Best Makeup Remover for Acne-Prone Skin. Give Your Poor Pores Some Love!

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For those of us with acne-prone skin, finding makeup that doesn’t cause irritation can be difficult. Makeup removers are even worse! These solutions often strip the skin of healthy minerals and leave the poor pores in rough shape! After researching several makeup removers, I’ve found that the best makeup remover for acne-prone skin is a combination of Farmacy’s Green Clean Balm and Bioderma’s Sebium Micellar Water for Oily Skin.

In the morning typically only the Micellar Water is necessary. In the evening, start with the Green Clean Balm to get all the heavy gunk off. Then do a second round with the Sebium Micellar Water to further cleanse and rejuvenate. This combination is the best makeup remover for acne-prone skin available!

For more information on the Farmacy Green Clean Balm and the Sebium Micellar Water, see below.

best makeup remover for acne-prone skin


Runner Up: Best Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin

One of the big problems with the above pair of makeup removers is, well, the price! The Green Clean is outstanding, but it’s pretty pricey. Those looking for a cheaper option should check out the Heimish All Clean Balm as a replacement for the Green Clean Balm. Heimish’s All Clean Balm isn’t quite as nice as the Green Clean, and some may find it irritates the skin a bit. But it is quite high-quality and will work wonders for most.

Couple the All Clean Balm with Bioderma’s Sebium Micellar Water, and you’ve got a knockout combination!

Bioderma - Sébium H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Combination to Oily Skin
Bioderma - Sébium H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Combination to Oily Skin
Gently cleanses without drying out skin; Effectively removes makeup from face & offers immediate feeling of freshness
$18.99 Amazon Prime

Makeup Remover Buyer’s Tips

Makeup removers come in many formats, though some are generally better than others. These formats include waters (such as Micellar Water), oils and balms, wipes, and pads.

Some of the pre-made wipes and pads are ok. But using these pre-treated wipes often causes more problems than they solve.

Are Makeup Wipes Bad for the Skin?

Many dermatologists aren’t so fond of makeup wipes. This Glamour article covers why makeup wipes aren’t a particularly good choice.

Some makeup wipes have chemicals that dissolve makeup but will leave residues that can damage the skin. Some contain fragrances, essential oils, and other chemicals that most of us don’t want to be getting close to our face!

Part of the issue is the chemicals and scents that are infused into many commercial makeup wipes. But a bigger part of the problem lies in how we use the makeup wipes. If you’re too rough when you wipe makeup off, you can cause microscopic tears in the skin called microexfoliation.

Remember, you’re not trying to wax the floor or clean a stubborn pot. You’re cleaning your face, and you want to be gentle with it!

Are there Good Makeup Wipes?

TOPOINT Reusable Cotton Makeup Pads

If you want to use makeup wipes, a great solution is to pick up some reusable cotton makeup pads. These are relatively gentle on the skin (but you also need to be gentle!) and there are no chemicals, essential oils, or fragrances with these wipes. Also, they can be thrown in the wash and cleaned up, so you don’t have to throw them out. There’s no risk of them clogging up drain pipes or accidentally being flushed down the toilet.

They come in a mesh bag, so you can just throw them in the bag, directly into the washing machine!

Remember to Wash After Using a Makeup Wipe

Yes, your skin will look and feel clean after using a makeup wipe. But it’s not completely clean, and you still need to wash it. Washing your skin after removing your makeup will ensure that you’re completely clean. You will be ready for the next makeup application in the morning.

Makeup Remover Reviews

In this section, I’m going to kick things off with a look at one of the most popular makeup remover products on the market, Bioderma’s Micellar Waters. Bioderma sells three different types of Micellar waters, and we’ll compare and contrast each.

We’ll then move onto other makeup removal options, mostly makeup removing oils.

Bioderma Sensibio vs Hydrabio vs Sebium Micellar Water

Bioderma is the originator of Micellar Water, one of the most popular makeup removal systems in the world. This French company produces three different Micellar Waters. They are sold under the names Sensibio, Hydrabio, and Sebium. Cool names, but what on earth do they mean?

Bioderma Sensibio
Bioderma Hydrabio
Bioderma Sebium
Bioderma - Sensibio - H2O Micellar Water - Makeup Remover Cleanser - Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Bioderma - Hydrabio H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Dehydrated Sensitive Skin , 8.45 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Bioderma - Sébium H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Combination to Oily Skin
Best For
Original Formula
Dry Skin
Oily Skin
Bioderma Sensibio
Bioderma - Sensibio - H2O Micellar Water - Makeup Remover Cleanser - Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Best For
Original Formula
View on Amazon
Bioderma Hydrabio
Bioderma - Hydrabio H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Dehydrated Sensitive Skin , 8.45 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Best For
Dry Skin
View on Amazon
Bioderma Sebium
Bioderma - Sébium H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Combination to Oily Skin
Best For
Oily Skin
View on Amazon

The marketing department over at Bioderma could maybe supply a little clarification or something! It’s not at all obvious from the names and titles what these are, especially if you’re shopping online! But the quick breakdown is:

  • Bioderma Sensibio: The Original Formula for Micellar Water. This one has a pink cap.
  • Bioderma Hydrabio: Micellar Water for Dry Skin. This one has a blue cap.
  • Bioderma Sebium: Micellar Water for Oily Skin. This bottle has a green cap.

