Battle of the Dual-Phase Makeup Removers

Battle of the Dual-Phase Makeup Removers

NinaMalyna

I’ve been meaning to do a comparison of dual-phase makeup removers for quite some time now. For the past number of months, I’ve been “collecting” dual-phase makeup removers (mostly purchased, one was sent to me for review) and have been trying each one out thoroughly to see how they fare against each other. I love dual-phase makeup removers because I find that they do a much better job in removing eye makeup than regular makeup removers or micellar waters. They work very well with the oil and sebum on the eyelids to dislodge the gunk in comparison to water-based makeup removers.

A few years ago, I attended a wedding overseas and I thought I could just bring my Bioderma Sensibio H20 micellar water to remove all of my makeup and not have to bring an extra dual-phased makeup remover as well. I didn’t have any cleansing oil or balm with me either. I had waterproof eyeliner and mascara on, and let me tell you, they were a real pain in the arse to remove with micellar water. It was late at night and there wasn’t anyone I could borrow makeup removers from, so there I was, in the bathroom, rubbing my poor delicate eyelids till they were red just so I could dislodge that damn waterproof mascara and eyeliner.

That incident taught me 2 things: 1) I never wore waterproof mascara again after that and 2) always bring a dual-phased eye makeup remover when travelling, especially if I’m going to bring my waterproof eyeliner with me as well. Regular eyeliners tend to budge and smear on my oily eyelids, even if primer on, so waterproof eyeliners are, unfortunately, non-negotiable in my makeup bag.

After months of trial, here are the results of the dual-phase makeup removers I’ve tried. You might be surprised to read my opinion on one very popular one.

Battle of the Dual-Phase Makeup Removers

Garnier 2-in-1 Express Eye Makeup Remover (AU$7.99 for 125ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? Yes
What’s so good about it? It’s a very decent makeup remover that is gentle on the eyes and removes waterproof makeup well without rubbing. It’s the cheapest of the lot and is very close to my favourite makeup remover of all, which I will mention below.
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 8/10

Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover (AU$9.99 for 125ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? A little rubbing is required.
What’s so good about it? Nivea recently repackaged their eye makeup remover, and I must say, I like how simple and clean it looks now. I didn’t have any issues with this makeup remover, other than the fact that I did need to rub a little to get rid of the last traces of waterproof eyeliner.
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 7/10

L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Gentle Makeup Remover (AU$13.99 for 125ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? A little rubbing is required.
What’s so good about it? This is the most expensive eye makeup remover in the drugstore category out of the lot. It’s another good eye makeup remover that is gentle on the eyes. I don’t have any issues with it. However, if you’re watching your wallet, you can get equally good ones at lower prices.
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 7/10

Maybelline Makeup Remover Eye & Lips (AU$4.95 for 70ml)

Does it sting the eyes? Yes
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? A little rubbing is required.
What’s so good about it? It removes makeup all right, although a little bit of rubbing is required to remove stubborn waterproof makeup. The problem is, this stung my eyes, when it does, it goes into the No Good pile for me. Even though it looks like it’s the cheapest of the makeup removers here, it’s only 70ml, which makes the Garnier makeup remover cheaper. I’m not a fan of this one.
Is this worth repurchasing? No
My rating: 6/10

Face of Australia Gentle Makeup Remover (AU$8.95 for 125ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? Yes
What’s so good about it? This is my Holy Grail of makeup removers. Before Garnier launched their dual-phase makeup remover, this was the cheapest dual-phase makeup remover I found that I really liked. It’s gentle on the eyes and no rubbing is required to remove waterproof eye makeup. I heard on the grapevine that this will be discontinued down the line so if you’re a fan of this makeup remover, stock up! Having said that, the Garnier one is the second cheapest and my next favourite so I’ll be moving on to that one once my stock of Face of Australia makeup removers are depleted (I went a bit crazy buying bottles of this during one of Priceline’s 40% off makeup sale!).
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 10/10

Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover (AU$55.00 for 125ml)

