A few years ago, I found that oil worked really well to remove eye make-up. Unlike anything else I'd tried, it doesn't have weird synthetic fragrances, doesn't have to come packaged in plastic - or worse, little single-use wipes, doesn't have a long ingredients list to puzzle over, and doesn't leave your sensitive eye-area skin dry. Quite the reverse, actually: it's like moisturizing and cleaning in a single step.
I'm glad to be sharing my recipe today for a DIY version... if you can even call this a DIY. It's two ingredients, one step, and thirty seconds of work time, once you have the ingredients on hand.
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Here's how I make the version I use: I combine three parts grapeseed oil with one part argan oil in a small bottle. Um, that's it.
For the bottle, I like something with a pump top or an eye dropper like this one, but you could literally use anything as long as it's tinted (to protect the oils from light). An old essential oil bottle, very well cleaned and dried, might be just the thing.
At the moment, grapeseed oil is my preference for the base oil - it has a neutral scent, absorbs quickly and easily, and is inexpensive. Plus, it's literally made from waste: it's pressed from the seeds of grapes, a by-product of winemaking that would otherwise be left unused. Argan oil is more expensive, but I've found that adding just a little of it seems to up the moisturizing power of the potion a bit.
You could use other oils, and other ratios, of course - I've used straight up olive oil when staying at friends' houses or while on vacation in an Airbnb. I have a friend who uses coconut oil, but I don't like having to melt it in my hands during the winter to be able to use it. As you can tell, the recipe is loose and flexible. Just use common sense: don't include essential oils, in deference to the delicate nature of the eye area.
How to use it: I put a few drops on my fingertips, rub them together quickly to warm it up, and then just rub it onto closed eyelids and around my eyes until the make-up seems to be loosened and dissipating. I don't wear a huge amount of make-up (on my eyes, usually just mascara), so I use my fingertips to gently wipe away the extra oil, taking the make-up with it, before rinsing my fingers with soap and water to get the oil off. When I do that, there's usually a small amount of oil left on the skin around my eyes, which I leave in place to soak in and moisturize.
If you wear a lot of make-up, though, or prefer the experience of using cotton rounds to remove it, that works too. You can purchase or make reusable cotton cloth rounds (the ones pictured are by Marley's Monsters, though I also have some I've made myself); just choose some in a dark color so you don't have to fight the losing battle of mascara smudges on white cloth. And, hand wash those babies in cold water with lots of soap immediately after using, and air dry: you don't want to leave oily cloths around or put them in the washer or dryer, because they could choose to catch on fire. (YIKES).
Not sure where to buy these ingredients in bulk locally? You can search my guide to bulk shopping throughout the U.S. here, if you'd like. Or, buy them online! My friend Brittney owns the store Refill Revolution, which sells (among other things) bulk ingredients for zero waste DIYs. She ships many of her ingredients in glass bottles like these, or in reusable plastic pouches, which you can then mail back to her to be sterilized and used again. When we met, we got excited to share some of the easy DIY products we reach for every day, so she sent me bulk versions of a few of my go-to ingredients to fine-tune into a recipe to share. If you'd like to purchase some ingredients of your own, use the code LITTERLESS at Refill Revolution for 10% off your purchase.