The Best Face Wipes for Oily Skin

(Last Updated On: September 27, 2018)

With our busy lives, we crave convenient beauty products, and when it comes to convenience, it’s hard to beat facial cleansing wipes. How did we manage without them in the past?

These soft, disposable cloths cleanse, tone & hydrate, getting rid of grime and gunk even when you’re miles away from the nearest bathroom.

Like any beauty essential, facial wipes can pretty rubbish, or they can be totally awesome. It all depends on the brand and the formulation!

When you have oily skin, the regular, basic facial wipes won’t get the job done, so let’s get the lowdown on facial wipes, and find out which brands made it onto our best buy list.

Why Facial Wipes Are Essential if You Have Oily Skin?

When you have oily skin, you need more powerful cleansing than the wipes formulated for normal skin can provide. If your wipe doesn’t completely remove the oil, it will just smear it around, and transfer oil to areas of your face that weren’t oily to begin with. And you don’t want that to happen!

A good facial wipe will remove all of the oil and leave your skin clean and refreshed without stimulating any further oil production.

Natural Ingredients Are Your Friend

Natural ingredients help to condition and soothe your skin, and some can even minimize excess oil production, fight bacteria, control inflammation, and nourish your skin.

Wipes that incorporate natural ingredients get extra bonus points from us, as do biodegradable wipes.

Facial Cleansing Wipes Don’t Eliminate the Need For Your Regular Cleansers or Washes.

Facial Cleansing Wipes

Face wipes aren’t a substitute for your normal cleansing routine, they’re an addition to it. Even the best wipes will leave some traces of cleansing residue behind, and while that’s okay for a while, a heavy build up could cause irritation.

If you stopped washing your face and relied on cleansing wipes only, you would soon begin to see problems on your skin.

If you have access to a bathroom when you use a cleansing wipe you should take the opportunity to rinse with water.

But don’t worry if you’re using a facial wipe to freshen up on a flight, or clean off the sweat when you’re rushing from the gym. As long as you cleanse your face properly later on, your skin will be fine.

And yes, cleaning wipes are a great time saver that takes up next to no room in your luggage. So there’s no need to cart your regular assortment of cleansers, scrubs and toners with you on vacations or business trips. Facial wipes are perfect for these occasions, just remember to rinse!

Facial Wipes And Makeup Removing Wipes Are Not Always The Same

Some facial wipes can pull double duty, able to cleanse away dirt & oil and eat through your makeup. But it’s important to make sure that you pick the right wipes if you need to remove makeup.

Normal facial wipes are designed to take off surface dirt, sweat and oil, and the better wipes will also penetrate more deeply to thoroughly remove the oil and dirt from your pores.

It isn’t impossible to remove makeup with a normal cleansing wipe but you’ll need to use a lot more elbow grease to get the job done, and all of that rubbing and scrubbing will damage your skin.

In fact, harsh rubbing to remove eye makeup (especially waterproof products) with unsuitable wipes contributes to the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin around the eyes.

Makeup removing wipes have a different job to do,. These wipes have to dissolve the ingredients that allow your makeup to stay put, and because of this they are much stronger (and often harsher) cleansers. They have to be or they would just smear your makeup around on your face.

In our reviews we’ve noted which wipes are suitable for makeup removal.

Facial Wipes Aren’t Just For Your Face

If you have oily skin on your neck, chest or back, you can use facial wipes to cleanse and refresh those areas during the day, instead of having to wait for your evening shower.

Removing oil build up will help to prevent embarrassing breakouts, and if you suffer from body acne, an extra cleanse midway through your day could make a big difference to your skin’s appearance.

Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Pink Grapefruit

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Burt’s Bees were one of the pioneers of all natural skincare and these thick, soft, cleansing wipes don’t disappoint.

Formulated for normal to oily skin, the addition of grapefruit seed oil and aloe leaf extract ensures a thorough and hydrating cleanse without leaving behind heavy residue.

Suitable for everyday cleansing and makeup removal, these glycerin enriched wipes will leave your skin soft, clean and fresh, and they won’t irritate your skin or sting your eyes.

These are generously sized towelettes, so you’ll have no problem cleansing your face and neck with one wipe.

Our only gripe with these wipes is the lack of the wonderful honey that made Burt’s Bees such a well loved brand.

Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.

Recommended for cleansing oily skin and for removing makeup.

Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes For Oily Skin with Aloe, Bamboo and Green Tea

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These luxurious facial wipes pack a 4 in 1 punch. Not only do these 100% natural wipes cleanse, tone and hydrate, they exfoliate too, leaving your skin clean, fresh and smooth.

