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!).
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