Quitting a lifelong habit: Why I no longer use face wipes

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

As far back as my early teen years when my beauty journey first began, (cue disturbing flashbacks of over plucked eyebrows, bright blue eyeshadow and glittery lip gloss), I have always used face wipes.

Thinking about it, they were all I had known; my mum used them, my friends and I would share them at sleepovers and the girls from High School Musical that I desperately wanted to be like advertised them on TV. Considering alternative ways to remove my makeup had never crossed my mind.

Fast forward to over a decade later and whilst I’m happy to report that my eyebrows have recovered and the contents of my makeup bag have improved, the face wipes have still remained. In fact I’m ashamed to admit that up until recently, I considered an adequate skincare regime to consist of a daily make up removing wipe followed by an exfoliating scrub and moisturiser applied sporadically (no more than a few times a week). Whether I blame it on a lack of knowledge, interest or sheer laziness, I simply didn’t know any better and was content with my easy, quick and basic ‘routine’.

As someone who has never had severe acne, I didn’t think I needed to concern myself with what I was putting on my skin (terrible logic I know). This started to change when I was struck with a deep fascination for skincare products. I’m not sure what exactly triggered this obsession, but I suddenly found myself spending hours watching YouTube tutorials, reading blogs and scrolling through skincare websites. I was shocked to discover that these products had much broader benefits than just clearing acne and that they could eradicate problems I had previously just accepted. I found items to combat my oily T-zone, remove the flaky skin around my nose and leave me with a dreamy glowing complexion. The most shocking discovery for me however was learning that face wipes are bad (many beauty gurus will go as far to say it’s the ultimate sin) for your skin.

First of all, the ingredients contained in most wipes often include alcohol, which can dry your skin, as well as harsh chemicals and preservatives (to keep the wipes moist) that can cause irritation.

They also don’t actually fully clean your skin. Research has proven that wipes aren’t nearly as thorough at removing makeup as a cleanser with water is (not to mention that wipes are more rough on your skin) and will still leave your face with traces of makeup and dirt. You would need to wash your face with water afterwards to have a chance at removing the rest. Not such a great lazy hack now is it?

If you still aren’t sold on why you should give up the trusty pack on your bedside table, think about the planet. Yes I’m playing the guilt card here, but most wipes are unfortunately not biodegradable, so think about how big of a waste contribution you are making by using and disposing of one each day. Instead, you could use a cleanser with a recyclable container (my current go-to is Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm), which I use with water to wash my face and remove makeup. My pores look and feel so much cleaner, which makes for a way better base to exfoliate and moisturise. Initially I thought that trading out such a familiar and staple item would be difficult, but in reality it was so easy to give up face wipes and I only wish I had done it sooner. Just this small step has improved my skin and provided an actual legitimacy to my ‘skincare routine’ because given all of the negatives of wipes, can they really be classed as ‘caring’ for your skin?

Despite being in a newly committed and happy relationship with my cleanser, I’ll admit that I can foresee times when I will occasionally turn back to face wipes, for instance when I’ve just run out of cleanser and haven’t yet bought a replacement or when I’m travelling. But from everything I have learned, I will be more conscious to check the ingredients, purchase biodegradable only and to always wash my face with water afterwards!

By Emma Warner

Emma is Brit with a love of travel and doing things that are good for the mind, body and soul. She has lived in four different countries (and counting) and can’t stay still for long as she believes there is too much beauty to be discovered in this world of ours. Wellness and self-care are very important to her and is a person of inquisitive nature, striving to be forever learning and exploring.

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