Makeup wipes present somewhat of a dermatological dilemma. On the one hand, they do remove makeup debris; debris that could otherwise pack into pores and cause a plight for your skin. In the words of Mona Gohara, MD, a Connecticut-based dermatologist, makeup wipes provide “an alternative [to cleanser] when you’re tired and you don’t want to deal.” (Derms! They’re just like us!)

On the other hand, however, she says makeup wipes are “suboptimal [compared to cleanser] in terms of getting stuff off your skin.” Moreover, given the waterless, single-use packaging, makeup wipes can quickly become vectors for redistributing grime—or, as Dr. Gohara puts it, “swirling stuff around on your face.”

To ensure you’re actually cleansing—that is, removing grime instead of potentially just pushing it around—Dr. Gohara suggests swapping makeup wipes for micellar water, a waterless cleanser powered by molecules called micelles. Micelles attract dirt and debris on your complexion. They have a hydrophobic (oil-loving) portion that loves the oil and grime and a hydrophilic (water-loving) portion that helps to sweep all of that away.

Mighty as micelles may be, though, they’re no match for good ol’ fashioned face-wash—a product the derm always recommends. If you do choose to incorporate micellar water into your routine, make sure it’s as part of a double cleanse. As delineated by a derm: “The first step would be a micellar water, and then the second step would be a gentle cleanser.”

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