In our nighttime routine, we have a choice to wash face or use a cleansing wipe. At first glance, using a cleansing wipe to remove makeup, dirt, and oils might seem like an attractive option; it takes just a few seconds and then you can be off to bed. However, it’s important to know that this “shortcut” does not thoroughly cleanse your skin. In other words, it is nearly impossible to remove all of the debris and sebum within your pores using cotton balls and wipes alone.
At the end of each day, your skin needs a burst of warm, soapy water to achieve maximal cleansing. Warm water relaxes your skin and opens up your pores. Compare this to using baby wipes to wash dishes. The wipes will remove most of the obvious dirt, but you will need warm soapy water to remove the grease and oils. A thorough cleanse using a reusable pad or washcloth is the best way to go. Cloths and pads contain abrasive fibers that can loosen dirt and makeup while gently exfoliating dead skin. Overusing pads and washcloths can be detrimental; these products introduce the risk of over-exfoliation and irritation from physical contact.
I found a mom-blogger who developed a recipe for DIY facial cleansing wipes using reusable fabric for those times when you simply have to use a wipe. You can find over 1000 more recipes on Pinterest. Wipes, cotton pads and balls create quite a bit of waste. When tossed into the bin they head straight for our landfills. If tossed into the toilet, they can degrade toilet systems and cause softball size clogs in drain pipes, as discussed here. Here are some alternative ideas to cotton balls and rounds that you may find useful.
If the reusable fabrics are not washed regularly, you risk transferring harmful bacteria. Since the fabrics tend to be small, I have found zippered laundry bags useful. I rotate two bags, (one clean and the other for soiled) and toss them into my washing machine.
As mentioned in previous posts, cleansing your skin twice is important. If you want to use a (reusable) wipe for the first cleanse then follow it up with your favorite cleanser and rinse with water.