Splash-free face cleansing methods
March 6, 2016 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Is there a product(s) I can use to cleanse my face at night WITHOUT needing to rinse my face at any point?

I've started wearing sunscreen every morning after my shower and moisturizer (yay!). Now I've started getting clogged pores from not removing the sunscreen at night (boo!). But, I really really hate washing my face over the sink.

Is there a product(s) I can use (toner? makeup remover?) to cleanse my face at night WITHOUT needing to rinse my face at any point? I'm fine with using a damp towel as long as I don't have to splash water at the end / at all.

Price is no object and I don't wear any makeup besides occasional lipstick, so removing Japanese non-waterproof sunscreen is all I need this magical cleansing elixir to do.
posted by serelliya to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a guy, and questions about makeup are not in my wheelhouse, but I'll pass on that the first thing I thought of was wet wipes, as used on a baby's bottom. One does not rinse the baby afterward.... I'd bet there is a product of the same general type meant for adults.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:33 AM on March 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

This Micellar Water
These Makeup Remover Wipes
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:35 AM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have moisturizing/cleansing wipes I use at night as I also hate washing my face in sinks. I have a great "soothing" kind - it's a generic (purple wrapper). Simple also makes several different kinds - exfoliating, moisturizing, ph balancing, etc.

Another option would be the oil cleansing method, in which you remove excess oil using a warm, damp towel.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2016

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can be used without rinsing. From the website:

Directions for use without water: Apply a liberal amount of cleanser to the skin and rub gently. Remove excess with a soft cloth, leaving a thin film on the skin.
posted by jabes at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2016 [7 favorites]

I like Konjac sponges - you just soak it and then rub it all over your face. No rinsing needed!
posted by saturngirl at 11:38 AM on March 6, 2016

I am a dude, but I use Cetaphil (or its generic equivalent) without water. Rub it on a little bit, wipe off with a towel, makes my skin feel pretty clean.
posted by dismas at 11:42 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes. My skin is super sensitive, prone to eczema and rosacea, and even the derm-recommended cleansers (eg, Cerave and Cetaphil) irritate my skin. I wear sunscreen every day, though, so I was getting pretty desperate a couple of years ago until I found the miracle product: Albolene. It's available, usually on the bottom shelf, at Walgreens and CVS. Glop about 2 teaspoons worth (it's a semi-solid substance) onto your face, rub gently in all over your skin, and then wipe off with a damp washcloth. I haven't gotten a single break out since I started using it, and my skin has never looked better.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 11:48 AM on March 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

Definitely micellar water. All drugstores sell it now, but the best is Bioderma. Use two cotton pads, squirt a little on one pad, fold and squish it with the other until they're both wet and then cleanse your face with it.
posted by essexjan at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

You can basically use any cleanser, and then remove it by wiping your face with a damp towel. I have washed my face using all kinds of cleansers, and I never splash my face. I just use a wet washcloth to wet my face, wash it with whatever cleanser I happen to be into at the moment using my hands, and then use the same washcloth to remove the cleanser. You will probably have to rinse the washcloth a couple of times to make sure your final pass isn't just putting soap back onto your face, but you never need to do the splash with anything.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:50 AM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Makeup remover wipes (I like the Neutrogena ones), or a damp washcloth.
posted by MsMolly at 11:53 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just googled "Konjac Sponge" and I'm so glad you asked this question!

Otherwise, I was going to suggest baby wipes. I'm with you, washing with water over a sink suuuuuucks.
posted by jbenben at 11:56 AM on March 6, 2016

I see that people are also recommending various brands of micellar water -- I find this doesn't clean quite as thoroughly as Albolene, but on the rare days I haven't worn sunscreen, I also use micellar water -- my favorite is Vichy Purete Thermale Three-in-One. You can find it at Target or the fancier Walgreens with the sections devoted to foreign skincare. As others have noted, no rinsing required either.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 11:56 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can use Cetaphil with just cotton wool. Use 100% cotton because you will be pulling the skin by cleansing it this way.

I suggest cleansing twice, then going over it eith cotton wool soaked in plain water.
posted by tel3path at 12:03 PM on March 6, 2016

I feel the same and I alternate between two methods: 1) Simple face cleansing cloths are the laziest and easiest but I find they leave behind maybe 5% of what a real cleansing would remove (I know this because I see traces of my tinted moisturizer on the cotton pad I use to apply toner afterward), or 2) use your normal cleanser, any one you prefer (I like Paula's Choice) and then wipe clean with a wet Viva paper towel. I keep a roll in the bathroom for this purpose -- they're super soft and gentle but durable enough that you can totally saturate them with water without shredding or ripping.
posted by telegraph at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I too hate washing my face over the sink (who knew there were so many of us?) and don't wear much/any makeup either beyond a tinted moisturizer/sunscreen. That usually mostly wears off by the end of the night so I just use a wet washcloth. Get it wet, run it over your face, rinse and repeat. Super easy and the nubby fabric of the washcloth seems to help with gentle exfoliation. I tried various wipes, cleansers, etc. but always ended up feeling like there was still some sort of substance/residue on my face (ymmv.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:31 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can use plain old cold cream, removing it with a cloth or facial tissue. I've found that the first several days I use cold cream consistently, I have more breakouts as my skin gets used to it, but then it evens out and my skin is very moisturized.
posted by devinemissk at 1:06 PM on March 6, 2016

I hate hate hate hate splashing water on my face. It's horrible.

