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Review: Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover & Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remove and Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover & Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Reviewed…

When it comes to eye makeup remover, I’m pretty hard to please. Because I swear by waterproof mascara, which holds curl better, and is just way more dramatic than the regular stuff, I really NEED a decent eye makeup remover. My usual cleanser just doesn’t cut it, and trying to get waterproof mascara off with soap and water (or basically ANYTHING that isn’t designed for that express purpose) is a great way to end up with red, watery eyes. Or it is for me, anyway.

For years now, my go-to eye makeup remover has been one from the Boots Botanics line, which is – or WAS – so good it achieved Holy Grail status. Then, last summer, Boots decided to re-vamp the Botanics range. Not only did they discontinue my favourite shampoo and conditioner, they also changed the formula of the Eye Makeup Remover, and while it’s still much better than any of the other drugstore brands I’ve tried, it’s not quite as good as it used to be. I’ve continued to buy it, but I’ve also started to experiment with some other brands, and having tried quite a few, my conclusion is this:

Most eye makeup removers are useless.

They really are. Simple. Walgreen’s own brand. Er, some other drugstore brands I’ve totally forgotten about. They all totally sucked, in that they failed completely in their bid to remove my waterproof mascara (Even when they claimed to be effective on it): I’d spend ages scrubbing at my eyes (Which is obviously the LAST thing you want to subject that delicate skin to), only to end up resorting to soap/cleaner and water to remove the residue. And with almost every single one of those drugstore eye makeup removers, even when I thought I’d gotten rid of the mascara, I’d wake up in the morning with racoon eyes. Every single one of them.

So I went back to Botanics. And then these two Clarins products dropped through my door, and I have to admit, I was more excited than I probably should have been about eye makeup remover. Well, after all those weeks of waking up in the morning looking like my dark shadows had gotten even darker during the night, I was getting pretty desperate. I received…

Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover, £17

I knew without even trying these that the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover would be my favourite of the two, and not just because it claims to be good at removing “waterproof and heavy makeup”. I knew because this is a double-layered, bi-phase lotion, just like the Boots Botanics one I normally use, and Lancome’s excellent Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover. This is my favourite type of eye makeup remover, and really the ONLY type which I’ve found to be effective on waterproof mascara. There’s an oily later on the bottom, and a more watery later on top: before using it, you shake the bottle to mix the two up, then apply it to your lashes with cotton wool. And just like that, your eye makeup is gone. It really is THAT good: there’s no painful rubbing or scrubbing at the eye, and there’s no black residue – it takes even waterproof mascara off in just a couple of gentle swipes, and this makes it AMAZING. Seriously. I also received a bottle of…

Clarins Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, £17

This is formulated for sensitive eyes, and makes no claims about being able to shift even the most waterproof of mascara, which is good, because it doesn’t. Or rather, it DOES, but only after a good bit of rubbing: I DON’T have particularly sensitive eyes, but I probably would do if I insisted on always removing my usual mascara with this, because it’s just not designed for that kind of product. In the interests of fairness, I also tried it with a non-waterproof mascara, and it fared much better. It’s significantly better than a similar drug-store brand, but ONLY on non-waterproof makeup: if, like me, you always wear waterproof mascara, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

As for the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover, as much as I loved it, I unfortunately won’t be re-purchasing it when I run out, purely because of the price. I get through a bottle of Eye Makeup Remover in just a little over a month, and at £17 per bottle, this is just too pricey for me, especially considering that my usual Botanics lotion will do the same job (Albeit not quite as well) for around £2.99. That said, if I had the money, then yes, I would splurge on this: it IS better than Botanics, just not SO MUCH better that I’d be willing to pay the extra on my limited budget.

Both of these products are available to buy at Clarins.

[Disclosure: these were sent to my as review samples. All opinions are my own.]
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  • Claire


    have you tried the boots no 7 version or would you recommend botanics? I was looking at in store and wondering if it’s any good. Thanks! xx
    p.s. I see that you falling in love with a beauty product continues to guarantee that it will shortly be discontinued!- I feel your pain my conditioner was discontinued last year and I’m currently on my last bottle (I stocked up- literally 10 bottles) before I have to venture out into the scary world of trying new products which will no doubt turn my hair into a frizzy mess 🙁

    February 19, 2013
      • Claire


        Thank you! I need a new eye makeup remover and was trying to decide which one to buy so the timing of your post is perfect and I’ll be buying the botanics one next time I’m in boots. I also count myself lucky that I never tried the old version so I don’t have to mourn it with you.

        Also I know this is quite off topic but I know that you used the superdrug colour effects wash in wash out and I was wondering if you ever tried it around the same time as henna? I hennaed my hair a few weeks ago but I want moar red and I wanted to try the superdrug stuff. I know henna can sometimes be a bit weird with other hair dyes, I don’t think they’ll react because it’s wash in wash out but I thought I’d ask because I remember you saying that you’d used henna glosses and the superdrug stuff.

        February 22, 2013
          • Claire


            I went for it anyway, I should probably be more patient, but it was all fine. yay!

            February 26, 2013
  • Carys


    I’ve never found an eye makeup remover that works on getting rid of all of my makeup, and I don’t even use waterproof mascara! I do use quite a lot of eye makeup though, so I always need something that works hard. Also, being a super pale person, any panda eye that gets left always looks so….ageing. The two things I’ve found that really, really work (for me, anyway) are Boots No 7 Hot Cloth Cleanser and Dermalogica Special Cleasing Gel. I love both of these because I then don’t have to worry about numerous steps in getting rid of the ole’ maquillage – it’s gone in one feel swoop. The hot cloth one is especially good in this cold weather, it’s super nourishing while being deep cleaning too. Amazing.

    February 28, 2013