Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Over & Under: Most Overrated & Underrated Makeup Remover

There are always products that receive endless raves, but they don’t always live up to our expectations or work out as well as they do for others.  Share your picks for most overrated and underrated MAKEUP REMOVERS.  Don’t forget to share your whats and whys as to your choices!

  • Most Overrated: [answer]
  • Most Underrated: [answer]

My Picks

  • Most Overrated: Maybe Philosophy’s Purity, though I don’t know if it’s really a makeup remover so much as it is a cleanser–I like it as a cleanser but it doesn’t get rid of every last trace of makeup as effectively as other removers.
  • Most Underrated: Cleansing oils in general–I know Bobbi Brown, MAC, shu all make them–because I find they remove pretty much all makeup and cleanse the skin at once.

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62 thoughts on “Most Overrated & Underrated Makeup Remover

  1. Liz9969

    Underrated:  Good old fashioned cold cream.  It’s amazing at removing makeup without a lot of fuss.  I wash my face with cleanser after I use cold cream.  I actually prefer the generic cold cream to Pond’s. I use either CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid brand. Overrated:  Philosopy’s Just Releas Me.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it.  However, it didn’t seem any better than Neutrogena Oil Free Makeup Remover.  The Neutrogena is about a 1/3 of the price of the Philosophy.

  2. Dominique33

    Most overrated ? Chanel makeup removers, ok they do their job but they’re also very expensive. With the notable exception of the nail polish remover really very soft for the nails. I could have mentioned all high end brands, except Lancôme whose makeup removers are very good.Most underrated ? Yves Rocher makeup removers, they also do their job pretty well and budget which is cool when you put some makeup every day ! The exception is the nail polish remover, it smells bad and it’s not very effective.

    • xamyx

      I haven’t used Yves Rocher in *years*, because it’s not the easiest brand to get in the US, but I think they’re quite good, in general. In fact, I used a cleansing system several years ago that I quite enjoyed. I also really enjoyed the lipsticks.

  3. Overrated: MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover. This made my skin burn.Underrated: Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover.

  4. Alison Cole

    I agree! Cleansing oils are underrated! So many oily skinned girls are phobic of trying these on their skin, equating “oil” with “oilier”*, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I use Dermalogica Precleanse by itself as my cleanser and nothing has been more effective on my oily, acne-prone skin.*which strikes me as weird, considering that even moisturisers for oily skin contain good oils. And the oil emulsifies and washes off, anyway. Any moisturising happening during cleansing actually helps prevent your skin from being stripped and overcompensating. And the cleansing itself is so darn effective.

    • Alison Cole I love Dermalogica’s Precleanse Oil!! It’s absolutely amazing. 

    • queen_frostine

      Alison Cole I blame the phobia of oil with the decades of “oil-free” marketing.  For a long time, there was little distinction in mainstream beauty between “good oils” and “bad oils,” and just advised everyone who didn’t have dry skin to look for “oil-free” makeup and skincare.  With that getting drilled into your head for years and years, the idea of applying oil straight to your face is scary!  I know I was nervous about it before I gave oil cleansing a chance!

  5. xamyx

    Overrated: I haven’t tried anything that hasn’t performed up to par, so I really have no clue on this one. That said, I don’t think you have to spend alot on an effective makeup remover. As someone else stated, good, old-fashioned cold cream works well, as does DIY removers made from kitchen oils.Underrated: Lancome Bi-Facil. Yes, I’m aware that I don’t find expensive removers to be any more effective than less expensive ones, but if you want something quick & convenient, this is the way to go. While a bit pricey, a little goes a long way, and I’ve never had an adverse reaction to it.

  6. Rebeccawr

    Overrated: The MAC makeup removing wipes. They burn like no tomorrow and don’t really get off makeup without a lot of rubbing. Yeah, they’re easy but the Neutrogena removing wipes are better and cheaper! Underrated: Neutrogena makeup removing wipes or Sephora’s Liquid Makeup Remover. Both super efficient, easy, no mess and cheap!

