The right eye make-up remover, we believe, is a weapon in your anti-ageing arsenal – because if you’re having to rub and tug, it’s bad news for the fragile skin of the eye zone which gets pulled this way and that, potentially leading to loss of elasticity over time. The answer, then, is to find one that dissolves even highly-pigmented and waterproof/budge-proof make-up with minimal rubbing. The products that scored best this year are all ‘dual-phase’ removers – which require shaking before use to mix the oil and water phases. (In our experience, too, these are most effective, especially on waterproof make-up). Do scroll down for further winners – there were some terrific scores this year.


GOLD AWARD Clinique Take The Day Off Make Up Remover 

This scored spectacularly well – an average of 9.3/10, across our 10-woman tester panel. (We always like to highlight particularly stratospheric scores – and anything above 9 is seriously noteworthy.) As with everything Clinique create, this dual-phase remover is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, in this case also ophthalmologically tested and suitable for contact lens wearers. You need to shake before use to mix the two ‘phases’ – and it does double-duty on lips, Clinique tell us.


‘Has to be 10 out of 10. Simple packaging for this slightly oily liquid that's very easy to apply, no effort required, very gentle, effective and quick, took off all make-up, easily removed waterproof mascara and tough matte stay on all day lipstick – leaving no traces on pillow. Left skin moisturised and soft. Actually did more than it claimed’ • ‘Wow, I am impressed with this product! Clinique, where have you been all my life? I’ve tried so many removers over the years, including high-end ones, only to find myself having to scrub at my mascara making my eyes sore and still finding product under my eyes in the morning - the panda look is not flattering. With just two cotton pads this Clinique product glides over my mascara and removes it. No scrubbing needed, no sore eyes. It removed make-up I didn’t know I had on leaving my skin soft’ • ‘I normally avoid mascara because of the hard work removing it but since using this product I apply mascara every day. 10/10 marks are not enough for this product. Shake it before using to mix up oil and water’ • ‘Zero effort required’ • ‘A fantastic easy to use product, which did exactly what it promises to do!! Skin felt fresh and clean and no hidden bits left on your eyes or on lips. An amazing product, which I will continue to use!! Not cheap but worth every penny.’

£18 for 125ml - click to buy


SILVER AWARD Guinot Demaquillant Express Yeux Eye Make Up Remover

Unlike some of the winners here, this flip-top product is non-oily and may therefore be the go-to for those with very sensitive eyes – its texture is a refreshing lavender gel, into which you can dip a Q-Tip to access the last specks of eye make-up. Used over time, it will soften lashes and even encourage growth, Guinot maintain.


‘One swipe on each eye and the make up was gone. Also removed long-wear lipstick. It felt very gentle and nourishing – a little oily – and I liked the light lavender fragrance’ • ‘This eye make-up remover is one of the best I have ever used. It works so quickly and removes everything without tugging and having to go back over the eye a few times’ • ‘A great product and good to take away as it will remove all make-up although it says it’s for eyes’ • ‘This was a good product, which took everything off my eyes and didn't sting or irritate them in any way. The bottle just delivered a small amount which I liked as I didn't then waste any product. It left my eyes moisturised’ • ‘Yes I would buy this product, as it's nice to find something that actually lives up to its promise not to sting! You need to shake it before use, which presumably helps the oil emulsify a bit: but it works very well. Nothing spectacular but how could eye make-up remover be spectacular anyway?  It's effective, easy to use, doesn't drag or leave eyes feeling tight, and doesn't irritate eyes at all.’

£22.75 for 100ml - click to buy


BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) Vichy Pureté Thermale Eye Make-Up Remover Waterproof

Ever felt your your lashes were getting skimpy due to having to tug and pull to remove your mascara? The premise of this bi-phase remover is that it will limit eyelash loss while protecting the sensitive eye zone. It’s enriched with amino acids taurine and arginine, to stimulate nutrient delivery to the lash bulb and repair damaged fibres. (We’d still only recommend removing your eye make-up once a day, though!)


