Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best eye makeup removers. We then chose the 16 most popular products and tested them for the following:
- Cleansing Power
- Hydration (that is, how hydrated your skin is after cleansing)
We consulted a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D about options suitable for dry and sensitive skin. We also tested the products on waterproof mascara and made sure they worked on eyelash extensions. What we ended up with was a definitive list of and buying guide about the best Japanese eye makeup removers available online and in drugstores.
Top 12 Best Japanese Eye Makeup Removers to Buy Online
We used them on false lashes slathered with mascara. We analyzed moisture levels in skin after cleansing. We had a researcher identify options for sensitive skin. Based on how they performed on these tests, we ranked the top 12 Japanese eye makeup removers available online.
※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
1. naturaglacé Point Makeup Remover
The Most Well-Balanced Eye Makeup Remover: Tough on Makeup, Soft on Skin
This was jam-packed with mild, naturally derived ingredients–water, propanediol, and dicaprylyl ether (an oil that comes from plants). And while it was more than suitable for the delicate skin around your eyes, one stroke stripped away waterproof mascara.
The formula wasn’t hydrating. However, moisture levels didn’t fall after cleansing, so it wasn’t drying either. Though it stained the cotton pad yellow (perhaps from the olive fruit oil?), the remover was free of dyes and fragrances. Remember to shake before use.
2. softymo Super Point Makeup Remover
Best Mild Eye Makeup Remover: Hydrates and Conditions Lashes as It Cleanses
This was a gel that blended into makeup, gently lifting it off skin. While cleansing power could only be described as mild, we were blown away by how hydrating it was. It felt soothing. The formula featured silk extract, so you can condition and protect your lashes even as you clean them.
Also, many eye makeup removers (dual-phase) need to be shaken before use. This one didn’t.
|Japanese||ソフティモ スーパー ポイントメイクアップ リムーバー||Cleansing||3.0|
3. est Point Makeup Remover
Best for Oily Skin: Light Formula that Quickly Wipes away Makeup
This was dual-phase remover made up of a layer of toner and a layer of oil. You shake the bottle; the formula becomes an emulsion and works its magic, clearing away even waterproof mascara. It wasn’t too hydrating but would work well on oily skin.
Ingredients were simple. If you’re worried about skin irritation, this is one of the products we’d recommend you look into.
4. RMK Point Makeup Remover
Worth Buying: Offers a Smooth, Stress-Free Cleanse–If You’ve Got Healthy Skin, That is
This was a slick, oily eye makeup remover. We soaked a cotton pad with it, held it against our skin for a few seconds, giving it time to bond with our makeup, then watched as everything melted away.
However, the formula could prove too dehydrating and/or irritating for dry and sensitive skin. Basically, this cleanser has power and feel, but it lacks in mildness.
5. MUJI Mild Eye Makeup Remover
Worth Buying: Works Well When Conditions are Met
You can see that this got rid of most tint and eyeliner; however, we were left with small clumps of waterproof mascara even after cleansing. If you only wear tubing mascara, though, you’re home free.
It wasn’t too hydrating. And though MUJI considers its botanical ingredients (including olive squalane, chamomile extract, and citric acid) to be a selling point, there’s a chance that they won’t mesh well with sensitive skin, so double-check before use. Those with normal to oily skin should have little issue, though.
6. THREE Point Makeup Remover
Worth Buying: Incredibly Hydrating for Dry or Mature Skin
THREE’s eye makeup remover was gentle and had a pleasing citrus scent to boot. Hydration was top-notch. That’s why it’s so popular among people who have dry skin and worry about crow’s feet and under-eye bags.
The cleanser didn’t work on waterproof cosmetics, however. We’d recommend it to those who only use mild products around their eyes, whether that be skincare or makeup. It was also chock-full of botanicals. While THREE prides itself in its plant-based products, we recommend making sure nothing will prove too irritating.
|Japanese||THREE ポイントメイクアップ リムーバー||Cleansing||2.0|
7. Kanebo Eye Makeup Remover
Caveat Emptor: Simple Ingredients that Work Decently Well
This was light and slick in texture. It glided against skin but didn’t pack enough cleansing power to work on waterproof products.
