Thank Us Later: Glorious Eye Makeup Remover That Won’t Set Your Face On Fire

For years, I slept with my eyeliner and mascara on, knowing full well that this was not something functional grown-ups did and was probably terrible for my skin, but ignoring it nonetheless. Far worse than whatever invisible damage I was doing to my face was the morning-after makeup residue that took the shape of black spots on my pillowcase, smudges all over my face, and horrifying raccoon eyes after showering. I’m not really clear how rarely-removed makeup didn’t just build up on my face day after day until it was a caking mass, but it mostly managed to rub off in those aforementioned locations and ultimately end up anywhere but my eyes. This mess was especially heinous in my middle school and early high school days, during which I was fully convinced that mountains of poorly applied kohl liner made me look incredibly chic. For years, it was practically a ritual of its own for my stepsister and I to both go to bed with our makeup on, and for my mom to shake her head and tell us we’d regret it in a few years if we kept treating our faces that way.

It wasn’t like I left my makeup on out of laziness, though. The problem was that I saw eye makeup remover as a torture device. Every kind I tried, even the crap that proudly advertised itself as unscented or “made for sensitive eyes,” stun and burn. I remember one year in particular when I went through several jars of those pre-soaked circular removal pads from the drugstore. The pads were just supposed to be dampened, but every brand I tried leaked the all over my face when I pressed it to my stubborn eye liner smudges, and I’d briefly fear I was somehow ruining my sight before waking up the next morning with dry patches around my eyes. I’d convince myself it was just me and that if I used the stuff enough nights in a row I’d get used to it, which made me start to view the predicament as some masochistic battle of willpower. I started to believe that if only I weren’t so lazy about sticking to a routine (no matter that that routine was crazy painful), I could be the kind of functional capital-W Adult Woman who had bona-fide beauty routines. Instead, I had mountains of different products I’d tried once before they hurt my face and now sat collecting dust in the bathroom drawer.

For years after my early product failures, being one of Those Irresponsible People who slept with their makeup on made me feel like a bizarre mesh of a carefree rebel (“makeup rules are dumb, I’m not wasting any extra minutes of my life taking it all off every day!”) and a perpetual adolescent, because skipping such a basic ritual kind of screams “I don’t have my shit together.” Yes, all these neuroses over makeup removal! Until now, I had never realized how just how much my psyche actually cared about this nonsense

Fast forward past several years, a divine makeup counter discovery by my mother, and a newfound desire to actually be diligent about my skin (because hello), and I’m preaching at the church of Clinique’s Take The Day Off. It is the one and only eye makeup remover I buy, and I actually look forward to using it at the end of the day before washing my face. It feels so good to go to sleep with my eyes so clean and, well, free! I almost want to call this stuff an oil, but it’s lightweight and thankfully doesn’t have that heavy consistency you’d imagine when you picture face oils (though I love those too). Just shake the bottle, pop some of it onto a cotton ball, and it’s all set to release your eyes from that melted liner goop that’s amassed on your lid after a long day. It can also be used to remove stingy lipstick, though that tastes a little weird on your lips. Get yourself some of this stuff, and not only will you save yourself that very special brand of “is this making my skin peel off!?” pain, you’ll save your pillowcase the trouble of the mascara stains that you’re surely tired of waking up to. Seriously! Do it!