Updated 5/24/17. In the past few years, cleansing wipes have become popular with people as a way to quickly and easily wipe makeup off their skin without having to deal with water or washcloths. You simply wipe and go.
While they are convenient to use, are they good to use on your face? No. I believe they are not the best choice for healthy skin. Why? Cleansing wipes don’t effectively clean the skin. Instead they just smear dirt, bacteria, oil and makeup across it. A cleanser without the addition of any water will break down and dissolve the dirt in the oily portion of the soap (surfactant) molecule only and remove it onto the wipe. However, it’s the actual rinsing action from water that removes it and cleans the skin. Essentially it is like applying cleanser to your face with soap and then not washing it off.
Instead, I recommend using a gentle, sulfate-free, low-foaming cleansing gel or a lightweight cleansing lotion to wash the face. See my cleanser recommendations. Then follow it by wiping the skin with a baby washcloth or facial sponge.
Clean skin is healthy skin. Be very meticulous about cleaning a day’s worth of makeup, dirt, and bacteria from your skin so you’ll get the best results from serums and moisturizers applied afterwards. If you really must use a wipe, limit their use to rare occasions since no wipe will ever be as effective as a proper cleanse.
Note: For removing eye makeup, like eye shadow and mascara, wipes are okay to use. Since you should wash your face with a gel, lotion of foaming cleanser, using water to rinse it off will wash way away any residue it might leave around the eye area. And remember, as with any eye makeup remover, leave it on the eyes for 20 seconds to dissolve the makeup. This avoids any unnecessary rubbing and tugging that can irritate they eyes and put wear and tear on the skin’s elasticity.
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Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”