Made with ingredients from Japan, including thermal water from hot springs and white birch sap. Infused with lactic acid. Lifts off makeup without stripping or irritating skin. Leaves a pleasant scent with light notes of mint, rosemary, and ginger. Refreshing and soothing.
Expensive if you intend to use one per day. Sheets are unusually large and could be cut in half.
Water-activated wipes don't require makeup-removing solution. Gently buffs away makeup, including waterproof makeup. Lasts through several months of regular use as well as washing. Comes in a set of four. Soft and gentle on sensitive skin.
Requires a bit more scrubbing to remove highly pigmented makeup. Not ideal for removing masks.
Good for sensitive skin. Individually wrapped so they don't dry out. TSA-approved for carry-on bags. Can remove heavy, waterproof makeup without drying skin. Contains vitamin E and other beneficial ingredients. Biodegradable and not tested on animals.
Some reported a strong, unpleasant scent. Does not always remove waterproof makeup.
Light, pleasant scent. Facial cleansing and makeup-removing no-rinse micellar water wipes. Doesn't burn the skin or eyes. Oil-free and biodegradable. Alcohol-, paraben-, and phenoxyethanol-free. Hypoallergenic.
Wipes are too dry. Some say it's not an effective eye makeup remover.
Set of 14 circular pads. Black side removes makeup and white side applies toner or moisturizer. Gentle on the eyes. Reinforced edges are anti-fray. Comes with a mesh laundry bag for easy washing. Packaged in a gift-ready box. A tree is planted with every purchase.
Not made with organic fibers, which disappointed many eco-conscious consumers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether you wear a full face of makeup every day or just a swipe of mascara when you step outside, removing it can be a hassle or a multi-product endeavor. Makeup remover cloths and wipes are a quick and easy fix to the removal process. Cloths are washcloth-like wonders that are dense with soft fibers. When wetted, the fabric’s weave magically grabs and lifts makeup off your face without smearing it around. No cleanser necessary!
Makeup remover wipes are good to take on the go, like to the gym to remove blemish-causing sweat after a workout. At the end of a long day, they’re the tired woman’s single-step solution to removing makeup, cleansing, exfoliating, soothing, and even hydrating your skin. And some wipes come in travel-friendly packaging that slips into your carry on or purse.
With so many of these cloths and wipes on the market, it’s difficult to know which to choose. We’re here to help in your search. For a quick selection, check out our top picks. For a more in-depth look at makeup remover cloths, continue reading our shopping guide.
Reusable vs. disposable
Makeup remover cloths fall into two categories: reusable cloths and disposable wipes.
Makeup remover cloths are made from thousands of synthetic fibers that provide way more surface area than your basic washcloth, resulting in more friction and grip to lift makeup off. After wetting the cloth with warm water, you use a circular, gentle buffing motion to remove makeup. A high-quality cloth will remove all makeup, including waterproof mascara and long-wear lipstick or foundation – no rinsing required! Others are more effective with a dab of cleanser or liquid makeup remover.
A makeup remover cloth doesn’t require hard pressure or scrubbing, which can irritate the skin, so they can be used over the delicate eye area. Some cloths have a different length pile on each side: shorter fibers for washing and longer fibers for gentle exfoliation.
Typically, a cloth can be reused up to a week before it needs to be washed. Depending on how big the cloth is and how much makeup you wear, you can use clean/different sections of it over a period of days. It’s recommended that you wring out and air-dry your cloth after each use.
A makeup remover cloth has lots of benefits:
Cost effective: Use for up to 1,000 washes (about three years).
Environmentally friendly: Cuts down on the waste of tissues, cotton balls, and product bottles involved in makeup removal.
Machine washable: No special care needed to wash, such as special detergents or hand-washing.
Chemical-free: The safest bet for those looking for nontoxic makeup removal.
Deep cleaning: The greater surface area of these cloths (due to the higher fiber count) cleans more thoroughly than a washcloth. The smaller fibers can get into crevices and bond to finer particles of makeup and dirt.
Nonirritating: A great alternative if other cleansers and removers irritate or make your skin break out.
Gently exfoliating: Not all skin types can tolerate exfoliating scrubs and brushes. If used lightly, makeup remover cloths provide exfoliation that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Price: High-end makeup remover cloths cost about $20 each. A mid-range priced cloth – one that may remove most but not all makeup – can be found for between $10 and $15 for two. You can find microfiber towels for around $10 to $13 for a set of four of more.
