Maintaining clean skin is a crucial step in keeping it clear and healthy. You might think you’re ahead of the curve by keeping makeup wipes handy for a “whenever, wherever” refresh. You deserve kudos for prioritizing skincare, but makeup wipes may be rougher on both your face and the planet than you think.
Here’s why you should toss makeup wipes for good and what to use instead.
What’s wrong with makeup wipes?
Cleaning makeup off your face is vital for avoiding clogged pores, breakouts, and skin irritation, right? So why would we come down against a convenient, quick-clean skin hack?
First off, makeup wipes don’t really provide a deep clean. Think of it this way: If you feel grungy after a gym session, would you reach for makeup wipes to tackle sweaty pits? You’d probably want a real shower. Your face is the same — while a makeup wipe may be better than nothing in a pinch, it’s no substitute for an actual cleaning.
The solution in a makeup wipe is formulated to break down makeup, not clean your skin. The difference may sound subtle, but it’s important. A facial cleanser has ingredients meant to remove dirt and impurities without over-stripping your skin’s natural oils. A makeup wipe’s primary job is to break up makeup particles, so it might use harsher chemicals to accomplish that. The traces of chemicals that a wipe leaves behind can be irritating to your skin.
What’s more, a makeup wipe might not wipe off all the makeup. Again, the wipe’s main job is to break down the particles of your cosmetics, not necessarily get them up and off your skin. You might end up leaving some of that broken-down makeup residue smeared into your pores. If you really scrub to lift the makeup off your skin, the tugging motion can cause micro-tears that can lead to skin damage like wrinkles over time. Neither option is ideal.
Finally, if the adverse effects on your skin aren’t harmful enough, makeup wipes are harsh on the planet, too. Even supposedly “flushable” wipes don’t break down easily and can clog waterways and harm wildlife. Some chemicals in personal care products (like wipes) can also have a negative impact on the environment.
Quick makeup fixes to try instead
Makeup wipes are like the latest vinegar “detox” cleanse: They sound like they’re doing a lot of good, but their benefits are minimal and can leave a sour taste in your mouth (at least metaphorically — please don’t eat your makeup wipes). Are we insisting you commit to a 10-minute, 10-step soothing skincare practice instead? Let’s not be unreasonable.
Life happens, and we all have those nights when we aren’t up for a full facewash/serum/moisturizer regimen. It’s okay to keep a quick, convenient face cleanser on hand. Just make it one that actually benefits your skin. Below, consider these alternatives for wiping off your makeup and cleansing your skin on-the-go or whenever you’re short on time.
Keep your bathroom stocked with clean, microfiber washcloths that are gentle on your skin. Reusable cotton or bamboo-based pads are easy to toss in your bag for a quick clean, and you can wash and reuse them to minimize the environmental impact of cotton.
Convenient skincare for a busy lifestyle
Remove makeup with micellar water and one of the aforementioned wipe alternatives. Micellar water is a product that suspends tiny particles, or micelles, of oil in a water base, making it a gentle yet effective way to clean off makeup.
Follow a micellar water wipedown with a rinse to get rid of residue, then use a gentle facial cleanser, your preferred serum, and a nourishing moisturizer. Review the ingredients in all of your products for environmental sustainability, any irritating or toxic chemicals, and their effect on your skin.
When you’re ready to crash
Tempted to collapse into bed, even if that means leaving mascara prints on your pillow? A bare minimum effort is worth it. Douse a cotton pad in micellar water, look with bleary satisfaction at how much foundation and eyeliner are now on the pad and not your face, and promise you’ll follow up with a proper wash as soon as you’ve had some zzz’s.
The bottom line on makeup wipes
Life can get busy, but it’s worthwhile to prioritize taking care of your skin. If washing your face at night is a struggle, come up with a feasible plan using the tips above to give your skin some love. Just make sure you’re truly providing your skin with the gentle care it needs. Ditching the makeup wipes for an easy routine that’s kind to your face and the planet? That’s what we call beautiful.