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Oil VS Water: Which Makeup Remover Is Right For You

Oil VS Water: Which Makeup Remover Is Right For You

This article might just be your skin’s life saviour

Choosing the right remover can make a whole lot of difference to your skin problems -- be it acne or dry skin. Most importantly, a good makeup remover will not cause your skin to age faster (who doesn't want youthful skin, right?)

Generally, there are two types of makeup removers -- oil-based or water-based. Based on these two broad categories, I will dive deep into the pros and cons each and decode the mysteries of selecting the right type of makeup remover.

What are Oil-Based Makeup Removers?

The name is pretty self-explanatory. Oil-based makeup removers contain mineral oil, vegetable oil, or synthetic oil.. Some examples of oil-based makeup removers are Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil and Bifesta Cleansing Sheet Oil In.

It’s a little weird (for me) but, oil and oil attracts. Oil-based makeup removers work this way: It breaks down the oil-based makeup and sebum on your skin, lifts the impurities, and allows you to wipe them away easily.

Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Makeup Removers

Oil-based makeup removers are great if you tend to wear foundation/heavy makeup or has sensitive/rosacea-prone skin. Why? They are excellent at dissolving makeup, hence they provide the best clean from a full-face makeup. At the same time, they are gentle on the skin, leaving minimal irritation and a natural oil layer on top of the skin for those with sensitive skin.

The downside is the application. Cleaning with oil-based makeup remover can be quite tricky. It needs to emulsify to completely remove dirt, makeup and sebum on your skin. If emulsification is not thorough, the residue can clog your pores, worsen your acne and quicken ageing. Emulsification can be a tedious process. You need to first start with a dry face and hands. Then, slowly massage the product on the skin and, bit by bit, introduce water to allow the emulsification to happen. This process can take a while. That’s why oil-based makeup remover is generally not recommended for people with oily skin.

What are Water-Based Makeup Removers?

Water-based makeup removers are not made from water. Instead, they are characterised by the presence of the ingredient, surfactant. Some examples of water-based makeup removers are Uriage Thermal Micellar Water (Sensitive Skin), Uriage Thermal Micellar Water (Normal to Dry Skin), Bifesta Cleansing Sheet Moist and Bifesta Cleansing Sheet Brightup.

The mechanics behind water-based makeup remover is simpler to understand. It removes particles from the outermost layer using surfactants. Water-soluble particles, such as dirt and pollution, emulsify in the lather of surfactant and usually rinse off the skin.

Pros and Cons of Water-Based Makeup Removers

To understand the pros and cons of water-based makeup removers, you’ll first need to understand surfactant. Different types of surfactant results in various strength of water-based makeup removers.

On the gentle end of the spectrum, we have the micellar water. It is a non-lathering emulsion that gathers dirt, bacteria and makeup and gently removes them without drying your skin. Mild and gentle amphoteric surfactants, such as cocoamidpropyl betaine and sodium cocoamphoacetate, or non-ionic surfactants, such as polysorbates, the sorbitans, the PEGs, and the laureth-[number]s, are usually present in micellar water. Because it is much gentler, micellar water is suitable for dry and sensitive skin. However, they may not be the best remover for full face makeup, especially if you are wearing waterproof makeup!

On the other extreme end, water-based removers contain sulphates -- an anionic surfactant. Sulphates are powerful when it comes to removing dirt and oils, but they also disrupt your moisture barrier and strip your skin of its natural moisturising oil. Skincare brand usually mix sulphates with amphoteric surfactants and a number of other mild ingredients to create a gentler solution, making it suitable for normal to oily skin. Common types of sulphates found in makeup removers are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

Makeup Remover Lotion for Combination Skin

More often than not, we are unable to simply categorise our skin types into dry, oily or normal skin. For me, I have a super oily forehead and, sometimes, my cheeks can get so dry till it is red and itchy. In this case, do I buy two different makeup removers for the different areas of my skin?

I rather not. The smarter move is to get one that is made for oily and combination skin -- Paradiso Garden Black Rose Makeup Removing Lotion.

Paradiso Garden Black Rose Makeup Removing Lotion is made of a variety of flower and plant extracts, most notably from different types of roses. It does not contain SLS- and SLES, which also means my poor cheeks won’t have to suffer from my makeup remover.

It removes my waterproof lipstick completely!

I’ve tried the makeup remover and it works well! Specifically, I spread my waterproof lipstick on my hands and my waterproof makeup came off completely! That said, I do recommend that you gently massage the lotion for at least 15 seconds -- 5 more seconds longer than the product instructions.

After I’ve dried my skin, my skin felt smoother, softer and more moisturised! That’s probably because Paradiso Garden Black Rose Makeup Removing Lotion is packed with moisturising extracts that allow it to double-up as a skincare product! The Rosa hybrid flower extract also works to combat uneven skin tone and brighten it for an evenly radiant skin. If you have darkened spots, caused by acne or sun exposure, I’d say this function would be particularly helpful for you.

If you have combination skin, I’d definitely recommend that you give Paradiso Garden Black Rose Makeup Removing Lotion a go! If you are reading this during 7-13 Oct, then I have good news for you. You’d be able to redeem a free sample of Paradiso Garden Black Rose Makeup Removing Lotion (samples given at random along with Paradiso Garden Hibiscus Syriacus Makeup Removing Lotion). If you aren’t able to, worry not. You can still purchase it at Sample Store Shopee.


I hope this article gave you a better idea about the types of makeup remover that suits you best. For more skincare tips and tricks, sign up for Sample Store free membership and subscribe to our newsletter. With your free membership, you can also redeem free samples and unlock access to Sample Store exclusive products, discounts and promotions!

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