Best Eye Makeup Remover? (eco, luxury and mid-range)

I used to skip eye makeup removers and micellar waters altogether - except for Bioderma when its hype was big on YouTube. I was sceptic if rubbing your eyes with a cotton pad would damage the skin and be very wasteful. After discovering the good removing technique and good products my opinions have switched. I might not use a separate makeup remover every single day, but I’ve tried a few from different categories. Enjoy today’s post!

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Do You Need to Use A Separate Makeup Remover?

If you’re good at double cleansing and don’t wear a lot of waterproof makeup, I’d say no. But having a good eye makeup remover or micellar water in your stash can be life changing for touchups or taking off very stubborn makeup. I’ve done some looks on my friends and a couple of clients, and I’ve always liked to start with a quick micellar cleanse and a moisturizer. Having bio-degradable cotton buds and some makeup remover are excellent for fixing a cat eye or smeared mascara.

My favorite way to use a makeup remover is pour some on a cotton pad and press it against my eye, very gently. After 30 seconds or so I gently swipe downwards and avoid pulling any lashes. This should take off the bulk of your makeup and get you ready for 1st proper cleanse (such as oil, balm, etc.). Same with strong matte lipstick or lip tints: press, wait and remove. Don’t tug or be too harsh!

Next, let’s see some eye/general makeup removers I’m using:

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

ACO Micellar Cleansing Water*

€11.3 / 200ml at Yliopistonapteekki (FI)

This Swedish micellar water is a gentle and simple formulation, I personally like to use it all over the face. Especially on those days when I’ve worn a lot of makeup, I’m feeling grimy and want to do a hot cloth cleanse without staining the muslin too much - I reach for ACO. This bottle has a fine spray nozzle, which I’ve only used on cotton pads but technically, you could spritz it all over the face. Maybe not.

This micellar water doesn’t remove the most stubborn Japanese or 38°C mascaras, but otherwise it’s pretty effective. I like how it doesn’t leave any residue behind if I want to remove my makeup first and wash my face properly a little later. The bottle is big and you only use a small amount, so this one lasts for a while! As I said before, the ingredients list is short and sweet with water, emulsifier, some humectants and a couple of preservatives.

INCI:

Aqua, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, sorbitol, betaine, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, benzoic acid

Evolve Liquid Crystal Micellic Cleanser*

€19.9 / 100ml at HouseofOrganic (FI)*

Evolve is my current favorite mid-range eco brand. Known for their hyaluronic acid serum, I’ve found some products I’ve quite enjoyed from this brand and have high hopes as I test more. While the ingredients list of this micellic cleanser include rose water, hydrating glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, aloe leaf juice powder etc. I don’t really care for the pump packaging and find it very difficult to remove eye makeup or lipstick with this product. Maybe if I wanted to remove my foundation and face makeup but keep the eye makeup and brows on I would reach for this. If you hate splashing your face with water in the mornings this could be an alternative cleanser, but personally I’m a fan of actually washing my face morning and night. I will try using the Evolve Liquid Crystal Micellic Cleanser, but I most likely won’t purchase a new one..

INCI:

Aqua (water), Rosa Damascena (Rose) flower Water*, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract*, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Mannitol, Lecithin, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Citrate. *ingredients from organic farming

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover

€16.9 / 200ml (sale price?) at Eleven (FI)*

Lancôme is famous for its cult classic bi-facil or bi-phase eye makeup remover: when the bottle sits on the shelf you can see watery and oily parts separating, you shake it and blue, a bit oily liquid comes out of the top. If you want an excellent makeup remover and enjoy a bit of luxe, this makeup remover does the job. Dry matte lipstick, pommade brows, gel eyeliner, waterproof mascara - it takes them all off. There is a little residue left behind, so I often go after with my ACO Micellar Cleansing Water if I’m redoing my makeup and only removing mascara, for example.

