Blame it on one too many drinks at happy hour, clocking in 12 hours at the office, or the fact that you're just exhausted, but sometimes taking off your makeup before your face hits that pillow is a tall order. But just as you're about to be whisked away for a night (well, a couple of hours) of sleep, there's a voice in your head—for some it's a dermatologist, for others (okay just us) it's Drew Barrymore—and it's totally guilt-tripping you.
It's at that precise moment that you reach for your trusty shortcut, AKA the packet that never leaves your nightstand: makeup remover wipes. There's no fussing with different bottles, no water splashes to threaten your blowout, and above all, they get the job done really effing fast.
The way we look at it, makeup wipes are the beauty equivalent of Seamless takeout—easy, quick, and lazy-proof, but probably not the the healthiest choice. We looked to one of our trusted skin experts, Rachel Nazarian, M.D. at Schweiger Dermatology Group, to get the full scoop.
Derms are always preaching about how detrimental sleeping in your makeup can be: Products clog pores, collect dirt, and inflame skin. So, having something that makes the removal process easier (and something you'll actually do on the regular) can't be a bad thing—right? But the fact is, there *is* a downside.
"It's just a matter of remembering that makeup wipes replace the old 'cotton-ball with bottled-liquid-remover process our moms were using," explains Nazarian. "It's not a substitute for washing your face, and your skin will need to be rinsed afterwards."
If you're going to incorporate wipes into your routine, look to a super gentle, alcohol-free option, says Nazarian.
Editors' Pick: Simple Eye Make-Up Remover Pads 30 CT, $5.99; amazon.com.
We repeat: Makeup wipes are not a substitute for old-fashioned facial washing. As far as composition goes, most wipes are saturated with chemicals that allow for easy removal of makeup, which means they can leave chemical residue on the skin and if used incorrectly, they can smear makeup into the skin instead of removing the particles completely. Plus, if they contain alcohol, they can be irritating and dry you out.
"These wipes need to be able to remain in your bathroom cabinet without growing bacteria and fungi," warns Nazarian. "They contain preservatives to make them safe from a 'freshness' standpoint, but these same preservatives are not necessarily safe to leave on your skin."
Bottom line: If you're going to use makeup remover wipes, you must remember to rinse your face with a gentle cleanser and water afterwards every time.
For some, this might defeat the purpose. (Not going to lie, we thought the same thing.) But hey, even if you only remove your makeup with wipes and don't make it to the sink, it's definitely better than nothing.
You should also check out: