I’ll go ahead and unofficially dub this the green edition of facial cleansing towelette reviews, not because they’re all environmentally kind (though several of them are!) but because they all happen to have green packaging! Well, green-ish. For much of my life I’ve been a huge fan of cleansing wipes. I’m lazy, what can I say. They’re some of my favorite ways to remove makeup, and are great for sticking in a gym bag or for travelling.
Just a few words on how I use cleansing wipes and what qualities I look for when I’m purchasing them. Over the years, I’ve tried a wide variety of them, and mostly stick to options that are under $8 or so for a pack of 20-30 (all the towelettes in this set of reviews are in the $5-6 range). Something else that’s developed in the last year or so is that I specifically am looking wipes that aren’t completely soaked in harsh alcohols. Lots of the cheaper wipes rely on alcohol and aren’t great for the skin, so more recently I’ve been looking for options that rely on gentler ingredients. One more thing I’d like to note is that I don’t completely rely on wipes for full facial cleansing. I use them mostly for makeup removal, and then follow up with a facial cleanser. I wear makeup and SPF during the day and don’t fully trust a wipe to remove all of that plus offer a full skin cleansing.
That all being said, I basically want a wipe that effectively removes makeup and doesn’t leave any off-putting residue on my skin. Pretty simple, right? So let’s get to it. In this edition, I’ll provide brief, straightforward thoughts on the Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes, Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes, Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues with Green Tea Extract, Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, and Alba Botanica Hawaiian 3-in-1 Clean Towelettes.
Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes
The Yes To brand has a few different options for facial cleansing towelettes, and I believe that these are the best (the Yes to Grapefruit wipes are too harshl, and the Yes to Tomatoes wipes leave a residue). All around, they are one of my favorite options in the drugstore, as they are effective, have a gentle but pleasant scent and leave no residue on my skin. Plus, they are 98% natural, compostable, and cruelty-free. These feature a whole lot of good qualities for a very reasonable $6. I think that their only sin is that the cucumber fragrance is artificial. The scent is gentle, but if your skin is sensitive to fragrance then these may not work for you.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativas (Cucumber) Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Carpylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.
* Certified Organic Ingredient
Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes
When Target started selling the Pacifica skincare and cosmetics line earlier this year, I was really excited to try these cleansing wipes. A lot of other reviewers seem to really enjoy these, and while I think these have a lot of great qualities going for them, they ultimately don’t cut it for me. The wipes are too small and flimsy, and I find the coconut scent to be overwhelming. The cleansing formula itself is effective enough, I just wish I had a bigger wipe to ensure I’m getting around my whole face. Pacifica’s website discloses that these will not remove waterproof makeup. These are advertised as natural (the fragrance is natural, too), biodegradable, and vegan.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin (vegetable), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract , Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Extract , Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance (all Natural).
Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissues with Green Tea Extract
I think Absolute! is sold at some drugstores, though I found them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. This was my first time trying any Absolute! product, and these towelettes are on the cheaper end. Unfortunately, I found these to be completely ineffective. I’d use a minimum of 2 wipes to remove my makeup, and I’d still really have to rub to pick up anything from my face. If they don’t remove makeup, then what’s the point? Additionally, the ingredients aren’t anything special. Alcohol is the second ingredient (oops!).
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol, Dipropylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, PEG 7 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, TEA Cocoyl Glutamate, Poloxamer 184, PEG 15 Glyceryl Isostearate, Coceth 7, PPG 1 PEG 9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Trisodium EDTA, Fragrance
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes
Like Pacifica, this is another brand that has gotten a lot of attention on the internet recently. Simple focuses on products that are gentle on sensitive skin. This is a really great facial towelette for any skin type, though. They’re effective, unscented, affordable, and I highly recommend ’em! I don’t personally wear waterproof makeup, but Simple advertises on the packaging that these wipes are able to take on waterproof mascara, too. You may notice that alcohol makes an appearance on the ingredients list, but cetearyl alcohol is one of the gentle varieties and not anything to be wary of.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Cetearyl Isononanoate, Panthenol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Ceteareth-12, Sodium Citrate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian 3-in-1 Clean Towelettes
These facial towelettes claim to replace three skincare steps: makeup remover, cleanser, and toner. The ingredients list for these is really impressive looking, and I was excited to try these. Unfortunately, I don’t find them very effective at removing makeup, and they definitely leave an unappealing residue on my skin. I can rest easy knowing the ingredients are good and that I only have to suffer a residue for a few seconds before I follow up with a proper cleanser, but I can’t recommend these. They leave (non-waterproof) eye makeup behind, and if you do happen to use these to replace a cleanser, you’ll be dealing with sticky skin.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract, Barosma Betulina Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Allantoin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Babassu Oil, Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Panthenol, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Sodium PCA, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Allyl Caproate, Allyl Heptanoate, Lauraldeyde, Triethyl Citrate, Vanillin, Citral, Limonene, Linalool.
(1)Certified Organic Ingredient
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for some cleansing facial towelettes to try, the Yes to Cucumbers and Simple products are definitely worth a look. I have issues with the Pacifica, Absolute!, and Alba products, and will not be repurchasing them. I’ll continue to try out more brands, and will let you know what I find!
If you’ve tried out any of the towelettes I’ve featured, or have found different products you enjoy, I’d love to hear what you think. Let me know if the comments below!