The ingredients list was short and sweet. This eye makeup remover is a good one to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to botanical extracts.
8. Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover
Caveat Emptor: Works on Everything but Waterproof Mascara. Not as Hydrating as It Claims to be
The formula contained oil but was as light as water. When we tested for cleansing power, the waterproof mascara left behind some residue, but the rest of the products came off without much fuss.
While this featured ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B & C derivatives, they were present in low concentrations. Overall, this eye makeup remover was not hydrating, so don’t skip your moisturizers and creams.
|Japanese||ビフェスタ うる落ち水クレンジング アイメイクアップリムーバー||Cleansing||3.0|
9. Shiseido Perfect Remover (eye & lip)
Caveat Emptor: Works on Anything that isn’t Waterproof. May Irritate Sensitive Skin
This didn’t work completely on either of our waterproof products (the mascara and eyeliner)–they faded but didn’t disappear. However, we were surprised at how effectively it cleared away lip tint.
This is marketed as a low-pH cleanser full of hydrating botanical ingredients, but we couldn’t ignore the fact that it contains both dyes and ethanol. It’s not the most sensitive skin-friendly formulation.
|Japanese||資生堂 パーフェクトリムーバー (アイ&リップ)||Cleansing||3.0|
10. Bioré Shikkari Eye Makeup Remover Sheet
Caveat Emptor: Comes as Convenient Pads, but Only Works on Lighter Makeup
This eye makeup remover comes in the form of pads. They’re 100% natural cotton and the threads are tightly woven and smooth, so they’re gentle on skin.
They were so convenient and we wanted to love them. However, waterproof items left behind a lot of residue, so we had to dock points from cleansing power.
11. LUNASOL Point Make Off N
Doesn’t Quite Make the Cut: Dehydrating and Offers an Incomplete Cleanse
It might have been thanks to the olive and orange oil, but this makeup remover felt light and smooth at once, like a very thin oil. It got longer-wearing products to fade significantly, if not completely, but it also turned out to be drying.
12. DHC Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
Doesn’t Make the Cut: Texture was Decent, but Doesn’t Work as a Cleanser
The formula was smooth and airy but offered little hydration. Cleansing power was also lacking; waterproof eyeliner and mascara hardly budged. There wasn’t much reason for anyone to go out of their way and buy this product in particular.
Top 4 Best Japanese Mascara Removers to Buy Online
We also tested out some dedicated mascara removers.
1. Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover
The Best in Any Situation: Works, No Matter What the Type of Mascara
This is the updated version of Heroine Make’s original mascara remover. They improved the comb so it now holds more liquid and catches more of your lashes. We can vouch for the efficacy of the new design; cleaning off our mascara was a breeze.
It cleared away all kinds of mascara, waterproof or not. Give it a try if nothing else has worked.
2. Privacy Mascara Remover
The Biggest Steal: Works Way Better than the Price Tag Would Suggest
The ingredients list was relatively simple, but the formula was effective. Even waterproof mascara came off without an issue. We doubt you’ll find a better product at this price point.
3. kingdom Mascara Remover Essence
Most Pleasant Application: Thick, Slick Texture and Pleasant Jasmine Scent
This was quite dense, similar in texture to a serum. It cleared away mascara, from the roots of our lashes all the way to the tips. It also smelled sweetly of jasmine.
|Japanese||キングダム マスカラリムーバー エッセンス||Cleansing||4.0|
4. FASIO Mascara Remover
Easy to Apply: Comb Distributes Cleanser to Every Lash
This utilized a unique triangular comb. It got rid of most mascara, but we were left with some residue at the tips. It’ll work–just not on days you wear multiple coats.
