Building Blocks: Cleansing and Makeup Removal
Date: 08 december 2016

What goes on must come off, and nowhere is that more relevant than for makeup. Our ON/OFF guide will help if you’re a kajal-only minimalist or if you have a theatre-level paint job. Plus: cleansing balms, milks and micellar waters explained - By Parizaad Khan Sethi

Proper cleansing is essential to help your skin let go of the baggage it has accumulated through the day (makeup, sunscreen, oils, pollution) and make a fresh start.
In the mornings, keep things simple. A mild, sulfate-free cleanser or facewash is sufficient.

For the evenings, follow this guide:


  • sunscreen
  • moisturizer containing sunscreen/SPF
  • makeup like foundation, concealer or BB Cream

GET IT OFF by double cleansing (using two different cleansers, one after another)

  • Use a cleansing oil or balm for the first cleanse; this is essential to thoroughly dissolve makeup and sunscreen. Apply to dry skin and massage it in to melt makeup. Wipe off with cotton pads or washcloth and rinse well.
  • The balm/oil will also help cleanse off heavy eye makeup (waterproof might need a dedicated eye makeup remover) Use a sulfate-free face wash for the second cleanse. This removes any oily residue left behind by the first cleanser, which could prevent the absorption of serums and moisturizers; it will also prevent clogged pores in the acne-prone

Cleansing balms are best for dry-normal skin which is not prone to acne.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
- Estée Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm

Cleansing oils work for normal-combination/oily skins.
- Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil
- M.A.C Cleanse Off Oil
- Forest Essentials Floral Make Up Remover Oil

Sulfate-free facewashes are formulated without sulfates—harsh detergents that strip skin of essential moisture, and work for all skin types. - Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash


  • moisturizer
  • a light dusting of blush or powder (no foundation/concealer)

GET IT OFF  by double cleansing

  • Remove makeup with micellar water or cleansing milk for the first cleanse. Massage milk on dry skin and rinse off. For micellar water, soak 2-3 cotton pads with the solution and wipe over skin till cotton looks clean
  • Wash milk off with a sulfate-free face wash, as second cleanse. Micellar waters do not technically need to be washed off, but that could irritate sensitive or reactive skins and the acne-prone. So those skin types should use sulfate-free face wash; the rest can get by just rinsing with plenty of water

Micellar water’s unique formula of tiny oil molecules (micelles) and mild surfactants (cleansers) suspended in water removes light makeup and works for all skin types.
- Bioderma Sensibio H2O
- Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover

Cleansing milk’s lighter formula is good for delicate, sensitive or oily skin and removes light makeup
- Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk


  • heavy or waterproof eye makeup


  • Using an eye makeup remover for the eye area. Press a remover-soaked cotton pad over closed eyelid for a few seconds, then gently sweep away the dissolved products
  • Depending what other products you have on, cleanse the rest of your face according to one of the two guides above

Eye and Lip Makeup Remover can be in cream or liquid form; our favourites are the bi- or dual-phase variants (two distinct layers of oils and surfactants that must be shaken before use). For all skin types, but only meant for the eye and lip area.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Make up Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips
- Kiehl's Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
- Bobbi Brown Instant Longwear Makeup Remover
- Estée Lauder Take It Away Gentle Eye and Lip LongWear Makeup Remover

Building Blocks: Cleansing and Makeup Removal