What’s your skin type?
This will help us personalize your experience.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Using Coconut Oil as a Makeup Remover

Photo by Natalia Klenova / EyeEm / Getty Images

When we think of old school makeup removal and beauty hacks, we remember squeezing a few pumps of literally any lotion laying around the house onto squares of toilet paper and going at our eyes to remove mascara and eyeliner before our moms could catch us with it on. Of course, we cringe thinking about the glitter-infused, bright pink lotion we put directly into our eyes back in the 2000s, but the preference for more natural products wasn’t really a thing back then.

And you can’t get more natural than coconut oil. It’s literally an oil expressed from a nut found in nature with minimal added ingredients, if any at all. If you haven’t already heard of coconut oil as a makeup remover, we’re about to turn you on to a great hack. Plus, we tapped esthetician Emily Trampetti to break down exactly how this oil works with your skin.

About the Expert:

Emily Trampetti is a master licensed esthetician and founder of Skin Property Virtual Esthetics.

Does Coconut Oil Work as a Makeup Remover?

In short, yes! “Coconut oil, like many oils, can be a great ingredient for removing eye makeup and lipid-based foundations,” says Trampetti. “This is because, scientifically, oils are attracted to oils. Much of our cosmetics these days have lipid-based ingredients, which is why they are hard to remove with just water alone. Using an oil-based remover or cleanser really helps to attract those makeup particles and remove them from the skin.”

However, there’s a caveat. “Using an oil alone can remove makeup, but you'll then need to remove the leftover oil—especially if you have more oily skin to begin with,” says Trampetti. For this reason, she recommends using micellar water or other makeup removers to get rid of stubborn eye and face makeup.

How to Use Coconut Oil as a Makeup Remover?

If you do want to use coconut oil to remove makeup, here’s how you can do it.

1. First, Check Your Coconut Oil

“If all I had was coconut oil, I'd first want to make sure it was cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil, which is less processed and potentially more beneficial for the skin,” says Trampetti.

2. Warm up the Coconut Oil

Put a small amount of the hardened coconut oil on the back of your hand to warm it up a bit and prepare it for application.

3. Gently Massage into Skin

Once you feel as though the coconut oil has been worked into the skin, “I would then take 4x4 dry cotton pads or rounds to remove the makeup,” says Trampetti. “Don't use water since, again, water and oil don't mix,” she adds. “This can be fairly messy, which is another reason why I don't recommend it.”

4. Finish With Cleanser

Trampetti recommends using a surfactant-based cleanser to remove the oil and residual dirt and makeup left behind by the coconut oil.

Who Is It Best For?

Coconut oil works better as a moisturizer than a makeup remover, explains Trampetti. “ Some of us are more oily than others, but in general we all have sebaceous glands in our pores that produce oil to keep our skin healthy and strong,” she explains. “This is also why those of us that suffer from dryer skin types tend to love oil-based skincare products.”

If you have dryer skin, coconut oil is a great ingredient to use as a moisturizer to help counteract the lack of natural oils found in the skin.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The main side effect, as mentioned above, is that you’re going to have to go back in with another product to remove lingering makeup or residual oil if you use coconut oil as a makeup remover. It can work if you have nothing else around, but you should only use it as a makeup remover as a last resort. Instead, use coconut oil to moisturize the skin on your face, hands, and on other parts of the body.

Also remember that “not all products are created equal,” says Trampetti. “Not knowing the quality, processes, procedures, or sourcing can put you at risk for potential irritants and allergens.”

Want in on all the IPSY fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own beauty subscription. Already a member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

Like this article? Share it with your friends by clicking the icons below!

About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
Share Article
Article Last Updated April 7, 2023 12:00 AM