Ursa Major’s advanced cleaning and hydrating formula is bursting with ingredients that your skin will love, including:

  • Green tea
  • Willow bark
  • Birch sap
  • Aloe
  • Witch hazel
  • Rosemary
  • Geranium
  • Glycerin
  • Bilberry
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense extract

These individually packaged wipes are gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, they won’t irritate your eyes, and they don’t leave an unpleasant taste on your lips.

Oil cleansing extracts of witch hazel, orange and lemon work in concert with exfoliating willow bark and to leave your skin remarkably clean and bright. While soothing aloe, lavender, rosemary, geranium, and birch sap calm redness and condition skin.

Recommended for thorough cleansing and freshening of oily skin.

Not recommended for makeup removal.

These facial wipes made from bamboo are 100% biodegradable.

Neutrogena Oil Free Cleansing Wipes

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Neutrogena is a skin care brand that’s built up a lot of trust with consumers over the years because they consistently produce high quality products at affordable prices.

The gentle cleansing action of these non comedogenic wipes will leave your skin squeaky clean and makeup free without causing irritation to your skin or your eyes.

Special cleansing ingredients reach deep into your pores to remove pockets of oil, and salicylic acid helps to keep breakouts under control, making these wipes are a good choice if you have acne.

Enriched with skin soothing frankincense and cooling menthol, these wipes will help to reduce redness and inflammation, while the addition of grapefruit extract will brighten a dull complexion and combat excess oiliness.

Recommended for cleansing oily skin and for removing makeup, although you might have problems if you need to remove waterproof mascara.

Not recommended for very sensitive skin.

Blum Naturals Daily Combination/Oily Skin Towelettes, with Tea Tree Oil

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If your oily skin causes you regular breakouts, you’ll love these wipes because they incorporate two potent acne fighting ingredients – salicylic acid, and tea tree oil.

Salicylic acid, derived from willow bark, is great at penetrating oil clogged pores, and because it’s a natural exfoliant, it can remove the clumps of dead skin cells that provide food for bacteria.

Tea tree oil is an acne fighting essential oil which has been studied for its ability to combat the most common acne causing bacteria – p.acnes.

The inclusion of these two ingredients makes these wipes one of the best wipes for acne sufferers.

Blum Naturals have also enriched these cleansing towelettes with sage extract. Sage is a great toner for oily skin because it helps to regulate oil production and reduce inflammation.

Aloe leaf and glycerin finish the list of lovely natural ingredients that you’ll find in these wipes. Aloe soothes and hydrates, and glycerin softens your skin and helps to lock in moisture.

Generously sized, you’ll be able to cleanse your face, neck and chest with one wipe.

Recommended for cleansing oily or combination & breakout prone skin.

Recommended for removing makeup, although not completely effective for removing waterproof eye makeup.

effective for removing waterproof eye makeup

Ogee Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths with Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

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Ogee’s biodegradable facial cleansing cloths have a microporous surface which makes them extra effective cleansers,. The microporous surface grabs onto dirt and grease and prevents it from straying back onto your skin.

Formulated without alcohol or detergents, these wipes are gentle on your skin, yet powerful enough to remove your makeup.

Alpha hydroxy acids break down dead skin cells and naturally exfoliate your skin to leave your face bright and fresh.

Aloe vera and honey, hydrate and calm inflammation, while protein rich, organic oat extract moisturizes and nourishes your skin.

Organic jojoba seed oil helps to regulate oil production, and ylang ylang and geranium oils revitalize your complexion.

Because these wipes don’t use any surfactant detergents, you need to press them against your skin before you wipe so that the natural cleansers have time to break down your makeup.

Certified organic, non comedogenic, paraben free, synthetic fragrance free, and biodegradable.

Recommended for cleansing oily skin and for makeup removal.

May irritate very sensitive eyes.

Simple Facial Wipes With Vitamin B5

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Simple are an everyday skincare brand with products that always perform well at very pocket friendly prices.

Formulated to be kind to even the most sensitive skin, Simple facial wipes don’t use harsh chemicals, or artificial fragrances that can irritate and damage the skin.

Considering how gentle these wipes are, it’s surprising how effective they are at removing makeup.

The cloths have an exfoliating side which is perfect for deep cleansing and a smoother side that’s just right for the final wipe over to remove all traces of makeup, oil and cleanser.

Enriched with vitamin B5, vitamin E, and glycerin to soften, moisturize, and nourish skin, Simple facial wipes also contain aloe vera to hydrate, soothe, and protect.

Because of the exfoliating texture on the cloth you should avoid using that side over and around your eyes.

Recommended for cleansing and refreshing oily, sensitive skin.

Recommended for makeup removal.

Hello Cider Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Acne Treatment Face Wipes

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Formulated for acne prone skin, these facial wipes are excellent oil removers and all round cleansers.

