Makeup Be Gone: The Hunt to Find the Best Makeup Remover

From left to right: Clinique's Take the Day Off, MAC's Pro Eye Makeup Remover, and Maybelline's Expert Eyes 100% Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

So after my lash fill on Friday I figured it was time to go out and get a good eye makeup remover. Up until this point I have been using Clinique’s Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips, but it is an oil-based remover and those types aren’t recommended for eyelash extensions.  I thought it wouldn’t matter but after a few days of using it I did notice that more lashes than usual would fall out.  So I tried an old bottle of Maybelline’s Expert Eyes, a 100 per cent oil-free eye makeup remover, but honestly the stuff is just like glorified water, it didn’t do anything.

So yesterday I figured I would go pick up MAC’s Pro Eye Makeup Remover and so far I really like it.  I thought I would do a comparison between the three because upon reading reviews online I discovered that a lot of people are comparing MAC’s product to Maybellines.  So I thought I would do my own review with the two products, as well as an oil-based remover like Clinique’s.  I also thought I would do a test as well.  I took my Joe Fresh black eyeliner and drew a line on my hand and then, using each remover one at a time, I counted the number of swipes it took to completely remove the liner.

The Test

Maybelline Expert Eyes

Maybelline Expert Eyes- a 100 per cent oil-free eye makeup remover




This 100% oil-free formula gently and effectively removes washable mascara and eye makeup without oily residue.


Slightly moisten a cotton ball or tissue with the remover. Gently press and hold for several seconds against your closed eyelid. Gently wipe off. Rinse eye area with water. Wait five seconds then wipe with tissue. 

The product comes in a 2.3 fluid ounce, 68 ml bottle.  It has a flip top lid and you squeeze the solution out.

On the back of the bottle it says:

  • Formulated to gently and effectively remove washable mascara and eye makeup without oily residue.
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Safe for Sensitive Eyes
  • Ophthalmologist Tested


  1. Moisten cotton or tissue, squeeze to remove excess.
  2. Close eyes.  Gently press against lid, hold for a few seconds.
  3. Gently wipe off.  Rinse with water.

I purchased this product a few years ago because I needed an eye makeup remover and I didn’t want to shell out a lot of cash for something that gets rid of makeup.  I have about 3/4 left in the bottle and that is totally because this product did not work for me.  It did not remove any makeup at all and with eyelash extensions the number one rule is ‘no rubbing’, so therefore I didn’t want to rub this product on my eyes.  I would totally rather go with the oil-based cleanser, I mean both ways would leave me with falling-out lashes anyways…

On the swipe test, I had to swipe this product a staggering 18 times before the eyeliner wasn’t noticeable anymore.  That’s a lot, and I bet you you would probably get the same results with water.

I think this product retails for $4-5 in Canada, but I wouldn’t waste your money on it.  Try to find a better makeup remover that actually does what it claims – remove makeup.

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover


From the MAC website:

A mega-effective remover that lifts off every look – from delicate to dramatic – without smudges, tears or aggression. Pro-quality, yet decidedly gentle; calms, hydrates and soothes skin with cucumber extract. Makeup can be immediately reapplied. A favourite of busy models.

The bottle is a screw off top with a little opening inside so you can dip a Q-tip in it.  It is 100ml and 3.4 US fluid ounces.

On the back of the bottle it says:

Saturate cotton pad.  Gently sweep over eye area.

I really liked this product.  Like I said in the beginning of the post, I have only used it once because I got it yesterday, but if you need a good oil-free makeup remover I would recommend this one so far.  It is a bit pricey however, $21.50 in Canada and $18 in the U.S. and I’m not sure how long the stuff will last for.  I don’t typically use a makeup remover every day because it depends what I’m wearing on my eyes.  Most times water and soap will remove the product, however, there are the odd times where it just won’t come off.  If you use this product everyday, it can probably last you two months max I would say.

As for the swipe test, it did really good.  I only had to swipe the cotton ball four times before the eyeliner was gone.

All in all, if you are looking for a oil-free remover and don’t mind spending the money, then give this one a try.  Much better results than Maybellines.

Clinique Take the Day Off

Clinique's Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips


From the Clinique website:

Take The Day Off

Totally tugless, two-way makeup remover speeds the departure of hard-to-remove eye and lip makeups. Dissolves and “lifts away” long-wearing makeup, even waterproof mascara. Non-irritating, non-stinging. Ophthalmologist Tested. Appropriate for contact lens wearers.

How To Use
Shake well before using, then saturate 100% cotton ball with remover. Cleanse one eye area at a time. Apply to eye area and hold for several seconds, then wipe with downward strokes. Repeat using fresh cotton ball if necessary. Use a new saturated cotton ball or tissue for lipstick removal; rinse with cool water.

I just want to start off by saying that I have the mini version of this product, the ones you get with the Clinique bonus times.  A full-size bottle is 125 ml and retails for $21.50 Canadian, so the same as MACs.  The bottle’s cap is similar to an Advil bottle, you know those child-proof kinds that you have to press in and turn?  It’s one of those.

This particular remover has two levels to it – water and oil.  You shake them up and it will create the makeup remover.  I have always liked this product, I have had a full-size bottle of this in the past and thought it worked wonderfully.  The only thing that is a bit annoying is that wherever you use it it leaves an oil residue that you have to rub off.  Not a bit deal though, I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to this product.

For the swipe test, it did the best out of the three- the liner was gone in three swipes.  I did expect it to do the best as I have always found oil-based removers to take off makeup the best compared to anything else out there.

So to sum everything up, I would say to skip Maybelline’s Expert Eyes, I would try MAC’s Pro Eye Makeup Remover (it is a bit pricey though) if you want an oil-free based remover and Clinique’s Take the Day Off remover is very good as well if you like an oil-based solution.

What are some of your favourite makeup removers?  If you know of a good oil-free one please let me know because I love trying new products.