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Surprise: Makeup Wipes Are Actually Really Bad For Your Skin

As a beauty editor, and as a rational human being, I literally, yes literally, die inside each time someone says to me, “Of course I wash my face—well, OK, I use makeup wipes, but it’s the same thing.” Oh my god. Guys, I cannot explain to you how wrong this is, and how much I hate makeup wipes. And because a good majority of you reading this just got defensive, clutching your wipes to your chest like a wounded animal, I’m going to patiently explain, once and for all, why you should never, ever, ever use makeup wipes, ever again.

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OK, well, never again, unless you use them for fun things, like removing makeup from your hands, or fixing liquid liner gone wrong. Or, if you promise to be extra gentle and super careful on your face, and only use them sparingly (that’s my disclaimer to sound nicer, but I will deny this allowance if you ever run into me on the street, because makeup wipes suck). “Yes, makeup wipes are better than nothing,” says badass Yale dermatologist Mona Gohara, queen of #realtalk, “but they’re basically the equivalent of swirling dirty toilet water around your bathroom, so it’s up to you if you really want that.” Uh, burn.

Makeup wipes are bad for skin
Image: ImaxTree

“Very few makeup wipes contain ingredients that can actually break down all of your face oils, makeup, and gunk on your skin, so you’re really just rubbing bacteria, irritants, and makeup-wipe residue around your skin and into your pores,” she says. And, notes Gohara, if you do the extra-awful and lazy move of not rinsing your face afterward, you’re then transferring that gunk to your pillow, which then gets transferred back to your skin, and on and on the cycle goes, leading to breakouts, blackheads, irritation, and, oh, did I mention wrinkles? Yup!

“Makeup wipes are inherently harsh on your skin, because the amount of pressure required to remove your makeup—especially mascara and eyeliner—is already way too irritating,” says Gohara. “And over time, that irritation and rubbing, even if it’s just once a day, can cause an increase in fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.” Basically, makeup wipes suck and will make you look like the Crypt Keeper by age 35. Cool, right?

Makeup wipes are bad
Image: ImaxTree

But if none of this has persuaded you to ditch your wipes in favor of something gentle (seriously, though?), like a cleansing oil or micellar water, then at least promise to use wipes that have the most intense makeup-removing powers, like Tarte Fresh Eyes Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipes, and hold them against your eyes and face for 15 full seconds (like you would when removing nail polish), before wiping away your makeup. Then, for the love of god, wash your damn face, specifically with a cleanser meant to remove makeup, like Garnier Clean + Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser, or you’ll still be left with raccoon eyes in the morning.

And, please, never again text me about how despite being “so drunk last night,” you still “took off [your] makeup with wipes.” (Yes, I’m talking to you, Liz.) There’s only so much left of me that can keep dying.

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