Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Makeup Removal

Put olive oil on  a cotton pad and  use it as eye makeup remover.
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Putting on makeup can be a lot of fun, but taking it off can be pretty frustrating. Your usual cleanser may not work to get rid of foundation and eye makeup at the end of the day, which can lead to smudges under your eyes and breakouts the next morning. You can buy makeup-remover products, but they may contain harsh ingredients that irritate your skin and eyes. Using a natural product like extra virgin olive oil to remove makeup may sound strange, but don't discount its gentleness and effectiveness.

1 Oil vs. Oil

Most makeup, including foundation, concealer, eye shadow, eye liner and mascara, is usually made up of heavy waxes and oils. Most traditional face cleansers, however, are water-based and too gentle to remove waxes and oils. Because extra virgin olive oil has a similar chemical structure to the waxes and oils used in makeup, it can easily dissolve foundation, eye shadow, liner, mascara and other makeup. In fact, most packaged makeup removers are oil-based.

2 Olive Oil Assets

Extra virgin olive oil is a natural product, so you don’t have to worry about the dyes, fragrances, emulsifiers, thickeners and other additives present in commercial makeup removers. It’s also non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores. Olive oil is inexpensive as well; chances are you already have some in your kitchen, but if you don’t, you can pick up a large bottle at the grocery store that will last quite a while.

3 Tips and Tricks

To use extra virgin olive oil as a makeup remover, simply a dab a small amount on your finger and gently smooth it over your eyes and face to remove the makeup. Using your hands can get messy, though, so you may want to pour a drop of the olive oil on a cotton ball or pad and swipe it over your skin to remove the makeup. After the makeup is removed, your skin may have a slight oily residue. Rinse it with lukewarm water and wipe with a soft, clean towel to remove it.

4 The Downside

While extra virgin olive oil is non-comedogenic, it is still an oil that can leave a greasy residue on your skin. If you have oily skin and eyelids, you may find that using olive oil regularly leaves your skin shinier and can even cause breakouts. Because olive oil doesn’t contain emulsifiers like commercially prepared eye makeup removers, it may not be effective against some types of makeup, such as waterproof eye liner or mascara. In that case, you may find yourself having to swipe or rub at your eyes a little harder to get rid of all the makeup, and that tugging can cause fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.