Does it sting my eyes? A little. Yes if a lot is used.
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? Yes
What’s so good about it? This is one of Lancome’s cult products and bestsellers. It’s very popular and is the favourite of many makeup artists, beauty bloggers and YouTubers. I picked up a bottle of this to try out even at its whopping price to see what the fuss is all about. To this day, I still don’t know what’s so fantastic about it that you cannot get at much lower prices. This stung my eyes when I used a lot of it to remove stubborn waterproof eye makeup. In my opinion, while it does take eye makeup off easily, the product does not justify the hefty price tag. My rating for this one was strongly affected by the price.
Is this worth repurchasing? No
My rating: 6/10

Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover (AU$35.00 for 125ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? A little rubbing is required.
What’s so good about it? I really like the Take The Day Off range from Clinique and the makeup remover doesn’t disappoint. I did need to rub a wee bit to remove waterproof mascara and eyeliner but other than that, I have no issues with it. It doesn’t sting my eyes. I’ve only used travel-sized versions of this makeup remover, so I can’t say the same for the full-sized bottle, but the travel-sized ones are fantastic. It’s the sort of bottle that you have to press on the top to screw in, while the outer cap can be freely swiveled. Great for traveling and around young children.
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 8/10

Medik8 EyeCleanse Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover* (AU$35.50 for 100ml)

Does it sting the eyes? No
Does it remove waterproof makeup well without rubbing? Yes
What’s so good about it? This is a very gentle eye makeup remover that does a great job in removing stubborn waterproof eye makeup. In fact, in terms of luxury makeup removers go, I’d recommend this over the Lancome Bi-Facil any day. Smells refreshing too. If you’re feeling spendy, then give this one a go!
Is this worth repurchasing? Yes
My rating: 9/10

Lisa Eldridge has an old video on how to remove eye makeup without rubbing. That video taught me the right way to remove my eye makeup without all that unnecessary rubbing. She used the Bioderma micellar water on her eyes as she doesn’t like oily removers, but personally, I still prefer dual-phased makeup removers. The method remains the same.

I hope this helps you in your decision in buying a dual-phase makeup remover. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one to work well. But like I said, if you’re feeling spendy, then go for a good one! 馃檪

What’s your favourite dual-phase makeup remover? Or do you prefer to use water-based makeup removers instead?

The product marked with * was provided for editorial consideration. This post contains several affiliate links. By purchasing something via these affiliate links (at no extra cost to you), you’re supporting Beautyholics Anonymous, which I highly appreciate. For more information, please read our disclosure policy.
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18 comments… add one
  1. Kat Ness

    I have been a fan of dual phase removers for eye makeup for a long time as I wear waterproof mascara. I am currently using the Garnier one which is good. I also have the Sephora one which I find stings my eyes. I like the Maybelline Express Care one (different to the one mentioned here) which doesn’t sting my eyes.
    Kat Ness recently posted..The Handmade Christmas Box | UnboxingMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I’ve not tried the one by Sephora but from what you said, I’ll be staying away from it. Dual phase removers are fantastic in removing waterproof mascara. A lot of people knock it because of the oil but compared to the pain of removing it with regular makeup remover? Oh gimme the oil anytime!

  2. Shu Ting

    Hello Tine! Thanks for this review!! So helpful! I cannot live without a dual-phase eye makeup remover because micellar water alone just wouldn’t do the job! The other day I was so tired when taking off makeup I only used micellar water, and next day I only realised some remaining eye makeup when I looked in the mirror.. yikes!!

    There’s one I really like more than the L’Oreal one, from Botanics. The price is about the same as L’Oreal one, and very gentle, although it feels more oily. Great deals from Boots too because you can get Buy 1 get 1 free offer sometimes! 馃榾

    1. Tine

      My pleasure Shu Ting, glad you found it helpful! I agree; micellar water alone doesn’t do the job in removing stubborn eye makeup. Like you, I still find eyeliner residue the next day if I used micellar water to remove it the evening before.

