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: 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 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 anti-inflammatory and brilliant for even the most sensitive skin). This is in stark contrast to most conventional face wipes, heavy with fragrance (among the most skin-inflaming 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 caprylic and lauric acids (otherwise rare and skin-clearing, age-discouraging antifungal-, antibacterial-, antiviral- miracle compound found primarily in coconuts and breast milk) stays intact, and 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 that keeps all the caprylic and lauric acid intact and treats even super-reactive skin without incident.)

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

    This is the ultimate, all-natural makeup remover. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. While it sounds like it would be overly rich for problematic skin, it’s actually perfect for those inclined toward acne and blemishes.

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