Here's why you should stop relying on facial wipes to remove makeup

Alyssa Tria
Shopping Editor
Getty Images

Ideal for travelling and for whenever you’re too tired (or lazy) to go through your entire nighttime skincare, facial wipes take the prize for quick and convenient makeup removal.

But as much as we love and refuse to live without them, relying on facial wipes alone to remove a day’s worth of makeup can lead to acne breakouts and long term skin irritation. According to Renée A. Beach of Bay Dermatology Centre and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, no key ingredients could ever make facial wipes equivalent to a deep gentle cleanse, with many facial wipes containing Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), a foaming agent popular in most shampoos.

“When you use a wipe and you don't have a sink to rinse, this SLS doesn't wash off the skin,” Beach explains.

Here, Beach walks us through an expert approach to makeup removal.

Should I get rid of my facial wipes completely?

“I wouldn't make a regular habit out of it, especially for people with acne-prone skin which tends to hold onto more oil. I suppose in a must-do situation when no sink is available, they're an option.”

I personally like the grab-and-go convenience of a facial wipe. But if I’m not going to use it completely “cleanse” my face, are they safe enough to use regularly in my nighttime routine?

“Wearing a day's worth of sunscreen, primer, foundation, blush, setting spray etc., it's unlikely to get rid of all of that with one swipe,” she says. “I'd say if you want to use them as a ‘pre-clean’ before washing your face with cleanser and water, then they can help remove some surface makeup.”

What are the best alternatives?

“I actually much prefer micellar solutions as a quick face cleansing alternative,” the dermatologist advises. “They contain purified water and cucumber extract - effective agents without irritation or foaming ingredients or fragrances.”

If I’m not using facial wipe, I like to use micellar water and other pre-cleansing solutions (oils and balms) to efficiently remove my makeup. They definitely take up more time in my night time routine, but the payoff is always worth it. Unlike the results of after using a facial wipe, my face looks and feels clean, less greasy and tight. To shop the best makeup-removing solutions, check out my picks below.

Nivea MicellAIR Expert

Nivea MicellAIR Expert

Shop it: $8, Walmart

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

Shop it: $20, Shoppers Drug Mart

Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

Shop it: $37, Sephora

Korres Wild Rose Makeup Melter Cleansing Oil

Korres Wild Rose Makeup Melter Cleansing Oil

Shop it: $43, Shoppers Drug Mart

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

OMOROVICZA Thermal Cleansing Balm

Shop it: $145, Sephora

Amorepacific Treatment Cleansing Oil

Amorepacific Treatment Cleansing Oil

Shop it: $50, Nordstrom

Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water

SEPHORA COLLECTION Triple Action Cleansing Water

Shop it: $15, Sephora

CeraVe Micellar Water

CeraVe Micellar Water

Shop it: $16, Amazon

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