Korean Two-Phase Make-up Remover Reviews

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How to cite: Wong M. Korean Two-Phase Make-up Remover Reviews. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. June 25, 2016. Accessed July 22, 2024. https://labmuffin.com/korean-two-phase-make-up-remover-reviews/

Two-phase or biphasic removers are my favourite type of make-up remover. They’re the ones that look like they have a layer of oil floating on a layer of water (the two layers are often different colours so you can see them easily). You shake them up like salad dressing before putting them on a cotton pad and wiping off your make-up. They remove waterproof make-up easily, generally don’t sting your eyes and if you’re lucky, won’t leave a greasy residue either.

How do two-phase make-up removers work?

In chemistry, there’s a rule of thumb known as like dissolves like, meaning that substances that are alike in polarity will mix together. For example, sugar and water are both polar substances, so sugar dissolves easily in water. Oil is non-polar, so sugar doesn’t dissolve in it.

Two-phase removers contain a non-polar oily layer (usually consisting of lightweight silicones like cyclopentasiloxane or cyclomethicone) floating on a polar water-based layer. They don’t mix because of the difference in polarity. But when you shake the bottle before using it, it ensures that some of each layer makes it onto your cotton pad, which gives it the power to dissolve both polar and non-polar substances (i.e. pretty much all your makeup).

Make-up Remover Reviews

I recently ran out of my Face of Australia two-phase make-up remover (this stuff lasts me forever), so I decided to buy a bunch of Korean ones and try them out – they’re all under $5 on RoseRoseShop and available on Amazon (slightly pricier but faster shipping – still under $10 though!).

Korean Two-Phase Make-up Remover Reviews

Here are my reviews:

Missha Green Tea Eye and Makeup Remover

Missha’s remover has a colourless oily layer on top of a green water-based layer containing green tea extract. It also contains benzophenone-4, a sunscreen ingredient, for some mysterious reason (maybe a cosmetic chemist knows? Edit: “This UV-filter protects the colorants in the formula from fading out. Especially with transparent packaging you need to protect the colorants from UV light. Normally only a small amount is needed and this will not add any sun protection to the skin.” Thanks Roland!). It comes in a cute heart-shaped bottle, which makes the twist-top lid very easy to grip even when your hands are wet.

Links: RoseRoseShop, Amazon

Scent: Moderately strong floral “green tea” scent (the one that’s used in lots of green tea products, but doesn’t smell like any green tea)

Eye stinging: Very very slight stinging if you get a whole heap in your eye

Oily residue: Moderate. It’s barely noticeable after you rinse it with some water, but I wouldn’t want to skip rinsing afterwards.

Effectiveness: Gets everything off easily.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Camellia Sinensis Leaf extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Fruit Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Benzophenone-4, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polydecene, Squalane, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090).

Innisfree Apple Juicy Lip & Eye Remover

A lot of these Korean removers do have this rather disconcerting name – I can assure you that my lips and eyes are intact! This comes in a round bottle with a smooth twist top that’s a little difficult to open if your hands are wet.

Links: RoseRoseShop, Amazon

Scent: Almost unscented. I was actually quite disappointed that this didn’t smell like apple!

Stinging: None

Oily residue: Almost none

Effectiveness: This was the worst performer of the bunch. It took a whole bunch of swipes to get my eye make-up to come off, and there was a bit of tugging involved. The main ingredients don’t look that different from the other products so it goes to show that a dupe according to the ingredients list doesn’t necessarily mean the product’s a dupe in action!

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexylene Glycol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10 Hydroxypropyldimonium Chloride, Dipotassium Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Phosphate, Butylene Glycol

Etude House Lip and Eye Remover

Another product that claims to remove your lips and eyes, but does neither! Pfft. I’m kidding – this was my favourite! It’s also usually the cheapest of these removers on any given site, works well, and doesn’t leave much of a greasy residue, which means it ticks all the boxes for me.

Links: RoseRoseShop, Amazon

Scent: This is the only potential downside – it smells perfumey and reminds me of Calvin Klein’s Truth, which is one of my favourite perfumes but it’s a little disconcerting in a make-up remover. The scent doesn’t hang around for long though.

Stinging: None

Oily residue: Almost none!

