Why are skin care wipes so bad for your skin? I investigate...

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

(Picture credit: Pintrest. Side note - how cute are these mason jar dressing table holders!?)

Skin Care wipes... The dirty little secret of my suitcase. I thought I knew all about the terrible effects they can have on your skin, but yet there always seemed to be a packet in my basket every time I visited the drug store. I have them mainly - like im sure many of us do - for convenience. There's nothing like laying in bed and whipping a wipe around your face whilst glued to Netflix. It's the epitome of lazy skincare, and it feels amazing. But is this conveniently fast skincare staple playing havoc with our skin?

I'm lucky enough to have fairly good skin (thanks mum!) but somewhere inbetween flying in a dehydrated metal tube so often and being on the grimey London Underground, my skin has reached out and asked me for some extra TLC. With virtually every skincare brand out there selling their own variety of 'face wipe' - some even claiming that in one wipe you can achieve a full 3-step skincare regime of cleansing toning and moisturising (erm, highly doubtful) - it's easy to see how you could rely on them without really knowing the harm that's being caused. I decided to do a little research on face wipes and see for myself if the bad wrap they get is justified... This is what I found.

How can they be so bad?

Firstly, being packed together tightly and spending a long time on warm shop floors basically makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. To try to overcome this, and to extend their shelf life, they are packed with nasty preservatives. Alcohol and anti-bac agents are added to keep them fresh resulting in a shelf life of over 18 months in most cases. A recipe for a sensitive skin disaster.

So what's inside an average skincare wipe?

Some of the ingredients found in many leading skin care wipes are controversial to say the least, including Bromo-Nitropropane-1 (a highly hazardous anti microbial agent that is risky to use on the skin) Parabans, and irritants such as Propylene/Dipropylene glycol (more Irritants).... If you are going to use face wipes occasionally for convenience, have a quick check first to make sure you choose some without these nasty ingredients.

They only remove around 60% of your make up...

Then there is the issue of actually removing make-up and daily grime from your face in this way, because a skin care wipe doesnt actually remove everything. Ever tried a second or third wipe, only to keep seeing more mascara crap appear as if from nowhere? Try cleansing after using a skincare wipe and see how much make up comes off on the cotton wool, it's not pretty.

Cleansing is the building block of your skincare regime...

Lastly, remember when using skincare wipes that your essentially laying the foundation for your serum, moisturiser, or any other products you like to finish off with before you sleep. What's the point in spending money on a fancy face cream if your layering it over such poorly cleansed skin? With dirt and leftover makeup undetectable, applying a mousituser after using a skincare wipe is a recipe for a nasty breakout.

In Summary...

If your just not ready to let go of these bad boys in your life yet, then my advise would be to cleanse afterwards. Im not a skin care saint, and I admit that I usually rely on emergency face wipes after the gym or even to remove my make up after a flight - but I then try to go over this with a cream/oil cleanser as soon as I can, to really remove any impurities (although this is very hard to remember after a few glasses of wine...Oopsie!)
I hope this post was informative, I know some of the information really shocked me when I looked into it further. I guess with skin care wipes being such a huge part of the skincare industry, and a huge profit maker for brands, it's all a bit of a dirty (see what I did there?!) secret...

What are your thoughts on facial wipes? Let's chat in the comments!


  1. I would love to stop using them but honestly, nothing removes my make-up the same. I find eye removers give me eczema from rubbing away the mascara.

    Kathryn /Cherries in the Snow

    1. Awh it's so hard isn't it! Have you tried using organic coconut oil? I know it sounds a little bit counterintuitive to rub an oil junto your face, but I'm a convert. Worth a try? Xx

  2. I'm trying to prize my daughter away from using them but they're just so convenient for her especially when lying in bed watching Netflix!! Her skin is going through a bad phase at the moment and I've told her they certainly are not helping matters!!! I will keep on at her!
    Steph x

    1. To be fair I think I probably just slept with my make-up on as a teenager, so it's probably just amazing that she even tries :) Netflix has so much to answer for, I'm guilty of it too! :-) love your blog by the way xx

  3. Great post, Mimi! I stayed clear from wipes after hearing Caroline Hirons go on about them and doing my own research.
    My skin has thanked me a lot.

  4. This is such an informative and useful post! Nice to see a few bits I didn't already know! Thankfully I rarely use face wipes, only on seriously lazy nights (ie when I'm ill) but I've been favoring micellar water recently :) I want to do a similar post on mineral oils :)

    Loves! Kirstie

    Kimamely Beauty

  5. I completely agree that they don't come close to removing all your makeup! I use a cleansing oil or butter and then a foaming formula - it really doesn't take too long and removes everything. My skin is so much better for it xx

    Magpie Jasmine

  6. Great post! I use them to take off eye makeup as I feel like it takes about 5 cotton buds to remove mascara, but only 1 wipe (and I promise I don't even wear that much mascara!lol). Always make sure I wash with something after using them, and generally oil cleanse to make sure all that makeup is off :)


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