How Bollywood's Favourite Makeup Artist Takes It All Off

Komal Basith

If you’re not already taking your makeup with a cleansing oil at the end of the day, I strongly suggest you give it a go. I know that oils might not seem like something you want near your face now that it’s so hot out, but there’s nothing more effective at getting every trace of grime or makeup off – while leaving your skin super clean and soft to the touch without a hint of greasiness.

Just ask Bianca Hartkopf, a makeup artist who works with Katrina Kaif and Jacqueline Fernandez and who’s quick to point out that makeup artists aren’t just responsible for putting the makeup on – they’ve often got to get it off, often at the end of a long, tiring day of shoots; and so they tend to use what’s most effective – and most gentle. And guess what she uses? Oil cleansers!

“Oil cleansers are the best invention ever when it comes to makeup removal,” she says. “They take everything off, are incredibly gentle, and leave you with a perfectly clean face – without disrupting your skin.” They’re much better than soap cleansers, according to her, because “soap can’t get rid of, or even move long wearing or waterproof makeup,” she says.

Cleansing oils work on the premise that like attracts like – the molecules in the oil attach themselves to the waxy, oily molecules in your makeup, lift them, and are then washed off with water.

Some people follow this up with a non-makeup removing cleanser in a process known as a double cleanse, but most oil cleansers are so adept that this isn’t really necessary. “Cleansing oils trap the lipophilic residue of stubborn waxes, something soaps can’t do,” says Hartkopf, “which means that they’re the only things that really work at getting stubborn makeup off, especially heavy black eyeliners and waterproof mascaras. But even on regular makeup, this stuff is complete magic.” Bianca tends to use baby oil or, when in a pinch, olive oil because she says both are gentle on the skin and she’s likely to have them lying around at all times; if you’d like more options, here’s are some of my favourites.


M.A.C.’s classic cleansing oil has many things going for it, not least of which are the yummy, tangerine scent that will remind you of an orange soufflé and the light, silky consistency that glides over skin. Best of all, it takes off even waterproof makeup in seconds and never, ever leaves your skin feeling tight or dry, or clogging pores.

This cleansing oil is meant to be followed up with a face wash after but it’s worth the extra step for its thoroughness. Note that the formula does contain apricot, sunflower and lavender oils which, while great for your skin, can sting the eyes a little.

This is the only cleansing oil on the list that doesn’t start out as one – instead, the balm-like consistency melts into an oil when spread on skin, turns into a milk upon contact with water and leaves skin incredibly soft. It also does exactly what it says on the tin – takes the day’s dirt, grime and makeup off without leaving a greasy film or irritating your skin (or eyes). It’s also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t break you out.

This is the French skincare product that launched an obsession with a thousand French skincare products, if you will. I first noticed this product a couple of years ago when it was backstage at every fashion show, and it soon became known as the one product every model and makeup artist has in their beauty kit. Why? This oil-in-water formula looks and feels exactly like water, but takes off the most longwearing, smudge-proof makeup. It’s practically magic – a few swipes of this on a cotton pad, and it’s like you were never wearing makeup in the first place. It also works on all skin types; I’ve turned several women with extremely sensitive skin on to this stuff, and I’ve never heard a complaint from a single one!

If you have dry skin, you’re going to love L’Occitane’s Shea Cleansing Oil. In addition to removing all traces of makeup and grime, it also leaves skin super soft, thanks to the shea oil. Like Take the Day Off, this is an oil which turns into a milk upon contact with water, cleansing skin without stripping it of moisture.

Image courtesy Bianca Hartkopf.

Illustrated by Roshini Frederick.



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