Shelves are packed with anti-aging wipes, acne fighting wipes, regular cleansing wipes, deep cleansing wipes, exfoliating wipes and makeup removing wipes; but which of these do you really need to incorporate into your skincare regimen?
Almost every brand of cosmetics, both drugstore and high end, has some version of a facial cleansing wipe or makeup remover wipe and nearly every skincare company has some version of a "treatment" wipe that they insist you should be purchasing.
It would be absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to go through every wipe on the market so I picked a few of the best selling wipes in the United States and posted them next to their ingredients.
If you look at the ingredients I've listed below (which is not mandatory reading), you'll see that there are shocking similarities between each formula and the principal differences are usually which fragrances are included and in some cases a brand will throw in some beneficial ingredients, but those are really minimal at best.
Brands like Neutrogena use alcohol as their #1 ingredient after water. If you haven't read my rants on alcohol and the damage that it can do, I'll keep it short: you wouldn't use acid to clean your wooden furniture, "wood" you?
Chances are, you would scoff if someone suggested it. Sure, it will absolutely clean any traces of dirt, but it's going to eat right through the wood as well. That's precisely what using alcohol on your skin will do- gradually eat through the layers like acid.
Alcohol has been clinically proven to increase cell death by as much as 26% at concentrations of just 3%, when applied topically over just two days. Now imagine what using it for years will do to your skin? Even if you don't notice the negative effects now, you will later.
Even if you're opposed to scientific research and believe that alcohol won't hard your skin, why would you possible want to pay $.40 a wipe when you could make your own with a tissue & bottle of rubbing alcohol?
Not all brands use alcohol, but just because a wipe is alcohol-free doesn't mean that it's good for your skin. There are literally hundreds of other fragrances, irritants, and borderline toxic ingredients that are included in facial wipes!
Unfortunately, as loosely regulated as the cosmetic industry is to begin with, it becomes even looser when we're looking at cleansing products. By simply putting the words "rinse" on the directions, cosmetic companies are given a virtual cart-blanch to do whatever they please because the ingredients aren't staying on your skin for an extended period of time. (Not that they have to remain on skin long to do serious damage.)
In addition to the lack of regulations regarding cosmetics and skincare, the other thing to consider is the price! The average wipe costs $.40 a piece at the drugstore and the prices only go up exponentially if you make your purchase at a counter- some are more than $1 a wipe!
Personally, the thought of spending that kind of money is absolutely insane and I'm not going to spend $30 a month on something when I can get a better quality product with stricter regulations and gentler ingredients for under $3 a month with....
(Wait! Hear me out; there're good reasons....)
FACT: The Baby Industry has one of (if not the) strictest set of guidelines regulating every imaginable facet of production. Anything which involves babies is so-over-the-top it's unbelievable. This is obviously a great thing and makes it easier for mother's to sleep at night because there are truly no products anywhere on the market that are purer than those which are marketed specifically to tots.
I'm not an expert on Baby Food by any means, but I read alot and I know that the strict regulations are a big part of the reason so many people are against homemade baby food. Opposers of the DIY baby food movement claim that no matter what adult food you purchase or grow yourself, you will never be able to achieve the same level of purity as companies like Gerber who have spent billions creating the purest food in the world.
I know I got sidetracked with the Baby Food and I have no idea what's right and I think each parent needs to make their own decision, but it's a perfect example of just how stringent baby regulations are. (Plus, not for nothing, a mother who bothers to jar her child's very own custom organic food is almost guaranteed to be following a much stricter nutritional protocol than cosmetics companies are in regards to skincare.)
MYTH: "Baby Wipes are made for a BABY'S Bottom & aren't ok to use on my face."
That's precisely my point! Can you think of any skin in the world that is softer, smoother, and in a more deperate need of a gentle cleansing system? It's because their made for a Baby's bottom that their ideal to use on your face!
Look at the old analogy "soft as a baby's bottom," I can promise you this, if you suddenly started wiping Baby's tushie with a makeup wipe eight times a day, it would cease to be as soft; (even with Baby's ability to regenerate cells.)
MYTH: Yeah BUT since they're gentler than Makeup Wipes baby wipes won't clean as well!
