Ask a Beauty Editor: What Is the Best Way to Remove Makeup Without Aging Your Skin?

Plus the five worst makeup-removing mistakes you can make.

Ever wanted to pick the brain of a beauty editor? Or get beauty product recommendations from someone who has tried them all? You've come to the right place. In our weekly series, Ask a Beauty Editor, beauty editor Hana Hong answers your biggest skincare, haircare, and makeup questions, all submitted by Real Simple readers.

What's the best way to remove makeup without damaging your skin? - @hiitskali

Makeup removal definitely isn't the most fun part of your beauty routine, especially when it's late and you're tired, but I'm glad that you want to do it right. While it's tempting to cut corners (been there, done that), improper makeup removal—or worse, not removing at all—is one of the worst things you can do for your face when it comes to aging, acne, and overall skin health.

To better understand how you should be removing makeup, it's more helpful to know what you should not be doing first. See below for the five most egregious makeup-removing sins—and why you shouldn't be committing them.

5 Makeup-Removing Mistakes

01 of 05

Using eye makeup remover all over the face

Eye makeup removers aren't just a marketing ploy; these formulas are typically much more heavy-duty than your normal face makeup remover (laden with oils and other emollients). While this is a good thing if you're trying to remove particularly stubborn waterproof mascara, it can clog pores and trigger breakouts when applied to the rest of your skin.

02 of 05

Using your regular cleanser to remove heavy makeup

Products don't sink in well if the skin is marred with impurities—and that includes makeup. Your regular cleanser probably isn't strong enough to break away all the makeup on your face, and you won't get all the hydrating, skin-good benefits in the formula that you're meant to alongside washing (i.e., hyaluronic acid, ceramides, etc.). The result: a dry, stripped face with makeup leftovers.

03 of 05

Over-trusting cleansing wipes

I'm a fan of cleansing wipes as much as the next gal (convenience is king), but you don't want to rely on them alone. Not only do they lead to tugging of the skin, they don't do the best job of removing all your makeup effectively. "If you have very oily or acne-prone skin, using a wipe could contribute to clogged pores and acne breakouts," adds Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "And for those with sensitive or rosacea-prone skin, some wipes can leave an irritating residue of chemicals."

That doesn't mean your skin will implode if you turn to them as an occasional fix—just use sparingly or follow up with a double cleanse.

RELATED: We Found the 5 Best Makeup Wipes for Your Skin and the Environment

04 of 05

Scrubbing hard

Put simply, your face skin is much more delicate than your body's skin. This means that while you can scrub your body with an exfoliating loofah, using that same pressure on your face is not OK. Scouring it with cotton pads and makeup-removing wipes, or rubbing vigorously with your hands is damaging and completely unnecessary. Invest a couple extra minutes to remove makeup gently in circular motions, and pat dry with a soft cotton towel. For eye makeup, don't rub back and forth as it could irritate the eye; use sweeping motions instead, lifting up before you wipe again.

05 of 05

Skipping the jaw, neck and hairline

Struggling with jawline and/or hairline pimples? This makeup-removing mistake might be to blame. In fact, Dr. King says this is one of the most common occurrences she sees in her patients. "While many people apply makeup to their neck and jawline in the morning, they overlook it when it's time to take it off," she says. But these areas are essential, especially because the neck is an area most prone to showing signs of premature aging.

The Right Way to Remove Makeup

Now that you're familiar with what not to do, let's talk about the right approach. There are multiple ways you could go about this, but no matter what product type you use, it's always best to practice double cleansing if you're wearing makeup.

The first part of a double cleanse is something to remove your makeup. My personal favorite is a cleansing balm—its makeup-melting abilities come without the pore-clogging side effects, and it feels almost therapeutic rubbing the creamy concoction on your face. You also have the luxury of skipping eye makeup remover, since balms can be used around the eye area. However, you could also use a cleansing oil or micellar water if you prefer, both of which will remove makeup effectively.

Start with a small scoop of the cleansing balm in clean, dry hands. After warming up the formula between your fingers, gently massage the balm in circular motions—taking extra care around the eyes—all over your face. Once the makeup starts to break down, rinse away the milk-like texture with warm water.

But don't stop there! Even though you just removed your makeup, that doesn't mean your skin is clean. After rinsing everything off, come in for a second cleanse with your regular, go-to cleanser. This step ensures any leftover makeup is removed, as well as cleansing the skin of dirt, oil, and other impurities that can clog pores.

After that, use a washcloth to pat dry your face and proceed with your post-cleansing skincare routine. Oh, and don't forget to change your face towel every two to three days as impurities and bacteria can quickly accumulate.

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