If we’re going to go through the trouble of applying natural DIY makeup, it makes sense to have a natural way to remove it.
After battling acne-prone skin when I was younger, I’ve made it a priority to take good care of my skin. I’ve found some great natural solutions for healthy, glowing skin through experimentation over the years, and below I’ll give you my best DIY makeup remover tips.
Why Wear Makeup at All?
Let’s be honest, just because you’re a “Wellness Mama” doesn’t mean you don’t like to feel pretty.
From taking a soothing lavender bath, to lathering up with a homemade whipped body butter, to applying makeup, I’ve learned it pays off to go out of my way to take care of myself in simple, natural, inexpensive ways. With six little ones underfoot, it makes a big difference to do these little things for myself.
So while I feel just fine on the days I don’t wear makeup (which are many), I appreciate having a few beauty tricks up my sleeve … while avoiding the harsh chemicals found in conventional products.
Best DIY Makeup Remover Solutions
There are several great options for removing makeup naturally, and these are also great skincare recipes even on no makeup days.
1. Oil Cleansing
Oil cleansing is just what it sounds like: cleaning your face with oil. This DIY makeup remover may be the simplest of all.
It sounds funny, but oil cleansing can actually dissolve excess oil in your pores. Using the right oils, you can balance overly dry or overly oily skin because oil cleansing can work for any skin type!
Popular oils to use for oil cleansing include castor and olive oil, but with some experimentation, you may find that other oils work well for your skin. Sunflower, safflower, avocado, and coconut oils may work as well. Personally, I’ve found a ratio of 3/4 olive oil to 1/4 castor or hazelnut oil is perfect for my skin.
Try one of the following recipes to decide which oils are right for your skin:
- Oily Skin: 1/3 castor oil or hazelnut oil to 2/3 olive, sunflower, or other oil
- Combination Skin: 1/4 castor or hazelnut oil and 3/4 olive, sunflower, or other oil
- Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like olive oil, or a very small amount of castor/hazelnut oil added to the nourishing oils.
To use the oil cleansing method as a DIY makeup remover:
- Use about a quarter-sized amount of oil and massage over your face for one to two minutes. (No need to pre-wash or wet your skin.)
- Soak a clean washcloth in very hot water and wring it out before placing it over your face. Allow it to sit and steam your face for about a minute.
- Give your skin a wipe with the clean side of the cloth and allow the thin layer of oil left behind to remain and soak into your skin.
I found that I had an adjustment period of about 3-4 weeks while my skin detoxed, during which I had increased breakouts. After my skin adjusted, it cleared right up and has looked great since!
2. Witch Hazel
If you want to step up your oil cleansing a notch, you can try adding witch hazel.
Made from the witch hazel shrub, witch hazel is basically an herbal extract or hydrosol. It has been used traditionally for skin problems and has a long history of use in the beauty industry.
I love witch hazel as a multi-purpose remedy because it helps with a variety of skin conditions. It helps with spot-treating acne, soothing dry skin or itching, and removing makeup.
To use witch hazel as a DIY makeup remover:
- Use witch hazel on its own or diluted 50:50 with water.
- Soak the corner of a washcloth or cotton makeup pad and remove makeup in circular motions.
3. Aloe Vera
Combine aloe vera gel with a couple of skin-nourishing ingredients to whisk away makeup and impurities.
To use aloe vera as a DIY makeup remover:
- In a small container, combine equal parts aloe vera gel and raw honey.
- Add 2 TBSP of your oil of choice for every 1 cup of cleanser.
- Use an immersion blender to combine the ingredients until a paste forms. Store in an airtight container, and be sure to keep your cleanser in the refrigerator if it contains fresh, preservative-free aloe vera.
- Use a small scoop of the cleanser to remove makeup by massaging it into the skin for one to two minutes before rinsing clean with cool water.
4. DIY Makeup Remover Wipes
I’ve written about the dangers of conventional baby wipes and why I make my own. Conventional, store-bought makeup removing wipes pose the same problems: chemical preservatives and other hormone disrupting, unnatural ingredients.
Making your own makeup remover wipes is easy though!
To make DIY makeup remover wipes:
- a pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid
- cotton rounds
- 1 TBSP pure aloe vera
- 1 TBSP pure witch hazel extract
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild is a perfect choice.)
- 1 tsp fractionated coconut oil (or your favorite skin-cleansing oil)
- 8-12 drops skin-soothing essential oil like lavender or frankincense
- optional: 1 tsp vitamin E oil or 6-8 drops rosemary essential oil as a preservative
- Combine everything but the cotton rounds in the jar and shake or use an immersion blender to combine well.
- Stack the cotton rounds in the jar, then gently shake it to coat them with the mixture.
- Use a cotton round to wipe your makeup off anytime you need a quick DIY makeup remover. The cleansing wipes are great for traveling!
5. Honey Face Wash
Naturally antibacterial honey fights acne and contains enzymes that help slough away dead skin cells.