I'm not going to get too graphic here, but think of what exactly baby wipes have to clean up on an hourly basis. They have to have the perfect ratio of gentleness and cleaning ability. If they're over abrasive they will strip Baby's skin and if they don't clean thoroughly then what they leave behind will strip Baby's skin and lead to all sorts of problems!
FACT: The VAST majority of the ingredients in Baby Wipes are the exact same as the ones they use in makeup removing wipes, cleansing wipes, exfoliating wipes, flushable wipes, and treatment wipes.
The only ingredients which are going to be different are the secondary ingredients like fragrance, color, solvents, preservatives, etc. Occasionally, you may actually find a wipe with some beneficial ingredients that are found in skincare, but assuming that you use a toner after you use your makeup removing wipe you're not going to be getting much benefit from those ingredients anyways and are better off finding them in a serum or moisturizer.
FACT: Many of the makeup wipes that you use are actually made by the same people or even in the same facility as the baby wipes! Companies like Proctor & Gamble who own numerous companies in every imaginable consumer market will often manufacture things in the same facilities. They'll start with a base cloth, add water, glycerin, etc. Then they'll send 1/2 off to the baby department where they get packaged up, and they send the other half off to the cosmetic department where they add a bunch of stuff that they claim is good for your skin (when there's no research to prove it) and they throw in some dyes and perfume to give the wipes a "all grow'd up feel."
Remember all of the Warnings?
How many times have you read warning labels on wipes marketed towards women? So many of them say something along the lines of "discontinue use if irritation delvelops" because they actually anticipate that some women will have adverse results from their products. You won't find warnings like that on the majority of baby wipes. (If you do see a warning like that, you're likely looking at a special treatment wipe for a specific issue.)
THINK OF THE COST!
This is a no brainer. $15-$30 a month for an inferior product or $2-$5 a month for a superior, purer, gentler, and more effective product?
So assuming I've convinced you to ditch your wipes, you must be wondering which baby wipes are the BEST then?
Your best bet with baby wipes is going to ideally be a fragrance free, dye free, alcohol free option. Most are already alcohol free but some are lightly scented. If you really like scented products then go for it. Normally I wouldn't say buy a scented product, but the fragrances used are so gentle they shouldn't be a huge issue.
Ironically, you have a much larger range of options when shopping for baby wipes than you do makeup removing wipes. Instead of weeding out the 20% of the wipes that are worthwhile, you're almost able to pick up any baby wipe off the shelf!
Play around with different wipes too and see what type of cloth and formula you prefer. They're all going to be safer for your skin than the ones found in the makeup aisle, but they do vary in thickness and softness, some are "wetter" than other, etc.
(The Huggies Natural wipes pictured above are one of the plushest and softest wipes of any kind so if you like softness, they're a great option.)
Anyways, here are some of the top makeup wipes' ingredients list!
Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Removing Wipes
Water, SD Alcohol 40-B, Butylene Glycol, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Salicylic Acid, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, PEG/PPG-20/6 Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Disodium EDTA, Menthol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzalkonium Chloride, Fragrance (1399-044).
Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Cleansing Wipes
Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isostearyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexylene Glycol. Ingredients Less than 1%: PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Phenoxyethanol, Sucrose Cocoate, Carbomer, PEG-4 Laurate, Fragrance, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide. May Also Contain: Sodium Hydroxide
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Cleansing Wipes
Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isostearyl Palmitate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Phenoxyethanol, Sucrose Cocoate, Fragrance, Carbomer, PEG-4 Laurate, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Flower/Leaf/Stem Juice, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Wipes
WATER, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, PENTAERYTHRITYL, TETRAETHYLHEXANOATE, CETYL ETHYLHEXANOATE, ISOSTEARYL PALMITATE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, HEXYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-6 CAPRYLIC GLYCERIDES, PHENOXYETHANOL, FRAGRANCE, SUCROSE COCOATE, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, PEG-4 LAURATE, BENZOIC ACID, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, DEHYDROACETIC ACID, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, IODOPROPYNYL BIGUANIDE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) PROTIEN
Huggies Natural Care FREE & Gentle Wipes
Gentle Ingredients: Water/Eau/Aqua, Amodimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Methylparaben, Malic Acid, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Lauryl Glucoside, Methylisothiazolinone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E is in the Form of Tocopheryl Acetate).
CVS Soft Clouds Wipes
Water, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Peg-75 Lanolin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Disodium Phosphate, Disodium Edta, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1, 3-Diol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.