I used to be all about
makeup-remover wipes—they were so convenient! Just one wipe could quickly erase all the makeup off my face, and I was ready for bedtime. But recently, I’ve limited my use and stuck to liquid makeup removers and cleansing balms.
There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, I wanted a more sustainable option. When I use a liquid or balm remover, I can use a washable cotton pad instead of throwing away a wipe each time. And second, a lot of wipes really dried out my skin—and my skin is already prone to dryness. After using a wipe, my skin would often feel parched and a bit irritated. That’s because the rubbing and the ingredients in some wipes can bug
sensitive skin. And finally, there are so many great liquid and balm formulas that are super powerful and can remove even waterproof makeup.
But when I’m in a pinch, a rush, or traveling and don’t want to carry around my liquid bottle and cotton pads, I bring those makeup-remover wipes with me. I’ve become pickier with them, and I like to prioritize biodegradable wipes with gentle, hydrating ingredients. Luckily, there are more options now than there were many years ago. Take a look at some of my and my fellow editors’ favorites below.
The answer, while a major topic of debate among beauty enthusiasts and experts alike, can be found in science. New York state licensed esthetician, laser technician, onocology esthetician, and and owner of Blue Water Spa,
Rachel Lee Lozina, broke down the sometimes elusive facts. “Most makeup removers contain harmful ingredients such as alcohol & sodium laurel sulfate which strips the skin of the natural oils and can compromise the barrier, which in turn can cause dryness, acne and irritated skin.”
According to Lozina, a vastly better and more effective alternative are oils since they emulsify makeup.”They are harmful because you aren’t rinsing these ingredients off at the end of the day. Properly washing your skin and removing these ingredients are integral for healthy skin,” Lozina explains. Additionally, the main chemicals in makeup wipes, sulfates and alcohol along with other preservatives and chemicals are the main ingredients in a majority of the makeup remover wipe products available on the market.
So where does that leave us? If you do decide to continue using makeup-remover wipes, plan on following with an oil-based cleanser for the best results. Below, discover 13 of the makeup wipes you can trust to get the job done (partially) while on-the-move before a double cleanse can take care of the rest.
Neutrogena’s makeup wipes are my go-to, and a lot of other people can probably say the same. They’re infused with micellar water and are good at removing up to 99% of makeup. I love that they make my face feel so refreshed. Customer review: “If you’re looking for a face cleanser that removes tough mascara, look no further! These wipes are magic wipes. At the end of the day I get my face wet and a wipe out and within seconds the makeup and mascara easily comes off onto these wipes like magic. If you’re on the fence, try these… you won’t regret it!” Pro: Gently on the skin; leaves no residue. Con: Additional cleansing necessary for full removal of makeup
I love Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O micellar water, and normally, I use it to remove makeup if I’m wearing a no-makeup makeup look without any full-coverage or intense products. These wipes are infused with the same micellar water and are biodegradable, too. Customer review: “I use these wipes daily and find them effective and refreshing. I originally purchased because they are biodegradable but now love them for their use as well.” Pro: Biodegradable and non-irritating. Con: Not ideal for eye makeup removal
Koh Gen Do’s wipes contain mineral-rich cleansing spa water to remove dirt and waterproof makeup. They’re also enriched with nourishing herbal ingredients including rosemary leaf, sage leaf, lavender, artemisia princeps leaf, perilla ocymoides leaf, and ginger root. Customer review: “I am a beauty product lover and have tried many face wipes. These are expensive but far superior than any other I have used! Great cleansing and doesn’t burn my sensitive fair skin. My skin is super soft after use. I highly recommend trying these if you need a great face wipe to remove makeup or sweat after a workout. Only takes one and is super saturated. Once you use the best, why try anything else?” Pro: Moisturizing and soothing. Con: High price point
CeraVe’s wipes are formulated with ceramides and glycerin to really lock in moisture and prevent the skin from drying out. They also contain three essential ceramides to improve the skin’s barrier. And big bonus: The cloths are 100% plant-based and biodegradable. Customer review: “I try to avoid disposable wipes since they feel like more unnecessary stuff to go in the trash, so I love that these are biodegradable/compostable. They also leave my face clean and hydrated, without any weird oily feeling. I originally purchased these for travel but now use them regularly at home.” Pro: Biodegradable and compostable. Con: Oily residue after use
Sensitive skin types don’t need to worry about irritation when they use these towelettes. They’re formulated with cotton, rice extract, and aloe to soothe and pamper the skin. Customer review: “These are so amazing for dry and sensitive skin. Removed all my makeup without any issues. Didn’t burn or irritate eyes or skin. Removed all my makeup in a few passes. Skin was soft and smooth and didn’t feel dry after use.” Pro: Safe for use on sensitive skin. Con: Towelettes dry quickly
Cleanse the skin and keep your acne under control with these wipes. Witch hazel and 2% salicylic acid work to remove excess oil and exfoliate the skin while aloe vera and citrus bioflavonoids soothe inflammation and defend the skin. Customer review: “These wipes are amazing! They thoroughly remove my makeup, cleanse and treat my skin all at once. A game changer for me. This is a must for anyone who gets lazy about removing their makeup and cleansing their skin after a long day at the office. They are worth the price!” Pro: Clears and cleanses the skin. Con: Visible residue after use