How to Use Micellar Water

Using Micellar Water to Remove Makeup

To use Micellar Water, pour a little bit of the solution onto a cotton pad. Place the pad on the location where you want to remove makeup. Let it sit there for a couple of seconds, and gently wipe the makeup away. It works in a similar way to a toner, but is different.

You will likely need to use several pads while removing your makeup. Also, many find that Micellar Waters have difficulty removing waterproof makeup.

You can choose to wash your face afterward or not, though Micellar Water can generally be left on the face.

Most companies recommend using it both in the morning and in the evening.

Does Micellar Water Help Oily Skin?

Micellar water can be a big help to those of us with oily skin. Depending on the format and ingredients you choose, micellar water can help balance out oily skin. Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial additives can further help in keeping the skin looking fresh and clean.

That said, it can clog pores if used incorrectly.

The Best Way to Use Micellar Water

Micellar Water Makeup Remover

That the best way to use Micellar Water is to use it as a morning treatment on its own. You can use it as a secondary cleanser in the evening.

Moisturizing Micellar Waters like the Bioderma Hydrabio works well with my skin.

In the morning, there shouldn’t be much makeup, sunscreen, tanning lotion, or anything else on the skin. In this case, the Micellar water is a great cleanser and rejuvenator. It functions as a moisturizer and day-starter (it can be combined with a facial toner). 

In the evening, I stick to oil-based makeup removers that do a better job removing waterproof makeup. After using the oil-based balm, use the Micellar Water as a secondary cleanser in the evening. It will help pick up any final little bits of makeup the balm missed and will give the skin some love.

Bioderma Micellar Water Reviews

Each of the Bioderma Micellar Waters reviewed below is actually a different formulation and isn’t just the same product with three different labels. Below I look at each of these waters.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Key Points at a Glance

  • The original formulation of Micellar Water by the original company
  • The ultimate skin-friendly makeup removal system
  • Works well at removing most makeups, though waterproof makeup (especially mascara) can be a challenge
  • Should be applied with a cotton pad


Water, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide

The Details

Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water can be found on makeup counters all over the world, though it originated in France. The Sensibio gently removes makeup from the face, extracting residues and oils without harming the skin. It’s the “basic” formula and is the original version of Micellar Water.

Simply pour a bit of micellar water onto a clean cotton pad, and gently rub it across the target area. A couple of gentle wipes will remove most makeup.

Many find this simple cleansing solution to be a one-step process that can be done both at night and in the morning. It will clean and moisturize the skin in a few gentle wipes. The water doesn’t sting when applied and ends up leaving the skin soft and gloriously supple.

If you use waterproof makeup, the Sensibio makeup remover solution may need a little extra oomph to take it off. Sometimes a little more effort and vigor is needed to remove waterproof makeup. A second application or a separate makeup remover for waterproof makeup may help as well.

In my case, I sometimes wear pretty heavy waterproof mascara. I find that starting with something like the Shu Uemura High-Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil works well. Following up with a Micellar Water cleanse finishes everything up.

Some users like to wash their face when they’re done the Micellar treatment. Others find that they don’t need to wash after completing the process. Depending on your skin type, you may benefit from an additional wash.

One minor issue with Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 Micellar Water is that the packaging isn’t well made. Many have found that the cap will break during the shipping process. If this happens, request a replacement from Bioderma. This goes especially if your bottle ended up leaking and losing some solution during shipping.

Also note that it expires about 6 months after opening the bottle.

Bioderma - Sensibio - H2O Micellar Water - Makeup Remover Cleanser - Face Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
  • Gently cleanses skin from impurities, fine particles and pollution
  • Effectively removes makeup from face and eyes
  • Instantly soothes the skin, respects and preserves skin balance
  • Comes in 100 ml, 250 ml and 500 ml formats

Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Water (For Dry Skin)

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water for Dry Skin

Key Points at a Glance

  • A slight formulation change from the Sensibio Micellar Water
  • Focused on dry skin
  • Contains niacinamide (Vitamin b3) to make the skin feel soothed and supple
  • Lightly scented, which may cause problems for some


Water, Glycerin, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Disodium Edta, Mannitol, Xylitol, Cetrimonium Bromide, Rhamnose, Niacinamide, Hexyldecanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Seed Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Tocopherol, Fragrance (Parfum)

The Details

Bioderma’s Hydrabio formulation is not just a different label than the Sensibio Micellar Water, but it actually contains several different ingredients. Hydrabio is made for those with dry skin. It includes moisturizers and Niacinamide to improve skin tone.

