I Rarely Use Makeup Remover Wipes, But These 13 Are Worth Trying in a Pinch

I used to rely on makeup-remover wipes—they were so convenient! Just one wipe could quickly remove all the makeup from my face, and I was ready for bedtime. However, recently I've limited their use and switched to liquid makeup removers and cleansing balms.

There are a couple of reasons for this change. First and foremost, I wanted a more sustainable option. When I use a liquid or balm remover, I can utilize a washable cotton pad instead of discarding a wipe each time. Additionally, many wipes tend to excessively dry out my skin, which is already prone to dryness. After using a wipe, my skin would often feel parched and slightly irritated. This is due to the rubbing motion and certain ingredients in some wipes that can irritate sensitive skin. Lastly, there are numerous outstanding liquid and balm formulas available that are highly effective, even for waterproof makeup removal.

But when I'm in a rush, on the go, or traveling and prefer not to carry around my liquid bottle and cotton pads, I still keep makeup remover wipes with me. I've become more selective and now prioritize biodegradable wipes with gentle, hydrating ingredients. Fortunately, there are more options available now compared to years ago. Take a look at some of my personal favorites, as well as those recommended by my fellow editors, listed below."


(Image credit: @sasha.mei)

Are Makeup Remover Wipes Bad For Your Skin?

The answer, while a major topic of debate among beauty enthusiasts and experts alike, can be found in science. Rachel Lee Lozina, a licensed esthetician, laser technician, oncology esthetician, and owner of Blue Water Spa in New York, broke down the sometimes elusive facts. 'Most makeup removers contain harmful ingredients such as alcohol and sodium laurel sulfate which strip the skin of natural oils and can compromise the barrier, which in turn can cause dryness, acne, and irritated skin.'

According to Lozina, a vastly better and more effective alternative are oils since they emulsify makeup. 'They are harmful because you aren't rinsing these ingredients off at the end of the day. Properly washing your skin and removing these ingredients are integral for healthy skin,' Lozina explains. Additionally, the main chemicals in makeup wipes, sulfates, and alcohol along with other preservatives and chemicals are the main ingredients in a majority of the makeup remover wipe products available on the market.

So where does that leave us? If you do decide to continue using makeup-remover wipes, plan on following with an oil-based cleanser for the best results. Below, discover 13 of the makeup wipes you can trust to get the job done (partially) while on the move before a double cleanse can take care of the rest.

Best Overall: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Ultra-Soft Cleansing Towelettes

Best Drugstore Option: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Makeup Removing Wipes

Best Luxury Option: Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths

Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Makeup Removing Plant-Based Wipes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Towelettes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Obagi Medical Acne Cleansing Wipes

Best for Oily Skin: Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes

Best for Rosacea: RMS Beauty

Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes

Best for Eczema: Aveeno Calm + Restore Makeup Removing Wipes

Best for Mature Skin: Paula's Choice Gentle Cleansing Cloths

Best for Waterproof Mascara: Colorescience Hydrating Cleansing Cloths

Best Sustainable Option: Nudestix Nudeskin Vegan Bamboo Cleansing Cloths

Best Oil-Free Option

More Makeup-Remover Options to Shop

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

Up Next: Here's How Makeup Artists Remove Waterproof Mascara Without Ruining Their Lashes

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.