Ursa Major’s wipes are infused with the brand’s 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic, which removes excess oil and impurities and exfoliates without stripping moisture or messing with pH balance. Ingredients include aloe vera, witch hazel, and green tea. Customer review: “I use these very often, sometimes daily! It cleans my face very well and leaves it feeling lightly moisturized. The scent is very minimal and natural. I have acne prone combination skin and it has never caused an issue with breakouts.” Pro: Infused with toner. Con: Drying for certain skin types
When you have rosacea, the last thing you want to do is cause more irritation. RMS Beauty’s wipes are super gentle and not oily at all. They contain soothing organic coconut oil, renowned for its antibacterial and cleansing properties. Customer review: “I absolutely love these coconut oil wipes. They are are so hydrating, are the perfect make up remover and leave my skin feeling soft and glowing. They are also perfect for travelling and I take them with me on every flight to remove my make up and nourish my skin.” Pro: Melts away makeup quickly and effectively. Con: Heavily fragranced (coconut oil)
Like those who have rosacea, eczema-prone people should also avoid any irritation. And you don’t want something that’s going to dry out your skin even more. These wipes contain nourishing and soothing oat-kernel, aloe, and cucumber extracts. Customer review: “I have rosacea and sensitive skin, so I have to be careful of skincare products. These wipes get all my make-up off without heavy scrubbing or stripping the natural skin barrier. I usually rinse with warm water and apply a nighttime moisturizer, but in a pinch I can just wipe and go to bed; the moisturizing ingredients are gentle and non-greasy.” Pro: Unscented formula. Con: Does not remove mascara easily
Mature skin needs plenty of hydration. These cleansing cloths from Paula’s Choice have exactly that benefit thanks to ingredients like glycerin, panthenol, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate. They’re even powerful enough to remove waterproof makeup while being gentle on the skin. You won’t have to do any tugging or intense scrubbing. Customer review: “These are so great for mornings when my skin is too dry or I’m in too much of a hurry to wash my face. I definitely opt for a regular cleanser at night to remove the day (and my makeup), but these are super helpful in between. I also use them on my neck to remove the day’s sunscreen so I can add my night moisturizer. These are just really helpful! I always keep a pack on hand.” Pro: Portable and convenient. Con: Leaves light residue after use
One side of the biodegradable cloth is soft for wiping away dirt and excess oil while the other side is textured and can be used for gentle scrubbing to remove any hard-to-erase makeup. The wipes feature nourishing, hydrating, and calming ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut extract, white tea and green tea leaf extracts, aloe vera, cucumber extract, and chamomile. Customer review: “I use these wipes in the AM and PM before washing my face. It gets everything and more off of your face but is still gentle! I will continue using and will definitely repurchase. Better than every wipes I’ve tried in the past. I love the ingredients they use as well.” Pro: Cleansing and hydrating. Con: Moderate price point
Made with sustainable and biodegradable bamboo eco-fibers, these cloths can remove makeup, cleanse the skin, and moisturize. They’re infused with lemongrass, which acts as a gentle astringent, and coconut oil to dissolve tough-to-remove makeup. Customer review: “These are a game changer for me. I never feel like cleansing wipes are large enough to cleanse and take off makeup without using a bunch. These were large and I was able to do both with light makeup to take off. In the past my skin has felt irritated, still kind of dirty, dry and tight. These left my skin feeling fresh, clean, and hydrated. New ride or die for me!” Pro: Compostable and vegan. Con: Strongly fragranced (infused with lemongrass)
What I love the most about these Clinique cleansing towelettes is how convenient they are. The packaging can easily be resealed; ensuring each towelette remains saturated. They use micellar cleansing liquid to gently and effectively remove traces of makeup on-the-go. Did I mention they also happen to be completely oil-free? Say goodbye to those pesky blemishes. Customer review: “This is product is amazing! I’ve only been using it for one week and so far I like it. I picked this up on a whim after my usual wipes weren’t available. This is such a lucky find! I love these so much and the way my face feels after I use them.” Pro: Fragrance and oil-free. Con: Multiple towelettes must be used to effectively remove makeup
I’ve been using this makeup remover for ages, and it still holds up. It never dries out or irritates my skin and can remove makeup in a flash.
Instead of using disposable cotton rounds or balls, try these reusable ones. They feature a soft terry texture and are hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. Plus, they come with a storage pouch.
This will help you remove even your most stubborn makeup and intricate eye makeup looks. You don’t have to rub your eyes at all for it to work, and it’s great for sensitive eyes.
If makeup-remover products tend to dry out your skin, opt for a cleansing balm. This best seller removes makeup, SPF, dirt, and oil. Ingredients include sunflower and ginger-root oils to melt away makeup, turmeric and moringa extracts to remove dirt and impurities, and papaya enzymes to exfoliate.
Lancôme’s eye makeup remover is award-winning and a huge favorite. It has an oil phase to erase makeup and a water phase to condition the skin.
This formula may be mild, but that doesn’t mean it won’t remove stubborn and long-wearing makeup. Sensitive skin types will love it.
A 3-in-1 product, this cleansing balm pretty much does it all. It’s a makeup remover, brightening facial cleanser, and hydrating face mask. Plus, it contains vitamin C to even complexion and get your skin glowy and rose-hip oil for nourishment.
A cleansing oil can really help your skin stay moisturized. This one from Caudalíe is 100% vegan and contains antioxidants and 100% natural plant oils including sweet almond, grape seed, sunflower, and castor.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
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