Prev Next

Skincare Shortcuts

By Amalah

Hi Amalah-
I love your column! In fact, I found it when I was searching for information about Philosophy, my favorite skincare line. I generally have a very good routine РPurity Made Simple, Philosophy Help me, moisturizer, etc. But, sometimes I feel lazy, and it’s too much trouble to clip back my bangs and do the whole routine (so simple, yet so hard!). So my question is if there is a good facial cleansing cloth that you can recommend for when I don’t want to go through the shebang but also don’t want to sleep in my makeup. And not one of those cloths that you have to get wet and rinse off, which totally defeats the purpose. If only Philosophy made a Purity cloth-I’d be all over that! And maybe they do, but I haven’t seen anything like that on Sephora. So that’s why I have turned to you, my beauty guru! I have pretty good skin and would probably consider it normal, if that helps you at all.

Ah, the endless search for a good skincare shortcut. No, Philosophy doesn’t make an all-in-one pre-moistened Purity cloth, although I think you’ve just conceived of their next big blockbuster product, if anyone from the line is reading. (Which I doubt, because hellooooooooooo, I’ve been proselytizing about Philosophy for YEARS and you know how many free samples I’ve gotten from them? None. No free samples.) They do make a mini-wipe version of their Microdelivery Peel for those of us who are too lazy to keep up with a weekly deep treatment (me! me! meeeeee!), but I’ve never tried them, and I doubt they are really what you’re looking for, which is more of a gentle make-up remover/cleanser sort of thing.
facial cleansing clothsWhich in that case, no need to stalk the hallowed but high-priced aisles of Sephora. Look no further than the drugstore brands: Pond’s Clean Sweep. Olay Daily Facials. Dove Facial Cleansing Cloths. Aveeno Positively Radiant. Biore. These all fit the bill for the occasional slacking on your skincare regimen.
I’m partial to the Dove and Olay offerings, since they are available in fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic versions — but really, you could probably just go with whatever brand already has your loyalty. Most are alcohol-free, safe for eye makeup, etc. Just watch out for fragrance and anything that claims to fight oil — that will be a very drying cloth, believe it or not. These things can pack quite a punch for something that seems like a skincare copout.
Are they appropriate for permanently kicking your regular face wash to the curb? Eh, probably not. I’ve used them and I don’t care what the packaging says — these do not cleanse your face as deeply as a lathering wash and a washcloth. Hot and cold water are good for opening and closing your pores. And while the sensitive skin versions can be preferable for someone with REALLY dry skin (for whom water is too harsh, but for whom Cetaphil doesn’t remove enough make-up), they can be very drying if you don’t read the fine print. And duh, these do not replace your moisturizer or night cream.
But! I like them. I like being lazy sometimes too. A lot of days I don’t even wear makeup, and thus breaking out the Purity wash and everything seems excessive, but I do want a little freshening up before I go to bed. They’re great for travel. They’re better than using a baby wipe (shut up, don’t you judge me). And my goodness, they are inexpensive. Hooraaaay inexpensive!


Published January 9, 2009. Last updated January 9, 2009.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • Stephanie

    January 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I have used regular old baby wipes with great success, too. They’re very soft, gentle and hypo-allergenic and they’re cheaper than the drugstore face cleansing cloths.

  • mtngray

    January 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    After a day taking care of my two young sons, I’m always too tired/lazy to do the whole skin care thing. So these wipes are a lifesaver. Seriously. They seem to work pretty well for me. And they’re cheap. And frankly, I tear each sheet in half and double the amount I have. I’ve tried several brands…garnier, biore, dove, olay. They all seem to work the same to me.

  • Someone Being Me

    January 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Remember that you can always change doctors. Don’t be afraid to shop around if you don’t like the first one you pick. I tried a new highly recommended OB/GYN a few years ago and left her office in tears over her horrible bedside manner and terrible wait time. I kept doctor shopping and have been lucky enough to love both the OB/GYN that delivered my son and the one I am seeing for my current pregnancy (my insurance changed). I know you say you aren’t comfortable with a male doctor but I didn’t think I would be either until I had the horrible experience with the female doctor. I’ve had 3 female OB/GYNs and 2 males and I would take the guys hands down over the females. My biggest criteria on choosing besides personal recommendations is how long they have been practicing and what they specialize in (i.e. high risk pregnancy, infertility, etc). Most doctors have that info listed on their website or on the insurance website.

