Without a doubt, face wipes are the easiest (and fastest) way to remove your makeup and cleanse your skin at the end of a long day. But, in a skincare world where “more is more,” you probably think relying on a simple one-step wipe to remove your makeup and cleanse your skin doesn’t sound as luxurious (or effective) as a 12-step process. And you’d be right – kind of!
To help demystify this somewhat controversial product, I’ll explain exactly what face wipes are, and how to properly use them. And finally, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using face wipes and debunk some of the biggest myths about them.
In this article:
- What Are Cleansing Face Wipes?
- Pros and Cons of Using Face Wipes
- How to Use Face Wipes
- Face Wipe Myths
Face wipes or makeup removing wipes are moist, tissue-size sheets that are used to remove makeup or cleanse the skin. Face wipes are sold at most stores that carry beauty or body products. They usually come in a soft or hard plastic container with a single dispenser slit. Packages can include anywhere from 10 to 100 wipes! Due to the ingredients, face wipes can last for months, and many shoppers prefer to buy them in bulk.
While most cleansing wipes perform a similar function (i.e. wiping everything off your face), they have different marketed effects. Just like facial cleansers, face wipes are formulated for all kinds of skin, including sensitive and acne-prone. The most popular “types” of wipes are makeup removers, cleansers, or a combination of the two.
- Makeup remover wipes are usually marketed for the express purpose of removing makeup – even waterproof makeup and mascara. A makeup wipe is meant to be used before washing your face with a facial cleanser. The wipes are often very moist in order to really melt and penetrate the makeup.
- Cleansing wipes, on the other hand, are meant to cleanse the skin and often contain gentler, hydrating ingredients. The wipes are usually a little less moist and may not be as harsh on your skin as makeup wipes.
- The last, and most common, type of wipe would be a dual makeup-remover cleanser. These face wipes advertise the ability to remove makeup while cleansing the skin. Due to their double benefit approach, this is usually the most popular option for face wipe users.
Pros: Fast, Easy, Powerful
Face wipes have a lot of great benefits – particularly for someone on the go. They’re definitely the fastest way to cleanse your skin. They also couldn’t be easier to use. You literally wipe and throw away.
Plus, cleansing wipes don’t require any water, so you can take and use them anywhere. I always take my cleansing wipes with me when I travel. They’re great after a long flight or day of travel to wipe away any dirt or grime my skin may have picked up during the day.
Makeup wipes are also a super powerful tool to remove heavy products, including waterproof makeup. I’ve had to wear a lot of full coverage or crazy character makeup looks over the years as an actor, and nothing helps me out more at the end of the day than a powerful makeup wipe.
While face wipes aren’t a substitute for a good skincare routine, they can help you save time and remove built up dirt on the skin that you might not even realize is still there. I can’t tell you how many times I thought my facial cleanser had gotten off all my makeup only to have a dirty face wipe tell me otherwise.
Cons: Possibly Harsh Ingredients, Not a One-Step Process
Cleansing wipes sometimes get a bad reputation due to the preservative ingredients found in some brands that can dry out your skin and cause acne. Watch out for face wipes with alcohol or fragrance, as these can dehydrate your skin and strip it of its natural oils.
It’s also super important to understand that face wipes are NOT a one-step skincare routine. Rather, they are a tool that should be used in tandem with your favorite cleanser and moisturizer.
I know it can be so tempting to just use a cleansing wipe and head to bed. Trust me, I’m guilty of this on my most tired days or when I travel! But ideally, you’ll follow up your wipe with a moisturizer at least – if not your regular skincare routine.
This is how you should use your cleansing face wipes:
- Choose One
Choose the best face wipe for your skin type. The most effective cleansing wipes for your skin will be free of alcohol and fragrances.
- Apply It
Wash your hands and pull a fresh wipe out of the container. Begin to wipe it around your face by rubbing in gentle, circular upward motions. Never drag the wipe down your face or too harshly across your skin. Don’t forget to wipe around your hairline and neck!
- Avoid the Eye Area
Avoid rubbing around your eye area. Either use a gentle eye makeup remover on a cotton pad or lay a fresh wipe on the eye area and let it soak in for 30-60 seconds before gently blotting away any remaining product.
Use as many face wipes as you need until you no longer see product, dirt, or residue coming off on the wipe.
- Finish off
Follow with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. You can also follow it with your normal skincare routine – including toners and serums.
1. All Face Wipes Are Basically the Same
Not at all! This would be like saying all face washes or lotions are the same. Every face wipe has different ingredients that will have different effects on your skin.
It is extremely important that you understand your skin type (sensitive, oily, acne-prone, etc.) and do a bit of research on what ingredients you should look for in a wipe and what ingredients you should avoid.
2. You Only Need to Use One Face Wipe
When it comes to face wipes, you need to use as many as it takes! If you wear full-coverage makeup, it’s definitely going to take more than one wipe to remove all that product. You also can’t forget about your neck and ears!
I’m an actor, and it can sometimes take 3-4 wipes to remove all my makeup after a full day of shooting. That’s why buying in bulk is usually the best way to go.
You want to keep using new face wipes until you no longer see residue coming off the skin and onto the wipe. That’s how you know your skin is truly clean.
3. Makeup Wipes Are Safe to Use on Your Eyes
You NEVER want to rub face wipes directly under your eyes or on your eyelids. This can cause wrinkles and weaken the skin. Instead, use a cotton pad and oil-free eye makeup remover to gently remove your eye makeup prior to your face wipes.
Just put a bit of the makeup remover on the pad and gently press the pad onto your closed lid, letting the makeup soak into the pad. You can try a similar technique with a gentle makeup wipe by laying a fresh wipe over the eye area. Wait 30-60 seconds to allow your mascara and other eye products to melt onto the wipe.
Gently dab away any remaining product. Repeat this step until all the product is gone. Again, I suggest using only a very mild wipe (like one for sensitive skin) to remove eye makeup by soaking and dabbing – no rubbing!
Photos via @racheljames__, Instagram