Can you sufficiently remove makeup without product? Many cleansing-cloth devotees believe you can. The idea is that a specific fine weave of microfibre, when soaked in plain water and wrung out, can remove even waterproof mascara, long-wear foundation, dirt and oil, without the aid of cleanser or face wash. I’ll meet them halfway and concede that if you can stand the feel of microfibre, the cloths are great as a first step, lifting the worst of it before knuckling down to the real business of cleansing, much how you’d use a micellar water or wipe. It’s where I deploy the brilliantly useful Face Halo microfibre makeup remover pad (£7.50) after a photoshoot or event that requires heavy makeup. Think of the microfibre step, if you will, as shedding your clothes before a shower.
The most famous in the field is MakeUp Eraser (£17). This well‑made, pleasingly large cloth is available in heaps of designs and colours, including solid black to hide any gross makeup stains (I confess I prefer a white cloth so I can see what I’m removing in all its deliciously mucky glory, but I’m also someone who watches hours of surgical blackhead popping for entertainment, so your mileage may vary). Each side is different in texture – the fine nap is for cleansing, while the longer nap on the reverse is for exfoliation (I still strongly believe a flannel makes a better job of this, so if you’re already a hot-cloth-cleansing fan, don’t switch).
What I prefer about the Cleanse Off Mitt (€5.95), but shippable worldwide) is its honest messaging. Irish skincare guru Jennifer Rock invented this blue microfibre mitt, not because she believes it’s as effective as proper cleansing, but because she knows it’s a damn sight better than using environmentally unsound cleansing wipes; her goal is to lure their devotees towards something more efficacious and ethical. Microfibre itself is not an environmentally friendly fabric, but it is reusable for up to five years or 1,000 machine washes, eliminating the need for countless disposable, and less effective, cotton wool discs and wipes, as well as packaged cleansing products. And so, like everything these days, it’s a question of compromise over whatabouttery. Even for the cleansing wipe averse, Rock’s tactile mitt, made from thinner fabric than the others I tried, makes a fast pre-cleanse for removing the bulk of makeup, giving a relatively clear canvas for a true deep cleanse with balm.
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