Is it bad to use makeup remover wipes to clean your face?


Makeup remover wipes are helpful but not a replacement for face wash.“Makeup remover wipes are helpful but not a replacement for face wash.©Thinkstock

We all know how important it is to wash your face before you hit the hay, but sometimes the task can be surprisingly hard after a long day or late night out. Luckily, you’ve got a packet of pre-moistened face wipes stashed in your bedside table. Maybe they’re designed for makeup removal only, or maybe they’re described as an alternative to regular cleansers. Is it okay to swipe one across your face rather than soaping up properly at the sink?

In a pinch, yes. Think of all the things you come in contact with on a daily basis. Do you really want them wreaking havoc on your skin? Your skin can’t breathe and regenerate under a day’s worth of makeup, sunscreen, bacteria, dirt, pollution and oil. This layer of grime can lead to clogged pores, acne flare-ups and collagen breakdown, which causes fine lines over time [source: Kitchens]. So if you can muster the energy to freshen up with a makeup remover or facial cleansing wipe, that’s a whole lot better than doing nothing at all [source: Wu].

Still, you should make this practice the exception and not the rule. Facial wipes do a decent job of dissolving makeup, including waterproof mascara, but they don’t pack the deep cleaning punch of regular cleansers [source: Way]. By gently scrubbing your face and rinsing with water, you’ll remove any last traces of cosmetics, dirt and dead skin cells. Also, when you use a facial wipe but don’t rinse afterward, there’s a chance that the lingering chemicals and fragrances could cause an allergic reaction while you catch some z’s [source: Fryxell].

For best results, use a wipe to thoroughly remove makeup before completing your routine with a rinse-off face wash. Your skin will emerge fully cleansed and ready to absorb any nighttime treatments you use, such as anti-aging creams or acne medication [source: Fryxell]. Just be sure to choose appropriate wipes and cleansers for your skin type. For instance, textured wipes can help loosen blackheads, while smooth wipes go easier on delicate or sensitive skin [source: Wu].

Besides the rare late or lazy night, other occasions may call for a quick cleanup with a facial wipe. For instance, wipes can come in handy for banishing excess oil on the go or removing sweat after a workout. Always remember to reapply your sunscreen after using a wipe if you’re planning to spend more time outdoors [source: People].

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More Great Links

  • Using a Facial Wipe Instead of Washing Your Face
  • Can I Use Makeup Remover Wipes Instead of Cleanser?


  • Fryxell, Anna. "Can I Use Makeup Remover Wipes Instead of Cleanser?" NewBeauty. December 12, 2012. (August 20, 2013)
  • Kitchens, Simone. "Is It Really That Bad to Sleep in Makeup? Dermatologists Tell Us the Truth." Huffington Post. December 18, 2012. (August 20, 2013)
  • People. "Summer Beauty Must-Have: Cleansing Wipes." May 30, 2007. (August 20, 2013)
  • Way, Gina. "Q&A: Do Wipes or Face Cleansers Work Better?" New York Magazine. December 14, 2012. (August 20, 2013)
  • Wu, Jennifer. "Using a Facial Wipe Instead of Washing Your Face." Everyday Health. August 5, 2009. (August 20, 2013)


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