      Aww we don’t have Boots here. I miss Boots!

  3. Fran

    I’ve used the Clinique’s remover for the last couple of years now. Tried drugstores, Bodyshop, Lanc么me and Korean brands. Always go back to Clinique.

    1. Tine

      Clinique’s Take The Day Off range is awesome. Have you tried their cleansing balm? Top notch!

  4. Kate

    I haven’t been using bi-phase make up remover since 3 years ago after I switched from Clarins bi-phase eye make remover to using sweet almond oil. It works beautifully to remove any water

    1. Tine

      Ooh I’ve heard of sweet almond oil working to remove eye makeup. Olive oil too. I’m tempted to give it a go!

  5. Kate

    Sorry, I clicked on the post comment icon before I finished my comment.

    Sweet almond oil works beautifully for most waterproof mascaras / eye liners / eye brow pencils I’ve used. I use about a dollar sized on cotton pad, that’s about 4-5 drops each time. It leaves the skin around my eyes oily but it’s easily rinsed off when I cleanse my skin after. My eyelashes doesn’t falls off as easily as I don’t have to rub excessively to get rid of the tough make up.

  6. Sara Gabbay

    I only use water based makeup removers, one time I was in a beauty shop and I saw an eyeliner and I tried it on my hand just to see how it is and there was no mention that it was water-proof, and I just couldn’t remove it off my hand. Who knows I could have bought it, and got stuck in a situation where I can’t remove it!

    ~Sara
    Sara Gabbay recently posted..诪讗驻专转 讗讬驻讜专 讻诇讜转 注讚 讘讬转 讛讻诇讛My Profile

    1. Tine

      Yikes! An oil-based makeup remover would have sorted that issue out pronto! 馃槢

  7. Jelena

    Hi Tine,
    I use the Garnier one but not the one you mentioned. The one I get is a blue and clear solution and the bottle is slightly larger. It is an exact bloody dupe for Lancome Bi-facil, which I got a mini of in a gift with purchase years ago, loved and bought the large one, which I promptly used up in about 2 weeks. At that price it couldn’t last so I started experimenting with most of the ones you have featured but the Garnier is the best for me. I usually buy 3 at a time!

    1. Tine

      Ah I know the one you’re talking about. I saw it and was thinking about reviewing that until I saw the newer purple one and I got sucked in by the pretty colour. 馃槢 You’d be able to buy many bottles of that Garnier for just one Lancome Bi-Facil! The Lancome one is good, don’t get me wrong, but geez louise, for that price, it had better remove my makeup and cook my dinner! 馃槢

      1. Yolondi

        Absolutely. And tuck me in, massage my feet, whisper sweet nothings in my ear…

        1. Tine

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

  8. Carole en Australie

    I only use the Garnier 2-in-1! It’s cheap, works well and doesn’t smell! I wait for it to be on offer and get 2 bottles in one go 馃槈
    In the winter, I tend to use coconut oil. It works very well and doesn’t feel greasy at all.
    Carole en Australie recently posted..La Photo du Mois 鈥 Janvier 2016My Profile

    1. Tine

      I’d love to give coconut oil a go but I’m afraid I just can’t stand the smell 馃檨 Looks like I’ll just have to stick to the synthetic stuff. 馃槢

  9. Ojal

    I’ve just started using Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Eye & Lip Makeup Remover which is a dual-phase remover and I must say, it’s really, really worth it! It’s not very expensive and just a few drops of it is enough to remove the makeup! The previous makeup remover I used was also by Neutrogena but I had to keep pumping it out because all my makeup wouldn’t come off but this one is absolutely amazing. I just place it on my eyes, swipe off, and almost 98% of my makeup’s already gone. I just swipe 1 or 2 more times (it’s also very gentle on the skin), and all of my makeup(including waterproof mascara) is gone! It’s a small bottle, about 112ml but I am honestly in love with it cause it removes my makeup so well. There is a little bit of an oily residue but you just have to rinse your face out and your skin honestly feels great afterwards 馃檪

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