We’ve all heard if before, you should never go to bed with makeup on. But if you’re like me, evenings are busy, and the last thing I want to do is get involved with a complicated skincare routine. So, what’s the harm in going to bed without makeup on? I decided to do some research, and the results are scary! Keep reading to hear why going to bed with makeup can cause more than just acne and why those drugstore makeup remover wipes aren’t the answer.  

The Downside of Going to Bed with Makeup On

First things first, is going to bed with makeup on one time harmful? Technically speaking, one night of sleeping in your favorite foundation probably won’t cause any real damage to your skin. But, if you make this a habit, you will have skin problems that stem from chronically clogged pores.  


Washing your face removes dirt and debris as well as dead skin cells. Skipping this step means those things will be there to clog your pores. Clogged pores lead to breakouts and inflammation. Plus, if you have oily skin, going to bed with makeup on may worsen the acne you may already have. Don’t do it.

Dull Skin

If you’re noticing your skin isn’t as bright and radiant as you would like it to be, part of the problem may be that you aren’t cleaning your skin properly. Regular cleansing and exfoliating ensure the regulation of skin cell creation. So, keep washing as it may speed up the skin’s natural repair process.  

Premature Aging

When dirt and oil get trapped in your skin, it can cause oxidative damage. The damage can breakdown the skin’s natural barriers and make signs of premature aging more obvious. Don’t believe me? In 2013, a study published in The Daily Mail featured a woman who intentionally went to bed without washing off her makeup for 30 consecutive days. According to the study, she looked ten years older after those 30 days! Girl, wash your face.

Just Say No to Drugstore Makeup Remover Wipes

One solution women have been using for years is makeup remover wipes.  I had no idea, but those wipes I used in college may not have been the best thing for my skin. It turns out commercial makeup remover wipes aren’t ideal for a few reasons:

Mineral oil

Mineral oil is the main degreaser used in cheap wipes. Unfortunately, it also coats the skin and interferes with its ability to breathe. That can cause breakouts, which is what we were trying to avoid in the first place.


Most commercial makeup removers have some preservatives, and many contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Both of these can cause red, itchy, or inflamed skin.  

Potentially harmful chemicals

Some beauty companies use of Benzalkonium Chloride in their makeup removers, an ingredient banned in both in Japan and Canada. Cyclopentasiloxane is another commonly used makeup remover ingredient and considered a mild carcinogen.

Safer Alternatives to Drugstore Makeup Remover Wipes

coconut oil cleansing

There are safe and effective alternatives to drugstore makeup remover wipes.  One is a makeup wipe that doesn’t contain harmful ingredients.  A few that come to mind are Beauty Counter, Honest Beauty, or Farmasi…But, I think there are even better alternatives to those wet wipes.  Here are a few worth mentioning:

Micellar Water

Women in France have been using micellar water for decades  It’s a combo of purified water, glycerin, and surfactants that form “micelles” to attract and remove dirt, oil, and makeup.  Micellar water is very gentle and works well for sensitive or acne-prone skin. It’s applied with a cotton ball or pad, and you don’t need to rinse it off afterward. There are lots of affordable micellar water options out there. I love this one.

Makeup Eraser Towel

My cool husband bought me one of these for Christmas a few years back. It’s a magic cloth that allows you to remove makeup with just warm water. The fabric “contains millions of tiny hair-like fibers that work as a ‘suction’ to lift all dirt, makeup, and oil from each pore.” You can purchase makeup eraser in a variety of patterns and colors from the company website or on Amazon.  

Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-yeast, and acts as a detergent.  It’s soothing and moisturizing and a better alternative to chemical makeup removers.  As simples as using coconut oil sounds, I find all the choices overwhelming. Raw, unrefined, cold-pressed?  I have no idea.  But, I love the simplicity of these coconut oil remover wipes! I haven’t tried them yet, but Clean Skin Club’s wipes and towels have been selling out lately, and they have a cult following on Instagram.  So, I assume they’re pretty good.  Another option is choosing a coconut oil-based remover, such as a cleansing balm.  A cleansing balm is my go-to.

Cleansing Balm is the Bomb

A luxurious cleansing balm is my choice and what I use every night to remove makeup and dirt.  These little tubs of magic dissolve makeup and cleanse dirt and impurities off the surface of your skin while moisturizing and protecting its barrier in the process. The cool thing is that they often don’t require water. Just apply to the face in circular motions and watch your makeup melt off, then remove with a soft cloth.  Your skin will feel very clean and incredibly smooth after each use.  

Monat Makeup Vanishing Balm

cleansing balm

Monat Skincare recently launched a cleansing balm, and I’m in love. Oh, and so is my mom. I find it melts off the toughest makeup (even magnetic eyeliner for those hopping on the magnetic lash train). It also feels fantastic on my skin and leaves it soft and bright.  Lastly, it doesn’t leave any residue behind.

The balm uses fruit Alpha Hydroxy acids to brighten and exfoliate without being harsh. It also includes a blend of oils, including their patent-pending Rejuveniqe Oil (aka “liquid gold”).  So, it’s more than just a makeup remover, but also an anti-aging cleansing step.  

Here’s what some other women are saying (based on a 2-week study of 50 female participants ages 25-55):

  • 98% of participants said the face felt smooth and soft
  • 90% of participants felt the skin felt moisturized
  • 88% of participants perceived that the product does not leave residue or film on the skin

Click here to shop the Monat Makeup Vanishing Balm here.  Pro tip: enroll as a VIP customer and grab the Makeup Vanishing Balm and their coveted Dry Shampoo and get free shipping and a free welcome gift!  


So, that’s that. Now, wash your face! But, sincerely, I hope I drove home why you need not go to bed with makeup on at night and provided you with some options to avoid that. Feel free to comment below and tell us about your nighttime skincare routine or reach out if you have any questions.