    • xamyx

      OA great substitute for makeup wipes, IMO, are baby wipes, which you can also get in unscented and/or sensitive formulas. They can be quite inexpensive, as well. I would really recommend them to bloggers to wipe off their swatches, even if they don’t want to use them on their face. I was introduced to the idea many years ago in college, where I was a theatre major. They took off heavy theatrical makeup very effectively, and they don’t sting the eyes.

  7. Underated- Estee Lauder Take it Away….a bottle last a good while, dont need alot of it….creamy consistency and takes off difficult makeup of all sorts….I use it to remove eyemakeup only….and it doesnt cause the my eyes to tear.
    I dont like the greasy feeling of cleansing oils of any brand.

  8. C A

    I don’t know about most overrated, but underrated I’d like to say Bioderma Crealine H2O. I love it. My sister-in-law introduced it to me. She got it in France, so I don’t know how easy it is to find it in the US and other places, but I love it, it lasts forever and it’s very affordable.

  9. 18thCenturyFox

    Overrated: well perhaps not anymore, I don’t think it’s even on the market, but the UD Mermaid one was so stingy and awful!Underrated: the Boscia oil is purdy nice

    • queen_frostine

      18thCenturyFox I had an odd reaction to Boscia’s oil.  It didn’t break me out or anything, but it made my eyes feel swollen when I used it to remove my eye makeup.  I think it was the menthol oil in it.  Menthol oil doesn’t bug me in cleansers (I usually kind of like it), but I don’t think my eye area likes it much.

      • 18thCenturyFox

        Menthol! Ugh that’s not good for sensitive spots! I’m suprised it didn’t give me any grief. I would like to try Shu but it seems expensive for something I’ve never tried.

        • queen_frostine

          18thCenturyFox  I don’t think there’s very much menthol in it as I didn’t notice any tingy sensation using it (the way you can with products like Noxema) and it doesn’t really smell minty.  It didn’t seem to bother my skin any, it was my actual eyeballs.  It would probably be fine if I just didn’t use it to remove my eye makeup, but what’s the point of using an oil cleanser if you can’t use it to remove eyeliner or mascara?And I hear you on the sticker shock from Shu’s cleansing oil.  I’d never pay that much for a cleansing oil, even a well formulated one.  The ingredients are way too cheap and acquirable to justify it.  It’s one of those products where it’s pretty easy and cheap to DIY your own.  I just ordered a bottle of  polysorbate 85 (the main emulsifying ingredient in the Shu oil) for $5 on Amazon.  I’m going to add it to the oil blend I’ve already been using and hopefully it’ll help keep me from buying another overpriced cleansing oil ever again.

        • Thinkit

          queen_frostine Please post and let us know how the polysorbate 85 works for you.  I’m intrigued by the idea of adding it to a facial wash I have that just doesn’t foam – and I love foam!


    Most overrated: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils. They do the job well, alright, but oh the price! Kose Softymo makes them, with similar ingredients, and just as great cleansing power, with a fraction of price!Most underrated: Yves-Rocher Micellar Water. It’s way cheaper compared to Bioderma’s, cleanses SERIOUSLY well, contains some great plant extracts, and if I’m too pooped to continue with my skincare routine, it leaves my skin super soft and keeps it that way until I wake up in the morning.

  11. f0rtunefaded

    overrated; macunderrated; baby oil. works like a charm for my eye makeup, i dont use it on my face though

  12. Nerdiac

    Overrated: Lancome Bi-FacilUnderrated: FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil

  13. army_wife_in_alaska

    Underrated Lancome Bi-Facil gives the most love for my delicate eye area. So gentle and thorough in removing water proof mascara and gel liner. It doesn’t drag or burn or sting afterwards too. Love this Lancome product.

