Best Facial Tissues

Updated October 2020
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Buying guide for best facial tissues

When you’re about to sneeze or you need to wipe watery eyes, it might seem like any old tissue will do. But the truth is that not all facial tissues are created equal, and you definitely want the right brand for allergy, cold, and flu season.

Facial tissues are used primarily to deal with runny noses and watery eyes that typically occur due to colds or allergies. When you use a tissue to cover your nose and/or mouth when you sneeze or cough, you also help contain germs that might otherwise make their way into the air. They also work well to remove smudged makeup, blot lipstick, and even dry or clean your hands in a pinch. Because you use tissues on the delicate skin of the face, they should be soft enough to prevent irritation when you rub at your nose or eyes.

With so many facial tissues on the market, though, finding the ideal tissue for you can be challenging. We’ve compiled this buying guide to help you understand what to look for to find the best facial tissues for your family. If you’re still unsure, check out our specific product recommendations for the simplest shopping possible. 

Use a facial tissue to blot your lipstick and remove any excess to create a stained effect that keeps the color in place longer.

Key considerations

Paper

When comparing facial tissues, the quality of the paper is the most essential feature to consider. Many inexpensive tissues are made of low-quality paper that’s not only thin but also rough. It can have an abrasive feel on the skin, which can lead to chafing and irritation if you wipe your nose or eyes repeatedly. Tissues made of a higher-quality paper are thicker, softer, and less likely to irritate your skin.

Absorbency: Facial tissues certainly don’t need to be as absorbent as the paper towels you use to wipe up spills, but when your eyes are watering or your nose is running, you want a tissue that absorbs enough to avoid a mess. Highly absorbent tissues are typically more effective at keeping germs contained, too.

Some facial tissues aren’t just more absorbent but are also stronger when wet than other tissues. That means they won’t tear as easily when you’re using them, so you won’t go through the box of tissues as quickly.

Ply and strength: When it comes to paper products like tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels, “ply” refers to the number of layers. Most facial tissues have between one and four layers. Three- or four-ply tissues are softer and thicker, so they’re more comfortable to use and aren’t as likely to irritate the skin.

In general, allergy sufferers or those who frequently get colds should stick to three-ply or higher tissues to help reduce redness from repeated rubbing and make for a more comfortable experience. 

Portability

When you’re shopping for facial tissues, figure out how and where you’ll use them. If you’ll use the tissues mainly at home, any size or type of container will work. For use on the go, you’ll want small, individual packages of tissues that you can toss in your pocket, bag, or glove compartment.

Did you know?
Some facial tissues have antiviral properties and can kill 99.9% of cold and flu germs on the paper within about 15 minutes.
STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Packaging

Travel-friendly facial tissues typically come in small plastic packages, but full-size tissues come in cardboard boxes. Many boxes are rectangular, like shoe boxes, but some are cubes for a more compact shape.

Facial tissues are available in boxes in various colors, so you can easily find an option that matches your home’s décor. Some tissues come in highly decorative boxes with a pattern like a floral or chevron design if you prefer a more eye-catching option.

Quantity

Facial tissues come in various quantities. Most boxes contain 60 to 160 tissues. In most cases, the more tissues that a box contains, the better the value.

Lotion

Some brands infuse the paper with lotion to make the tissues softer and more pleasant to use. It makes them more soothing on irritated or sensitive skin and can prevent the chafing you often get when you blow your nose frequently.

However, tissues with lotion aren’t as absorbent as regular tissues. They can also leave a residue if you use them to wipe a surface, such as clean your eyeglass lenses. You’ll pay extra for facial tissues with lotion, and some consumers find it to be an unnecessary expense.

Chlorine-free

Paper goods manufacturers often bleach the paper to make their products whiter. Depending on the bleaching process used, traces of chlorine may be left behind that can irritate the skin. Look for tissues marked as totally chlorine-free (TCF) or processed chlorine-free (PCF) to avoid any issues. Chlorine-free tissues are also a better choice for the environment.

Green Seal certified

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your facial tissues, look for a brand with the Green Seal on its packaging. The Green Seal indicates that the product meets at least 25 standards regarding waste reduction, toxicity limits, and more.

"Facial tissues were first introduced by Kleenex in 1924 and marketed to remove cold cream."
STAFF
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Accessories

Tissue box cover: mDesign Facial Tissue Box Cover
If you want your box of tissues to look a little more decorative, a box cover is a must-have. This option from mDesign is a favorite because it has a simple, sleek look and doesn’t show fingerprints easily.

Allergy medicine: Allegra Adult 24-Hour Allergy Tablets
You won’t go through as many tissues during allergy season if you have a good OTC allergy medicine to keep symptoms at bay. We like this option from Allegra because it can treat symptoms for a full 24 hours and doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Eye drops for allergy relief: Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops
If red, itchy eyes are the primary symptom of your allergies, you’ll save yourself some tissues with the right allergy eye drops. These from Bausch + Lomb are a favorite because they can stop itching within minutes and work for up to 12 hours.

Facial tissue prices

Facial tissues vary in price based on paper quality, ply, quantity, and other features. Most tissues cost between $1 and $6 per box.

Inexpensive: The most affordable facial tissues typically have lower quality paper and are only two-ply. However, you’ll usually get more tissues per box, with some brands offering as many as 300 in each box. These tissues generally cost $1 and less per box.

Mid-range: These facial tissues use better quality paper and are typically three-ply. However, they don’t contain as many tissues per box, about 150. These tissues generally cost $1 to $3 per box.

Expensive: The most expensive facial tissues are usually four-ply or lotion-infused options. Each box typically contains up to 100 tissues and costs between $2 and $6.

Tips

  • Blow your nose carefully. If your nose tends to get chapped from blowing, even with soft, moisturizing tissues, try blowing your nose more carefully. Blow through one nostril at a time to limit the amount of friction.
  • Pat, don’t rub. Try patting your nose with facial tissues rather than rubbing or wiping it. That also helps decrease friction for less irritation.
  • Don’t blow your nose with toilet paper or paper towels. Those paper products are rougher than facial tissues and can cause irritation, leading to dry, sore skin.
  • Try petroleum jelly on a sore nose. If your nose gets chapped from regular blowing, applying a little petroleum jelly or aloe vera gel at night can help moisturize and heal the skin.
Some facial tissues are infused with a scent for a more pleasant nose-blowing experience.

FAQ

Q. Can I flush facial tissues down the toilet?
A.
Most facial tissues aren’t designed for flushing. They don’t break down as easily as toilet paper does, so tissues could clog your pipes. You probably won’t have a problem if you flush a couple down the toilet if you’ve run out of toilet paper, but don’t make a habit of it.
 

Q. Can I use facial tissues to clean my glasses?
A.
Facial tissues aren’t meant for cleaning lenses. They can scratch and smudge your glasses and even leave lint behind. Stick to a microfiber cleaning cloth for wiping your glasses instead.
 

Q. Can I use tissues with lotion if I have acne-prone skin?
A.
Some tissues with lotion do contain pore-clogging ingredients that can lead to breakouts and other irritations. If you tend to get acne, you may want to introduce tissues with lotion into your routine slowly to see how your skin reacts.

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