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!
Are face wipes actually good for your skin? While cleansing face wipes aren’t a replacement for your daily skincare routine, they are a helpful tool that can really clean your skin (and remove makeup) when used properly.
To help demystify this somewhat controversial product, I’m giving you a list of my 15 favorite face wipes on the market. I’ll also explain exactly what face wipes are, how to properly use them, and how to know which wipes are best for your skin type. 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.
Let’s get started!
Your Guide to Face Wipes: Contents
• 15 Best Cleansing Face Wipes & Makeup Wipes Worth Buying
• What Are Cleansing Face Wipes?
• Pros and Cons of Using Face Wipes
• Choosing the Best Face Wipes for Your Skin Type
• How to Use Face Wipes
• 3 Face Wipe Myths You Should Stop Believing
These 15 face wipes come packed with skin-loving ingredients to not only remove any makeup residue and dirt from your face, but also to cover your skin with a veil of hydration and protection.
1. Sephora Collection Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes
These coconut water cleansing wipes from Sephora are dual-sided to both cleanse and exfoliate. One side is a soft applicator, while the other has a slightly raised texture for exfoliation. They’re also formulated without any parabens or sulfates.
2. OleHenriksen Truth On the Glow Cleansing Cloths
These On the Glow cleansing face wipes from OleHenriksen are packed with vitamin C and jojoba oil to give the skin a natural, radiant glow. It’s safe for all skin types and has lots of natural ingredients with a very low amount of alcohol. They have a citrusy scent and come in packs of 10, 30, or 100. These are a great refresher during the day or a good pre-cleansing step. Shop the wipes online at Sephora!
3. Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes 2 Pack
One of the best face wipes, Simple’s Kind to Skin face towelettes have incredible online reviews and are also alcohol- and fragrance-free. They’re made with purified water and super hydrating ingredients like vitamin E and vitamin B5. Thanks to the natural ingredients, these are safe to use on your eye area and lips. Currently buy one get one half off at Ulta! These face wipes are great for all skin types and are especially suited to anyone with sensitive skin.
4. Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths
These cleansing wipes from beauty brand Philosophy are free of parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. The snap-top lid on the pack of 30 will keep them from drying out or spilling. They’re gentle on skin and can be followed up with your favorite cleanser and moisturizer. Lots of customers love to use them with other cult-favorite Purity products for a full-stop skincare routine. Shop these Purity wipes online at Sephora!
5. Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract
White tea extract is known for its skin-soothing properties! These cleansing face wipes from Burt’s Bees use white tea, cucumber, and aloe to hydrate your skin while wiping away impurities. I’ve used Burt’s Bees wipes for years, and they’re definitely more cloth-like and gentler than other makeup wipes I’ve tried out. I’d recommend these for anyone with dry or sensitive skin. A pack of 30 wipes only costs $5.99. You can shop these face wipes at Ulta!
6. Koh Gen Go Cleansing Spa Water Cloths
One of the best face wipes, these little towelettes boast cleansing “spa water” and tons of other luxury ingredients like sage leaf, ginger root, and lavender. They’re at a slightly higher price point but the great reviews and power house ingredients suggest that they’re worth the hype!
Plus, they’re made from organic cotton without any animal testing or synthetic fragrances or sulfates. If you’re willing to spend a bit more for glowing skin (who isn’t?), these makeup wipes from Koh Gen Do are for you. You can buy them online at Sephora!
7. Clinique Take The Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes for Face & Eyes
Micellar water has blown up in the beauty community. It’s hailed for great benefits like unclogging pores and removing dirt without stripping your skin. This ingredient is especially great for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. Now, you can get all the benefits of micellar cleansing water in the form of these Clinique face wipes from Sephora.
8. Yes To Cucumbers Facial Towelettes
Yes To is known for their natural ingredients (and cute packaging). These green face wipes contain aloe and cucumber to soothe and cool your skin. I’ve used these makeup wipes a few times over the years, and they always leave my skin feeling refreshed. I especially recommend them for anyone with dry skin, as the cucumber has a very hydrating effect. A pack of 30 is just $5.99 at Ulta!
9. Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanning Face Towelettes
For those of you who use self-tanner, a face wipe can seem like your worst enemy! After all, you don’t want to wipe off your tan while cleansing your skin. These vegan self-tanning face towelettes from Tarte are meant to leave a bronzed glow on your face and neck without streaking or dehydrating your skin.
