Make-up wipes are the fast food of skincare; it’s way too convenient not to use and I mean they work SO well right? WRONG. I’m so sorry to tell you this but make-up wipes just like fast food is so bad for you. That doesn’t mean you have to completely stop use of them completely; but moderation is key. 


So why are they so bad? 

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

Make-Up Wipes Ingredients


Make-up wipes work by “removing” make-up, bacteria, oil, and skin buildup without the act of rinsing. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a higher concentration of cleansing agents. 


Active cleansing agents are surfactants (dissolves make-up), emulsifiers and solublizers (lifts make-up, dead skin, and oil). These products help clean our skin, but it’s the act of rinsing that actually rids our skin of the gunk on our face. 


Now despite the higher concentration, many make-up wipes fail to break down grime on the face properly; and because make-up wipes doesn’t require rinsing, nothing is being removed and high concentrations of chemicals are being left on your skin. This can lead to irritation, acne, sensitivity, and dehydrated skin. 


Drying alcohol is another ingredient commonly in make-up wipes. The alcohol helps to dry the residue left on your skin faster; but in doing so it’s drying out your actual skin and causing irritation. 


This is why you should avoid drying alcohol based products, products with high amounts of alcohol, or just avoid it entirely. 


What Happens After


Now that you’ve used your make-up wipes; what’s next? 


You either go to bed right away or you finish off with your skincare routine; effectively sealing in the surfactants, bacteria, make-up, free-radicals and pollutants. 


Both results in what is essentially falling asleep in your make-up. This means your pores are clogged, your skin is dry and irritated, and it can actually lead to a breakdown of collagen; causing premature aging. 


So basically everything we want to avoid. 


But What if We Do Rinse?


If you do rinse, then that’s great! It solves a large problem that make-up wipes cause…. But don’t go picking that wipe up just yet. 


Let’s talk about the wipe itself; which is often made up of rayon. Rayon is often created with wood or other agricultural products. As you can imagine, this may not be the best idea. Especially considering how much harder you have to work the wipe in to “clean” up the make-up. 


This can cause micro-tears in the skin; especially since our face is the most delicate region. And while some micro-tears may be good (i.e. microneedling); the tears caused by rough handling of skin (with wipes, towels, etc) can cause irregular tears that go through the pores. 


These tears cause damage, micro scarring, and enlarged pores. Which I’m almost certain you don’t want. 




The great thing about the skin care industry, is that there are a lot of options on the market that are so much better for your skin.


I’m listing my top picks below. 


  1. Cleansing Oil
    1. I LOVE cleansing oil (and yes it does deserve full capitalization). Part of it is me being lazy; because unlike a balm, it’s already ready to use. It’s super gentle and breaks down make-up, oil, and dirt really well. It’s a great time to give yourself a nice, relaxing facial massage. 
  2. Cleansing Balm
    1. Just like a cleansing oil, it’s a super gentle way of breaking down make-up. You just have to do an extra step of warming it up between your hands. 
  3. Make-Up Remover Gel
    1. If you don’t like the feel of an oil or you feel like it’s not doing a good enough job; give a remover gel a try! It’s a thick consistency that allows it to coat your skin to pull away make-up and dirt. It’s also often formulated to be safe for sensitive skin and leaves behind a cooling sensation.
  4. Cleansing Milk
    1. Much like the others, cleansing milks are gentle and effective. 
  5. Liquid Make-Up Removers
    1. Last on my list are traditional make-up removers. They’ve been proven to work great but be careful not to be too rough when using them. 


In the end, I personally would recommend you pick a remover that is gentle, effective, and that you can use with your hands (which are much more softer and gentler than any cloth/towel). Always follow up with a cleanser to ensure maximum cleanliness and healthy skin


Until next time, stay wonderfully clean! 



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