A few weeks back a certain family member of mine (you know who you are, lady) told me that she uses makeup wipes every night to remove her makeup. My face must have given away how appalled I was because she immediately started to ask what was wrong with that. I’m really bad at hiding my emotions . . . and I can’t believe I just admitted that I am emotionally effected by how people take off their makeup, but I was so it is what it is.
I’ve read a lot about this and people have some pretty extreme opinions. Some basically say that you should never ever use a makeup wipe, and while I see what they’re getting at I don’t think it’s all that serious. Personally I think there is a time and a place for them. But let it be known right now that this time and place is not every night before bed.
So what’s the deal? Are makeup wipes bad for your skin?
Well, they definitely aren’t good for your skin. They often contain alcohol and other preservatives which help keep them shelf stable. Which is why a lot of the time people complain of them being irritating or stinging their eyes. The thing is, if they sting it’s probably because they’re harsh and irritating to the delicate skin of your face, which is (duh) not something you want to do every night. They can also be drying, and although you may apply a moisturizer to the area after removing your makeup, why give it more work to do than it already has?
Another issue is that often a makeup wipe is not quite moist enough to easily remove your makeup, especially if it’s waterproof around the eye area. This leads to excessive rubbing and the older we get the more we realize, you really don’t want to be rubbing and tugging on the delicate skin around the eyes. Trust me, younger readers, you will realize this sooner than you think.
Conversely there are ways to remove makeup that are actually good for your skin – like removing it with a healthy, natural oil. So being that the wipes can have a negative effect and there are methods that will have a positive effect I think there is a clear winner here.
When is it ok to use them?
I would say it’s ok to use them in a situation where carrying a cleansing balm or a bottle of coconut oil around with you is a huge pain in the ass, or you are flying with just a carry-on and can’t bring a liquid. If you use them a few times when traveling it most likely won’t have a long term impact on your skin. But I feel like I need to stress that even when you’re traveling makeup wipes are NEVER a replacement for washing your face. I’m sorry they just aren’t. If the choice is makeup wipe or leaving everything on your face overnight (like if you for some reason find yourself in the wilderness without water) then it’s better than nothing, but in any other case, you should totally still be washing your face.
Another thing they are good for is fixing makeup mistakes, rather than actually removing all of your makeup. So you might want to keep them on your makeup counter or wherever you put your face on in the morning, just for use on small areas where you went a little Olivia Newton John with your blush or your liquid liner came out crazy or something. Small touchups.
Are all makeup wipes created equal?
Definitely not. Some are way more harsh than others. Some are dryer, some are wetter. Some make my eyes burn like I wiped them with acid, others don’t. Some are cheap and some are expensive.
As far as affordable ones are concerned I have had the best luck with the Olay Wipes from the drugstore, and the Micellar Cleanser wipes from Trader Joe’s. The more expensive ones that I like (which I like much better than the cheaper ones if I’m being perfectly honest) are the Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Vitamin C Wipes and recently the Kat Von D Unlock It Makeup Wipes. The Kat Von D ones are super wet, which is a little weird to get used to, but they remove the makeup pretty easily and without much rubbing which is definitely a plus. I totally understand not wanting to spend a lot on makeup wipes, and if you are just using them for touchups then I say go with the cheaper ones. If you are using them for travel though, then why not spend a few extra bucks to be a little more gentle to your skin? You aren’t using them every night after all 😉
With that being said, I have heard mixed reviews about all of these before I tried them, and everyone seems to really love or REALLY hate each kind of wipe, so I think the key is to try a travel pack or sample if you can, and figure out which ones work for you.
So that’s that. My thoughts on cleansing wipes in a nutshell.
What’s your favorite way to take off your makeup?