The makeup removal qualities between the Sensibo and Hydrabio are quite similar. After all, they use the same technology to remove the makeup and the same process. The major differences between the two are the extra moisturizers and fragrance in the Hydrabio. These moisturizers make the skin feel nicer.

The fragrance is pretty mild, though fragrances can cause irritation issues on the skin.

Bioderma - Hydrabio H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Dehydrated Sensitive Skin , 16.91 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • Gently cleanses skin from impurities, fine particles and pollution
  • Effectively removes makeup from face and eyes
  • Instantly soothes the skin
  • Combines very high cleansing power and unparalleled tolerance

Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Water (For Oily Skin)

Bioderma Sebium H20 Micellar Water for Oily Skin

Key Points at a Glance

  • Similar formulation to the original Sensibio, but targeted at oily skin
  • Cleans skin wonderfully, and helps balance out oily patches
  • Contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients that help control oily skin
  • Includes added perfumes


Water, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Citrate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Sulfate, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Disodium Edta, Cetrimonium Bromide, Fragrance

The Details

The Sebium formulation of Bioderma’s Micellar Water is a pretty good solution for those with oily skin. The inclusion of Copper Sulfate and Zinc Gluconate will help to balance oily skin. Copper sulfate gives the Sebium its blue cast, and helps sooth skin that is acne-prone or otherwise harmed.

Like the Hydrabio formulation, the Sebium formula does include fragrances. Some may find these harmful to the skin.

Bioderma - Sébium H2O - Micellar Water - Cleansing and Make-Up Removing - for Combination to Oily Skin
  • Gently cleanses without drying out skin
  • Effectively removes makeup from face & offers immediate feeling of...
  • Purifies and limits sebum secretion
  • Very good tolerance - non-rinse formula
  • Comes in 250 ml and 500 ml formats

Final Words on Micellar Waters

Micellar Waters like Bioderma’s product line are a must in any makeup collection. Coupled with a plain cotton makeup remover pad, Micellar Water can be a great solution for gentle makeup removal and facial restoration. And micellar water can be used as a toner in a pinch.

Many don’t like the idea of leaving anything on their skin. But most will find that Micellar Water is beneficial in the end. Experiment with it and you will become a lifetime convert!

If you aren’t sure which Bioderma Micellar Water to use, start with the Sensibio. Many will find that it works great. And for those of us with acne-prone skin, you may find that the Sebium is the best formula for you. If you struggle with acne, you may also want to check out bleaching creams for acne-prone skin, as well as light therapy for acne including products such as the LightStim for Acne (reviewed here).

Oil-Based Makeup Removers

In this section, I’ll look at a few different oil-based makeup removers and Cleansing Balms. These tend to be a little bit harsher on the skin than Micellar Waters, but they also do a little better job of removing makeup.

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Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

Key Points at a Glance

  • Includes sunflower oil and ginger oil strip off makeup effectively and efficiently without harming skin
  • Exfoliates with papaya extract
  • Includes a spatula for application


Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Peg-10 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Amino Esters-1, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Amber Powder, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Water/ Aqua/ Eau, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Echinacea Purpurea Root Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid

The Details

Yes, the Green Clean is pricey, but this makeup removal and cleansing balm is outstanding. It is a powerful makeup remover that doesn’t tend to clog pores or otherwise damage the skin.

The formulation of this makeup removal balm is oily, but it is almost frosting-like in texture. It will melt quite quickly upon contact with the skin. Green Clean works magic removing all the accumulated makeup and sunscreen, including waterproof makeups.

It’s pretty easy to apply, too!

To use, you take the included spatula and scoop out about a dime-sized amount of Green Clean (I wish that it actually cost a dime!). Gently rub it into your face in a circular motion, and let it sit for a few seconds. Use a little bit of water to emulsify the solution and really get it going and blending deeper into the skin.

You can then rinse away the residue with clean water. Some may want to follow up with a Micellar Water treatment as well, you can decide if that step is necessary for your skin.

The Green Clean includes a fragrance, that is reminiscent of lime and ginger. There’s always a risk these essential oils can cause negative reactions.

Farmacy’s Green Clean is the best cleaning balm makeup remover on the market, especially for those with sensitive skin. It’s costly, though, which is a negative. The Farmacy Website states use a “generous amount”. Though often a small amount will actually accomplish a lot. You may find that a small amount goes a long way, which helps balance out the somewhat excessive cost.