‘Very easy to apply this gentle unfragranced biphase oil/water product, which removed heavy eye make up, including waterproof mascara, easily with no soreness or sensitivity. Also removed lipstick. Left my skin slightly oily but moisturised. I would buy this’ • ‘A very good make-up remover that is kind to eyes; no need to scrub, even when wearing waterproof mascara and/or contacts’ • ‘I struggle to find a good eye make- up remover that doesn't irritate my eyes and this was really good.  What has stood out is the fact that my lashes are much longer whilst using this.  There has been very little breakage, which I love as I actually feel like I have good lashes for the first time in a long time!  So while it may not remove make-up perfectly first time, I love the fact it seems to take care of my lashes and so I don't mind using it twice to make-sure my eyes are clean and I don't have panda eyes in the morning’ • ‘I always double-cleanse, especially after I’ve been wearing lots of make-up. But this removed make-up very easily and took off everything. It took slightly more effort on waterproof mascara but worked well and there was nothing left on my pillow’ • ‘Promises to remove resistant eye make-up and waterproof make-up. It worked. It’s only a little bit more expensive than my usual remover but works far better. A new favourite.’

£12 for 150ml - click to buy


BRONZE AWARD (JOINT) Filorga Optim-Eyes Lotion

Not a ‘dual-phase’ but a ‘three-phase’ make-up remover, this – another shake-well-before-use product, to mix the different phases together. It incorporates a hydrating serum and a ‘protein booster’ to fortify lashes, together with a peptide to help reduce signs of fatigue.  


‘I really liked this eye make-up remover as it has such a nice effect on my eyes, cooling and soothing the area and removing eye make-up with an effortless swipe. I found it was lovely to leave soaked pads on my eyes and then let them melt away the make-up before swiping away. My little tip was to use the pads on the rest of the face as it removes all other make-up too!’ • ‘Lovely eye make-up removed that requires no effort and is very gentle to use, with no soreness or sensitivity. It took all my eye make-up off and worked on waterproof mascara – also lipstick – and left no traces on my pillow. I would definitely buy this’ • ‘Does a very good job, dissolving eye make-up pretty quickly without much effort and removing it efficiently. It’s very gentle and I haven’t experienced any issues. It also worked on lipstick’ • ‘No effort required - I don’t have to rub my eyes for my mascara to come off just let the soaked cotton pad sit on my eyelid and then wipe away the make- up’ • ‘It’s very gentle on my sensitive eye area and doesn’t cause any redness or reaction at all’ • ‘I really liked using this product as it removed all traces of heavy eye make-up really easily without tugging at my lids. My lashes felt nourished and I found it very easy to use without it causing a reaction or irritating my eyes.’

£26 for 110ml - click to buy


BEAUTY STEAL AWARD DHC Eye and Lip Make-Up Remover

Again, this Japanese entry – which scored only just slightly below the Bronze winners – harnesses the dual power of water and oil, together with emollient-rich cleansing agents. It’s designed specifically to dissolve even waterproof mascara and incorporates lash-conditioning cork extract. (New to us, that one.)


‘Easy to apply on a cotton pad and I didn't need to scrub to get the make- up off. It was gentle and I didn't experience any soreness or sensitivity. It took a little more effort with waterproof mascara but worked well – maybe a bit heavier and oilier than other bi-phase make-up removers I have used but I cleansed after using it and the oiliness was easily removed’ • ‘Promised to remove ‘stubborn’ make- up and it did easily and gently. I would buy this’ • ‘Top marks from two of us! I tested this product myself but as I don't wear a lot of make-up I also asked my 18-year old daughter who does, to try it too. We both agreed it worked well on various brands and types of cosmetic products’ • ‘Very good value; does not leak which is a great plus so I can carry it in my bag for weekends away. Promises to take off make-up including waterproof, which it does this effectively and gently, without scrubbing or leaving an oily film (as other comparably effective make-up removers do)’ • ‘Two or three gentle wipes would take off even waterproof mascara. Also took off my 24-hour lipstick with ease and moisturise my lips, which improved in condition. My eyes are much better now I don't need to scrub them. It doesn't leave an oily film as other comparably effective removers tend to do. Will be buying more as soon as this runs out.’

£10.90 for 120ml - click to buy