When it comes to the ingredients.. I can’t say they’re too good. The emollients and solvent do give the Lancôme Bi-Facil its slippery, silky feel, but the amount of perfume, citronellol and geraniol (which give the rose-y scent) can be irritating. Some of the preservatives can also be potential allergens. I wouldn’t recommend this to sensitive skin types, acne or leave this on my skin for a long period of time. It’s too bad, as the makeup remover works well, but for this price I think it’s not worth it.

INCI:

AQUA / WATER / EAU • CYCLOPENTASILOXANE • ISOHEXADECANE • SODIUM CHLORIDE • POLOXAMER 184 • HEXYLENE GLYCOL • DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE • BENZYL ALCOHOL • POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE • QUATERNIUM-15 • BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE • PARFUM / FRAGRANCE • CITRONELLOL • GERANIOL

Best Makeup Removers and Micellar Waters | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

These are all good, but for me, the overall “winner” is.. ACO! I will be purchasing a new one once I run out of it. Gentle, effective, non-drying and good packaging. The price is also very good in my opinion. Sadly the Evolve one is too ineffective and Lancôme has some questionable ingredients, for me anyway. I will use them up, but then I’m done with them. I much prefer reaching for ACO and my cleansing oils/balms to remove makeup.

Do you have a favorite makeup remover? Especially for touchups? I’ve seen that BYBI recently released one, I can’t wait to check it out!

*ACO and Evolve cleansers were gifted for consideration.
All thoughts are my honest and my own. This site utilizes ad links to support the blog.

Finnish Eco Beauty - Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review

I love cleansing oils. I think it’s safe to say I’ve tried and tested a few - from Asian to Western brands, from eco to regular brands. My favorite type is the emulsifying kind that removes even stubborn eye makeup, but lately I’ve been venturing to some oils and balms that need a wash cloth to remove. Today’s product, Senja Cosmetics’ Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil is one of those. This product was sent to me and I'm happy to feature more Finnish indie brands on the blog, I hope you enjoy!

Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Senja Cosmetics and Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil

Senja Cosmetics is a new Finnish eco beauty brand launched in Fall 2018 by a woman called Senja Parkkinen. Like many green beauty entrepreneurs she didn’t find products that performed the way she liked, so Senja decided to make her own. The inspiration is from Finnish woods, its herbs and berries, which are some of the cleanest in the whole world. Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek* is her 1st oil-based cleanser with 100% of the ingredients natural origin and 35% of organic farming. 39€ / 100 ml available at SenjaCosmetics.com and House of Organic (FI)*.

Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil

To be honest I wasn’t thinking much about this oil once I first saw it. I’m so used to fancy, premium eco beauty packaging that a simple plastic pump bottle didn’t catch my attention. Despite the simple design I like a good pump bottle that locks itself by turning the cap. I have a friend whose name is also Senja, so I thought this line was cute and gave it a go.

As much as I love eco cleansing oils (Tata Harper, Josh Rosebrook) they’re often so expensive I don’t dare to use them for removing my makeup. Senja Cosmetics is a medium premium brand and since this cleansing oil doesn’t emulsify with water I decided to give it a go and use it for makeup removing with a warm, damp wash cloth (I like Ren cloths, which I purchase from Selfridges or Cult Beauty). I use a generous 1 1/2 to 2 pumps of the oil, massage my face (even the eye area) and then wet the wash cloth with warm water, squeeze out excess and wipe my face. This oil takes off everything - even my stubborn Japanese Heroine Make mascara. No traces of foundation, brow makeup, nothing. I’m seriously impressed!

The oil is pretty odorless, medium weight and has only a faint smell. No color. There’s a little bit of parfum in this product, but I find the scent more like how I imagine the ingredients to smell like.

(By the way.. that’s my oily, dirty face in the image above! Not the fully cleansed one!)

Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Ingredients

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) Seed Oil**, Linum Usitatissimum (linseed) Seed Oil*, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate*, Polyglyceryl-4 Cocoate*, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate*, Polyglyceryl-6 Ricinoleate*, Aqua*, Vaccinium Myrtillus (blueberry) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea (lingonberry) Seed Oil*, Phenethyl Alcohol*, Parfum (natural)*, Linalool*, Limonene*
*Natural ingredient **Ingredient from organic farming

The first ingredient is a pretty common one in skincare: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, which is a combination of glycerin and often coconut oil. However, this ingredient has much lower comedogenic rating VS coconut oil, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. The second ingredient is Sunflower Seed Oil, followed by Linseed Seed Oil. Sunflower Seed Oil may sound common, but it’s a rich emollient and skin replenishing and soothing properties.

Linseed Seed Oil is very high in Linoleic Acid - an essential for building ceramides, which help to retain moisture and fortify a barrier for the skin. To my knowledge Linoleic Acid is also very close to skin’s natural sebum and can be balancing for people with oily skins or acne, but I need to look into this some more.

The highlight ingredients of this cleanser are definitely the European Blueberry and Lingonberry Seed Oils. Please notice that when I speak about blueberries I mean the wild forest blueberries - not the fat, pale kinds you can buy at stores. Finnish berries are the true Nordic “superfoods”, antioxidant, vitamin, mineral and flavonoid bombs for the face (and body). Antioxidants are excellent in “anti-age”, soothing and caring properties. Lingon berries are also high in arbutin, a skin lightening/brightening ingredient. Although these oils are not on your skin for long and a bit lower in the INCI list, I think they’re an excellent add to the mix.

Parfum, Linalool and Limonene aren’t the best suited for people with very sensitive skins, but since they don’t stay on the skin for a very long period of time you could try and sample this oil. The cleanser also rinses very clean.

Senja Cosmetics Sleek Cheek Cleansing Oil Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

The active ingredients of this cleansing oil are pretty nice and impressive, but I’m most excited about the great performance of this oil! No residue, just clean face. If I’m wearing a tons of mascara and liner I use Clinique’s Take The Day of Cleansing Milk* for final clean, but Senja Sleek Cheek does excellent by itself. The price point is not cheap, but moderate and I will definitely purchase a new once I run out!

What’s your favorite cleansing oil to date? Are you interested in hearing more about Scandi/Nordic indie brands?

*This product was gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are my honest and my own!

My Winter Morning Skincare Routine

I was watching some Youtubers sharing their skincare routines and thought it’d be fun to share my current go-to routine. Part of the fun is looking back my older routines and what products I’ve been reaching for. My routines are always a mix of “must-haves” and products I’m testing for a review - some of them will end up on the blog again and again while some might be left forgotten.. I recommend using the search and tag tools if you’re looking for a particular product review. Gifted products are marked with an asterisk (*). Also, say hi to Cara, my ~15-week-old maine coon kitten. <3

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Current skincare goals / Concerns

My skin did pretty good before November, but as the month changed I swear to you my skin turned a) dry as a parchment paper b) my under eyes darker than darkness. Winters in Helsinki are partly freezing cold, windy and partly just annoyingly rainy, while there’s central heating indoors. Right now my biggest concerns are dehydration and evening out my complexion. I had a grand zit after the holidays and it left noticeable redness behind. Lightening my old acne scaring is always an on-going process, but sometimes I pay less attention on it. My final concerns are some blackheads on my nose (which this routine doesn’t target as much, I do opt for stronger acids from time to time).

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

My AM Routine

My “beauty sin” is to wash my face in the shower. Fortunately I dislike long and hot showers, so I’m out of there pretty quickly before my skin turns into a worse raisin than it already is. In the shower I have a couple of cleanser options, but lately I’ve been liking the Glope Hope Cosmetics Cleansing Gel* (33.1€ / 150ml). It feels mild and gentle, perfect for AM routine. The INCI list is short and simple: packed with cornflower water, aloe and hydrating glycerine. In the evenings I tend to reach for more heavy duty cleansers.