Farmacy Natural Cleansing Balm - Green Clean Makeup Remover Balm - Effortlessly Removes Makeup & SPF - 100ml Makeup Cleansing Balm
  • The Farmacy Way: Our goal is simple. We want to bring out the best...
  • Melt That Makeup: Sunflower and ginger root oils gently remove even...
  • Natural Exfoliation: Natural enzymes found in papayas exfoliate and...
  • Only The Best: The eye and face makeup cleaner for women is created...
  • How To Use: Scoop a generous amount with the included spatula, and use...



Key Points at a Glance

  • A powerful makeup remover that works well and does not require a ton of product to remove makeup
  • Contains Ethylhexyl Palmitate, which some find clogs pores
  • Great at cleaning off makeup and sunscreen, including waterproof sunscreens
  • Can be harsh

Ingredients List

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water / Aqua / Eau, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

The Details

Clinique sells the Take The Day off Cleansing Solution in two formats, a balm, and a milk. The milk is on the creamy side, while the balm is fairly oily. The Take the Day Off Balm is a little more powerful. It takes off most makeup in short order without needing to use a ton of product.

The milk has a milder formulation and won’t remove most makeup in one go. It’s better used as a morning formulation. Though as I mentioned above, the Micellar Water is an even better choice for a morning cleanser.

After use, rinse with water. It will leave your face feeling soft, but not very greasy or oily.

The inclusion of Ethylhexyl Palmitate in the ingredients list may be a problem, as it can clog pores. Some users will find that the Take the Day off Balm clogs pores and leads to acne. It can be useful to follow up a round of Take the Day Off with a gentle touch of Micellar Water to clean off any remaining residues.

Waterproof mascaras are no match for the Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm! Take a dime-sized patch of TTDO and rub it on your skin. All the day’s crud, gunk, and excesses are gone! It doesn’t sting the eyes, and all around works pretty well.

  • Design House: Clinique
  • Package Dimensions: 4.902 L x 8.305 H x 8.204 W (centimeters)
  • Item Package Weight: 8.5 ounces

Heimish All Clean Balm

Heimish All Clean Balm

Key Points at a Glance

  • Designed to be a noncomedogenic formula (should not clog pores)
  • Comes in a balm format that is reasonably solid, and is about the consistency of coconut oil
  • Korean-made makeup remover
  • Includes shea butter to soften skin


Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polyethylene, PEG-8, ISOSTEARATE, Shea Butter, Donkey Milk, Cocos Nucifera Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia Fruit Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Iris Versicolor Extract, Jasminum Officinale Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Nelumbium Speciosum, Narcissus Flower Extract, Rose Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Boswellia Carterii Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1,2-Hexanediol

The Details

The Heimish All Clean Balm is an incredibly successful makeup removal tool. It and can effectively remove all the heavy gunk, including waterproof makeup.

Don’t apply the All Clean Balm too liberally. Instead, start with smaller amounts. See how the smaller quantities succeed in removing the makeup from your skin. The less you need to use to achieve your makeup removal needs, the better.

Apply the balm to your skin, and gently rub in a circular motion. Add some water and rub to create a lather and activate the cleansers. Finally, rinse to remove any residue.

Some like to use a towel or other cotton wipe. If you do so, be gentle! We’re not scrubbing pots here!

You should do a followup round with another cleanser to complete your makeup removal. Many find a using Micellar Water to be an excellent idea.

The All Clean Balm is supposed to be noncomedogenic. However, like the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm, Hemish’s All Clean Balm includes Ethylhexyl Palmitate as its first ingredient. Some find that this clogs pores, and can exacerbate acne, though others don’t have an issue with this.

All Clean Balm doesn’t seem to have much fragrance, with perhaps a very slight lemongrass scent. It pretty much smells like, well, balm.

HEIMISH All Clean Balm 4.0fl.oz/120ml
  • All Clean balm: Solid cleanser that melts into oil and gently cleanses...
  • Multi Transforming Cleanser: Experience the ultimate transformation as...
  • Easily rinses off with water, leaving no residue behind. Features a...
  • How to Use: 1. Use the mini spatula to scoop a decent amount on to...
  • heimish Brand: focuses primarily on makeup in neutral shades suitable...

Conclusion: Makeup Removers for Sensitive Skin

Those of us with sensitive skin know how difficult dealing with makeup and makeup removal can be. Breaking out due to bad reactions in chemicals, soaps, and makeup is a constant issue. But this has to be balanced with the products actually doing what they’re supposed to do!

Micellar Waters are a wonderful option for gentle cleaning and cleansing. And if you’re not wearing much makeup, you may be able to get away with only using Micellar Water as a makeup remover. But if you like to wear a little more than minimal makeup, or you like waterproof makeups and mascaras, then you’ll need something more powerful.

Farmacy’s Green Clean is a great choice if you can stomach the price. And Heimish’s All Clean Balm is a decent choice for those who are looking for something cheaper.

Good luck, and remember, treat your skin gently when you apply these cleansers. No need to pretend you’re sanding a wall!

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).