Can I Use Makeup Remover Wipes Instead of Cleanser?

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We typically use makeup remover wipes when we’re in need of a quick cleanse. They’re practically a godsend when we’re on the go, especially after the gym or when we’re on an airplane. But are they just as good as a regular cleanser at the end of the day? We asked our experts to find out.

“Using makeup wipes to remove make up is not as good as using soap and water,” says Smithtown, NY, dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. However, if you tend to wear a lot of makeup, it’s a good idea to remove some of it with a wipe first. Because most cleansers aren’t recommended for use around the eye area, they’re also good for removing waterproof mascara.

If you do use one, it shouldn’t be the last step in your routine. That’s because many wipes contain different chemicals and fragrances that some people may be allergic to and cause reactions. “Rinse your face with water or follow up with an alcohol-free toner to remove any residue and prepare the skin for skin care products,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivan Bucay, MD.

The product you choose also makes a big difference. Look for ones that are labeled with words like “gentle,” “safe,” “hypoallergenic,” “ophthalmologist tested,” “dermatologist tested” and “fragrance-free.”

Dr. Bucay recommends Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($6.50) because they remove waterproof mascara without skin irritation. Olay also makes makeup remover wipes that contain vitamin E and aloe, so they’re recommended for sensitive skin, says Dr. Peredo.

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