Care, a line of clean beauty skincare essentials, has five core products designed to provide a simplified daily routine for our skin. Their Soft Sweep Micellar Cleanser + Toner was recently released in a biodegradable towelette formula, and Care generously sent us some of these towelettes, packaged in duos so there’s one to “Start the day fresh” and another to “Wipe the day away.” We put the claims that one wipe is “an all-in-one facial cleaner and toner, no rinsing required” to the test.
Price: $15 for 20 towelettes
Find them HERE
Tested May-June 2020
I love using a cleansing towelette at the end of the day, usually for one-step makeup removal. To me, this is so much easier than pulling out cotton balls to use with a liquid eye makeup remover or keeping track of a tiny spatula to scoop out a cleansing balm. I’ve used plenty of these other products and many of them are great, I just prefer the ease of a wipe. This is a double-edged sword, however, because thinking about the number of wipes that are used daily and then sit in landfills literally keeps me up at night. I’m always hunting for biodegradable versions to ease my environmental conscience, and Lea and I have even reviewed biodegradable Almay wipes before (read that here). Needless to say, when I got the Care Soft Sweep Towelettes, I was excited to give them a try.
I have to say right off the bat that the “How to Use” instructions on Care’s website and the wipe packaging are in contradiction, and this is a big problem. The text on the back of each wipe says “Sweep across face, eyes and neck to remove impurities and light makeup.” In contrast, the website says “Use towelette to wipe off dirt, oils, sunscreen and light makeup. Avoid immediate eye area. Not formulated to remove eye make-up or mascara.” Wait, so don’t use these on the eyes like the packaging says? Care, please, please put the same instructions on the wipe as you do the website. I’m a strangely detail oriented person who likes to read all about a product before I use it, which is why I noticed this in advance and steered clear of using it on my eyes. If I went by the instructions on the package alone, I would have swept this across my eyes to remove mascara and I bet this would have made them burn or cause some other adverse effect as these wipes are “not formulated” for this purpose.
Moving away from the issues with the “How to” text, I do like how these wipes are packaged. They come in packs of two, one for morning and one for night. I think this makes taking these on a trip super convenient. Gone for three days? Pop three wipes in that overnight bag.
In order to really test these properly, I committed to using only these wipes to cleanse my skin morning and night for four days in a row. Each wipe is a good size, not too big, and you can turn it over to get additional clean surface area (I used one side for each half of my face).
A gentle wipe over the skin (avoiding the eye area!), and my face felt fresh. My skin was tacky to the touch after using this, which I’m not crazy about, but the feeling went away after I applied my moisturizer on top. I could definitely feel the toner working in this formula. I experienced a cooling, tingly effect on my skin, but it would come on 2-3 minutes after using the towelette on my face. I also didn’t feel this all over, usually only in a few areas, like on my cheeks under the eye area.
On no-makeup days, using these morning and evening was easy; my face felt clean enough without rinsing, and I didn’t have any negative effects or breakouts. When I did have some light makeup on (just concealer, cream blush and brow pencil), the wipe did a good job at removing that product but I was tempted to use a second cleanser. I didn’t, and I totally survived.
These aren’t a 100% win for me just because, in my routine, I really want a towelette that is safe enough to use on the eyes as well. I wear at least mascara most days and wish I didn’t have to take the extra step to remove that separately with a makeup remover and then cleanse with a towelette. I will say that what the towelette does do, it does really well. These are a great option to take along for any kind of travel or to stash in my purse for unexpected emergencies. I actually had a bad stomach bug the week I was testing these wipes, and it was a godsend not to have to stand at the sink and try to wash my face, but still feel fresh and clean by sweeping one of these over my skin from the comfort of my bed.
These wipes won’t take the place of my face wash and cleansers on an everyday basis, but I would definitely rely on them to get the job done in a pinch; their portability and the fact that they’re biodegradable add to their usefulness as well.
Liz’s Verdict: Great for travel and portable cleansing, although I’m disappointed the towelettes aren’t formulated to remove mascara or eye makeup.
I don’t like or use makeup removing wipes in general, so these were going to be a hard sell for me. My issue with remover wipes is that their claims are always too good to be true. Typically wipes like these leave behind a film, irritate my eyes and contain alcohol that dries out my skin. As a result of my apprehension, Liz ended up trying these before I did. Thank goodness she did because I absolutely did not read the part where it mentions NOT to use them around the eye area. Removing eye makeup would literally have been the first thing I’d have done. I’ll admit after hearing this I had a “what’s the point then?” moment, but since I agreed to write a dual post on them, I trudged on.
I should note that these are actually called towelettes and this seems to be an important distinction. The texture isn’t soft and absorbent like a wipe, but more like WetOnes antibacterial hand towelettes- thinner, smoother and a little transparent. They’re generously sized so I had no problems rotating the towelette around to use a clean area for each quadrant of my face. Additionally, these cleansing towelettes are individually wrapped, which would make them especially easy to travel with, and I suspect will keep them moist and bacteria free compared to the pop-up packs of their competitors.
I used these wipes several times at the end of the day, both on makeup and no-makeup days (since they claim to also function as a toner) and was pleasantly surprised to find that they did not irritate or dry out my skin, nor did they leave behind any icky film. They don’t have any added fragrance (so no notable scent) and because I used them to remove lipstick, I can say that they don’t have a taste either (thank goodness).
I’m thankful that I didn’t wake up with any little breakouts, which sometimes happens when I use just a makeup wipe and don’t follow up with a proper wash. I have a theory that makeup wipes typically only smear around your products and don’t actually cleanse the skin. To test this theory with the Care towelettes, I removed the makeup on just half of my face (excluding the eye area) and then followed up with a wipe down using a cotton round and my usual toner. There was almost nothing left behind after using the Care towelette! My waxy eyebrow pencil, waterproof foundation and pigmented lip pencil were all gone.
The most notable thing about these towelettes is the cooling sensation they leave behind. It’s probably my imagination but somehow this makes my face feel cleaner. This icy cool led me to question the ingredient list- what could cause this pleasant tingle? Fortunately I didn’t find (drying) alcohol anywhere on the list. I did find several moisturizing humectants (glycerin and butylene glycol), as well as a gentle surfactant (decyl glucoside, used in baby shampoo), and finally, fifth on the list, a cooling derivative of menthol (menthyl lactate). Other notable ingredients include willow bark, aloe, licorice root, royal jelly (from honey bees), chamomile, and black and green tea. Based on these ingredients, I’m inclined to agree with Care’s claims that these towelettes are “…rich in antioxidants that protect skin…attract moisture to the skin’s surface creating a protective barrier…[and are a] gentle, natural exfoliator that aids in cell turnover, clearing pores and relieving dullness.”
I expected to say that because I can’t use these towelettes to remove my eye makeup they’re useless. I also expected to say that because you don’t rinse your face after using them, they don’t effectively cleanse and thus should be reserved only for “in a pinch” situations. As it turns out, I really enjoy the cooling sensation they leave behind and feel like they do a darn good job of removing even my waterproof products. I’ll absolutely use up the few I have left and am seriously considering buying a bag online, even just to use as toner. Because the mostly natural ingredients are already loaded onto the towelette, it saves me digging out a cotton round. Bonus, they come in a paper pouch- no plastic.