  14. I think I’m finally going to take the plunge and try out a cleansing oil. I hear so many good things all the time, but because I have such oily, acne-prone skin, I’ve always resisted the temptation. I’d love to try Bobbi Brown’s version though. I love her skincare


      Becca @The Beauty Sample Actually, ever since I started using c/o almost 2 years ago, I lost all my white/blackheads and my skin is less oilier. Now that I don’t have to worry about them anymore, I switch to micellar water, just because I can put it on the nightstand with a couple of cotton pads on drunken/lazy nights. LOL.


      Becca @The Beauty Sample Actually, ever since I started using c/o almost 2 years ago, I lost all my white/blackheads and my skin is less oilier. Now that I don’t have to worry about them anymore, I switch to micellar water, just because I can put it on the nightstand with a couple of cotton pads for drunken/lazy nights. LOL.

    • Diana

      Becca @The Beauty Sample I’ve noticed that my oily, acne-prone skin has improved since I started using a cleansing oil a few months ago.  I agree the thought of slathering oil on your face is scary, but it’s actually worked out better than I would have originally thought.  I use it at night, and then I follow up with a mild cleanser to wash off any residue.

    • queen_frostine

      Have you considered giving something like olive oil a go before trying a commercial cleansing oil? It’d be a good, no-cost (assuming you keep olive oil in your pantry already!) way to test drive oil cleansing before you invest in a high end cleanser. Commercial oil cleansers will (usually) have some emulsifying ingredients to help the product rinse away more easily, but otherwise the experience and the effects are very similar. You just have to spend a little more time with a warm washcloth making sure you clear all of the oil off your skin. I have combo skin myself and have been cleansing with oil for 8 months now and have been surprised by how well it’s treated my face. I started with it because the dry areas of my face were having trouble with normal cleansers, but I was really worried about the oily areas of my face getting clogged up or more oily. But those areas seemed to take to oil cleansing just as well as the dry areas. I’ve been very pleased!

    • casey23

      Becca @The Beauty Sample I have oily skin too and I too am acne prone with medium-large pores and also sensitive :) I am using cleansing oil (for 2 years) especially if I wear spf product or foundation/or some kind of stuff.. You should at least get a sample and try it, never forget to rinse it completely and youll be fine :)

  15. Cat G

    Underrated: Coconut oil or baby oil! Takes off EVERYTHING with ease, no stinging, no strong smell, nothing! The only thing is I have to wash off my face with water afterwards, otherwise I break out.

  16. Mariella

    I think I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t tried any I don’t like. I routinely use Clinique Take the Day off or Rinse Off Eye Makeup Solvent, Bioderma (the pink one); MAC Cleansing Oil or Clarins Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. I like them all.

  17. ASharp

    Overrated: n/aUnderrated: Ponds Cold Cream. Been using it for FOREVER. It is amazing at taking everything off and is super gentle. MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil is also amazing to use in the shower as a remover. 

    • NicoleCS

      @ASharp I got into Ponds Cold Cream for a while until I did some research and learned that 1) they’ve changed their original formula to now contain DMDM hydantoin (formaldahyde) and 2) it contains mineral oil, which is a distillate of petroleum. The European Union has banned many petroleum jelly products, and experts are concerned they could be linked to cancer. Women with breast cancer have twice the levels of hydrocarbons (substances found in petroleum jelly) in their breasts than women who haven’t had breast cancer. I’ve been doing research on other cold creams but haven’t tried any yet. 

      • Liz9969

        NicoleCS The Generic store brand cold cream has a formula just like that of Pond’s before they changed their formula.  The new Ponds’ makes my eyes sting.  The generic is fine for me.  

  18. Diana

    Overrated:  Lancome Bi-Facil.  I don’t wear tough water-proof mascara, but this remover couldn’t even remove the regular mascara that I wear.  It was completely ineffective for me, and I’m glad it had only been a trial bonus size that I received with a purchase.Underrated:  cleansing oils.  I just started using them a few months ago.  I was originally terrified to use it on my oily, acne-prone skin, but after trying a DHC sample, my face felt so clean!  I’ve been using Shu Uemura’s pink cleansing oil lately, and people have been complimenting my skin.  I have fewer breakouts now as well.  DHC and Shu Uemura are the brands I have tried, but I may try some other brands once I run out of product.  Shu Uemura may be expensive, but that bottle I have will last a LONG time.