Makeup remover wipes are biodegradable and tossed after one use. They come in packs, either as individually wrapped towelettes or stacked in a resealable sachet. They are premoistened and do not require wetting to work, so these are perfect for on-the-fly cleansing needs.
Wipes have more skincare features than cloths. Many come with added ingredients targeted to hydrate, soothe, exfoliate, or cleanse the skin. They are safe enough to use on the sensitive eye area, and more high-end options even condition eyelashes and eyebrows. Other selections take care not to use harsh and/or harmful chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin.
Wipes and towelettes have their benefits, too:
Hassle-free: No trip to the bathroom or sink needed to wet these towelettes. You can watch TV and cleanse your face with these little timesavers.
Hygienic: You don’t have to worry about bacterial growth on these disposable cloths because they’re tossed after use.
Travel-friendly: Find a TSA-approved brand to carry with you on the airplane to arrive fresh-faced to your destination.
Workout ready: Exercise makes you sweat, and sweat plus makeup equals clogged pores. Swipe with a wipe before or after a workout to reduce breakouts.
Skincare perks: Most wipes come with one or more features besides makeup removal. Fancy facial-like additives can include antioxidants, caffeine, and micellar water.
Size: Makeup remover cloths vary in size from 4 x 5 inches to 12 x 12 inches. A bigger cloth will last longer before needing to be washed. However, if you’re traveling, you might want a smaller cloth, or you can cut a larger one in half. Most disposable wipes measure about 7 x 7 inches.
Shape: Cloths come in either a square or rectangular shape. There are also mitts that look like oven mitts to help give you more targeted control over the areas where you want to remove makeup.
Material: Most makeup remover cloths are made of synthetic fibers, mostly polyester. They are less prone to bacterial growth than cotton. You can find some on the market that are a blend of cotton and a synthetic fiber like rayon. Microfiber face cloths, which are a blend of polyester and polyamide, tend to be rougher than cloths designed for makeup removal but are more exfoliating, which can be a bonus or drawback based on your skin type.
Micellar water: Many wipes include micellar water as the predominant ingredient. This traditional French method of skincare utilizes tiny balls of oil molecules called “micelles” that draw out impurities, dirt, and oil without overdrying skin, which many soap- or chemical-based cleansers do. Wipes soaked in micellar water (soft water containing these magic micelle bubbles) are ideal for dry or sensitive skin due to their gentle, hydrating approach to cleansing.
Qualities: Many makeup remover cloths are infused with ingredients that can be beneficial for certain skin types or conditions:
Soothing: If you have irritated skin, looking for wipes with calming or soothing ingredients, including complexion-calming extracts like chamomile, aloe vera, or cucumber. Avoid wipes containing alcohol, which can be harsh on the skin.
Hydrating: Makeup remover wipes can also contain ingredients that naturally moisturize the skin, such as jojoba or primrose oil. Others contain vitamin E or inventive ingredients like Greek yogurt to nourish the skin.
Exfoliating: Makeup remover cloths provide physical exfoliation, but wipes can also do the trick to slough off dead skin. Look for ones that contain exfoliating acids.
Keep the package closed when it’s not in use. Always tightly reseal the package to keep the wipes from drying out. Some brands dry out more quickly than others. Opt for towelette singles to avoid this problem altogether.
Buy several cloths if you have acne-prone skin. That way, you’re always using a clean one in rotation. Alternatively, you could launder a single cloth every day, but that’s not realistic for most folks. Many brands offer packs of two or more cloths.
Q. Can I really remove waterproof or long-wearing mascara with a makeup remover cloth?
A. Absolutely. Wipes will remove waterproof and long-wearing eye makeup faster and easier than cloths. Cloths can still do the trick but may require more rubbing and tugging. If it’s really tough to get eye makeup off, apply a little eye makeup remover to the cloth.
Q. I try to only use green, nontoxic beauty products. What are my options?
A. A makeup remover cloth contains no harsh chemicals, so it’s your best bet. There are also wipes marketed as free from harmful chemicals like parabens or phenoxyethanol. Look for ones that contain plant-based ingredients, as well as being free of dye and fragrance. These tend to be less toxic.
Q. I have acne-prone skin. What kind of wipes should I use?
A. Using wipes in the first place will reduce acne, especially if used before and after a sweaty workup. Look for ones that are oil-free. Wipes containing micellar water may not be cleansing enough if you have oily skin, so choose ones that are branded as “clarifying” rather than “hydrating.”