  • Lisa M

    January 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    The only one that I haven’t liked is the Noxema brand cleansing cloth. Left a film on the skin (and the scent…like regular noxema gone bad). But I’ve tried the Dove, Ponds, Garnier and Biore and I’ve thought they all do an acceptable job for short term use. I wouldn’t want to use them everyday for a month, though.

  • Someone Being Me

    January 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Crap. I meant to leave my comment on the previous entry. Sorry about that!

  • Liss

    January 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Two words: Baby wipes. I’ve used the more expensive “makeup” cloths and they honestly don’t do as good a job as good old baby wipes. Made for sensitive skin, just enough texture to get the dirt and makeup off, and about fifty times cheaper.
    Most of the fancy cleansing cloths made my skin feel either completely parched or like there was a filmy residue left on my face. Baby wipes make me feel…clean.

  • amandabelle

    January 9, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    long time reader, first time commenter!
    Sephora makes a good, basic cleaning cloth. I use them for biweekly midday gym trips, cleaning off before going back to work, and they seem to work just fine. My skin is kind of dry & cranky, and they never upset it.

  • Amy M

    January 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I highly recommend the Boots No. 7 Quick Thinking 4 in 1 wipes from Target. They cost $6.99 for 30, work great at cleansing and removing makeup, and don’t irritate my sensitive skin.

  • Catherine S

    January 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    How true it is that once things are said and done, the plan is very often not how things go. My friend who planned all along to have an epidural and also gave birth 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital without her doctor and without any pain meds. I, who was planning a natural birth, no meds, etc, has an emergency CS due to a placental abruption. I was really glad my husband talked me out of a home birth:)
    As for suggestions for finding a doctor. This may seem a little crazy to some, but I was a recruiter for medical practices and it was amazing how you could tell so much about the practice by actually going a seeing them. Usually OBGYNs are clustered around hospitals is private physician buildings. It might be a good idea to take a day and go see some offices around the hospitals that you most likely prefer. Just walk in and start asking the front office staff your questions. You will be able to see the offices and the staff. Typically if the office is clean and the staff is open and friendly about answering your questions, the doctor will be of the same style. If the office looks dirty and disorganised and not open to answering your questions, then that may be an office you want to avoid.
    Also, another good question to ask that will also give you an idea of the doctor and the office and how well run they are is how long is the typical wait for an appointment. If their average wait is an hour plus, usually that means that the office is not very well organized.
    In the long run, you just really want someone who is respectful of your time, needs, and health concerns, and someone who can help you make unexpected and sometimes difficult decisions about you and your babys healthcare.

  • Lindsey

    January 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I was at Sephora last week, and got a sample of Purity in my bag. And not one of those little plastic pocket samples either! No way! A real, actual, you-can-use-this-for-a-month-sized sample. Score!

  • Rebecca

    January 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Baby wipes. Seriously. I use the purity cleanser at night in the shower, but I hate washing my face in the sink in the morning. So I use baby wipes to clean my face and then follow with hope in a bottle. My favorites are the CVS soft cloths. They are super gentle and so much cheaper than facial cleansing cloths.

  • Sara

    January 9, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I am fourth-ing the baby wipes recommendation. Parent’s Choice “real cloth” newborn wipes are the absolute bomb; they’re thick and soft, just moist enough to clean without leaving you all filmy, and they’re unscented and hypoallergenic. Win!

  • Robin

    January 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I like the Dove exfoliating ones. You can get a good price at Costco – and you can use the non-exfoliating side if your skin is being cranky.
    I have not tried regular baby wipes.

  • Shelley

    January 12, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I am currently in love with the Pond’s Clean Sweeps. I’ve been using them everyday for about 2 weeks now and for me that’s a huge success as I usually never wash my face so I’m going to pat myself on the back for now. Maybe one day I’ll grow up and use actual face wash and water and whatnot. I love the way they smell and they leave my face feeling great, I do moisturize after so at least I’m doing that right!

  • JennyMooMeow

    January 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve tried Olay and Dove cloths and they are horrible!!! They made me break out after 2 days. At first I thought it was something else so after I recovered, I’d try them again and get the same thing. Just because they claim to be fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, blah blah, keep in mind they are not for everyone (like me). Go buy a cheap bar soap like Basis and wash your face in the shower instead.

  • Stephanie Hendricks

    January 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I like the Olay sensitive skin wipes. The Pond’s clean sweep leaves my face feeling slimy. I used to like Biore, but they changed the formula, and the new ones smell strange to me — like burnt wax or something.