PSA: If You Have Oily Skin, You Need a Special Kind of Makeup Wipe


Facial wipes are a hit-or-miss type of beauty product. You either love the new package of hypoallergenic, botanical essence-soaked disposable cloths you just picked up, or you think they’re, well, just okay. Until I discovered my Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Wipes ($6) which are honestly the most refreshing beauty product I’ve ever found, I was under the impression that I didn’t really need facial wipes. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to use them for. I mean, I washed my face each night and moisturized. That was enough, right? 

According to skincare expert Maryam Zamani, MD, I was technically right. “Face wipes should never be a substitution for skin cleansing,” she says. “The face should be rinsed after wipes are used as they contain makeup remover, detergents, alcohol, and other ingredients that can leave a residue on the skin, which can cause irritation and sensitization.” 

However, she says, “if you are in unique situations where you can not wash the face,” they are useful for removing makeup and pollutants. In other words, stick to using a traditional cleanser each night, but if you just finish a workout or feel like your skin has been exposed to pollutants in smog, exhaust, and the like, then use a face wipe to refresh, cleanse, and soothe.

With oily skin, though, it’s likely that you need a specific type of face wipe—one that hydrates, controls oil, and is gentle on the skin (after all, the last thing you want to do is encourage your skin to produce even more oil). Keep reading to see the seven best face wipes for oily skin as recommended by experts.

RMS Beauty The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes

The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes 20 Individual Wipes

RMS Beauty
The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes

These facial wipes from one of our all-time favorite natural beauty brands, RMS. They are soaked with organic coconut oil, renowned for its antibacterial and cleansing properties. They are also alcohol- and fragrance-free, which Zamani says is important to maintaining the health of your skin. “Some people,” she says, “use skin wipes aggressively on the face, particularly around the eye area, and that can irritate and stretch the skin.” So do be sure to remain gentle, since over time, tugging on the skin this way can contribute to signs of premature aging.

Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes

Yes To
Cucumbers Facial Wipes

If you have oily skin and struggle with acne, Zamani says you should forgo the use of facial wipes all together. “If you have oily skin or are prone to acne breakouts, I recommend never using a wipe because you just transfer bacteria around the face. But if you must, find one with salicylic acid,” she says. This pick from drugstore-friendly brand Yes To will soothe and cleanse the skin while delivering potent salicylic acid to battle breakouts and inflammation. 

Honest Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes

makeup remover wipes

Honest Beauty
Makeup Remover Wipes

Jessica Alba’s company, Honest Beauty, also makes a super-gentle form of facial wipes. These are also alcohol and fragrance-free. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic, pH-balanced, and completely vegan. How’s that for a do-it-all face wipe?

These are the real deal. For me personally, I alternate between the aforementioned witch hazel wipes and these little pink ones. (They’ve found a permanent home in my gym bag for their after-workout cleansing ability.)

Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes

Burt’s Bees
Facial Cleansing Towelettes

Honey Artists makeup artist Josee Leduc likes these drugstore classic wipes. “They use a lot of natural, effective ingredients in their face wipes,” she says. “I’m always concerned about how many synthetic products go on my face. I really make an effort to read the ingredient list before I make a purchase. Just like I do when I shop for food.” As for specific ingredients she likes to see, think “grapefruit extract, lemongrass extract, tea tree oil and witch hazel. Those are amazing ingredients to have in your skincare rituals if your skin is prone to acne.”

Blum Naturals Daily Combination/Oily Skin Towelettes, Tea Tree Oil

Daily Combination/Oily Skin Towelettes, Tea Tree Oil, 30 Count

Blum Naturals
Daily Combination/Oily Skin Towelettes, Tea Tree Oil

Honey Artists makeup artist Daniela Gozlan calls these face wipes “the best for oily skin.” They contain tea tree oil, which she says “dissolves oil stuck deep down the pores; it keeps the pores unclogged and the skin fresh and supple.”

Kaia Naturals The Vitamin Cleanse Wipes

the vitamin cleanse

Kaia Naturals
The Vitamin Cleanse Wipes

Key Ingredients

Honey is rich in antioxidants and has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It gently exfoliates, fades hyperpigmentation, and fights acne.

Despite not being “a huge fan of face wipes because they don’t always clean the face thoroughly and they leave behind a lot of residue,” Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skincare Collection, recommends these cruelty-free and biodegradable wipes the most. “I love the Kaia Natural Juicy Bamboo face wipes because they have vitamin E and C, amino acids, and honey to hydrate and soothe the skin. Plus, they are natural, and they have a lot of nutrition for the skin in them. They don’t leave a lot of residue on the skin and they are great for taking off makeup.”

Korres Greek Yoghurt Cleansing & Make-Up Removing Wipes

Greek Yoghurt Cleansing & Make-Up Removing Wipes for All Skin Types 25 Wipes

Greek Yoghurt Cleansing & Make-Up Removing Wipes

Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and assistant clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, reiterates the importance of cleansing with a traditional formula at night. You should use facial wipes to remove stubborn makeup areas or “refresh only.” She recommends any product made for sensitive skin since they have less harsh and irritating chemicals. Try these Greek Yoghurt wipes from Korres, which are suitable for all skin types (including sensitive) and even help calm inflammation and redness. 

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