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- Face wipes have a mixed reputation in the skin-care community, but you can’t deny they’re great for a quick refresh or makeup removal on-the-go.
- The Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are our top pick because they remove makeup, dirt, and sweat easily with minimal tugging or irritation.
The skin-care community has been on a bit of an anti-makeup wipe crusade over the past few years. Sure, I get it. Face wipes should not be a permanent replacement for your sink-side cleanser, but they can be useful in certain situations.
In a pinch, they’re a great solution to a variety of on-the-go cleansing issues. Haven’t you ever been traveling and realized you had no way to remove your makeup? Or felt super grimey at the airport? While I try not to have a face wipe act as my only cleanser, I sometimes use them to scrub the top layer of makeup or dirt off my skin.
Face wipes are also fantastic for fixing minor mistakes so you don’t need to restart your entire face if you mess up a step (liquid eyeliner, anyone?). I keep a package or two on hand to clean up swatches when I’m playing with my makeup collection or to bring on vacation.
The key is to find wipes that won’t irritate your skin and actually do the job of removing dirt, oil, and makeup without much tugging. It’s true that many face wipes are bad for the environment, so look for biodegradable options, especially if you plan to use them frequently.
Here are the best face wipes you can buy:
- Best face wipes overall: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
- Best cleansing face wipes: Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths
- Best sensitive skin face wipes: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Oil-Free Makeup Removing Wipes
- Best face wipes for oily skin: Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Facial Wipes
- Best makeup removing face wipes: Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best face wipes overall
Why you’ll love them: The Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes dissolve makeup without leaving behind a film of sludge or a burning sensation.
You’ve probably had one of these little blue packs in your bathroom as a teenager. Maybe it was your first experience even attempting to wash your face. If you left the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes behind in adolescence, it might be time to revisit them.
They are far superior to many of their brethren when it comes to removing makeup, whisking away gloppy lipstick and stubborn mascara with ease while remaining gentle on the skin. If the originals are too harsh for you, the brand offers a fragrance-free version as well.
These five-time Allure Best of Beauty winning towelettes are super-soft and leave behind little residue, so you don’t even need to rinse your face if you’re using them mid-day. I do recommend following up with a cleanser at night, though (yes, even if you’ve had a little too much to drink).
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes have a 4.6 Ulta star rating based on 3,171 reviews and have been recommended by Allure, Total Beauty, Best Products, Refinery29, Rank and Style, Byrdie, and Travel + Leisure.
Pros: Alcohol-free, no residue, remove waterproof makeup, fragrance-free option, refillable packs
Cons: Not biodegradable
The best cleansing face wipes
Why you'll love them: Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths gently foam to cleanse skin on the go, using soothing ingredients like Icelandic glacial water and natural extracts.
The Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths are some of my absolute favorite face wipes, especially for travel. They foam up lightly to give you a deeper clean than your average cleansing cloth, making them ideal for a quick airplane wipe-down.
What — don’t look at me like you don’t have an elaborate in-flight skin-care routine.
Made with Icelandic glacial water, soothing cucumber and cornflower extracts, breakout-fighting white willow bark, and cleansing coconut, oat, and amino-acid based surfactants, each cloth is equal parts calming and cleansing.
These are admittedly not as effective at removing makeup. I use them more for a quick refresh throughout the day or in the evening if I don’t have my usual face wash.
Pros: Thoroughly cleansing, vegan, cruelty-free, made without harmful ingredients
Cons: Not as effective at makeup removal
The best face wipes for sensitive skin
Why you'll love them: The Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes are safe for sensitive complexions.
Aveeno is one of my favorite drugstore brands that caters to sensitive skin. The Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes do an excellent job of removing cosmetics without leaving behind a stinging, burning sensation. If you have rosacea or just general sensitivity, these are a great pick.
These wipes are formulated with feverfew extract, which is a known skin-soothing ingredient. They’re also oil-free and non-comedogenic, so they won’t clog your pores. Despite the gentler formula, the Aveeno Ultra-Calming wipes remove makeup fairly well, though it may require a few extra swipes.
“These are great. They smell a little like light, vintage rose perfume. They’re really effective, but a little bit on the more moisturizing side making them especially nice in winter. I prefer these to the blue-packaged make-up remover wipes. These seem gentler and work wonderfully,” writes one shopper.
Pros: Suitable for sensitive skin, oil-free, non comedogenic
Cons: Scent might be strong for some, a bit more effort to remove makeup