When I first heard about the Makeup Eraser—a towel that promises to remove the heaviest of eye makeup with just water—I was a bit skeptical. It looks like a regular towel, and to the touch feels no different than a fleece blanket. As a beauty editor who’s no stranger to liquid liner and waterproof mascara, I had to try it out.
I assumed the Makeup Eraser ($ 20; sephora.com) would have a chemical makeup remover infused in its fibers, but it turns out I was wrong. Before trying it myself, I read up on it and learned that when it makes contact with water, the cloth’s polyester microfibers swell, which allows the towel to trap makeup.
That seemed legit enough to me, but still, I wasn’t convinced it would stand up to the heavy eye makeup I wore the day of the test: concealer, eye shadow primer, three different eye shadows (one with glitter—hey, I like to rock a smokey eye!), black liquid liner, black crayon eyeliner, about four coats of mascara, highlighter, brow wax, and brow powder. I kept my standard washcloth and Bioderma on deck for when the Makeup Eraser would inevitably fail me.
My full face of makeup before using the Makeup Eraser. Photo: Lisa DeSantis
Or so I thought. I saturated he towel with warm water as instructed, and then gently wiped the towel across my right eye a few times without being too aggressive. When I pulled my hand away, I was totally shocked: my eye was almost totally bare.
Then, I gave the towel the true test: could it clean up the rim of my eye, the part where stubborn under-eye smudges seem to withstand even the most powerful cleansing regimen? I rotated the towel to a clean spot and gently rubbed. When I pulled it away, nothing was left. I continued on to the other eye, and then used it on the rest of my face.
See ya, smoky eye. Photo: Lisa DeSantis
When I finished, my face was completely clear and the towel was a messy mosaic of every stitch of makeup that had been on my face. Before going to bed, I finished up by washing my face with my usual cleanser. The next morning, when I would normally wakeup with raccoon eyes, I instead saw a makeup-free face in the mirror. I was thrilled!
Success: I’m totally bare-faced. Photo: Lisa DeSantis
The next evening, I almost looked forward to washing off my makeup. For me, that’s saying a lot—washing my face falls somewhere between folding laundry and cleaning the bathroom on my list of things I like to do. I went at it again with an unused spot of the Makeup Eraser, and was impressed that I achieved the same results as the previous night.
At this point, though, I wasn’t sure how to store the messy, wet towel. I hung it on the side of the sink with the makeup-covered half in the basin and the dry half hanging over the side. I was concerned about it dripping on the floor, and that the wet towel wasn’t very sanitary. But I continued using it daily until there weren’t any unused patches left to use. Then it went into the washing machine. As instructed, I threw it in with other towels. Despite my positive experience up until this point, I was still skeptical of the towel, I figured it wouldn’t come away clean, or that it wouldn’t work as well after being washed. But to my surprise—again—it came out completely spotless, and although the texture wasn’t 100% the same, it still removed my heavy makeup as well as it had the first few go-rounds.
The Makeup Eraser claims to last up to 1,000 washes, and so far, mine has only visited the rinse cycle one time. But until it stops working or I lose count of how many times it has been washed, I’m putting my other cleansing methods on the back burner. Goodbye, makeup-stained washcloths! You’ve been replaced by something way better.