Cleansing wipes - friend or foe?

For many, the invention of the disposable cleansing wipe has revolutionised their skincare routine.  After all, what could be easier than using a cloth pre-moistened with cleanser to remove make-up at the end of a long day?
Sadly, cleansing wipes don’t deliver quite what they promise.  They are generally used improperly and actually aren’t great for your skin.  I know, it doesn't seem hard to use a facial wipe.  And if they were created specifically to clean skin, why would they be bad for it?  Well, read on and I hope you will reconsider your use of wipes and return to using a facial cleanser. 
Not using wipes to clean your face?  Congratulations on caring for skin!  I hope to reinforce your choice and provide you with all the information you need should anyone suggest you try this cleansing method.
As much as I love applying make-up, I also enjoy removing it.  I like to do this as part of my welcome home evening routine.  Once I have walked through the door, I change into more comfortable clothes, drink a big glass of water and cleanse my skin.  Making my face squeaky clean gets it ready for evening moisturiser and it helps me to transition from the world outside to my sanctuary at home as I wash away the day. 
I appreciate the allure of watching your make-up transfer onto a cleansing wipe and then simply tossing it into the rubbish when you're finished.  And if you don’t wear make-up, cleansing wipes definitely have fast and easy appeal to removing the day from your face.
To use the wipes properly, you need to rinse your skin with water after cleaning it.  Most people say they use cleansing wipes specifically because water isn’t involved.  They love the one-step process of cleansing and the avoidance of splashing water around the basin or on themselves. 
But cleansing wipes require a water rinse, whether the directions on the package tell you this or not.  When you skip this step, you leave cleanser and dirt on your skin.  Your skin may look clean after you swipe that wipe, however, there are remnants left behind.  You just can’t see them with your naked eye. 
Ever wondered why you are experiencing skin issues such as dryness or clogged pores, even when you are diligently  removing your make-up each night with a wipe?  It’s because your skin isn’t completely clean and what’s left behind is being more deeply absorbed into the skin causing issues of all kinds. 
Alongside skin that isn’t truly clean, wipes deposit preservatives on the skin.  These preservatives prevent bacteria growth while the wipes are sitting in your bathroom cabinet.  However, they aren’t designed to stay on your skin for any length of time.  When you pass by the water after wiping, you are left with cleanser, debris and preservatives on your skin.  This doesn’t quite seem like what I had in mind when I thought about cleaning my skin.  What about you?
There’s another surprising ingredient in cleansing wipes.  Alcohol.  Have you ever experienced a slight burning or tingling sensation when using one?  That’s not sensitive skin; it’s the alcohol contained in the cloth.  This is added to help ensure your skin dries quickly after using the wipe.
With everything we do to keep our skin hydrated, it seems a bit counterintuitive to clean our skin with something specifically designed to dry it out.  Even if you have oily skin, alcohol is not something you ever apply to your skin.
So if wipes aren’t actually a one-step process, they leave debris and preservatives behind and dry your face out with alcohol, they don't seem to be quite the magic tool for which we hoped.  Perhaps facial cleanser isn’t so bad after all?
The next time you want to reach for that wipe, give the facial cleanser you probably have hiding at the back of your cupboard another try.  Rub the cleanser between your hands to warm it slightly before applying to your face.  As you’re applying it, think about the mini-massage you are giving yourself.  In addition to cleansing your skin, this gentle action stimulates blood and lymph circulation, helping your skin to look and act healthy.  Once you have sufficiently worked the cleanser into your skin, remove it with a cloth soaked in warm water.   As you say good-bye to the day’s make-up, know that this routine is also helping to remove the stress of your day, allowing you to look forward to your evening ahead.
Like you, I want a skincare routine that delivers results in as few steps and little time as possible.  Unfortunately, cleansing wipes do not meet the necessary requirements to justify their use.  Using a facial cleanser, however, is a great way to create skin you love.