Spot the Charm
Beautiful cheerful young woman using cotton disk and looking at her reflection in mirror with smile while sitting at the dressing table

Fresh Face: Magically removing makeup with towelettes

By Amy McHaney

Published August 30, 2017

I’ve heard it said that the most important thing you can do for your face – from a beauty perspective – is wash it every night. A troubling recommendation for me because it’s something I fail to do on a very regular basis.

My main problem, as it relates to face washing, is that I am exhausted by the end of the day and often fall asleep before I make it to any nighttime beauty ritual. If I sit down to watch television for a few minutes before bedtime, I never make it to the bed – I fall asleep on the couch in 2.2 seconds. If I’m tucking my children into bed and lie down with one for “just a minute,” I find myself waking up with a start in the middle of the night, still in said child’s bed.

So I started to wonder – is washing your face really that important? And if it is, can I figure out an easy way to get a face washing in each night?

The answer to the first question is yes – washing your face really is important. I do not wear much makeup, which I’ve used as an excuse when I don’t wash, “It’s fine – I don’t really wear makeup anyway.”

But dermatologists and beauty experts say otherwise. Your face accumulates tiny particles of dust and debris during the day, so even if you don’t wear makeup, your face still gets dirty. And if you do wear makeup, allowing it to stay on your face overnight can lead to clogged, enlarged pores.

“When makeup is left on, it blocks the natural exfoliating process, which can leave your skin looking dull,” Dr. Robins Ashinoff, director of cosmetic dermatology at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey told FutureDerm.

And all the nighttime lotions and potions you may have in your bathroom cabinet? They work exponentially better on clean skin. Blood flow to the skin is at its peak while you’re asleep, which helps all those lotions and potions absorb more effectively.

Convinced that I should make a concerted effort to wash my face nightly, I set out to find the easiest way to clean, a method I could adhere to. I discovered the solution to my problem with a quick trip to the drugstore makeup aisle: facial cleansing wipes.

Facial cleansing wipes are clearly a hot commodity that I’d somehow overlooked – there are about a zillion different brands and all sorts of formulations. I chose four that looked promising and tested them with a full face of makeup (foundation, eyeshadow base, eyeshadow, mascara base, mascara, blush and lipstick). Here’s the skinny:

Pond's Original Fresh Moisture Clean Towelettes · $4.66 for 28 towelettes

Packaging Claim: Removes all makeup; leaves skin soft and smooth; soft cloths work gently without drying skin; safe for contact lens wearers

The Pond’s wipe did a good job removing the makeup. I followed the wipe with toner and there was a small amount of makeup that came off on the cotton ball, but probably not more than if I actually washed my face. I found these wipes to be slightly drying compared to others, leaving my face feeling tight.

Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Wipes · $5.98 for 25 wipes

Packaging Claim: Easily removes makeup, oil and dirt that can dull skin; reveals softer, smoother looking skin; gentle enough to use around sensitive eye area, even for contact lens wearers

The Aveeno wipes removed makeup easily – the wipes are soft and smooth. My face did not feel dry after using. I again followed up with toner and there were traces of makeup left behind, but noticeably less than the other wipes.

Simple Exfoliating Facial Wipes · $4.72 for 25 wipes

Packaging Claim: No harsh chemicals; no artificial perfumes or dyes; skin-loving ingredients with multi-vitamins; ophthalmologist tested, safe for sensitive eyes.

I was excited to try these wipes – I love the idea of a good exfoliation. The exfoliation is due to the texture of the wipe, not the fluid embedded in it. I thought it did a good job removing makeup although, like those previously tested, some trace makeup was picked up with the cotton ball and toner.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes – Hydrating · $5.97 for 25 towelettes

Packaging Claim: Cleanse and remove makeup, even waterproof mascara; condition and soothe skin … in one simple step; gentle enough to use around the sensitive eye area, even for contact lens wearers.

The Neutrogena wipes cleaned my face well, but like the others, left a bit of makeup behind that the toner and cotton ball picked up. Although my face was not tight after I used this wipe, it did not seem as moisturized as after using the Aveeno wipe.

The bottom line here is that you really can’t go wrong with any of these choices – they all did a very good job of cleaning. I like the fact that I can keep a pack of wipes in the drawer of my bedside table. Even if I go straight from my couch to my bed, I can reach over to grab a wipe and do a quick clean – a routine I think I can stick with.


I wrote about my experience eradicating my spider veins in the July/August issue of Charm. Dr. Randy Morton of Longview Vein Clinic performed phlembectomies to remove portions of two of my veins, followed by sclerotherapy to treat my spider veins. Sclerotherapy is a treatment method in which spider veins are injected with a sclerosing solution to “cause necessary injury to the lining of the vein, ultimately resulting in occlusion of that vein and its demise.”

I have had two follow up sclerotherapy appointments since my last writing. The injections are nearly painless – the needle is very fine – and cause a little bit of itching and swelling, similar to a mosquito bite. The worst part about the sclerotherapy is wearing compression stockings for seven days following the procedure, but that has been completely bearable, even in the summer. Dr. Morton is pleased with my progress, as am I. I’ll include final before and after photos in my next column.

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