How to Gently Remove Makeup and Stop Ruining Your Towels

Find out how to remove every last bit of your makeup gently and efficiently and how to prevent staining towels with your makeup.

Ok I’m about to share some tips that I know first hand about 90% of my girlfriends don’t know because whenever they’re at my place and wash their faces all of a sudden I have two eyeball-sized black marks on my pink towels. I find taking my makeup off incredibly annoying and I think I lose about 30 minutes of sleep every night because I procrastinate getting ready for bed just because I dread it so much, but I ALWAYS do it. Here’s how I remove my makeup:

1. Remove foundation from face and neck with a nice soothing gentle makeup remover wipe. I will wipe my eyeshadow off with the wipe as well, but if some is left over that is fine. The wipes I use (and I mentioned in my August Favorites) are Boots No7 Quick Thinking Wipes and definitely get the value pack. These have a nice snap closure to keep them from drying out. I try to gently and slowly pull of my falsies if I’m wearing them and you can also put liquid eye makeup remover onto a cotton round and hold it on top of the falsies to loosen them up before removing them. These Boots No7 wipes say they will remove waterproof eye makeup, but I wear about 10 coats of mascara and if I try to remove it with these wipes I’d be in my bathroom all night scrubbing and when I was done I wouldn’t have any lashes left. Luckily I do know of a product that will do this for you in the next step!

2. I’ve tried many products that have burned the bee-jesus out of my eyeballs and it turns out the best makeup remover was in your grandma’s beauty cabinet this whole time:

Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser is a super gentle eyemakeup remover
Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser is a super gentle eyemakeup remover

This stuff is great. It’s cheap (about $5 for a small jar) and it’s available at Target and drug stores. It’s also the most effective makeup remover I’ve ever used and the most gentle one as well. When I was getting this picture I noticed there’s mineral oil in it which I vaguely remember someone telling me was bad for you. I googled it for about 2 seconds and one website said it’s bad and one said it’s fine. There’s not enough time in the day to keep track of everything on Earth that is trying to kill me at any given moment so I’m just gonna go ahead and keep using this stuff since I rinse it off immediately anyway and don’t use it as a moisturizer. Depending on how much eye makeup I’m wearing, sometimes I’m literally rubbing this practically onto my eyeballs and it still will not burn. What I do is I scoop out a decent size dollop of cold cream with a Target Cotton Round:

Target Cotton Rounds
Target Cotton Rounds

It’s important to use something soft in order to be as gentle as possible near your eye area because Elizabeth Taylor was the only one who could spare some eyelashes and you don’t want to give yourself fine lines. I do one eye at a time so I can see with the other one if I got all of the makeup off. If I’m wearing night time makeup I typically will use two of these (one cotton round with cold cream on each eye). I’ll also use this to remove bold lip colors. For my eyes I rub the cream in with the cotton round in soft circular motions and make sure to get to my mascara from the top of my eye part of my lid and the bottom (like the way you applied it in the first place). I keep going until most of it is gone and then I use the dry side to wipe it clean. I then rinse my eyes with warm water gently rubbing right in my lash line and on my water lines as well. I also will rinse my eyes and the inner corners and try to get any last bits out (cute). I will then use the same makeup wipe I used before to remove any excess eye makeup. Now that you’re makeup is off, you’re all finished. Just kidding! Only 800 steps to go before bed (ok not 800, but skin care seriously feels like that sometimes).

3. Next up you want to wash your face. I had some moderate acne from about ages 10-22 and then I went on a diet that was soy-heavy and followed a friend’s (thanks Jenna- she uses Irish Springs btw) advice and started using a simple bar soap to wash my face. I’ve use Dove bar soap for many years now and it works well enough for me. All the acne face washes and toners and creams are all just so harsh it just feels like they further piss your skin off.

See, it says "beauty" right there in the name! It must work!
See, it says “beauty” right there in the name! It must work!

Again- cheap, simple, has been around forever for a reason, readily available, and makes my skin feel clean. If I wore a super cake face that day or night I will wash, rinse, and repeat to make sure I got it all out of my pores. Diva tip- hide this when you have people over so they don’t use it to wash their hands or use it in your shower to wash their body because eww. My dermatologist (and every dermatologist ever it seems like) recommends Cetaphil and CeraVe if you’re not into bars. And since I cannot wash my face without getting the entire bathroom soaked, I always have a face cloth/rag handy to wipe all the water off my counters. I don’t go so far as to dry my face with a clean towel every night because seriously who wants to do that much laundry? But by the time I do dry my face I definitely do not get any makeup on my towels. I also don’t have that black/gray haze around my eyes that I used to get when I’d wash my face with only soap that would force be to wear makeup again the next day to cover it up.

