After a long day, a lot of us can’t be bothered with an extensive skincare routine – sometimes, rubbing a wet wipe over your face is all you can manage.
However easy it might be, it’s time to rid yourself of wipes once and for all. You’ve probably heard the occasional argument against them – ranging from the environment to your skin’s health – but it can be difficult to stop them entirely. Of course, wipes are a necessity for some people, like parents caring for new babies or those who are differently abled.
But if you’re using them to wash your face at the end of the day because it’s the easiest thing to do, it’s time to rethink your routine – and here’s why…
1. Most aren’t environmentally friendly
We're overjoyed to hear the Government promising tough action on wet wipes after we exposed their impact on the Thames riverbed. None of this would have been possible without YOU, helping us collect the key data! https://t.co/FUUhJDVdK0 #BinDontFlush #plasticpollution pic.twitter.com/rDNQR8thRA
— Thames21 (@Thames21) May 8, 2018
Many wipes aren’t biodegradable, meaning once you’ve used them to take off your make-up, they will exist for decades to come.
According to the Earthwatch Institute, every day 3.4 billion wet wipes are flushed down the toilet in the UK. This poses problems for plumbing and sewage systems, contributing to giant fatbergs in our sewers.
If you do need to use wipes, there are biodegradable options. Boots says its Baby Fragrance Free Biodegradable Soft Baby Wipes (£7.50) will degrade within three to four months.
Otherwise, use a cleanser at night, and ensure all the make-up, grime and pollution is wiped off properly, with the help of a gentle muslin cloth.
2. They don’t even remove make-up that well
In a shocking video on Instagram, cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho demonstrates how ineffective make-up wipes actually are. He squirts foundation onto a tangerine and attempts to take it off using a wipe – but so much make-up remains. It’s a good indication of what happens on our skin, as the fruit even has little divots to resemble our pores.
It’s not just make-up you should worry about – at night, you need to properly cleanse your face to get rid of pollution, dirt and the build-up of oil that might have occurred throughout the day.
Instead of washing your face with a wipe, Esho recommends removing your make-up with micellar water or double cleansing (the process of washing your face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser and second with your regular face wash) – and always moisturising afterwards.
3. They can be harsh on the skin
Hey y’all, you really need to stop buying/using makeup wipes. Theyre so harsh on ur skin & bad for the environment plus you only get 1 use out of them. I bought these reusable makeup pads that are so much softer & to clean all u do is throw them in the wash pic.twitter.com/PPEK7vhfjv
— kadie (@kadiejensen_) June 25, 2019
Unless you’re buying all-natural wipes, many products are full of chemicals, like alcohol, surfactants and emulsifiers. Everyone’s skin type is different, but some people might find these chemicals drying or irritating, and it can cause your skin to feel red and inflamed.
Particularly if you don’t wash your face after using a wipe, these chemicals will then sit on your skin overnight.
4. They can age your skin
idk who needs to hear this but, stop using makeup wipes ❤️
— 𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐳𝐲 ✧˖*°࿐ (@crybaby0pini0ns) November 10, 2020
Even if you’re using a chemical-free product, the tugging motion of a wipe isn’t best thing for your skin. It has the potential to cause micro-tears and encourage wrinkles and fine lines.
Instead, you should be as gentle as possible with your skin – particularly in the super sensitive areas around your eyes. Washing your face with an oil cleanser or balm will be much kinder, as the lubrication means you’re not pulling on the skin in any way.
5. They can affect your acid mantle
4. They will age you sis. Prolonged face wipe usage can lead to accelerated dehydration, stripping the skin’s natural oil content and challenging the pH of the skin’s acid mantle – this is actually one of the main reasons people think they have sensitive skin!
— THE DALLAS AESTHETICIAN (@savannaboda) May 6, 2020
Not to get too technical, but using a wipe to wash your face could affect your ‘acid mantle’. This is found on the very top layer of your skin, and is what Oskia Skincare describes as “your body’s first layer of defence against bacteria, viruses and harmful foreign bodies. It also prevents cellular water loss and keeps your skin soft, elastic and supple.”
Essentially, it helps keep your skin healthy – and using harsh wet wipes could compromise it.