Next is the one and only - Januarylabs Daily Brightening Tonic (Cult Beauty* 29.7€ / 150ml) (review here). I think I was sent one back when this launched, then I purchased another, then another.. I can’t begin to imagine my life without it. Because of the packaging I feel the easiest application method is to pour some on a cotton pad and gently swipe face and neck. This multi-purpose toner both retains moisture and gently resurfaces the skin with lactic acid. I can highly recommend this to everyone!

After the Tonic I apply an essence. I had a small break with essences, only to notice how much I miss it. My friend Marinka was kind enough to shop for me during her travels and top 1. in my wish list was the Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence (69.53€ / 150ml). I had seen some positive reviews on Fresh and not gonna lie, the kombucha trend did encourage me to pick this one up. The essence is just as I like it - light but thicker than plain water, hydrates, plumps and treats. I have noticed my skin is glowing after I started using this, but I won’t make any claims just yet.

After prepping my skin it’s time for serums. This is a bit tricky category as serums take a while to make a difference in the skin - especially if it’s lightening pigmentation. Globe Hope Cosmetics Lumi Strong* (54.90€ / 30ml) is packed with blueberry extract and arbutin from bilberry extract, which is a melanin inhibitor. If you’re HC about eco skincare and want to lighten pigmentation, Lumi Strong is worth looking into, but I unfortunately haven’t seen any change in my pigmentation issues during the good 4 weeks I’ve been using it. Clinique’s Hydrating Jelly* (61.50€ / 125ml) is also a slight disappointment for me. As much as I like hydrating serums and ampoules, I haven’t found one that would beat Kypris Antioxidant Dew or Esse Serum (reviews here) in that deep hydration my thirsty skin craves. If Clinique launches its Vitamin C and Retinol Boosters in Finland (which you can mix in the jelly) in Finland I’m willing to try again.

Eye cream is something I don’t use 100% of the time. Lately I’ve tried various eco beauty roll-ons, but this Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream*.. it’s a winner. Needless to say, as it’s very expensive (Cult Beauty* ~100€ / 15ml). Is it worth it? Is any eye cream (or skincare product)? If yes.. then Tata’s close. This eye cream is rich, moisturizing, but doesn’t give me any puffiness around the eye area or milia. Finally I feel my dark circles have improved and I hope the good INCI list can strengthen my eye area as it promises.

Another luxurious eco skincare treat in my routine is the Henua Organics Recharging Moisturizer* (129€ / 30ml), but it is a treat.. Not only Henua Organics is made in Finland, packed in the most exquisite bottles with birch wood caps, 85% organic farming and eco cert, but also this cream is packed with birch sap, pine park extract, sea buckthorn oil - just to name a few. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and supple, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I want to write a whole dedicated article about Henua Organics, keep your eyes peeled!

Finally the must have I keep on preaching about: SPF!! This Mádara Plant Stem Cell Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF30 (~15.2€ / 100ml, available at House of Organic (FI)*) was one of my Best SPF for Summer 2018. Don’t let the package fool you, some sites might even list this sunscreen on the ‘body’ section, but I use it for my face, neck, décolleté, hands, you name it.. This sunscreen is on the heavier, a bit greasier side texture-wise and does leave a bit of white cast, which does disappear when you massage it in. I was sent one tube to test, went through it and purchased a new one. In the Spring and Summer I might go back to my beloved Innisfree sunscreen, but Mádara is easy to purchase here in Helsinki, inexpensive and my dry skin simply loves it. Rain or shine, Winter or Summer - always remember the SPF!

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Did you spot any favorites in my routine or something you’d love to read more about? Leave questions, comments and your routine favorites in the comments below!

*Products marked with an asterisk(*) were kindly gifted me for consideration, with no obligation to write about them. My thoughts and opinions are my honest and my own.