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Are Cleansing Wipes Good for Your Skin?

by Emily Linehan on January 16, 2020

Cleansing wipes have become popular in recent years as a convenient way to cleanse the skin quickly and on-the-go. 

While they may be popular, the question you should be asking is: Are cleansing wipes good for your skin? 

Although I mention fragrance-free baby wipes frequently as a “disposable washcloth”, I never recommend using them to clean your skin. 

The reason is simply this: A wipe can never thoroughly and effectively clean the skin. Instead, wipes smear makeup, bacteria and oil around on your face.

Why Cleansing Wipes are Bad for Your Skin

In order to clean the skin on your face, a cleansing agent (the technical term is surfactant) is needed to dissolve makeup and oil from your skin. Then, you must apply water to rinse it off. 

Some cleansing or makeup removing wipes do contain a surfactant, however, they are missing the water used to wash them away. Without water to rinse, the residue from the cleansing agent remains on your skin among residual makeup, bacteria, and oil. 

The residue of a cleansing agent can be irritating and drying to the skin. Plus, the friction of a face wipe can increase that irritation, causing inflammation. 

Steps for Your Face Cleansing Regimen

Think of face wipes as a ‘skin tool’ to help rinse away surfactant, makeup, bacteria, and oil. In other words: A disposable washcloth. 

Follow these steps when washing your face: 

  1. Properly cleanse your skin using your cleanser and lukewarm water. Be sure to massage the cleanser on your wet skin for 30-60 seconds to allow the surfactant to work. 
  2. Dampen your wipe with lukewarm water and wring it out. It should be wet, but not dripping wet. 
  3. Use your now-damp wipe to gently remove your cleanser. Be careful! This is a gentle process. There should be no harsh friction or scrubbing with the wipe. 
  4. Repeatedly rinse the wipe, wringing out the excess water and gently wiping your face until your cleanser is thoroughly removed from your skin. 

Recommended Face Cleansing Wipes

What wipes do I love? 

My favorite face wipes are the Kirkland Fragrance Free Baby Wipes from Costco or Water Wipes from Target. 

Quick Tip: If you have eyelash extensions, face wipes are especially helpful! They allow you to cleanse your face without wetting your lashes by easily avoiding the eye area. 

1 comment
by Christelle on March 23, 2020

Hi Emme,

Do you have any tips/guidelines on choosing wipes to use as a disposal washcloth for clients who aren’t in the US?

Thanks!

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