※Unfortunately, FASIO offered only an incomplete ingredients list; we were thus unable to test for ingredients and gave it a score of 0.
|Japanese||ファシオ イージー マスカラ リムーバー||Cleansing||3.0|
How We Tested Our Products
We determined that the best eye makeup removers needed to work on waterproof mascara and other stubborn products. But it shouldn’t dry out nor irritate the sensitive skin around your eyes.
This is how we tested for those factors.
Test ①: Cleansing
We coated false lashes with mascara and applied eye and lip products to the backs of our hands. We then tested the eye makeup removers on them. Depending on how much makeup came off, we gave each product a score, with five being the most effective and one being the least.
We tested on the following cosmetics. To give us a better idea of the maximum efficacy of each cleanser, we purposely chose long-wearing items.
- Waterproof Mascara
- Waterproof Eyeliner
- Lip Tint
We found formulas featuring mineral oils to be most effective. Some people are allergic, but if your priority is finding a powerful cleanser, then look for ingredients like isododecane※1 and mineral oil※2.
※1 イソドデカン: isododecane
※2 ミネラルオイル: mineral oil
Test ②: Hydration
We used a moisture analyzer to compare water levels in our skin before application, right after application, and five minutes after application. However, we weren’t able to test the dedicated mascara removers as they don’t directly touch skin.
Eye makeup removers that featured organic ingredients tended to be most hydrating. They were milder and often had higher concentrations of moisturizers and emollients, which served to seal in water.
Now, they might not be as powerful, but if finding a hydrating cleanser is your top priority, search for products where ingredients like glycerin※3 and squalane※4–or some kind of moisturizing oil–are among the first few ingredients on the list (in the top two rows).
※3 グリセリン: glycerin
※4 スクワラン: squalane
Test ③: Ingredients
We asked a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D to look over all the eye makeup removers. She marked ingredients that might be irritating. Then, based on how suitable she considered a product to be for sensitive skin, she graded it on a five-step scale, with five denoting the mildest products.
※Keep in mind that a low score doesn’t equate to a dangerous product. It simply means that it was judged to be possibly irritating for folks with sensitive skin.
Many eye makeup removers contain ethanol, which helps extra liquids evaporate before sticky residue can form. When present in low concentrations, ethanol has little effect on the skin; however, if you know you’re sensitive, make sure that it’s at the bottom of the ingredients list. Avoid dyes if you can.
Tips on How to Choose Japanese Eye Makeup Remover – Buying Guide
Here are five big things to look out for.
① Different Types of Remover for Different Types of Makeup
You can get eye makeup remover that will work on everything–eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara–or a dedicated mascara remover.
Wipes and Liquid Cleansers for General Purpose Use
Most eye makeup removers come as a liquid cleanser. You soak a cotton pad through with them and wipe. While you do need to make sure they don’t drip into your eyes, they’re effective on all kinds of eye makeup. If you use a multiple long-wearing products–waterproof mascara, waterproof eyeliner, and cream eyeshadow–then get a general purpose eye makeup remover.
Some of these liquid cleansers also come as pre-wetted wipes. They’re handy when you’re flying or otherwise need to pack light.
If Your Only Long-Wearing Product is Waterproof Mascara, Get a Dedicated Remover
You apply these much like you would apply mascara: dip a comb applicator into the liquid and brush through your lashes. Give it a few seconds to work its way into the makeup, then wipe off with a cotton pad. It’s a lot gentler on your lashes, as you don’t need to scrub at them (and is thus less likely to claim a few strands as collateral).
There aren’t too many products out right now, however, so your choices are limited.
② Hydrating Ingredients are Essential
Eye makeup removers have to contend with some pretty powerful stuff. And the more powerful the cleanser, the more likely it is to strip your skin of essential oils, so make sure the formula includes moisturizing ingredients.
While it’s true that you’ll be rinsing off the eye makeup remover–and all ingredients along with it–soon after application, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore the ingredients list. In cleansers, moisturizers act as a cushion, making sure that clarifying ingredients don’t wear down your skin over time.
Of these moisturizers, ceramides※5 are a good choice–they’re part of your skin’s natural barrier and will help protect it from dryness. Other popular hydrating ingredients are sodium hyaluronate※6, sodium PCA※7, and sodium lactate※8.
