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.

Luxury In a Bottle - Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser Review

If you know green beauty, you gotta know Tata Harper. She’s a pioneer in luxury skincare whose aim is combining efficacy with eco products. Last Summer I had a pleasure to meet her at Naturelle’s Master Class and I gotta say that she glows from the inside out - and I’m not only talking about her skin! Her personality and philosophy is so radiant it was contagious. Today I’m taking a closer look at her famous Regenerating Cleanser**, I hope you enjoy the review!

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Tata Harper and Regenerating Cleanser

Like many green beauty founders her brand has a personal backstory: her stepfather got diagnosed with cancer and Tata started paying attention to product ingredients. She couldn’t find something effective, safe and 100% natural that was a pleasure to use, so she decided to make it herself. All Tata Harper Skincare is made in Vermont, but her passion for beauty comes from her Colombian background.

Regenerating Cleanser is Tata Harper’s daily exfoliating treatment cleanser for dull and congested skin. It provides a gentle physical and chemical exfoliation with the combination of apricot microspheres and BHA from willow bark. 100% of total ingredients are from natural origin, 82% from organic farming. See certifications here. 125ml pump bottle retails for €82 / $82. Available at Sokos, Stockmann and Naturelle (in Finland) and Cult Beauty* (worldwide).

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Ingredients

Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Juice*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder, Sorbitan Olivate, Aqua/Water/Eau, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Coco-Glucoside, Cetearyl Glucoside, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Kaolin (White Clay), Sclerotium Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sodium Phytate, CI77491 (Red Iron Oxide), Aroma**, Alcohol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool *Ingredients from Organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend

This cleanser is in a in a barley base with emulsifying agents based from olive oil. After moisturizing sunflower seed oil, the apricot seed powder is high in the ingredients list, making this creamy cleanser generous with mechanical ‘scrubby bits’. The apricot seed powder is very fine, more like fine sand than very gritty. Personally I can use this cleanser on a regular basis, but you might want to sample it first if you’re sensitive or very prone to redness.

What I really enjoy in this formula are the amount of fermented ingredients (Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc from pomegranate and radish root) and BHA delivered from Willow Bark Extract. Willow bark naturally contains salicylic acid, which helps the skin shed dead cells and clear pores while stimulating new cell growth. Salicylic acid is one of my favorite exfoliants, to get the full benefit I would leave this cleanser on a couple minutes as suggested on Tata’s website. Notice that this combination of manual and chemical exfoliation will make the skin more sensitive to sun and I always recommend using a sunscreen.

After Willow Bark Extract the formula is packed with many botanical leaf extracts such as arnica, borage, calendula and alfafa. There is also a small amount of white clay that helps to pull out impurities. Overall this ingredient list looks very safe and well-balanced to my eyes. There is a small amount of essential oils if you’re very sensitive. To battle acne I might use a BHA toner instead and not aggravate the skin with too much scrubbing.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Regenerating Cleanser

Tata’s cleansers are among the most beautiful and luxurious I’ve ever tested. I love it how their website provides information on different cleanser types and what are suitable for specific skin concerns. For dull and congested skin she recommends using this cleanser in a combination with her strong enzymatic mask, the Resurfacing Mask. If you’re curious, you can read more tips on this article. At the Master Class I tried topping the Regenerating Cleanser with the Resurfacing Mask for 5 minutes for deeper exfoliation, but for this review I’ve used the cleanser on its own.

In my opinion, the Regenerating Cleanser is best suitable for mornings when you feel extra gunky, sweaty, oily or as a second step after thoroughly removing makeup. You get the whole exfoliating effect by massaging the cleanser on dry skin by using circular motions and buffing. Most times I’ve applied the cleanser on damp skin for gentler results; I use strong acid toners regularly so I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin too abrasively, but if you suffer from a lot of congestion or build-up you might want to apply the cleanser on dry skin time to time. If there isn’t many acid containing products in your routine already, one way to get all the benefit from the willow bark extract is to leave the cleanser on the skin for a 5 minute mini-mask.