Here's some products I've used:
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish - cream cleanser that your remove with a cloth
Julep Cleansing Oil - I remove this with a wet cloth, too.

Lately I've been using The Original Makeup Eraser and it works very well. I wear a full face of makeup every day and this gets everything off.
posted by Amanda B at 1:54 PM on March 6, 2016

I have similar requirements, and I also have really sensitive skin so wipes give me rashes or make me break out.

Enter: Ponds Cold Cream. Seriously, it's an oldie but a goodie. It costs like five dollars. Grandmas use it. It is awesome.

I apply it to my face with one of those wedge-shaped cosmetic sponges. Rub it in a bit. Let it sit a moment. Then, wet a washcloth in very hot water and rub the damp, hot towel against my face. I have about 30 plain white wash cloths so I can use a clean one every night without constantly doing laundry.

I also use a light, water-based, hypoallergenic moisturizer afterward.

I find this whole ritual very nice and relaxing and soothing, and I always do it even when exhausted, unlike the splashy puddle-producing over-the-sink-washing ordeal which I used to dread a lot. My skin looks better than it's ever looked and I get compliments on my complexion all the time.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 2:51 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wear make up including long wearing make up every day. I use a cream cleanser and a wet cloth every day. I cleanse once, wipe with the cloth, apply a bit more cleanser and have another pass. I rinse the cloth after the first cleanse. There is no splashing of any kind involved. When I apply toner afterwards the cotton pad still had slight make up residue after one cleanse hence the double cleanse. My cloths of choice are dirt cheap flannels. I have a large stack of them so I can use a clean one every day and can wait to wash them until I have enough laundry I want to wash on 'hot' for a whole load. I like to use a cream cleanser but you could use cleansing oil or face soap or whatever you like.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:04 PM on March 6, 2016

I've never splashed water on my face, the way I was taught to wash my face from my mom is using a damp towel, wet and then wringed out. I usually use really hot water, and then place the damp towel over my face so it can steam for a bit, before continuing with cleansing.

Courtesy of the knowledgeable peeps at /r/AsianBeauty, I now do double cleansing, and the least messy thing for me is to use cleansing sherbert/balms, which are like a soft solid that then melts on contact with your skin. Wipe off with damp towel. I then follow up with a foaming cleanser, like Cetaphil, Cerave, or Aveeno, and then wipe off with damp towel. Done! You can shop around online for the cheapest prices, I usually get them from ebay.

Cleansing Sherbert/Balms: (Reviews)
Nooni Snowflake Balm Cleanser
Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
Review: Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet + Oil Cleansing Tips
posted by yueliang at 3:27 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing a micellar water if you don't have any long wearing makeup/sunscreen to remove, and a cleansing oil/balm/cream if you do (possibly followed up by a micellar water). I've tried several micellar waters and Simple and Bioderma are my favorites - I can't tell them apart. Simple is my go-to because it's cheap and easily available.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:21 PM on March 6, 2016

I also hate splashing water on my face, so I use a washcloth to wash my face. A microfiber one will clean best and is good for your skin--some say you don't even need to use a product with a microfiber towel. I like Neutrogena Deep Clean. A pricier one to try if you don't like that is Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser.

Getting my hair wet/soapy by accident while washing my face also drives me nuts, so a hair wrap like this one might help if it bugs you too.
posted by capricorn at 5:10 PM on March 6, 2016

I'm a big fan of hot cloth cleansing, as described here by Sali Hughes.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:46 PM on March 6, 2016

I started using baby wipes as an exhausted new mom and was delighted to discover that they work great, are way cheaper than products marketed for facial cleansing and bonus - I haven't had a single breakout since I started doing this. They don't dry my face out like facial cleansers do (even gentle ones) so they don't stimulate overproduction of oil.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:58 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just in to note: please only use babywipes/face wipes that are biodegradable and don't flush em.
posted by greenish at 2:53 AM on March 7, 2016

I just wet a washcloth and wipe everything off with that. No splashing. Have you already tried that and it's not doing it for you or...?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:47 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cold cream, albolene, or oil of your choosing, put on dry face and wiped off with a warm wet cloth.
posted by WeekendJen at 6:01 PM on March 7, 2016

If I read that right, you're using moisturizer (no sunscreen), then putting sunscreen on top of that.

If that's the case, have you tried a moisturizer with sunscreen in it? Alba Botanica's worked pretty well for me (darker green tube, not the neon green one). That was fairly pricey, so moved to Cetaphil, which is a little less-light on the skin, but also works well.

Pretty much everything else seems to irritate my skin, but either of those has been a winner.
posted by talldean at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2016

talidean: I've tried many many moisturizer-with-sunscreen products but I need a sunscreen with only chemical blockers to avoid white cast. I haven't tried Alba Botanica though and it looks like all of their active ingredients are chemical. That said, I'm very happy with my current combo of CeraVe PM (didn't like the AM version with SPF) and dries-to-invisible Japanese sunscreen.
posted by serelliya at 6:38 PM on March 9, 2016

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