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Why Makeup Wipes Are Bad for Your Skin

Why Makeup Wipes Are Bad for Your Skin

Makeup wipes pack store shelves. And they are easy and convenient for cleaning your skin. But are makeup wipes bad for you? Let’s review the pros and cons.

Should you use wipes to remove makeup? 

The Perceived Pros 


A lot of people love makeup wipes because there’s less mess. The bathroom stays cleaner, as in there’s no water mess around the sink. And you don’t even have to get your face wet.  

Effective on Eye Makeup

Makeup wipes can be very effective at getting stubborn eye makeup off. How do they do such an excellent job without the use of water? The wipes use a more potent, harsher cleansing agent. If you are ok with the tradeoff of strong chemicals to cleanse the skin, then go ahead.


If you have acne-prone skin, there are wipes made specifically with salicylic acid—a great option for this type of skin.

Physiologically The Same

One study compared how washing with water versus wiping could physiological impact the skin. The subjects used one of the cleaning methods for seven days. Researchers measured the skin’s physiological functions (i.e., transepidermal water loss, skin hydration, and skin pH). Conclusion: There was no physiological difference to the skin in washing with water or using wipes.

The Real Cons

No Solid Cleanse

But you're never going to get a solid cleanse from a makeup wipe. Typically, wipes just move the dirt around the face. You need water to actually cleanse.

Bacteria and Cleanser Stick Around

With wipes, the bacteria and the cleaning agents don’t wash away, since there’s no water involved. There’s bound to be a residue left on the skin. 

Higher Rates of Acne

Dermatologists tend to report higher acne incidence in patients who use makeup wipes exclusively to cleanse their faces.


Fragranced makeup wipes (most of them on the market) equal the worst of the worst. You're not ridding your face of the day's dirt and bacteria, and you're introducing harsh chemicals to your skin, a supreme recipe for acne and skin irritation.

Dry Out

Even with the best packaging that seals out air, wipes eventually, and always dry out.

Filling the Landfill

Every time you wipe your face, you're adding to landfills! Makeup and cleansing wipes amount to more wasteful, single-use products in our environment

So What Should You Do

If you opt for a wipe, try to get a few uses out of it, so you end up saving yourself some money and reducing your carbon footprint.They do have their place when you are on an airplane traveling, or something like that; then a wipe serves a purpose. 

But 99% of the time you can use a good cleanser and water while being kind to the environment.