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The Best Biodegradable Face Wipes

Photographed by Rossella Vanon.

When face wipes arrived on the scene, make-up-wearers everywhere couldn’t believe their luck. Promising to remove all make-up and impurities in a simple swipe, they seemed the ultimate time-saver in a world of sticky balms, muslins, and three-step cleanse and tone routines.

However the environmental impact of face wipes has been ignored for too long and, in May 2018, Water UK revealed that a shocking 93 per cent of the material blocking our sewers is in fact wet wipes. With many people using wipes on a daily basis – and a large proportion of them disposing of them incorrectly by flushing them rather than throwing them away – it’s a problem so great that the government has indicated that it may even ban them as part of its push to eliminate unnecessary plastic use, due to the high plastic content of many wipes on the market.

So is it time to cut wipes out altogether? Even before the extent of their environmental impact was known, the beauty industry was already shaking its collective head over the fact that wipes can cause skin dryness due to the alcohol content, wrinkles due to the scrubbing action many of us employ when using them, and breakouts due to impurities either left on the face or simply moved around by the wipes.

Truthfully, there’s no real substitute for washing your face. On top of that, modern cleansers are so sophisticated, efficient, and tailored to specific needs that wipes feel almost redundant in a savvy skincare kit – certainly where the environment is concerned. But, of course, all of us are drawn to convenience. Wipes are like many modern vices. No, we shouldn’t use them every day and no, they aren’t the most environmentally-friendly option, but the reason they became so popular in the first place is the same reason that many people will be loathed to give them up. Think festivals, plane journeys, nights when you’re creeping around trying not to wake up your entire household after a late night, and a lot of eyeliner. They’re speedy, they don’t use water, and they allow you to cleanse from the comfort of your bed. Even lying down. But, if convenience is key for you, then it’s time to start shopping for wipes responsibly.

The key thing to remember is never to flush them. Repeat, never, ever, flush them. Even biodegradable wipes should be disposed of in the bin instead of flushed away, and biodegradable versions still take time to break down so will cause a build-up if disposed of incorrectly. Wipes made from 100 per cent cotton are both more environmentally friendly (as well as kinder on the skin), so make sure to look out for plastic-free versions when you shop. And use them sparingly – no lazy evenings in or standard weeknights. See Vogue’s pick of the best biodegradable face wipes below – if you must use face wipes, use these.

Neal’s Yard Remedies
Free of the nasties that make most face wipes harsh on skin (and the planet), Neal’s Yard Remedies’s wipes are made of biodegradable organic cotton and feature aloe vera to soothe. Best of all they stay moist in the resealable package, so no need to scrub or drag the skin to get results.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Facial Wipes. AED/SAR 30 for 25 wipes, available at

Did you know that Bioderma’s famous Sensibio H2O micellar water comes in face wipe form too? Biodegradable cloths are infused with the super-cleansing micellar solution that made the original such a hit, removing make-up gently and quickly with fatty acid esters that leave skin soothed and ready for the next step of your regime.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution Make-Up Removing Wipes. AED/SAR 36 for 25 wipes, available at

Formulated specifically for eyes, Eyeko’s wipes are made from 100 per cent cotton and include a good dose of nourishing olive oil to easily remove even waterproof mascara without drying the skin.

Eyeko Mascara Off Eye Makeup Remover Wipes. AED/SAR 30 for 10 wipes, available at

RMS Beauty
If you want to be really virtuous, RMS Beauty’s make-up-removing wipes are made from coconut oil and 100 per cent compostable rayon. Individually wrapped, meaning they’re perfect for travel, the wipes not only remove make-up and impurities but also leave skin smooth and hydrated. Just remember to warm the sachet in your hands before use, as the coconut oil hardens when cooled.

RMS Beauty The Ultimate Make Up Remover Wipes. AED/SAR 62 for 20 wipes, available at

Yes To
Made in part from T-shirt manufacturing scraps, Yes To’s 100 per cent cotton wipes feature ultra-gentle ingredients which make them perfect for sensitive skin.

Yes To Cotton Comforting Facial Wipes. AED/SAR 16 for 25 wipes, available at

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