“I use cleansing wipes to remove my makeup”
Tell this to most skincare enthusiasts, and what you’d be greeted with is an exaggerated gasp of breath, and wide-eyed horror.
“No, you don’t!” They’d exclaim in disbelief.
What started out as a convenient skincare product is now one of the most villified beauty products in the market. Every beauty and skincare guru worth their salt is condemning it, left, right and center. Every YouTube personality who is caught using one, is shunned and talked about in hushed tones of disgust.
But why and how did this happen? Why are makeup cleansing wipes so bad for our skin, and are they? Should we not use them at all?
What are makeup cleansing wipes?
We’re all familiar with this by now. They are just like wet-wipes i.e. moistened tissue, except they are moistened with a product that helps remove makeup, as it cleans.
I have seen them called anything from makeup cleansing wipes, cleansing wipes, or even micellar water cleansing wipes.
Yes, wet wipes pre-moistened with micellar water is now the latest thing, as it is seemingly ‘better’ and more ‘gentle’ for the skin.
Yet, they all serve a very basic function – to clean your skin easily and remove makeup without needing water. So, why is it bad?
Makeup Cleansing Wipes encourage lazy cleansing
The problem with the convenience that makeup cleansing wipes offer, is that it encourages lazy cleansing.
Most people believe that by using a wipe to remove their makeup, they have cleansed their skin sufficiently, and they can then proceed to the subsequent steps of their skincare routine.
I feel that this school of thought is further exacerbated by the concept of ‘waterless one-step cleansing’ promoted by the use of micellar water. Many people who use micellar water cleansers do not follow up with another cleanse.
Personally, I don’t believe in nor encourage this, despite all the anecdotal evidence that say that one-step micellar water cleansing is sufficient.
RELATED READING: Do you wash off micellar cleansing water or leave it on? READ HERE
When it comes to using a makeup cleansing wipe as a makeup remover and cleanser, it makes you lazy. You think that wiping it over your skin is sufficient, but often, unless you use 2 or even 3 pieces of these wipes, you are quite literally just smearing the mess all over your skin.
I think of it like wiping a dirty table with a piece of cloth. The cloth will remove much of the dirt and mess on the first pass. But you will notice also how it also smears the dirt over other parts of the table.
What do you do then? You rinse the cloth, and wipe again. This second pass will remove most of the dirt, but again, you are still smearing the remaining dirt around.
You rinse your cloth, and wipe again. And you repeat this, until your table is clean.
Now, how about doing that for your face? We have an easier way. Wipe with a makeup cleansing wipe, if you must, then use a cleansing oil or balm, or any other cleanser, to wash your face. This way, you will properly get rid of the dirt and makeup on your skin without just smearing it over and over, and thinking you’re doing yourself a favour when you aren’t.
Cleansing Wipes can cause over-exfoliation of your skin
How do you remove your makeup with one of these makeup cleansing wipes?
I’d wager that you’d take a piece out of the foil pack, place it in your palm, and then wipe it over your face. You do have to apply a little pressure, to make sure you get your longlasting makeup to budge.
You repeat this, until you are comfortable that you’ve gotten most of your makeup off. Then, you repeat with another piece of wipe.
I have tried some of these wipes, and the truth is that the material of the wipe is a little coarse. Wiping this on your skin over and over does result in exfoliation, and quite possibly, over-exfoliation of your skin, if you do it daily.
How can you tell?
Skin that is irritated from over-exfoliation gets red and sensitive easily, turns flaky, bumpy and dull, and in some cases, breaks out. It is possible to recover from this, but it does take a while.
RELATED READING: How do you recover from sensitive, irritated and over-exfoliated skin? READ HERE
The worst thing you can do after wiping your skin with these makeup cleansing wipes, is to follow up with an acid toner. You are irritating your skin further, not helping it look any better!
Yet, I see this happen a lot, because people don’t realize the stress they place their skin under using a cleansing wipe. Life is already stressful, lets not stress your skin out further LOL! :P
Makeup Cleansing Wipes put a toll on the environment
Ever wondered where it all goes after you toss it into the trash?
Like sheet masks, cleansing wipes aren’t biodegradable, and will likely sit in a landfill somewhere, years after you’re gone. There are some brands that claim to be biodegradable, but they are naturally more costly, and we won’t know how long it takes to degrade anyway.
Consumers want a product that is sturdy and strong. No one wants to use a wipe that will fall apart the moment you try to wipe it over your skin. They are therefore made from synthetic materials, and we don’t know what happens to them after we’re doing using them, do we?
Now, imagine if you were to go through a minimum of 3 wipes each day (to ensure your skin is properly cleansed). That’s 3 pieces of wipes tossed in the trash, and into a landfill. Now, imagine doing that for the rest of your life.
What alternatives to makeup cleansing wipes should I use then?
Well, a proper cleansing routine for a start would be good.
The best would be to double-cleanse. Start with a cleansing oil or cleansing balm that will remove makeup and dirt from your skin. Use a face flannel to wipe off the cleansing oil or balm before rinsing, for cleaner skin.
RELATED READING: Use a face flannel. It will transform your skin! READ HERE
Then, follow up with a cleanser to ensure that your skin is thoroughly cleansed, before you proceed with the rest of your skincare routine.
It is more work, naturally, but it is ultimately better for your skin than smearing dirt over and around your skin and then calling it a day :P After all, won’t you want the rest of your expensive serums and lotions to be properly absorbed onto clean skin, as opposed to one covered with remnants of grime? :P
Can makeup cleansing wipes ever be a good thing?
Well, yes they can :P
The key benefit of using makeup cleansing wipes is that they are convenient, and sometimes, we need that convenience.
Makeup cleansing wipes can be useful when travelling, in airplanes or airports, or wherever that you will have problems accessing clean water to do a full cleanse.
Makeup cleansing wipes can also be useful when you want to remove your makeup quickly, while you’re travelling, and then follow up with your cleansing routine.
I have personally used makeup cleansing wipes in these situations, and have found them to be very useful and practical. However, I do try to limit its use to only these situations, and when I can, I do a proper cleanse of my skin.
RELATED READING: A makeup remover wipe I particularly found very effective is this one READ HERE
If you are so minded, you can DIY some makeup cleansing wipes by soaking cotton pads in micellar water and keeping them in a ziplock bag for use when travelling. I find this very helpful for use in planes and on short trips, when you want a refreshing wipe over your skin.
For this reason, I don’t chastise people who tell me they use makeup cleansing wipes. I don’t tell them their face will fall off if they don’t stop using it. I don’t roll my eyes and think they’re ignorant or stupid.
What I do is try to explain why they aren’t and shouldn’t be your only cleansing product. They have their place in our beauty routines, as a convenient makeup remover or cleanser, but there are better alternatives that are better for our skin. Ultimately, don’t we just want the best for our skin?
But if they still persist in using them, then be my guest. I can but offer some advise, the rest is up to them ;)
The key takeaway is this : Do not abuse the convenience of makeup cleansing wipes. They are not a bad thing. But they can be, if you are overly reliant on them as your primary or sole cleansing product.
Do you use makeup cleansing wipes regularly?
I don’t, naturally, but I do not discount their convenience and efficacy! As with everything in life, moderation is key! :)