Are Makeup Remover Wipes really Effective?

This week I have been doing some reading on makeup remover wipes and whether or not they are effective at removing makeup. I was always under the impression that wipes were to remove surface makeup. You would then go in with water for deeper cleansing. But, I’m starting to realise more and more that people just wipe their face and consider it clean! So, I decided, lets unpack this topic; are makeup removing wipes really effective?


Simple answer is NO. Unfortunately, they are not and I’m sure this will come as a bummer to most of you. It’s not even about the effectiveness on its own, also about the ingredients that are in the wipes. In my opinion, wet wipes are just laziness. I know people who keep them by their bedside so they “don’t go to bed without makeup on”. It may seem like a no brainer; we all know sleeping with makeup is detrimental to your skin. Right?

Wrong! Makeup wipes are actually not as effective as they sell them to be. The active ingredients in makeup remover wipes are generally the same as regular cleansers: Both rely on surfactants, which dissolve makeup, as well as solublizers and emulsifiers that help lift makeup, oil and dead skin. The inherent difference? Without the added step of rinsing with water, wipes aren’t as thorough and leave behind a portion of the dirt on your skin. Aesthetician Kerry Benjamin, says “there is still oil and other debris that will clog pores. and product won’t be able to penetrate without proper cleansing and exfoliation”. Basically, using wipes is like applying cleansing product and not rinsing it off. It is as if you are smearing dirt across your face, picking up the surface debris. But, ultimately, not tackling deep-pore cleansing, which is necessary.


The thing with wet wipes is that, yes, they are convenient but they aren’t ideal for skin health. Let’s leave ingredients aside, just for now. Many people with sensitive skin use wet wipes, in fact, I don’t even think this only applies to sensitive skin only. Some wipes are more effective than others when it comes to removing makeup. But, there are those that need just a bit more pressure; tugging and stretching of the skin. This, over time, can prove to irritate your skin, aging it and making it loose. Now, in terms of the ingredients. Many makeup wipes have harsh ingredients such as Denatured alcohol or SD alcohol, which prove to be way too drying to the skin.

Aesthetician Renee Rouleau, states that “these are added so that the product evaporates quickly and doesn’t remain wet for too long”. But what we don’t realise is that our bodies are approximately 70% water. Our cells need water and ingredients such as alcohol are too drying. Also, think about the fact that since you’re not rinsing away these active ingredients, you’re exposed to high concentrations of them. These ingredients being surfactants, emulsifiers and solubilizers. The concentrated exposure can lead one to have dry and irritated skin.


From me? I would say ditch the makeup removing wipes and stick to water. But, I understand that sometimes makeup wipes do come in handy such as on planes, on the go or maybe you’re in a camping trip or at the gym. I’d rather you use makeup wipes than have you not cleanse your makeup at all! It’s important, especially for people with oily and acneic skin to keep makeup wipes handy. Especially if, as an oily skin individual, you don’t see time for cleansing in the near future. But, for those of us with dry skin with signs of eczema or rosacea, these may cause flare ups.


If you really need to use your makeup wipes, follow up with water to rinse off all the ingredients and Moisturise.
Refrain from using makeup wipes around the eyes as well as on your vermillion border around the mouth. These areas are the most sensitive areas on your face.
Since you are now going to be following up with water after every wipe, don’t forget to Moisturise. No matter your skin type.
Check the ingredients. Look out for formaldehyde-releasing ingredients such as some preservatives. These ingredients, in large quantities, can prove to be carcinogenic.
Shy away from using scented products on your skin. Fragrance/parfum is a highly irritating ingredients especially for individuals with sensitive skin.
Now that you know, I hope you can chuck laziness out the window and thoroughly cleanse! And most of all, stop wasting your money on unnecessary products!!!!

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