I’m a Sephora beauty director and these 5 cleansers are makeup ‘magic erasers’

One of life’s great frustrations is completing 30 seconds of derm-mandated face washing, only to realize that your mascara, foundation, and blush have smeared into a Monet painting on your face. When your skin doesn’t get as clean as you wanted it to, you then have to go for another round of cleanse, rinse, repeat. Ugh. That drama is all about to become a thing of the past now, though, because Sephora Beauty Director Jeffrey English is sharing his five top cleansers that remove makeup like it’s their job. Because, um, it is.

Let’s review what separates a stellar face wash from a so-so one, shall we? Apart from ridding your face of the day’s makeup, dirt, and grime, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, previously told Well+Good that nailing your cleansing routine is really all about feel. “After washing your face, the skin should feel light and soft, but not tight,” he says. “There’s a perception that tight and dry equals clean, but it really represents post-wash dryness, which is harmful to the skin.” Roger that! Now, let’s get to English’s stable of unbeatable washes.

5 cleansers that remove makeup like a charm

Just about everyone at the Well+Good office loves this cleanser, and English says it deserves all that praise and more. “If you’re looking for a face wash that does it all, then this one is for you. This product combines cleanser, toner, and makeup remover all in one step,” he says. Even better, the product works for all skin types and “leaves the skin feeling clean, never dry or tight,” he adds. Its starring ingredients include soothing rosewater and cucumber, a combo fit to make your face feel fresh AF

“This cleanser from Belif is one of my recent K-beauty discoveries and is quickly becoming a favorite of mine,” says English. “It has a super-concentrated gel formula that transforms into a foam as you lather, so trust me when I say that a little goes a long way. Designed for all skin types, it removes makeup, dirt, and debris super quickly and gently without stripping the skin of moisture.”

cleansers that remove makeup

English tells me that for anyone looking to get “treatment quality” results from a cleanser, Glow Recipe’s concoction has no match. “It contains antioxidant-rich blueberry which helps to protect the skin from environmental damage and pollution. This gel cleanser also contains AHAs that help to refine the look of pores and gently re-texturize the skin,” he says. English likes to use the product in the shower… then admire how dewy and plump his skin is once the mist clears from the mirrors.

“For those who are on the drier, more sensitive side of the skin-care spectrum, Milk Makeup’s new Vegan Milk Cleanser is a great option,” says English. “It contains a potent blend of botanical ‘milks’ that dissolve makeup and impurities without drying or irritating the skin. Its creamy texture melts down any waterproof products and it lathers up nicely even though its sulfate-free.”

cleansers that remove makeup

This $10 diamond is one that English recommends for anyone who doesn’t feel great about dropping too much cash to rid their face of makeup. “It’s a great option because even though it cost-effective, it still has an amazing ingredient deck,” he says. “It contains beetroot syrup, which helps to maintain hydration levels in the skin while you cleanse, as well as aloe vera to help soothe and calm. Its clean-rinse formula removes makeup and impurities from the skin gently and effectively, while leaving a gorgeous, even glow after.”

The other steps you need to round out your skin-care routine: 

Once you’ve cleansed, you’ve got a few more steps! Our beauty editor can’t get enough of this ultra-hydrating formulation, and here’s everything you need to know about moisturizer layering

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.