※5 セラミド: ceramides
※6 ヒアルロン酸Na: sodium hyaluronate
※7 PCA-Na: sodium PCA
※8 乳酸Na: sodium lactate
③ Those with Sensitive Skin Should Be Wary of the Following Ingredients
All cosmetic ingredients must undergo rigorous testing before being released on the market. Therefore, there is no one ingredient that can be considered universally irritating.
However, different people have different sensitivities, and it’s important that you know what your skin can and can’t handle. Generally speaking, those with sensitive skin would do well to avoid the following ingredients.
Common Sensitivities and Allergies
- アルコール (エタノール): Alcohol (Ethanol)
- 合成香料: Synthetic Perfumes/Fragrances
- 合成着色料: Synthetic Dyes
- 防腐剤 (安息香酸、パラベン類※9): Preservatives (Benzoic Acid, Parabens)
Common Additives that Can be Drying
- 鉱物油(ミネラルオイル): Mineral Oil
※9 パラベン: parabens (note: not all parabens are irritating. Many brands are dedicated to the safety of their products and conduct vigorous tests to ensure that their formulas are gentle. However, items that contain a large amount of parabens or parabens that are highly antibacterial can sometimes act as triggers when applied to sensitive skin.)
④ Those with Eyelash Extensions Should Look for Oil-Free Products
Eyelash extensions are glued to your natural lashes. The adhesive used is weak to oil, so it stands to reason that oil-based makeup removers will likely compromise the integrity of that bond.
If you have extensions, make sure you purchase an oil-free※10 product.
※10 オイルフリー: oil-free
⑤ It’s Always a Good Idea to Match the Brand of the Cleanser to the Brand of the Makeup
When in doubt, match the brand of your remover to the brand of your makeup. After all. it’s the producer who best knows the strengths and weaknesses of a certain product, so it’s likely their makeup removers will be primed to work on products from their own lines.
You might not stick to a single brand for all your eye makeup. In that case, we’d suggest focusing on your mascara, as that’s what tends to be toughest to purge.
What are the Benefits of Using Eye Makeup Remover?
Eye makeup removers are more powerful than general cleansers, so you can clear away cosmetics without rubbing at the delicate skin around your eyes.
You put on your eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara over your base makeup, so there’s a good chance that one cleanser isn’t going to get to everything. Add on that fact that people tend to use waterproof products around their eyes, and you can where the problem lies.
A gentle eye makeup remover is key to any good skincare/anti-aging routine.
How to Remove Eye Makeup, because You’re Probably Doing It Wrong
The skin around your eyes is extremely thin and delicate. If you rub at it, you’re pretty much asking for fine lines and dullness. Instead, do the following.
- Hold a cotton pad beneath your eyes.
- Soak a cotton swab in remover and run it gently down your lashes to remove mascara.
- Run the cotton swab gently across your lash line to remove eyeliner.
- Soak the cotton pad in remover and hold the clean side against your lid for about ten seconds, giving the cleanser time to work its way through. Then wipe off with one soft stroke.
Make sure that all your cotton tools are soaked through, and only use clean sides. It may feel like a waste, but it’s for the sake of your skin.
And Don’t Use Eye Makeup Remover on Anything but Your Eyes
When you use eye makeup remover on other parts of your face, you run the risk of stripping away essential oils and damaging your skin.
Use the cleanser how it’s meant to be used–to cut through the layers of products on your lids and lashes–and then turn to a gentler, general makeup remover for the rest of your face. Feel free to try some of the options below.
We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 17 most popular Japanese eye makeup removers, and tested them all.
Eye makeup removers are tricky. You want something strong enough to remove all sorts of mascaras and eyeliners, but you also need to treat the thin skin around your eyes delicately, gingerly. So consider the state of your skin and consider the kind of makeup you wear, then choose something that’s the ideal balance between soft and harsh.
Original by Rio Sasaki; Translation by Jasmine Li
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