By: Liz Washer

How you take it off is just as important as how you put it on. I’m saying this from experience. Bad, bad experience.

See, I have dry skin. And it turns out, I have skin that is very sensitive to harsh cleansers. For the better part of, oh, 2005, I was scrubbing my makeup off every night with a combination of Baby Wipes and Clean & Clear foaming cleanser. I had to work especially hard around my eyes, because eyeliner is stubborn, particularly the kind that actually stays on all day. I was stripping my skin with harsh cleansers AND scrubbing and tugging at my skin while I did it.

Not good.

The result? Rough, patchy, dry, alligator-like skin ON MY EYELIDS! Words cannot convey the yuck.

A friend finally took pity on me and introduced me to DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil, which has been my Holy Grail ever since (and, when you’re a product junkie like me, long-term brand loyalty is a rarity). It’s gentle – I don’t have to tug and scrub – and it takes EVERYTHING off. And, unlike regular olive oil, it rinses away easily. You don’t need much, either (one or two pumps is usually enough for my whole face), so it lasts a long time. I use DHC’s Mild Soap after the oil to leave a clean surface (and no residue) behind – the soap is fabulous for dry skin like mine – and then follow with a rich moisturizer, especially in the winter.

Another plus? I use both products to deep-clean my makeup brushes, especially brushes that have been used with an oil-based product (like lipstick) – it gets EVERYTHING out!

The key to removing REALLY long-wearing products is patience. There are water-resistant liners, mascaras, foundations, and lipsticks out there that are NOT kidding around. Instead of just splashing your face and rubbing frantically, try saturating a cotton pad in the oil and holding it against the stubborn makeup for up to a minute. That will help break down the product and make removal easier, and minimizing rubbing and pulling of the skin. (I think the toughest thing I ever removed with DHC was one of MAC’s Pro Longwear lip colors… that stuff basically had to be saturated, and then slowly chipped off of my lips. It was like removing a UV gel manicure!)

If you don’t have a product like this in your arsenal and need to remove waterproof mascara or eyeliner PRONTO, you can use plain ol’ extra virgin olive oil. Use the same strategy: dip a few cotton swabs or pads in the oil and hold them against the stubborn makeup to start breaking it down, before you gently scrub and rinse. Then you can look forward to waking up the next morning WITHOUT those charming black globs in your eyeball! Other natural oils can also work well, too (avoid mineral oil). But I like the DHC because it has the added benefit of rinsing away very easily so you’re not left with residue.

So even if you have oily skin, don’t fear the oil-based cleanser. Oil is much better for your face than a harsh, chemical-laden soap, and it does a much better job at removing longwearing makeup, too!