Why Face Wipes Are Terrible For Your Skin

Blacklisted by any beauty editor worth their salt, face wipes are the Donald Trump product of skincare. We hate them, they’re terrible for us, yet they’re still around. Still popular. Still spouting fake promises while failing to deliver… slowly drying out before our eyes. Why are they so awful, though?


It’s common knowledge that face wipes are (probably) the least effective way to cleanse your face, bar maybe splashing water on it and letting the droplets air dry. Yet many people still insist on them as a skincare staple.


“They’re quick and easy to take my makeup off.”


“I can’t be bothered to wash my face.”


“They’re good to leave on my nightstand for after nights out.”

Shhh… We’ve heard every excuse in the book. We’re still not letting you off the hook. Although one might suspect face wipes aren’t the best – correction, they’re the worst – way to ‘wash’ your face, you still may not know why they’re so awful. Here’s your rude awakening. And like that viral clip of the giant tortoise with a drinking straw stuck up his nose, the flaws of the face wipe – like the reality of strawless Diet Cokes – are a truth bomb so atomic you’ll never want to use one again.


You might think: ‘It’s better than nothing!’ But is it?

Nah, not really. In order to keep the ingredients in face wipes ‘fresh,’ many contain denatured alcohol and preservatives to stop them going off before they hit the shop floor. These cause irritation and redness, as well as just being terrible for your skin’s health and balanced pH levels.
‘But other cleansers have them too!’ The lady doth protest.

The terrible cleansers do as well, you’re correct. But you wash those off with water. When you drag a wipe along your face, those alcoholic chemical juices are being left on your face all night long… Then all day long. Lingering under a fresh new layer of makeup… We shudder to think what that would do to our skin.


‘I have sensitive skin’

If your skin reacts easily, a face wipe is the last thing you should let near it. Not just because of the alcohol and preservatives. Many are textured, supposedly in an attempt to exfoliate the skin. Also, especially when you’re fishing the last few out of the bottom of the pack, they can be a bit dry and tug at the skin. Pulling and tugging not only irritates your face but can cause premature ageing in more delicate areas – especially when you’re rubbing that waterproof mascara off along with half of your eyelashes.


‘Nothing takes my makeup off better’

We plain don’t believe you. A wipe doesn’t have a magnetic charge specially built to attract makeup and/or dirt. It’s not going to miraculously hoover the makeup off your face. It will take some of it off, move some of it around, and leave a lot behind, which you then seal in with serum and moisturiser. Pretty gross. A pea sized amount of cleansing balm or oil, even coconut or olive oil, washed off with warm water will take off the most stubborn eye makeup, cheek stain, and 24 hour Kat Von D matte foundation before you’ve used your tenth wipe back to front.


They’re cheap.

Not if you need about four on a ‘light makeup’ day. That’s a couple of packets a week. If a standard cleanser lasts three months, even if you’re getting the cheapest wipes it still works out more expensive than just buying a decent cleanser to do the same job.


‘They’re a great shortcut’

There’s no denying we are all suckers for instant gratification. The easier the better. Unfortunately, and without trying to sound too much like Morgan Freeman, shortcuts usually come at great cost. Face wipes might seem quick and harmless, but we usually don’t think about the landfills they end up in totally unnecessarily. They’re just an utter waste of space. Pure evil. You may think we’re being a bit extreme, but sometimes it’s good to be passionate.


According to skincare blogger Caroline Hirons’ cheat sheet, face wipes should be reserved for: Fannies, Flights, and Festivals. Desperate times are the only excuse for desperate measures. Aside from that, you only have one skin and face wipes are not the way to take care of it. What are your thoughts? Still a face wipe fan always and forever? Or think they’re Satan’s answer to skincare? We’d love to know!


Words: Mimi Davies


Hashtags: #skincare #facewipes


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