Using a makeup wipe seems simple enough—wipe and go. That is why these portable cleansers are a popular solution for removing makeup just before you face-plant into bed or after sweating it out in a HIIT class. But while talking to dermatologist and Simple Skincare Advisory Board Member Debra Luftman, M.D. , we learned there is a specific technique that works best. And chances are, you've been doing it wrong. Here are three common mistakes women make when using makeup wipes.
1. You’re not using the wipe in the right direction. You want to rub your face from the outside in to avoid spreading any harmful bacteria. “There is more bacteria in the center of the face,” says Luftman. “You want to start where there is less bacteria and move in, so you are less likely to move bacteria around your face.”
The T-zone (chin, nose, and forehead) has more sebaceous glands per square inch than the outer rim of the face. That means bacteria like P.acnes, which is the major culprit behind your breakouts, has a better opportunity to thrive. And the area around the nose is also a breeding ground for bacteria. “Any opening can bring more bacteria from inside the body, so wiping and touching the nose can spread it to another part of the face,” says Luftman. And the warmth from your breath also encourages bacteria growth.
Related: 5 Habits That May Be Causing Your Eyelashes to Fall Out
2. You assume that the wipe takes off all your makeup. If you wear very little makeup, you can probably get away with using just a makeup wipe before bed. But if you have a regular contouring routine, a wipe is just step one in your cleansing routine. Follow up with a foaming or oil cleanser to help remove the makeup the wipe leaves behind. Going to bed with any cosmetic residue on your face can clog pores and plug in acne-causing bacteria and oil. You have to be especially careful with eye makeup. “I’m seeing a lot of damage to eyelashes lately with all the rubbing from waterproof mascara ,” says Luftman. So, use an eye-makeup remover to truly erase all the eyeliner, mascara, and shadow.
3. You’re not using wipes before and after the gym. It’s important to clean off any sweat as soon as you finish your workout to avoid clogged pores. “When you’re hot and sweaty, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria,” says Luftman. Throw a pack of wipes into your gym bag to clean skin pre- and post-cardio. And you also want to remove as much makeup as you can before hitting the gym , so that your foundation doesn’t block your pores from releasing sweat.
Now that you know the right way to use makeup wipes, here are a few brands to try:
Clinique Pep-Start Quick Cleansing Wipes, $16; sephora.com
Simple Improved Cleansing Facial Wipes, $6; available July 2016
Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Towelettes, $6; drugstore.com
Burt's Bees Cucumber & Sage Facial Cleansing Towelettes, $5; target.com
Sephora Express Cleansing Wipes, $10; sephora.com