Effectiveness: Works well, a bit of soaking required for waterproof mascara.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Viola Tricolor Flower/Leaf/Stem Water, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Disodium Edta, Dipotassium Phosphate, Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10 Hydroxypropyldimonium Chloride, Benzophenone-5, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Blue 1 (CI 42090)

Etude House One Shot Clean Mascara Remover

This mascara remover is designed to get rid of waterproof mascara. It seems to work a little better than the other Etude House remover, but not a lot. I wouldn’t really call this “one shot”. The other differences are that it’s less strongly fragranced, and leaves slightly more oil on your eye. There’s benzophenone-4 in this one as well.

Links: RoseRoseShop, Amazon

Scent: Very slight floral scent. The scent is a lot milder than the other Etude House make-up remover.

Stinging: None

Oily residue: Very little

Effectiveness: Works well, a bit of soaking required for waterproof mascara. Seems to work slightly better for mascara than the other Etude House remover.

Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Dipropylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Allantoin, Betaine, Benzophenone-4, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat., Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum), Red 4 (CI 14700), Blue 1 (CI 42090)

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Lip & Eye Makeup Remover

This milky-looking remover is one of The Face Shop’s best sellers. After shaking, it stays mixed for AGES, so if you hate having to remix your biphasic remover this one’s for you!

Links: RoseRoseShop, Amazon

Scent: Moderately strong, powdery scent. I’m not a big fan of it. This is the main reason I won’t be repurchasing, but I can imagine that some people will enjoy this scent so YMMV.

Stinging: None

Oily residue: A bit of a sticky residue afterwards, goes away if you splash your face with water, but it feels more hydrating than oily.

Effectiveness: Decent. Gets everything off but waterproof mascara takes a little bit of effort.

Ingredients: Water/Eau, Cyclomethicone, Mineral Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Phaseolus Radiatus Extract, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Bark Extract, Rumex Crispus Root Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, SD Alcohol 40-B, Hydrogenated Lecithin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Oil, Saponaria Officinalis Leaf Extract, Parfum/Fragrance, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde

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What’s your favourite make-up remover?

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13 thoughts on “Korean Two-Phase Make-up Remover Reviews”

  1. As much as I love two-phase makeup removers, I’m always too lazy to use them and just go straight for the regular oil cleanser with my whole face. Which is usually why I still have mascara remnants the next morning >_< It's weird that the Innisfree one didn't smell like apples, because the oil cleanser version smells strongly of that juicy apple!

    • Haha! I would do that too if I didn’t wear contacts at night – if I have any eye make-up left I can’t get comfortable and can’t get to sleep!

      I was wondering if my bottle was defective or old or something, but I saw that some other people have also said the scent was very slight… but some people have also said that the scent was nice so I have no idea!

  2. Here is the answer from the chemist concerning Benzophenone-4: This UV-filter protects the colorants in the formula from fading out. Especially with transparent packaging you Need to protect the colorants from UV light. Normally only a small amount is needed and this will not add any sun protection to the skin. Regards from Switzerland (I like your blog!), Roland

  3. L’Occitane’s Immortelle Cleansing Oil does it for me 🙂 It’s the first product where I don’t have mascara residue under my eyes the next morning. When I did use two phase makeup remover, my favourite was the L’Oreal offering!

  4. I want to like and repost this!!! Love all your posts, they are so informative and beautifully backed by science!!

  5. Are there any other blogs or vlogs like yours out there? I’m very interested in honest and informed cosmetics reviews, especially for skincare, but I can never seem to find enough people or websites who seem well informed enough! 🙁

    Your blog is gr8 and so is your post! Thank u ?

  6. Thank you for the review. Well done as always 🙂

    I am a bit curious why are they so cheap? 2,46$ for 100 ml make up remover? I haven’t seen so cheap products in Europe. Is it okay?

  7. Let me start by saying that I love your blog. I bought the ETUDE HOUSE make-up remover, the one you are reviewing here, and I really don´t know how it can work for you. It´s absolutely useless! I´d have to rub my eyes with it to take something off, which is a bad idea. I bought it because I saw on your website that you liked it. I really regret it because now I have to throw it away.

    • Oh no! That’s unfortunate – I really loved it. It’s possible that it’s been reformulated since I bought it?


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