  19. Chelsea

    Overrated:  I react really badly to cleansing oils, so I guess I’ll go with that.Underrated:  I’ve been using a $5 tube of Take it Off by Hard Candy, and it is freaking amazing!  It has quickly become my favorite makeup remover.

  20. Summer

    Overrated: Lancome Bi-Facil and Clinique Take Off The Day. They’re both oily and WAY overpriced! I’d rather spend that money on great skincare or HE makeup.Underrated: Sephora Instant Eye Makeup Remover. OMG. This stuff is AMAZING. It breaks down my most stubborn eye makeup and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. My eyes are super sensitive AND I wear contact lenses, and I have never had a single problem with this formula. Best of all, it’s super affordable!

  21. rawrmels

    I dislike philosophy purity! makes my face feel so tight and dry. Too much hype over it. Underrated: currently loving cleansing oils and my old faithful cetaphil.

  22. Kafka

    Under-rated: No-one ever seems to talk about Clinique’s makeup removers and I think they have a number of good ones. Both my mother and I rely on “Take the Day Off” to get even the most obdurate, waterproof makeup, and I think it’s as good as Lancome’s Bi-Facil but much cheaper! (I sometimes use it on the rest of my face when lazy, followed by a toner/tonic, and never had any problems with breakouts.)  On trips or vacations, I always take Clinique’s Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser because it’s the fastest way I know to get *everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrything* off all in one fell swoop; when I’m exhausted after a long day or a very wild night out, this is my one guarantee that I’ll get into bed *fast*!  I think it would be a bit drying on my skin for every day use but that is my 911 makeup remover.

    • Kafka I use their gentlest eye makeup remover (the one that’s a cream), and it does a pretty good job! I was having problems with my eyes being irritated after I took my makeup off every night and switched to the Clinique to try and solve that. My eyes aren’t as irritated anymore, but I do have to scrub a bit harder to get my mascara completely off…and even then there’s remnants on my towel in the morning! Sigh.

  23. I really do not know about under and over because I’m happy with the two I use.  I use MAC eyemakeup remover and it does a great job without pulling or tugging.  I use NARS makeup remover if I’m being bad and lazy, but usually I wash my face with a skin care product first.  I’m a wicked night owl and it’s not uncommon for me to stumble into the bathroom LATE and all I want to do it get rid of everything at once so I can throw on some night cream and get some much needed sleep.

  24. dancepig

    Overrated has to be Philosophy’s Purity – yuck.  I’m now using it to clean my brushes.  Underrated would be Perricone Citrus Cleanser, smells and works wonderful.

  25. Lee

    I can’t think of an over rated one off hand.  Maybe wipes in general, I’ve never found a wipes brand I’venUnderrated: Sonia Kashuk’s Eye Make-up Remover (at Target).  It’s basically a much cheaper BiFacil dupe and gently dissolves eye make -up instantly.

    • 18thCenturyFox

      You reminded me of wipes I found to be huge underperformers. The recent Target/Cosbar collab was a failure for me. Their wipes in particular were so cutely packaged but they dried out my face, could not be used on the eyes and I did not like the smell. Woof.

  26. Tigress

    Overrated: Clinique Take the Day Off gave me a massive reaction. No thanks.Underrated: Almay eye makeup remover pads, the mosturizing ones, are amazing.

  27. Thinkit

    I’m still hoping Clean & Clear will bring back their Makeup Dissolving Foaming Cleanser.  I loved that stuff. It took everything off, including waterproof mascara, yet left my skin feeling soft.  I hoarded 6 bottles when I found out it was discontinued, but someday I’m going to run out. :/

  28. Overrated: Anything you have to spend money on. Underrated: Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!! :)

  29. Dinitchka

    Overrated: MAC wipes. OMG!!! They broke me out so badly. I ended up using them to clean my make-up counter and  my phone :@Underrated: Any sensitiveskin baby wipes and EVOO. I also like Dollar Tree facial and make-up wipes. I only picked up a few packets to see how my skin would react and lo and behold they were awesome!!!