The texture of the Regenerating Cleanser is creamy with sand-like particles called ‘apricot microspheres’. I used to be afraid of manual scrubs because I didn’t want to get micro cuts on my face, but since they are called spheres I assume it’s safe. To be honest, I’ve grown to like a little scrubbing from time to time. The Regenerating Cleanser feels especially satisfying on the days when I’ve worn sunscreen and makeup for hours and my face feels extra grimy.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

What I love about this Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser is its simple efficacy. Of course I take the luxurious user experience into account when I’m using a cleanser this $$$, but nothing beats how clean, fresh and radiant my skin feels after each use. There’s no greenwashing, gimmicks, unrealistic magical promises or fancy feeling fragrances. Yes, the price is very high for a cleanser, but you get what you pay for: certified organic ingredients, a perfected formula in a generous 125ml heavy glass pump bottle. If you’re on a budget I highly recommend picking up an acid toner and a good serum first, but if you want to treat yourself I think the Regenerating Cleanser is lovely.

In the end I think it’s your choice what’s worth it for you and if you want to splurge on a cleanser or skincare in general. Will I be buying a new bottle after finishing the sample? Yes. I’ll be saving up and keeping my eyes open for sales! xx

**This bottle was kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest and my own.

Easy, Eco and Affordable? Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt review

Eco-friendly and organic but doesn't break the bank? Gentle and easy to use? Look no further! Today's cleanser, Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt, has an interesting balmy jelly texture with a short and sweet ingredient list. But does it actually work? Let's find out!

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt* is often advertised as a cleansing balm, but I'd say texture-wise it's an unique hybrid between a balm, jelly and a gel. Evolve products are hand-made in Hertfordshire, England, and the cleanser is 100% natural and 98.59% organic ingredients. The cleanser comes in a jar packaging with no spatula, but for hygiene reasons I recommend using your own spoon/spatula. The key ingredients include baobab oil and vanilla extract. Available in two sizes: regular size 120ml/4.1fl.oz for 21.5€/£20 and a smaller trial-size 60ml jar.

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Gentle Cleansing Melt

The directions for this cleanser are pretty straightforward: you apply a small dollop (I'd say the size of your pinky nail) on dry face, gently massage and apply water to transform the cleanser into a creamy milk texture. The cleanser rinses clean, leaving no greasy residue, but doesn't strip or dry out the skin. I like how balanced this cleanser is - sometimes I want to throughly massage my skin with a balm (or similar), but not use a washcloth or have  any oily residue which can prevent my next skincare steps from absorbing.

The texture is strange and unique: a bit like gel (less liquid) or jelly (less jiggly), but soft and easy to massage on dry skin. I'd expect the cleanser to be somehow lumpy, but it melts really nicely and emulsifies when you apply some water. I like to use the Gentle Cleansing Melt in the mornings or as a 2nd cleanse after removing my makeup. The bigger jar lasts a good while as you need only a small dollop. Despite the oil content of the cleanser I don't feel it's "strong" or oily enough to remove sunscreen and heavy makeup. The scent is mild with a hint of vanilla, but far from sickly sweet vanilla scented things (such as MAC lipsticks etc).

I love how transparent the company is about the amount of organic ingredients - they even list on the jar/box who has made the product! (Thank you Leanne for making mine!)

Ingredients

Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride*, Glycerin*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Oil*, Sucrose Laurate, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Tocopherol. *ingredients from organic farming

The base of the Gentle Cleansing Melt is a coconut oil and glycerin derivate (Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride), making it a good emollient while the mix of fatty acids can resist moisture loss. It's considered a gentle ingredient, but if you're sensitive to coconut derivates I recommend patch testing. The other ingredients are mainly oils: sunflower, sweet almond and the advertised baobab oil with some orange fruit water, damask rose oil and vanilla. The final ingredient, tocopherol, is a class of chemical compounds with Vitamin E activity. 

While baobab oil isn't among the first ingredients, it is rich in antioxidants can protect free radical damage. Although the cleanser is on the skin for a short period of time, its vitamins and omegas in baobab can help to tighten, hydrate and help with skin elasticity. Overall I consider these ingredients very safe and nourishing, especially if you have dry to normal skin. Because the texture isn't heavy, greasy or leave residue - I'd imagine this would work for combo skins as well.

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

This cleanser is just like its name says - melting texture with gentle cleansing properties. While it doesn't blow my mind or knock my socks off, I think this is a good choice for people who want an eco cleanser but are tired of washcloths, oily residue and want something quick and easy. While I appreciate the intoxicating sensory pleasure of essential oils, the Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt is a good choice if you feel sensitive to heavy essential oils or scents. Now the final question: Would I purchase this once I run out? Yes, the price point is excellent for hand-crafted and mostly organic skincare. 

Are you familiar with Evolve skincare? What do you look for in your (eco) cleanser?

*This product was kindly offered for consideration. All thoughts are my honest & my own.