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#AskEllie: The Pros and Cons of Face Wipes

by Ellie Balfe
23rd Apr 2016

Woman removing make up with facial wipe

Q: Are face wipes really the worst way to take off our make-up? Are there any face wipes that are kinder to our skin than others?

EB: Ok, I’m going to dare to fly in the face of all the skincare experts I know and say that I find (some) face wipes to be an extremely useful piece of beauty kit!

Now, granted, they are not going to add any real worth to your skincare regime other than makeup removal. So don’t go in for the idea that wiping them over the surface of your face will impart any great benefits to your skin’s condition – allow yourself to glide over that piece of marketing.
What they are good for is the swift and easy removal of makeup, particularly stubborn eye makeup. Some are really very adept at dissolving even waterproof mascara and that’s no mean feat.

While you’re at it, you can of course go right ahead and wipe off your foundation, but here is where I get militant about things: only your makeup is off, you still need to properly cleanse your skin. Every time.
Ok, late nights are a rule unto themselves, and it’s better to take your makeup off than sleep in it, so caveats are allowed, as long as you promise to effectively cleanse your skin at all other times, ok? Ok, let’s go on?

Personally, I use a wipe (Johnsons & Johnsons) to take off my eye makeup and then I use the Bioderma Micellar water to take my makeup off. I always follow with a cleanser and my Clarisonic afterwards though. My skin just doesn’t feel clean otherwise.

Having done a lot of people’s makeup (in my parallel world as a makeup artist), I can always notice when people are over-using wipes ?the skin looks a little de-hydrated as the top layer has been slightly stripped of it’s oils. You wouldn’t use your eye makeup remover fluid all over your face, would you? No. But that’s what you do with wipes.

Having said all that, there are some that I recommend over others, so try them out, but sparingly!


Johnson & Johnson Makeup Be Gone wipes are like a magic wand for mascara – it’s literally gone with one swipe.


The Simple Micellar wipes are nice and light- they feel like water on your skin, rather than some that leave an oily residue.


Makeup Maestros MAC are well positioned to know about what takes makeup off. I saw these in constant use backstage at their shows at London Fashion Week last season.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.20.19


A more premium version are the Estee Lauder Take It Away wipes; I guess it’s not entirely essential to over spend on this item as they go in the bin straight away, but I can vouch for the efficacy and nice feel of these