Their 4 in 1 action cleanses, exfoliates, tones and moisturizes, but it’s the inclusion of some outstanding floral hydrosols that makes these wipes really special.

When essential oils are extracted from plant material, the water-soluble molecules and acids are left behind after the distillation is complete, but these aren’t a waste product, they’re hydrosols and they’re wonderful skin care ingredients in their own right.

Queen Marie Antoinette, used to having the very best that money could buy, was a faithful devotee of orange blossom hydrosol, relying on the beautifully fragranced liquid to keep her skin soft and flawless.

Along with orange blossom hydrosol, Hello Cider wipes incorporate:

  • Tea tree hydrosol – to kill bacteria.
  • Rose hydrosol – to soothe irritation and reduce redness.
  • Chamomile hydrosol – to calm inflammation.
  • Lemongrass hydrosol – to kill bacteria and brighten skin.

All of these blend together to promote healthy, toned, hydrated skin, and to reduce acne, and combat the aging effects of pollution.

The hydrosols are a superb addition to the main ingredient which is organic apple cider vinegar.

It might sound strange but apple cider vinegar is an excellent, non drying cleanser which easily removes oil and grime and helps to restore the pH balance of your skin.

Generously sized, and individually wrapped for convenience, these wipes are highly effective and very affordable.

Recommended for cleansing oily and acne prone skin.

Recommended for removing makeup but not waterproof makeup.

Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Cloths

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Almost good enough to eat! Kaia Naturals cleansing cloths are enriched with lemon, honey, vitamins B, C & E, and amino acids, and will leave your skin beautifully clean and hydrated.

These deliciously scented cloths are smaller than some of the others we’ve looked at but they’re big enough to clean your face. You might need to use two if you want to wipe over your neck and shoulders.

A nice thing about these wipes is that even though they’re tough enough to cut through your makeup, they don’t leave any cleansing residue behind.

Recommended for cleansing oily skin and for removing makeup.

Made from natural, unbleached bamboo – 100% biodegradable. Free from synthetic fragrance, parabens and alcohol.

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes

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Witch hazel is a fantastic, natural astringent well known for tightening pores and soothing inflammation. And this ages old botanical extract is also a really great cleanser.

You’ll be amazed at just how much grime witch hazel removes from your skin – even if you’ve recently washed your face.

If you’ve ever used witch hazel before you’ll know how good it is at removing oil, so good in fact that it can leave skin feeling too dry. But the clever folks at Dickinson’s, have you covered on that front, because they’ve added rich aloe leaf extract, which is a hydrating, non oily, natural moisturizer.

Witch hazel is also an effective bug bite soother, so if you’re ever bitten or stung by an insect, whip out a witch hazel wipe for instant relief.

These wipes are generously sized (5” by 7”), with each one large enough to cleanse your face and your neck. And because they’re individually wrapped, you only need to take one wipe with you instead of the whole package.

The only potential problem with witch hazel is it could cause irritation if you have sensitive eyes – so avoid the eye area if this is the case.

Recommended for deep pore cleaning and oil removal.

Not recommended for makeup removal.

Some Tips For Using Facial Wipes

Some Tips For Using Facial Wipes

Don’t scrub or roughly drag any cleansing wipe over your face. Wipes don’t have the lubricating properties of liquid or cream cleansers, and repeated dragging will damage your skin. Use small, gentle, circular motions and work over your face and neck using one side of the cloth. Use the other side of the cloth for the final pass.

Leave the oiliest part of your face until last to avoid smearing oil across the rest of your face.

If you have a lot of makeup to remove and one wipe didn’t get your face as clean as you hoped, don’t skimp, use a second wipe to get your skin properly clean.

Always use a lip moisturizer after you cleanse with a wipe. Even though the wipes we recommend are non drying and gentle, the skin on your lips doesn’t have oil glands like the rest of your face, and unprotected lips are prone to drying and cracking. The moisturizers in the wipes aren’t rich enough to protect your lips. This is particularly important if you’ll be heading out into cold, windy weather

Your wipes will last longer if you keep the package in a ziplock bag. Often the package seals just don’t work well enough to keep the wipes moist over longer periods of time, and there’s nothing more frustrating than going to grab a wipe and pulling out an almost dry cloth.

If you use one of the brands with larger wipes, you can try cutting the wipes in half to get more bang for your buck.

Never, ever, flush your wipes. Not even the biodegradable ones. Biodegradable wipes break down over time in compost, they don’t break down in the sewer. If you flush your wipes, you could clog your own sewer line and be faced with a costly repair. And once they get into the main sewer, wipes congregate and catch fat and other nastiness, and are a major cause of fat bergs.


“This article is due to be re-visited, proofread and updated a maximum of 3 years from its original upload date by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also is in charge of page design.”

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.