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The Best Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden
Best Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin

The number one top tip from makeup artists when it comes to beauty is not actually to do with applying makeup but to do with removing it. Every makeup artist and dermatologist will tell you—the best skincare tip is to always cleanse your face at night and to never sleep with your makeup on.

If you have a delicate complexion and have experienced irritation after a bad experience with an unsuitable cleanser, finding a product that will wash away dirt, impurities, and products without breaking you out is essential to keeping your skin in peak condition.

To find the best makeup removers for sensitive skin, we tested out the offerings, got expert recommendations and combed through ingredient lists. Finally we landed on these top picks for every skin type to keep your face clean, fresh, calm and soothed.

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Finding the Best Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin

What cleanser you use is a vital part of keeping your skin in good condition. While many of us focus on what lipstick or eyeshadow to wear, how we remove our makeup is just as important—especially for those with sensitive skin.

Cleaning your face properly is essential if you want to avoid breakouts and clogged pores, however using a cleanser that is too harsh can leave your skin red and irritated. To help you find the best makeup remover for your sensitive skin—we have put together this guide that goes through everything from ingredients to brands to help you find the best option for your skin type.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin

Skin Type

To ensure you don’t irritate your skin further choose a cleanser specifically for your skin type. If you have oily skin go for an alcohol and oil-free option. Those with drier complexions should opt for one with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or squalane.


Cream or milk is the most common type of cleanser, but oils and balms can also be extremely beneficial depending on your skin type. You can also alternate between cleansers using a different option for morning and night. Use a gentler option when you wake up and then in the evening time you want to make sure you give your face a deep clean.

Type of Makeup 

If you wear waterproof mascara or heavy lipsticks, you are going to need a makeup remover that tackles those types of products. We have included some effective waterproof cleansers on our list that wash away any stubborn products while still being gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.


Those with sensitive skin need to be just as mindful about what ingredients to avoid and they do ingredients to look out for. Fragrance-free and noncomedogenic options are always best. Cleansers containing aloe are also good for soothing and calming the skin.


The entire La Roche Posay line is designed for sensitive skin so they are a good starting point for those with sensitive skin who are new to skincare. CeraVe and Neutrogena are the best drugstore brands, while K Beauty options such as Innisfree are also suitable for those with delicate complexions.

What are the Different Types of Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin?


A milky cream cleanser is a great hydrating way to gently remove your makeup at night. Always double cleanse if using a cream cleanser and instead of using cotton pads opt for an organic cotton face cloth to help further reduce irritation.


Cleansing balms feel more like a facial as they need to be massaged in the skin. They melt away makeup by breaking down the products on your face. If you find your skin feels tight after cleansing, switch to a balm as they leave your skin feeling soft and supple.


Cleansing oils are the most moisturizing option as they dissolve makeup while still protecting your skin barrier. They are lighter than balms but have a similar nourishing ingredient list that helps to maintain the skin’s softness after cleaning.


Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser


  • Fragrance free
  • Gently cleanses
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Only available in 1 size
  • Pump dispenser could be better

This is my all time favorite cleanser and everyone I have recommended it to has also fallen in love with how well it removes makeup and sunscreen without causing any irritation. Once you use this milky cream cleanser you will never look back.

Infused with prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide and glycerin, not only does it deeply cleanse your face, it also leaves it hydrated, soft and supple and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture.


Best Budget: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser


  • Affordable
  • Enriched with hydrating ingredients
  • Dermatologically tested


  • Basic packaging
  • Some sizes aren’t as widely available

If you are looking for a budget friendly cleanser that won’t irritate or aggravate your delicate complexion, this best-selling option from CeraVe is the one to go for. It contains 4 different types of ceramides to help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, as well hyaluronic acid to keep it hydrated all day.

This cleanser works for those who have acne-prone skin as it is both fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, and it has also been certified by the National Eczema Association.


Best Splurge: Farmacy Clearly Clean


  • Cruelty-free
  • Evens skin texture
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Mini size sometimes sells out

This cleanser from Farmacy is a real treat for your skin. Created from a dreamy mix of sunflower oil, moringa extract and papaya enzyme, it gently melts away makeup and dirt without drying out your face.

It also works to remove pollutants from the surface and lightly exfoliate dead skin cells away to leave your complexion looking refreshed and revitalized. We also love how it comes in recyclable packaging.


Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Facial Cleanser


  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Great price


  • Might not work as well for those with oily skin
  • Only comes in one size

This oil-free option from Neutrogena effectively removes dirt, bacteria, makeup, and sunscreen from your skin without irritation or clogging pores. Your face feels clean and clear after using this and the polyglycerin formula delivers your skin with an extra dose of hydration.

Dermatologists developed this cleanser with the most sensitive of skins in mind, making it suitable to use if you have acne, eczema or rosacea. The formula uses minimal ingredients so is suitable to use both morning and night.


Best Balm: True Botanicals Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm


  • Luxury formula
  • Gently exfoliates
  • Leaves skin plumped


  • Not as widely available
  • Slightly more expensive

Jessica Chastain recently became the face of True Botanicals and if you are looking to achieve that red carpet glow this cleansing balm is the first step in getting and keeping your skin looking luminous.

I personally adore this cleansing balm as the turmeric and ginger infused formula makes it feel like a mini-facial every night when removing my makeup. It also contains two of my favorite skincare ingredients lactic and azelaic acid to soften and smoothe the skin.


