Yes, everyone loves a good pack of makeup cleansing wipes every now and then, but you need to know the proper way and the proper time to use them.
When it comes to my life, there are a handful of things I like to be lazy about. I like to get my dinner delivered when I’m sheet masking, I like to take an Uber when it’s too hot out to fathom the idea of walking to work, and I always hire someone to do the maintenance work in my apartment (I’ll keep my DIY work to skin care, thanks).
But if there’s one thing I’m never lazy about, it’s removing my makeup and cleansing my skin. Keeping your skin clean is the most important part of skin care, and if you do it improperly, all the rest of your skin care will be for naught. Unfortunately, one of the (often unknowingly) laziest mistakes people make when cleansing their skin is improperly using facial cleansing wipes. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve come home after a night out with my friends and watched as a pack of drugstore brand makeup wipes was passed around the room, each person wiped their face, and then went straight to bed.
I realized that makeup wipes, and the marketing surrounding them, had convinced so many people that all they had to do was wipe and they’d be good to go. My friends thought what they were doing was good for their skin—you know the rule—never go to sleep with your makeup on. But, what I realized was that they were actually doing more harm than good.
Now, that’s not to say that makeup cleansing wipes are all awful and terrible and you should go raid your cabinet, your friends’ cabinets and even your neighbors’ cabinets and have a bonfire out of burning wipes. You see, makeup wipes serve a purpose and—like everything else—have a method, time, and a place. They can do wonders for your skin and be an incredibly convenient tool, but you have to make sure you aren’t making the following mistakes:
One: You think all you have to do is swipe and go.
There’s a common misconception surrounding makeup wipes that all you need to do is run them across your skin and miraculously your skin is clean and clear. FALSE! Look, skin care wipes do remove makeup, they do break down impurities on the skin’s surface, and if you’re using a good one, they’ll even offer some light exfoliation.
That all sounds good, right? Well, not if you don’t rinse it off after. See, if you go to bed right after wiping, literally all you’ve accomplished is moving around the makeup, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells on your face, and just left them to sit there. It’s kind of like smothering yourself with oil cleanser and then just going straight to bed—it doesn’t work. If you’re going to wipe your skin, you have to make sure to always rinse off the debris you’ve swept up afterwards. So, next time you use a wipe, drag yourself to your sink and rinse your face with lukewarm water afterwards. It’ll take less than a minute—and trust me—your skin will thank you!
Two: You think makeup wipes are the equivalent of a full double cleanse.
Again, false. Makeup wipes are a lifesaver when you’re exhausted, traveling, touching up makeup at work, or just too lazy to do a proper cleanse. However, makeup wipes should remain just this: a convenience. They should never replace double cleansing as a staple in your skincare routine.
Think about it this way: Dry shampoo works well in a pinch, and is a great thing to have on the go, but you would never stop shampooing entirely and just spray your hair with dry shampoo every morning! The same principle applies with makeup wipes. Although they remove surface impurities from the skin, they don’t cleanse anywhere near as deeply as a full double cleanse, and are harsher and more abrasive on the skin.
Regular use can actually damage the skin, as the physicality of the wipe can over-exfoliate and strip your skin of its natural oils. You should still be doing a proper cleanse every time you can to ensure your skin is getting the deepest and gentlest cleanse possible. Long story short: Love your makeup wipes for their purpose of serving up a cleanse in a pinch, but don’t let them become a lazy habit.
Three: You’re using makeup wipes that are bad for your skin.
Put simply: Not all cleansing wipes are created equal. And for a variety of reasons, low-end cleansing wipes are actually terrible for your skin. You see, inexpensive drugstore brand makeup wipes do serve their purpose: taking off the makeup on your skin. But, they will also strip away your skin’s hydration and natural oils, and can thin your skin over time. This is because many low-end wipes are formulated with various forms of alcohol and chemical cleansers, rather than nourishing oils. These wipes are extremely harsh on the skin—especially for those of us with sensitive or dry skin. (If you ever use a wipe and feel even a slight burn afterwards, that’s not a good sign.)
You should always choose wipes that are formulated with rich oils and gentle ingredients, so that your skin is getting a gentle but thorough cleanse. My favorite—the Leaders Labotica Argan Oil Deep Cleansing Tissue—are loaded with argan oil, aloe leaf extract, fig fruit extract, and citric acid, and are formulated without any alcohol. These ingredients ensure every bit of makeup is lifted off the skin, while aloe and argan oils deeply hydrate, and citric acid offers a boost of exfoliation and brightening. They have a luxurious thick consistency, like that of a good oil cleanser, and are extremely gentle on the skin. Using a wipe like this—and making sure you rinse your face afterwards—is the best way to reap all the amazing conveniences of a makeup wipe, without damaging your skin.
The bottom line:
At the end of the day makeup cleansing wipes aren’t a bad thing. They are an amazing convenience, and are a lifesaver when a full double cleanse isn’t in the picture. But, if you use them wrong, they can be damaging to the overall health of your skin.
So, don’t get into a bad habit. Force yourself to the sink after you use them, and only choose wipes that are formulated with good ingredients. That way, you can embrace your occasional laziness but keep your skin clear and happy.