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How to Remove Your Makeup the Dermatologist Way

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It's tempting to be lazy and leave it on, but removing makeup is a huge deal to your skin's repairing process. Here's how to go about it.

1. Schedule It In

Sure, it's okay to slip once in a while. In general, though, removing makeup should not be a negotiable step. The pore-clogging potential is the most obvious threat of hitting the hay with a full face on. Smog, pollutants, free radicals, and other toxins that riddle the air blissfully cling to your rouge, wreaking cosmetic havoc by destroying collagen (wrinkles, anyone?). Even if the sink is a little too far away (and we all have those nights), at least grab some fragrance-free facial cleansing wipes to get you through the night. Try to use more than one wipe—one for the eyes, and one for the face—so that you don't cross contaminate and spread germs.

2. Steam

This may be pushing it (I get it, even brushing your teeth is sometimes a chore) but if time is on your side, GO FOR IT! Steaming helps to open the pores, loosening up unwelcome dwellers such as bacteria, grime, and your favorite foundation. This step leaves the skin primed for cleansing, and less effort may be required as you proceed. Plus, it feels really good! Remember not to confuse hot water with steam—they are not interchangeable and don't afford similar benefits during the nighttime routine. Scorching H2O strips the skin barrier making irritation and inflammation much more likely.

3. Soak

Mascara is a notorious bugaboo in the makeup removal process. Sometimes, it just does not budge. Aggressive scrubbing, especially around the delicate eyelid skin, can leave you with broken capillaries, puffiness, or worse, permanent dark circles. No thank you. Try this trick: Hold an eye makeup remover pad gently over the area for 3 to 5 seconds so that it saturates any makeup you may have on. Then a soft swipe, and you are golden!

4. Add an Oil

Jump on the double-cleanse bandwagon. After the skin is prepped, use an oil-based cleanser to get the party started. The extra lube helps makeup easily glide off, creating minimal trauma and irritation to the skin. Follow this up by using a moisturizing, pH neutral non-soap wash to restore the skin lipids and proteins, while soaking up any residual product. If the double cleanse is too much, there are a few other options. For those with dry or sensitive skin, micellar water is a perfect choice because it is both gentle and hydrating. Micellar water is made up of tiny micelles (minuscule oil molecules) magically suspended in very soft water. These beauty pundit favorites draw out makeup while they hydrate. The best part? No wash-off is needed. If oily skin is your facial demon, try a motorized cleansing brush to exfoliate.

5. Soothe

When your palette is clean, pat (don't rub) the skin dry with a soft towel. Abrasive fabrics are a no-no. Also, finish up by applying a nourishing night cream to help restore as you rest.