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Woman wiping makeup off her face using a wipe.

Photo by Septian simon


Picture it: a long day (or night) out, barely making it through the front door you’re so exhausted, and forcing yourself to brush your teeth before hitting the sheets. That seems like the minimum effort, right? It can feel like a lot, but unfortunately, it’s not enough. Removing the sweat, grime, makeup, and any other buildup from your face is crucial to maintaining healthy skin.


For many, learning this means the simple solution of using a makeup wipe. In theory, a makeup wipe can seem sufficient, especially after a long day. At first glance, it’s a quick way to remove your makeup before crawling into bed. In reality, not only are makeup wipes much less effective than standard cleansers or micellar waters, but they also carry many other concerns.


Before you add another package of makeup wipes to your cart, keep reading to learn why they are harmful to both your skin and the environment.

Wipes harm your acid mantle

Using makeup wipes, over time, harms your acid mantle. This is a delicate layer of your skin that works to lock in moisture and block grime and pollutants. Your acid mantle protects you from viruses, bacteria, and other germs. With this in mind, protecting it is essential. Most makeup wipes on the market are harsh enough to be considered a “mechanical” exfoliant, which can lead to over-exfoliation of your skin. As most people use a physical or chemical exfoliant in their routine already, this additional exfoliation can severely harm your acid mantle.

Wipes cause micro-tears

Your eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of your skin, which is why you definitely don’t want makeup wipes anywhere near them. Often used to remove mascara in a few tugs, these wipes can cause micro-tears on your skin. Your eye area is not an area you want to exfoliate, as these micro-tears can accelerate the premature aging process with fine lines and wrinkles.

Woman in bath robe with her hair wrapped in a towel smiling with makeup free skin.
Photo by Gustavo Fring

Wipes don’t thoroughly cleanse your skin

No matter how it is marketed, makeup wipes can not adequately cleanse your skin. Sure, it might remove a good bit of your makeup and lightly nourish your face, but those are temporary, insufficient results. Makeup wipes are formulated to break down makeup, only. This allows it to remove the general majority of your makeup, dirt, and grime, but without cleansing your skin properly, there will still be a good amount of residue remaining. This residue can collect on your sheets and pillows, causing bacteria to spread as you sleep.

Wipes harm the environment

Many popular wipes on the market are made with ingredients such as polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp, and rayon fibers, with many of these common ingredients not being biodegradable. It can take many years for wipes to break down in a landfill, where most end up. Not only do wipes sit in landfills, but they also clog sewer systems, fill oceans, and line beaches.


As wipes both contaminate the environment and harm your skin, it’s time to ditch them. They aren’t effectively removing your makeup or cleansing your skin, and they’re only causing more harm than good. Take only a minute or so more to cleanse your skin thoroughly with micellar water or a cleansing balm to first remove your makeup, then a facial cleanser to nourish your skin while removing any residual grime.


Switching wipes for a proper cleansing routine will do wonders for your skin and the environment, so it’s time to make the switch once and for all.



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