Ask Jean: Face Wipes Without the Sting?

Ask Jean

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected] Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I love the concept of face wipes. But they make my face sting a little, and they often leave some sort of residue. Are there clean, moisturizing, non-film-forming options?—Alice D.

Dear Alice, Yes, yes, and yes: Yes, I agree, I get the same weird stinging feeling from most wipes; yes, the fragrance, the preservatives, the chemicals that make them stay preternaturally wet for months on end, and God knows what else doubtlessly contribute to the ugh-now-I-have-to-wash-my-face-anyway feeling that accompanies their use; and yes, there are fantastic, non-toxic, non-stinging alternatives.

So prepare for a slightly-crunchy-paper feel, but know that embedded in the cloth is some of the best coconut oil for skin on the planet, and that said oil will take your makeup off—and then some. You’ll wipe, say, your lashes, to get off liner and mascara; all of it will not come off on the first swipe, but don’t be tempted to go in and press much harder. The second light swipe will dissolve everything. Sort of how you swipe nail polish once, nothing much happens, and then it all comes off on the second swipe.

Everything comes off, and the coconut oil that’s left instantly sinks into skin, so there’s no film and no itch (coconut oil is famously easy on even the most sensitive skin). This is in stark contrast to most conventional face wipes, heavy with fragrance (among the most skin-provoking ingredients out there) preservatives, and more: If ever there were a simple ingredient list, RMS’s is it.

*The makeup artist Rose Marie Swift (RMS) is the expert of all things coconut-oil. The quality of any coconut oil depends on how it’s harvested and processed—if no heat or major sunlight is involved, the resulting oil is much better for your skin. (I learned this when I rudely demanded to know why her small jar of coconut cream is $18; the answer is a very expensive cold-centrifuging process.)

  • Ask Jean: Wipes Without the Sting? RMS Beauty Small Deluxe Raw Coconut Creamgoop, $18

    A transformative treatment for every kind of skin, from dry and sensitive to blemish-prone, this can be used as everything from hair and skin moisturizer, makeup remover, ointment, and cuticle and lip balm to makeup primer and a base for mixing with makeup powders and pigments.