To use honey to clean off your makeup:
- Simply use about a teaspoon of raw honey (I like either Manuka Honey or Raw Organic Honey) and rub between your hands.
- Spread it over your face and massage in a circular motion.
- Allow the honey to sit for 5-10 minutes before removing with a warm cloth. Once your skin dries, it will be fresh and dewy!
6. Exfoliating Scrub
I’ve always loved the feeling of a good scrub to exfoliate my skin and get rid of dead cells and microscopic dirt in order to get a glowing complexion.
Ground walnut shell makes a great exfoliating ingredient, and there are some great natural products that contain it. However, if you want to go even more natural, plus save money by making your own DIY makeup remover scrub, you can try this recipe:
- 1/4 cup ground walnut shells
- 1/4 cup calendula oil
- 2 TBSP aloe vera gel
- 1 TBSP emulsifying wax
- 1 tsp castile soap
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
How to Make:
- Combine walnut shells and castile soap in a small bowl; stir and set aside.
- Over low heat, combine the calendula oil with the emulsifying wax in a small pot or double boiler and warm until the wax has melted.
- In a separate pot, gently warm the aloe vera gel for a minute or two, then add it to the oil mixture and whisk to create an emulsion.
- Add the emulsion to the walnut shell mixture, along with the essential oil.
- Stir once more to combine well and store in an air-tight jar.
- Massage about a 1/2 teaspoon over skin to cleanse, then rinse with warm water.
Caution: As this is a scrub, avoid the eyes and use one of the other makeup remover recipes for eye makeup.
7. Rose Water Cleansing Gel
I don’t know if there’s anything that smells more lovely or feminine than rose water. I make it for all sorts of things, including perfume, flavoring foods, uplifting my mood, and, of course, my beauty routine.
To make a DIY makeup remover with rose water, combine the following ingredients in a pump bottle:
- 1 cup rose water (see how to make it here)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 2 tsp glycerine
- 1 tsp castile soap
- 8 drops rose absolute for additional scent and skincare benefits
- Pump a squirt of this cleanser into clean hands or on a clean washcloth and massage over your face in a circular motion until clean.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Demystify Safe, Natural Skin Care!
Going the DIY route with your skin care routine doesn’t have to be scary or hard, and with all of the above options, you’re sure to find a solution that works for your skin type.
Which DIY makeup remover are you excited to try first?
Discussion (60 Comments)
I now use pure jojoba oil and it works really well- thanks for the tips!
I cut up an old towel and overlocked the edges (with a serger/overlocker). I use these with coconut oil to remove mascara, liquid eyeliner, eye pencil, even difficult to remove lipstick. I generally wipe up a bit of solid coconut oil (winter), or squeeze a few drops of the oil (summer) onto the little towlettes and wipe off the makeup. Works a treat! Just don’t use too much, as you can get a strange filmy feeling in your eyes. Then I chuck them in the wash with my other whites/towels and reuse! Simple, cheap, and effective! And best of all, nothing gets thrown away.
I have mature, dry skin and make my own facial cleansing oil, but your Makeup Remover Wipes look really good, especially because my washcloths are so stained by the makeup when I use just oil. Witch Hazel is too drying for my skin. What do you suggest for possible substitutions.
Katie - Wellness Mama
Aloe or gentle liquid castille soap can also work in place of the witch hazel.
Hi Katie. I love you blog and have tried many of the suggestions and recipes. I have found that the oil cleansing and oil/butter moisturisers don’t work well. Do you perhaps have any recipes for moisturiser with Aloe Vera that contains no oils or butters? I have heard that colloidal oatmeal is also good. Thanks so much for all your helpful info.
Katie - Wellness Mama
Aloe and witch hazel can actually be used alone on the skin and I like using both of them.
Does anyone have trouble with kind of an oil buildup in the corner of your eyes using oil cleansing. I’m thinking oil cleansing and then witch hazel just on my eyes to remove the oil.
I use jojoba oil and it works great! I was really surprised. Good luck!
Almond oil is wonderful! It is the only oil I use for oil cleansing as well as for mascara remover and even a soak in the bath. Doesn’t clog pores and hasn’t made me break out like all the other oils.
I use water and a norwex body cloth to remove all of my makeup. Works great and I’m not using any chemicals.
I’m also curious about removing eye make-up.
How does this work on removing eye make-up specifically? I’ve really had no luck using oils on my eye make-up, sadly.
What is the best and safest for the eye area…namely mascara.
I use Coconut Oil to both my eyes and face to remove mascara and foundation. Just smear coconut oil over your eyelids and over your face and wipe off with cotton pads. use a few to wipe off eyes and face. Then take a wet warm washcloth and wipe any remaining residue from eyes and face!
Yep I do the same. Gets even my waterproof mascara off.
I use extra virgin olive oil, and it works great! I have been using it for years, and now that I’m in my mid 50s, I think it’s actually helped keep lines and wrinkles down! 🙂