Unlike your traditional cleansing face wipes, these should not be used to cleanse or remove makeup. They are only meant to give you a natural, all-over glow. To use, wipe in circular motions onto a clean, exfoliated face and neck. Don’t forget your ears, and wash your hands after use! These tanning wipes are available online at Sephora!
10. Formula 10.0.6 Keep Me Clean Purifying Facial Wipes
Witch hazel makes these cleansing wipes extra purifying and toning, while cucumber refreshes and cleanses. The locking lid makes storage super convenient without worrying about them drying out. Due to witch hazel being a strong astringent, don’t use these face wipes on broken or extra sensitive skin. As always, follow up with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. You can shop a pack of 25 for $5.99 at Ulta!
11. MAC Gently Off Wipes + Micellar Water
Another wipe with gentle micellar water, these cleansing face wipes from MAC promise to calm and cleanse your skin without stripping it. The pink packaging is super sophisticated, with a plastic dispenser and lid to prevent spills or drying. You can get a pack of 100 wipes for just $30. They’re available for purchase online at Nordstrom.
12. Boscia Black Charcoal Cleansing Cloths
Black charcoal is known for its cleansing power that makes it effective for everything from unclogging pores to whitening teeth. These black charcoal cleansing face wipes from Boscia are formulated with their signature blend of jojoba leaf and willowherb – without any preservatives or artificial fragrances.
They have mixed reviews online, but most negative complaints are that the wipes are too dry. Since these are cleansing cloths and not makeup removers, it’s very common for them to be on the dry side. These face wipes are especially great for oily and acne-prone skin. You can test them out at Sephora!
13. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Twin-Pack
These makeup wipes might be familiar to you, since they’ve been on the market for years. They’re also the go-to cleansing wipes for celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jen Atkin, and it’s no surprise why. If you need to take off a lot of makeup at the end of the day, these are your answer.
I personally use these to take off my makeup after a theater performance or when I’ve gone for a full-coverage makeup look. They can be a little dehydrating, so I always follow with a cleanser, moisturizer, and facial oil.
While the ingredients aren’t as “natural” as other face wipes on this list, I’m including these as one of the best face wipes because they truly will take off ANY makeup, and the wipes are really moist and soft. You can get a twin-pack for less than $15 at Ulta!
14. Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes
Papaya, aloe, and calendula are just some of the skin-loving ingredients you’ll find in these cleansing wipes by Pacifica. These face wipes are also 100% vegan and free of parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil. These are a great cleansing option when you’re on the go or don’t want to pack your full skincare routine while traveling. A pack of 30 is just $6 at Ulta!
15. Shiseido Refreshing Cleansing Sheets
Shiseido’s Refreshing Cleansing Sheets probably have the best packaging on this list to prevent drying out. These 100% cotton face wipes help maintain your skin’s natural pH balance (important!) while helping to unclog your pores. These are great combination wipes that can remove makeup and cleanse all at once. They are suitable for all skin types and are safe for sensitive skin. Shop these cleansing wipes at Sephora!
Face 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.
There is a face wipe for every skin type, and here is how you should choose one for you!
Face Wipes for Sensitive Skin
Thankfully, there are tons of face wipes on the market targeted at sensitive skin. Lots of these wipes contain fewer chemical preservatives and more natural ingredients like aloe and vitamin E. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, sensitive skin face wipes are a great choice for a mild, natural option.
Face Wipes for Acne-Prone Skin
If you are prone to breakouts, you’ll want to look for wipes with anti-bacterial ingredients like tea tree oil. It’s also important that you always follow your face wipe with a gentle cleanser to clear out your pores and prevent future breakouts.
Face Wipes for Oily Skin
People with oily skin may benefit from the “drying” nature of some face wipes. However, oil can also be the result of dehydrated skin – as your body has to produce extra oil to compensate for the dehydration. Make sure to follow up your face wipe with a good toner to help balance the oil and pH of your skin.
Face Wipes for Dry Skin
I have dry skin and I know first-hand how important it is to choose products that don’t contain alcohol, as it really dries out the skin. Always go for an alcohol-free wipe and follow with a gentle cleanser and hydrating moisturizer with naturally hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil or vitamin E.
• Choose the best face wipe for your skin type. The most effective cleansing wipes for your skin will be free of alcohol and fragrances.
• 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 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.
• 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 @sonagasparian, @racheljames__, @lovebellavida, @vanessaeve_xo