Best Micellar Water: Bioderma – Sensibio – H2O Micellar Water


  • Alcohol-free
  • Removes waterproof makeup
  • Available in various sizes


  • Some may prefer a cream cleanser
  • Might not work with very oily skin

When you have sensitive skin, sometimes the best option is to pare back your skincare routine and keep it simple. There is no better option for this than to switch to using a Micellar Water to gently remove even the most stubborn makeup.

This version from Bioderma is the original and still the best on the market. It is a bathroom shelf staple and is formulated at the skin's natural pH. It gently and effectively cleanses and doesn’t even require rinsing.


Best Oil: Avène Eau Thermale XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil


  • Fragrance-free
  • Oncology-safe
  • Seals in moisture


  • Not as widely available
  • Not everyone likes an oil formula

This super hydrating cleansing oil from Avène calms the skin as it removes makeup and dirt with its soap-free formula. Approved by the National Eczema Association, it works for even the most delicate type of complexions.

It soothes itchy skin and helps to balance the skin’s microbiome. It also contains a special ingredient cer-omega to nourish and hydrate the skin.


Best Waterproof Remover: Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover


  • Removes stubborn makeup
  • Great price
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Basic packaging
  • Some may prefer a cleansing milk

This is a must-have product for fans of waterproof mascara and long-lasting lipstick. No other cleanser will remove makeup as well as this one without causing redness or irritation. A cocktail of soothing botanicals such aloe vera, ginseng, and green tea help to keep the skin calm as you wash your face thoroughly.

Both dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, this makeup remover is suitable to use on the delicate eye area without the risk of causing irritation.


Best for Dry Skin: Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil


  • Extra hydrating
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Paraben-free


  • Not everyone may like the scent
  • Slightly more expensive

This gem from K Beauty is a skincare savior for anyone with dry skin. It uses a gentle mix of apricot kernel oil and tangerine peel extract to melt away makeup and impurities and leave your skin feeling clean and fresh.

It uses a specially created Hydra Capture Complex to maintain your skin's hydration, along with a unique Korean traditional herbal oil complex to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Best for Oily Skin: innisfree Sulfate-Free Green Tea Amino Acid Cleansing Foam


  • Alcohol-free
  • Lightweight formula
  • Full of antioxidants


  • Not as widely available
  • Some may prefer a pump dispenser

This cleansing foam is the ideal option for those with oily skin who want to avoid clogging up their pores with heavy creams or balms. This lightweight foam effectively cleans the skin of any makeup or dirt while also delivering it with a potent mix of antioxidants and amino acids.

Green tea water provides a non-stripping cleanse while simultaneously hydrating and moisturizing the skin, leaving it with a fresh and nourished feel.


Best for Eye Makeup: MAKE UP FOR EVER Gentle Eye Gel Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover


  • Available in mini size
  • Makeup artist favorite
  • Fragrance-free


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not everyone may like the gel formula

This is a favorite with makeup artists and beauty insiders and is often used on models during fashion week to remove heavy eye makeup without causing irritation. The cooling gel formula whisks away eyeshadows, mascara and glitters to leave you refreshed and bright-eyed ready for your skincare.

It also contains cornflower extract to soothe and calm the eyes and avoid leaving your skin looking red and puffy.


Best Face Wash: Alpha Skin Care Refreshing Face Wash


  • Contains AHAs
  • Anti-aging
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Basic packaging
  • Some may prefer a milk cleanser

Face washes are the best way to really give your skin a deep clean. In addition to washing away makeup and dirt, this cleanser also helps to remove dead skin cells with its mix of Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Gentle enough to use everyday, this face wash leaves your skin looking smoother and more radiant.


Best Milk: Burt’s Bees Sensitive Solutions Gentle Cream Cleanser


  • Calming formula
  • Infused with aloe
  • Great price


  • Some may prefer an oil cleanser
  • Hard to get product out as it’s close to the end

The gentle cleansing milk from Burt’s Bees is the perfect affordable option for anyone looking for a soothing cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its natural hydration or leave your face feeling tight.

The unscented dermatologist tested formula contains aloe to calm the skin while you cleanse it. It is also packed full of 75 different natural vitamins and minerals to ensure your skin is nourished to the max.


Best for Redness: Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser


  • Suitable for rosacea skin
  • Paraben-free
  • Infused with squalane


  • Slightly smaller in size
  • Some may prefer a pump dispenser

This cleanser from skincare specialists Clinique has been specially developed for those who suffer from redness and find other cleansers tend to aggravate the issue. This calming option soothes while it washes away makeup and any impurities built up throughout the day.

It also contains powerhouse ingredient squalane to keep your skin looking soft and supple and can be used both morning and night.


Best for Acne-Prone Skin: The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Acne + Blackhead Cleanser


  • Combats breakouts
  • Reduces excess oil
  • Cruelty-free


  • Large size sometimes sells out
  • Basic packaging

Suitable for all skin types, this cleanser from The INKEY list not only removes makeup and dirt but it also helps to prevent future breakouts with its mix of salicylic acid and zinc compound. Together these ingredients work to unclog pores and reduce excess oil.

This light foaming cleanser leaves your skin feeling smooth and looking clear. It also contains Allantoin 0.5% to help protect and comfort your skin.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What type of makeup remover is best for sensitive skin?

    A:Those with sensitive skin should opt for a makeup remover that is alcohol and fragrance free and also non-comedogenic.

  • Q: What is the gentlest way to remove makeup?

    A:Gently massage your cleanser into your face in light circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water and repeat to ensure you have removed all makeup and dirt.

  • Q: How much should I spend on a makeup remover?

    A:Look at your budget and decide how much you want to spend then choose from an option within that price range. Our list of the best makeup removers for sensitive skin has picks at every price point.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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