Throw Those Makeup Wipes In The Trash

Sadie Young
December 20, 2023

Noooo! I know, I know. These are totally my jam too, because I’m inherently lazy and these just make removing makeup so easy, or so I thought. Sigh. Picture me on some ship waving goodbye with a handkerchief as my makeup wipes get smaller and smaller on the dock. Goodbye my loves, but I must leave for good. Okay, moving on to a new country of better skin care!

Why are they so bad?

Relaxing Facial Columbus Ohio
Makeup Wipes

They don’t actually wash your face

Unfortunately, this is a rather extensive list. We use makeup wipes to clean our faces of dirt and makeup at the end of the day, but experts say that makeup wipes aren’t actually cleaning your face. The point of washing your face is to get rid of all of the gunk, right? With the combo of cleanser and water, your skin is able to rid itself of makeup and bacteria, but face wipes are just moistened towelettes that remove the makeup, kind of. You still need to wash the residue from the wipes off too. At that point, you might as well just skip the face wipe step and go straight for a cleanser that is actually doing what it is advertised to do.

Their ingredients can cause skin irritation

Not only do face wipes require you to still cleanse your face afterward, but they can cause irritation and dryness and even exacerbate any skin issues you might have. Many face wipes contain harsh ingredients like parabens that act as preservatives, fragrances, and cocamidopropyl betaine, all of which are known skin irritants. Preservatives prevent microorganisms from contaminating the wipes, but some include formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, solubilizers, surfactants, and emulsifiers all of which are not the best things for sensitive skin. So unless you are cleansing your skin post-face wipe, that stuff stays on there and gets absorbed.

Rubbing too hard with them can cause damage

Even the way you use the face wipe itself can be causing irritation! If you are rubbing the skin too harshly with a face wipe, especially around sensitive areas like the eyes, you could be causing inflammation and other skin problems. That’s totally easy to do too because hello, wipe? Like of course you’re going to be putting pressure on it to rid your face of the makeup, whereas if you use a gentle cleanser and your hands, you’re way less likely to apply the wrong amount of pressure.

They’re bad for the environment

This probably isn’t too much of a shock considering face wipes are a one-time-use product that gets tossed in the trash as soon as you’re done. Many face wipes contain a combination of plastics and cotton. Plastics, of course, don’t break down quickly, but accumulate in landfills and can take up to 100 years to break down! Some of the chemicals contained in the wipes are also known to be harmful to marine life.


Time for the solutions! If you’re in a pinch and the alternative is leaving your makeup on all night, micellar wipes are a good substitute to traditional makeup remover wipes as they are more gentle and actually cleanse the face better. If your concern is for the single-use aspect, many cosmetic companies sell reusable cotton pads that can be used with your favorite cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, etc. Of course, having a skin care routine that involves all the goodies we love, is definitely your best option and your skin will definitely be way better in the long run, I promise.

Farewell, makeup wipes. You will be missed… sort of.

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