Beauty School: A Guide To Taking It All Off (Your Makeup, That Is)

“I’ve pretty much got my makeup techniques down pat by now — my problem is getting it all off! What are some techniques and products you recommend for gentle, effective makeup removal?”

It’s critical for skin’s overall health that you remove your makeup completely every night. Start by soaking a cotton pad in eye makeup remover and press gently onto the closed eye to dissolve the makeup, then wipe all traces away. Use a Q-tip to remove mascara and eyeliner from the roots of the lashes.

Next, cleanse your face. While basic soap and water can upset the pH balance of the skin (soap is alkaline and the epidermis is acidic) and leave a pore-clogging oily residue, cleaners that you rinse off with water will leave your skin feeling freshest. Try any of the gentle wash-off cleansers available in bars, creams, liquids, and foams which leave skin residue free without feeling tight and dry. Avoid ingredients such as lanolin or fragrance which can aggravate the skin, and paraffin and moisturizer which can clog pores. Be sure you’re also cleansing your neck, it is exposed just as your face and will likely show signs of aging. Use a gentle upward sweeping motion, so as not to pull the skin down.

Opinion is divided as to whether a dedicated astringent toner is necessary after cleansing. I believe that if you have normal skin and are using a water soluble cleanser, a splash of cold water is sufficient to close the pores. If you use an oil or cream cleanser that is not water soluble, or if you have exceptionally oily skin, toner can help counteract this, but avoid anything alcohol based. A light spritz of flower water, such as rose water, is a great alternative.

Then, apply a moisturizer. Get to know your skin so that you can select the right one. You may decide you only need moisturizer on certain areas of the face, avoiding oily patches on the nose and chin, of that you need a richer moisturizer in the winter to combat the drying effects of cold weather. The skin around the eyes and on the neck is thinner and prone to dryness so don’t forget these areas!

Last, if needed, use a deep penetrating facial serum, concentrate or oil to protect and address skin damage and dehydration. Smooth the product over the face and neck using gentle upward sweeping motions.

Jemma Kidd is a world-renowned makeup artist who has painted the faces of Naomi Campbell and Jerry Hall, and now she’s here to solve all of your beauty dilemmas. Not only does she have two makeup lines of her own — Jemma Kidd Make Up School and JK Jemma Kidd — she’s also worked with Max Factor, Rimmel, and Stila. Yes, she’s a total beauty guru. Have a question for Jemma? Email it to!

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