4. Skincare– obviously this is going to get it’s own post.

So now onto the travel tips:

  • I take a cotton round, scoop some cold cream onto it and then put another cotton round on top like a little sandwich and I put one for every night that I’ll be away in a little snack sized zip lock. This is much less messy then having an oily eye makeup remover explode all over your bag. You also won’t have to worry about it being 3oz. for your carry on if you’re flying.
  • I bring my bar of Dove in a little plastic travel case that I then put into a plastic bag so it won’t leak if it’s wet.
  • I always bring a pack of makeup wipes and if I’m bringing a travel sized container of them I’ll put it in a plastic bag so they won’t dry out.
  • In the same bag as the makeup remover wipes I pack 1-2 face cloths. I use the face cloths to dry my face when people’s bathroom towels are unavailable or look sketchy, when I’m worried I haven’t removed all of my makeup to prevent staining their towels, and to wipe down around the sink if necessary because I’m a polite guest.
  • If someone does get makeup on your towels be sure to spray them immediately with a stain spray like Shout or OxyClean and put it in your hamper to wash later.

Author: Lindsay

Lindsay is the creator of Blushing in Hollywood a beauty, dating, travel and lifestyle blog based in Los Angeles, California.

7 thoughts on “How to Gently Remove Makeup and Stop Ruining Your Towels”

  1. Great article. I have a vacation rental and it is a big problem with guests ruining towels/linens from their makeup. I provide a basket full of rolled wash cloths, along with cotton rounds for the guest to use to remove makeup. The wash cloths are cheap. Some guests use them but others prefer to stain the bath towels.

    Have you ever confronted your girlfriends on their behavior and asked them if they treat their towels at home the same way?

    I am going to order some salon towels that are stain/bleach resistant. I know other Bed and Breakfast owners have embroidered “Makeup” on the towels. I was thinking of embroidering them with “Cake Face” instead. Do you think that would be offensive to guests? We rent to people ranging from mid twenties all the way up and many guests are in their fifties. For some reason I think it would be cute and kind of funny. But I also don’t want to offend anyone and have them take revenge by using the nice towels.

    1. Thanks! Hahaha I love “Cake Face” but I don’t know if the older ladies would understand it. When my sister was staying with me I had her try the cold cream after she got some eye makeup on my towels, but besides that no I don’t confront them. I don’t have super fancy towels (and sometimes I’ll purposely put out the oldest ones) and they all probably have a little mascara remnants from a night that I was too lazy to make sure I got it ALL off. I’d rather have friends that feel comfortable in my home than perfect pristine towels. Do you leave any makeup remover wipes or eye makeup remover? That might help too. The Lancome one is supposed to be great. If I was you I might also try using super dark towels like navy or black. Good luck!

      1. Appreciate the response. Yes, I was going to order some brown towels and get them embroidered. I’ve heard about the facial wrinkle/acne creams (ProActive) bleaching the colored towels though. Supposedly this is not noticed till they go through the wash though. So, that is why I am hoping that salon bleach/stain resistant will work. Maybe that will solve both sides of the problem.

        I wish I could put out already stained towels but I’m sure that wouldn’t go over well with guests. I am going to order some makeup remover wipes and hopefully that will help some. I am just baffled because we are not a fly to destination, just drive to destination….and I can’t figure out why women leave their makeup removal routine at home. Every person (family/friends) I interviewed said she would never use towels to remove makeup; however, I have the stats to back up that 95% do just that. It’s rude and inconsiderate.

        Glad you got a chuckle out of the Cake Face towels. I am going to instruct people to use the towels labeled Cake Face to remove makeup (with a little card in the basket). Maybe people will just think it is a name brand….lol! I am just hoping no one gets insulted and takes revenge.

        I would like to put out pond’s cream and such but I would probably have to buy a whole new bottle each time as guests wouldn’t want to use the same bottle as someone else? There are two bathrooms I would need to stock each time as usually two couples will rent. Some people only stay a night or two.

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