your skin," holistic esthetician and mindbodygreen Collective member Britta Plug once told us about oil cleansing, and make sure to be extra gentle around the eyes. Oil dissolves oil, so you don't need to scrub harshly here: Use light, downward strokes to remove stubborn mascara and soft circular motions on the lids. 
  • If you choose to remove your eye makeup with a (reusable) cotton round, simply saturate the pad in your remover of choice (coconut oil, micellar water, what have you) and press the cotton onto closed eyes for about a minute. Don't rub; just let the product soak into your lids and lashes so it can dissolve the makeup—again, if your makeup is oil-based, it will lift right off. Then when you cleanse, all your makeup should melt away without a trace. 

The takeaway.

You might not think twice about removing your makeup (just swipe and go, no?) but constant irritation in the area can lead to an array of issues down the line. The general takeaway here is to be gentle—no matter how you choose to remove your eye makeup, with a double cleanse or proper eye makeup remover, take your time with the venture.

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