By Stephanie Williams

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It’s time for a lunchtime poll, ladies: Would you rather have raccoon eyes or burning eyes?

While most makeup removers indeed deliver on their promise, not all are exactly the safest for use in the eye area. Those who wear contact lenses or have just plain sensitive skin are especially vulnerable to the “feels toxic” effects of a poor formula. Choosing a gentle, oil-free eye makeup remover reduces a host of annoyances including temporary blindness, that unintentional just-got-suckerpunched look, and spending more money on products to treat chronic puffiness.

Best Objet d’Art: Benefit Remove It

Simply dip a Q-tip into this vase-shaped bottle and watch stray mascara disappear in a snap. Imagine all of the possibilities for repurposing this bottle upon running out, too.

Available at Benefit Boutique Soho (454 West Broadway, 212-769-1111), Benefit Boutique Upper East Side (1301 3rd Avenue, 212-288-4728), and

Best Moisturizer: Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

The apothecary, which needs no introduction, introduces a treatment especially for the every-eye. In keeping with its dedication to “supremely” natural ingredients, the lotion-consistency formula is infused with cucumber gel for a cooling sensation, apricot kernel oil to soften the skin, and antioxidants known to prevent eye damage.

Available at Kiehl’s Since 1851 (109 Third Ave., 212-667-3171) and

Best Excuse for a Bergdorfs Bag: Cle de Peau Beauté Eye & Lip Makeup Remover

A formula to add to any nighttime routine for its illuminating complex alone, this doubles as a conditioner and promises noticeably softer and radiant skin around the eyes (and lips!) with continued use before turning in for the evening.

Available at Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Best Airport-Friendly Wipes: e.l.f. eyes lips face Eye Makeup Remover Pads.
Perfect for weddings, funerals, and emotional high school reunions, this teensy little case fits perfectly in the tiniest of clutches. If you have to cry … just run to the ladies’ room to “freshen up” only to reemerge as poised and elegant as you arrived.

Available at and at Target Stores nationwide.

Originally published March 2012
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