    • mpca66

      Dinitchka .. Mac wipes are awful and rough on the skin.  Those wipes are like using sandpaper on your skin .. bleck.


    overrated: anyunderated: baby oil! it’s the only thing gentle enough for my skin and it breaks down mascara like a pro! after i do that i just wash my face with cetaphil, the moisturize.

  31. MFAcct

    Overrated: Benefit’s makeup remover- they claim it removes all of their makeup, but when I went in to an event with 24/7 liner and some long wearing lip color, I scrubbed and rubbed for literally 10 mins but my eyes were stinging and my face was sore- not a happy experience.Underrated: I love estée lauder’s remover- if you don’t mind using cotton rounds over a premoistened wipe, the formula is very effective, smells nice, and leaves your skin soft if you don’t follow up with skincare or wash afterwards. Or, as any mom probably knows, baby wipes work in a pinch- your face just smells kinda funky after. I like “baby fresh” for his little tush, but not my face!

  32. Lauren13

    My skin HATES oil.  Every product I use must be oil free or I get cystic acne, which means that for me, makeup removal is a multi-step process.  I like the Neutrogena makeup removing cleansing wipes (oil free).  Unfortunately, they aren’t great for removing eye makeup, so I have to use Neutrogena oil free eyemakeup remover afterwards.  THEN I cleanse my face with one of Neutrogena’s oil free acne washes (usually the Stress Control or the Grapefruit scrub).  By themselves none of these products remove 100% of my makeup but when used together they are effective.  Because my skin is SO sensitive, this is really the only routine that works for me.  There’s no way I’d ever risk using oil on my skin because my skin hates oil.

  33. yellowlantern

    Over: All wipes (including baby wipes but at least those are cheap). I hate all the tugging at my skin using them involves and many of them do not remove it all even after all the effort.Under: Olay daily facials. While I LOVE oil cleansers for how effective they are, even the cheapest ones are overpriced. I switched to the Olay daily facials which have so far been able to remove everything I’ve thrown at them. I only don’t recommend these for people with dry skin. When my skin was dry these were too much, but now that my skin is oily they work like a charm. 

  34. lauramarie100

    Overrated: Tons. Too many to mention.Underrated: Jojoba oil. This takes it all off and leaves my skin so soft. I slather a good amount all over my face at night and tissue off gently and it removes every trace. I follow up with First Aid Beauty cleanser and it leaves my acne prone skin soft, smooth, and clean.

  35. Jasmine

    Overrated- MACUnderrated- Tom Ford

  36. Overrated: so many of them. I’ve tried a lot between my sensitive eyes and acne-prone skin! Underrated: I’m using Clinique’s gentle eye makeup remover that comes in a cream. I switched to it because my eyes were irritated every single night when I took my makeup off. It doesn’t take my makeup off in one swipe, but it does a darn good job without killing my eyes. Great for sensitive skin, too! 

  37. Overrated:  I agree about Purity.  I use it in the shower if I forget to remove my makeup, but otherwise my skin always feels tight afterward.Underrated: Plain old cold cream.   It’s cheap, it takes off everything, and it leaves my skin moisturized.  When I switch to using it, my skin actually got clearer because it was more moisturized.

  38. diamond_8806

    Overrated:  Not sure because I’ve never bought a product actually intended to remove my makeup.Underrated: Extra virgin olive oil.  I smear a bit all over my face, rub it gently for about a minute, then use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser twice to wash it all off.  To remove any leftover traces of dirt and makeup (which usually isn’t much), I use Sea Breeze Sensitive Skin Astringent to make sure my face is totally clean.  Works like a charm!  

  39. mpca66

    Overated:   Not sure.Underated:  Dermalogica Pre-cleanse and Shiseido Ultimate cleansing oil.  I have only used these two and both are excellent.