This sustainable makeup remover might just change your skincare routine
You can toss your disposable makeup-removing products.
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Say you're in the habit of using disposable makeup remover wipes or cotton rounds soaked in coconut oil or micellar water to dissolve away makeup, you might look at the bathroom trash each evening, and wonder, "is there a better way?" Not every part of a beauty routine can be made reusable—benefiting both your wallet and the planet—but there's a product that aims to make your cleansing routine simpler and more sustainable: a piece of fabric called the Makeup Eraser.
What is the Makeup Eraser and what does it claim?
The Makeup Eraser promises to whisk away every trace of makeup, even mascara, without the need for additional solvents or cleansers. This reusable, polyester cloth has short fibers on one side to remove the makeup and longer fibers on the other to exfoliate the skin.
To use the cloth, you soak it in warm water, wring out excess water, and wipe your face in circular motions with the short-haired side (the side without the tag on it). The hair-like fibers should “suction” the makeup, dirt, and oil out of the pores and off of the skin, though you should follow up with your usual face wash to be sure your skin is a blank slate. The brand recommends using the 15.5- by 7.25-inch cloth in sections and only washing it once or twice a week. (The cloth is machine-washable up to 1,000 times.) The company claims that one Makeup Eraser is equal to 3,600 makeup wipes.
The longer-haired side of the Makeup Eraser can be used in the same way (gentle, circular motions) to exfoliate the skin.
What’s it like to use the Makeup Eraser?
I tested the Makeup Eraser on several occasions while wearing a full face of makeup, including primer, foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, mascara, and eyebrow gel. I ran warm water over the cloth and squeezed it in my hands because the fibers resisted absorbing the water at first. I then swiped the cloth in circular motions around my face and gently pinched the fibers around my eyelashes to remove my mascara. The polyester material felt odd against my skin and didn’t glide as easily as my typical cotton round doused in Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water.
Still, I could see all of the makeup coming off of my skin and onto the wipe and the result was bare, clean skin each time I used it. The only exception to this was when I used the E.L.F. Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow one of the testing days and saw flecks of glitter still stuck to my eyes post-wash. Following the Eraser, I used my Bliss Makeup Melt Jelly Cleanser, which is always my second step, regardless of what makeup remover product I've employed.
I tried to follow the brand’s suggestion of only using one section of the cloth on my face at a time so that I could limit how frequently I needed to launder it, but I usually ended up using at least half of the cloth to avoid going over the same areas of my face with the makeup-stained towel more than once. I live in an apartment that doesn’t include in-unit laundry, so using the Makeup Eraser more than once or twice a week would be impossible for me, unless I hand-washed it in my sink.
It’s also awkward for me to store if I want to reuse it more than once before a wash, as I don’t have extra room on my towel ring and I don’t want to fold up the wet cloth and place it on my bathroom shelf, either. I made room for it once next to my hand towel, but aside from that time, I placed it on the side of my hamper to dry out and then knocked it into my dirty laundry prior to wash.
What did I like about the Makeup Eraser?
I love the idea of the Makeup Eraser. Using a plush cloth to help me effectively remove all of my makeup, save me money on my typical micellar water and cotton round pairing, and cut back on disposable products sounds more than ideal. And I liked how easy it was to use and that I could throw it into my laundry and wash as I would anything else and have it emerge from the dryer looking brand new.
What did I dislike about the Makeup Eraser?
I did not like the texture of the Makeup Eraser on my face. The makeup-removing side felt dry and resistant to my skin, despite being wet, and I found it difficult to swipe around the face because of the texture. As for the exfoliation it provides, I didn't notice that the fibers looked any longer or felt any more exfoliating on the longer-haired side. Plus, physically rubbing anything against the skin counts as exfoliation.
Mostly, though, my gripe with this product lands in its usability for my lifestyle. I’d prefer to use a clean cloth each time I remove my makeup and because doing laundry means a trip to the laundromat for me, I can’t wash this often enough to permit the frequency of usage I’d want (in non-pandemic times, I wear makeup about five times a week). Sure, I could purchase multiple cloths and rotate them, but for $20 each, I'd prefer to purchase a whole set of reusable cotton rounds, which gives you 20 machine-washable circles you can use with any makeup remover for less cash than one Makeup Eraser. The company now sells a 7-Day Set for $25 that includes 4- by 3-inch Erasers that you can use like a reusable cotton round, but are a bit bigger and feature the fibers of the original Eraser that don't require a cleanser or other solvent. I'd still opt for the former, as I didn't love the texture of the fibers on my skin.
Is the Makeup Eraser safe for your skin?
As Reviewed’s beauty editor, it’s my job to have a healthy amount of skepticism about all beauty products, and the Makeup Eraser was no different. After seeing that it could, in fact, remove my makeup, I wondered if there was some kind of catch—otherwise, why isn’t everyone wiping off their makeup with a polyester cloth? To find out if this type or product is gentle and hygienic enough for daily use on your skin, I consulted Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC in New York City.
Without ever having used the Makeup Eraser, Friedler says: “If you use it and [your skin is] not irritated, I don’t think that it’s necessarily bad to use it. But on the flip side, if you’re using a good cleanser, the cleanser is doing a lot of the work to gently dissolve those makeups. [Cleansers] are really engineered to dissolve those oil particles, get into the makeup, and do a more effective—and hopefully a gentler—job of taking off that makeup.”
Friedler stresses that the most important part of using a cleansing tool, even one as soft as the Makeup Eraser, is having a gentle hand, as rubbing too hard can cause inflammation or even microscopic tears in the skin that can lead to infections if bacteria infiltrate them (this is true with makeup wipes and cotton rounds, too). She also suggests diligently washing the cloth or making sure that you’re only touching your skin with a clean part of the cloth that your face and fingers haven’t touched if you’re going to use it more than once before washing. The cloth is antibacterial, meaning it should prevent the spread of bacteria, but it’s better to be overly cautious with washes and re-uses.
Still, this could be a great option for someone who wears less makeup or for someone with sensitive skin that is easily irritated by soap or soap-free cleansers. “If you’re someone who wears minimal makeup and you're able to just wash your face really effectively with water and the microfiber cloth and it doesn’t irritate you, that should be fine,” Friedler says.
Who should buy the Makeup Eraser?
If you have the ability to do frequent loads of laundry or you wear very little makeup at a time or infrequently, I think this product will slide into your routine with ease. And if not, opting for the 7-Day Set could work well for you. I have no doubt that you’ll experience the same makeup-erasing effects that I did, leaving behind very little makeup residue—if any. The texture may take some getting used to, but if you’re looking to make your beauty routine more sustainable, I think that’s a fair tradeoff.
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