Behold: How a Drag Queen Takes Off Her Makeup

 Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

We all know the age-old advice regarding makeup and your bedtime: Remove it before hitting the pillow. Its a habit that feels annoying in the moment but may ultimately lead to brighter, clearer skin and a cleaner pillowcase. While you can try the sans water method in a pinch, were advocating for a full-on K-beauty–inspired ritual meant to keep your skin as healthy as possible at night.

So who better to give a full rundown on how best to remove makeup than licensed esthetician, author, and co-founder of Soko Glam and Then I Met You, Charlotte Cho, and Kim Chi, a legendary drag queen from RuPauls Drag Race season 8 and founder of KimChi Chic Beauty? "My skin used to crack really badly, and I had flaky, peeling skin and scabs around my eyes from excessive lash glue," Chi explains. But after using Chos recommended products, Kim Chi gets complimented on their skin all the time.

First, watch their (very) involved removal process and find the products they used throughout the video below. Each one is Kim Chi–tested, esthetician-approved.

Below, read about the K-beauty products Cho and Chi used and find the right options for you.

  • Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Revitalizing $24.00


It begins as a solid balm and transforms into a silky soft oil that melts your makeup away right before your eyes. "They say that if you spend 20 to 30 minutes to put on your face of makeup," Cho suggests, "you should take just as much time and care to remove it." Banila Co recently reformulated their resveratrol formula and despite the name change, this cleanser still packs a punch.

  • Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Revitalizing Facial Cleansing Foam $29.00


With over 30 natural plant extracts, this foaming cleanser promises to remove all remaining traces of makeup and dissolve impurities your oil cleanser may have missed. According to the brand, pearl extract brightens, and seaweed, and algae extract will boost hydration, while the super-creamy luxurious lather makes the experience a true delight.

  • Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon $27.00


Perhaps one of the most innovative products of the bunch, these little lemon chemical peel pads are Kim Chis "game-changer." On one side, it has a manual physical exfoliator meant to lift dirt and dead skin cells while the other features an AHA chemical exfoliant with vitamin C meant for anti-aging and skin-brightening benefits.

  • Son & Park Beauty Water $30.00


As you remove your makeup, Beauty Water promises to even more thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate your skin, courtesy of lavender water, rosewater, orange fruit extract hydrate, and willow bark and papaya extract. Its amazing for revealing a softer, more even skin texture.

  • Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask- 4 pack $19.00


The hydrogel mask Cho and Chi used is infused with whole green tea leaves—a natural antioxidant—to cool, de-puff, and soothe your skin1 after removing a full face of makeup.

  • Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence $25.00


An essence is especially important as part of your skincare routine because it promises to promote hydration and skin elasticity (this particular one contains hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1000 times its weight in water2).

  • Missha Misa Cho Bo Yang Eye Cream $35.00


This super-concentrated eye cream features a bunch of ingredients pulled from traditional Korean medicine: ginseng root, deer antlers, and even real gold.

  • CosRx Triple C Lightening Liquid $27.00


Help improve acne scars and discoloration with Chos choice serum, chock-full of 20.5% pure vitamin C. It’s also infused with 72% black chokeberry, an ingredient that works to stabilize the vitamin C and ensure your skin is smooth and hydrated, according to the brand.

  • Hanskin Bio Origin the Cream $58.00


Hanskins moisturizer is a rich blend of niacinamide, an ingredient best known for its brightening, moisturizing, and wrinkle-fighting abilities.3 It even has a subtle floral scent to calm your mind and your senses.

Next up: Peep these beauty tips from a makeup artist who works with women over 40.

Article Sources

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Koch W, Zagórska J, Marzec Z, Kukula-Koch W. Applications of tea (Camellia sinensis) and its active constituents in cosmetics. Molecules. 2019;24(23):4277. doi:10.3390/molecules24234277

Juncan AM, Moisă DG, Santini A, et al. Advantages of hyaluronic acid and its combination with other bioactive ingredients in cosmeceuticals. Molecules. 2021;26(15):4429. doi:10.3390/molecules26154429

Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutica l ingredients? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

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