Curel Makeup Cleansing Gel Review

There’s a few things you should ask before you buy a cleanser. Will it actually remove makeup? Will it irritate my skin? Will I absolutely hate the scent and texture?

Our editing department purchased Curel’s popular Makeup Cleansing Gel and sought to answer the above questions. We also analyzed the ingredients and, later on in this article, explain how to properly use the product. Here’s what we learned during testing.
  • Last updated: 10-27-2019
  • 1,326 views
Table of Contents

What Makes Curel's Makeup Cleansing Gel Special?

What Makes Curel's Makeup Cleansing Gel Special?

Curel's Makeup Cleansing Gel is a medicated cleanser that soothes your skin as it cleans. As a brand, Curel is known for catering to people with dry and sensitive skin. This product works by preserving the ceramides in your skin, which are an important part of its protective barrier.


The gel-like texture spreads readily, so you aren't rubbing at and possibly irritating skin. Gently massage the product in, and give yourself some time to relax and rejuvenate.

How to Use Curel's Makeup Cleansing Gel

This is what it says on the box (in English).


  1. Dispense however much you need into dry hands (usually, this is a glob about 2 cm in diameter).
  2. Apply onto your forehead, cheeks, and chin.
  3. Massage in circular motions, allowing the cleanser to mix with your makeup.
  4. Rinse off with warm water.
  5. Follow up with face wash.

Make Sure You Apply with Dry Hands

Make Sure You Apply with Dry Hands

We'll say it again--make sure you apply with dry hands onto a dry face. Water will thin out the gel and make it harder for it to bond with and lift makeup off your face.


Curel also recommends double-cleansing, so don't forget to follow up with face wash.

We Don't Recommend Using This Product on Eyelash Extensions

We Don't Recommend Using This Product on Eyelash Extensions

Curel's Makeup Cleansing Gel does not state whether or not it's safe for eyelash extensions. So if you have extensions, we recommend you stay on the safe side and look for another product.


Keep in mind that this product contains oil, which weakens the type of glue typically used to attach extensions. If you wish to prolong the life of your false lashes, then stick to oil-free cleansers.

Putting Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel to the Test

Putting Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel to the Test
We had a group of editors–all with dry or sensitive skin–put Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel to the test. Specifically, we were looking for the four following factors.
Test ①: Cleansing Power
Test ②: Ease of Use
Test ③: Signs of Irritation
Test ④: Ingredients

Test ①: Cleansing Power

Making sure that your skin stays clean and healthy.

Doesn’t Work on Products that Have Even an Ounce of Staying Power

Doesn’t Work on Products that Have Even an Ounce of Staying Power
We tried the cleanser out on the following products.
Products We Tested on

  • Waterproof Mascara
  • Shimmery Eyeshadow
  • Waterproof Eyeliner
  • Lip Tint
  • Liquid Foundation

Maybe we shouldn’t have expected much from such a gentle cleanser, but almost nothing came off. The waterproof products didn’t budge. The liquid foundation faded, but we were left with some residue.
Now, gel cleansers are known for being mild and therefore weaker in cleansing power, but this was a bit extreme. Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel may work on light powder products but not much else.

Doesn’t Reach into Your Pores

Doesn’t Reach into Your Pores
This got rid of oil and debris that was sitting on top of our skin, but it couldn’t touch blackheads or anything entrenched deeper in our pores.

Test ②: Ease of Use

Checking how the cleanser feels.

Dense and Doesn’t Melt Easily into Makeup

Dense and Doesn’t Melt Easily into Makeup
This was a dense gel, and it didn’t spread out easily. While body heat did eventually soften it up, it took up precious time. If you do get this gel, we recommend warming it up in your hands and then applying to your face.
We did like that it was thick enough to lubricate skin and ward off any friction.

Leaves Skin Feeling Light and Refreshed but Not Dry

Leaves Skin Feeling Light and Refreshed but Not Dry
Skin felt clean and refreshed after cleansing, but it wasn’t dehydrated. Even after we’d followed up with a face wash, skin stayed soft and moisturized.

Test ③: Signs of Irritation

Looking for any signs of a breakout or rash.

None of Our Editors Noticed Anything out of the Ordinary

None of Our Editors Noticed Anything out of the Ordinary
None of our editors suffered the appearance of new pimples or felt any pain or itchiness. One of our testers had acne on her chin from before testing, and it didn’t get any worse after cleansing.
You skin stands to suffer more from the weak cleansing power than anything. Sleeping with makeup residue on your face is extremely irritating, so make sure you cleanse thoroughly.

Test ④: Ingredients

Making sure the product is free of ingredients people are commonly sensitive to.

Contains Soothing Ingredients and is Free of Many Common Additives

Contains Soothing Ingredients and is Free of Many Common Additives
Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel is free of alcohol, fragrances, and dyes. The ingredients list was simple and sweet and contained nothing unnecessary.
We also liked that the first ingredient on the list was dipotassium glycyrrhizate. This plant-derived salt soothes irritation and conditions dry, rough skin. While many cleansers run the risk of irritating skin, this one actually calms it down.

Does Contain Parabens and Surfactants but in Very Low Concentrations

Does Contain Parabens and Surfactants but in Very Low Concentrations
However, Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel isn’t completely free of potential troublemakers. It contains parabens as a preservative and distearyldimonium chloride, a positively charged surfactant.
Still, both of these ingredients come at the very bottom of the list, which means neither are present in high amounts. Parabens, generally speaking, can be present in skincare products in concentrations up to 1%. Anything higher than that could prove irritating, but Curel’s gel should be below that threshold.
If you’re still worried, you could always patch test the cleanser before applying to your face.

The Final Verdict: Worth It if You’re Looking for an Ultra Mild Cleanser–and You Don’t Have Much Makeup to Remove

The Final Verdict: Worth It if You’re Looking for an Ultra Mild Cleanser–and You Don’t Have Much Makeup to Remove
If you need a strong cleanser–one that can work both on makeup and clogged pores–then Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel will leave you disappointed.
However, if you don’t wear much makeup to begin with and you want something mild, then it’s a valid choice. The thick gel doesn’t rub at your skin and doesn’t dehydrate. It soothes as it cleanses and is especially suited to those with dry and/or sensitive skin.

If You Wear Heavier Makeup, Consider Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Oil

Generally speaking, oil cleansers are more effective than gel options. And just like the gel version, Curel's Makeup Cleansing Oil is medicated and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Click Here to Learn about Other Types of Cleaners

Click Here to Learn about Other Types of Cleaners
mybest has tested over 50 different cleansers: water, oil, and milk. Water cleansers are probably closest to what you’d think of as typical “makeup remover”–a thin liquid you pour into a cotton pad and swab your face with. Oil cleansers are high in cleansing power and milk cleansers are mild. Learn more about each type below.

Summary

We put Curel’s Makeup Cleansing Gel to the test. Though it won’t work as a makeup remover, it does help soothe dry and irritated skin. It’s worth trying if you’re sensitive to most ingredients.

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