Wipes: The Secret To All Vacation Packing


WIPES: They Are Great. Great for travel, great for gym, great for saying "meh, I would prefer to bathe from the comfort of my couch while wearing this tracksuit," great for everything. Should we switch to a face wipes-based economy? Maybe start pegging our currency to sunscreen towelette futures? I'm no economist, but if my recent experiences are any indication, the answer is a resounding "Probably Not, But Still... Wipes Are Pretty Awesome."

Once upon a time in a kingdom exactly as far away as the airport, a girl snuck through security with a ton of beauty stuff in her carryon...and zero Zip Locs. Why? Because she had replaced literally all her products with wipes. That girl was me (Surprise; it's Lacey! Hello, friends!), and now I'm here to preach the good word.

The list below has the wipes I use when I travel, but when I get a rec from you I'm always super excited to try it. So if you have an amazing wipe I missed, please do add on in the comments!

Best Perfume Wipes
Tiny glass atomizers and roll-aboard bags do not mix, hence the genius of Pinrose's Petal Packs. They look like after-BBQ wet naps but smell like classy lady fragrances, and they've saved my backpack (and my Le Labo Jasmin 17) from disaster several times. I'm a big fan of Moonlight Gypsy, a lovely rose-infused incense that wears all day without being overwhelming, but I also hear rave reviews about Pillowtalk Poet. If you're going somewhere warm, it's also excellent for ladies (like, ahem, myself) who have renounced antiperspirant in favor of natural deo. If you're on the border of Funkytown, these things will steer you safely back to Smell Good-Landia.

Best Sunscreen Wipes
Sunscreen in a wipe is just such a good idea for vacations. You're going to need more than a couple measly ounces if you're slathering it on, right? So I usually just throw a pack of these broad spectrum, mineral, non-nano SPF 30 Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes in my bag. They're really gentle, they don't leave that chalky cast on skin the way some physical sunblocks do, and having them with me really encourages me to be vigilant with reapplication. I do have concerns about the fact that I'm throwing away 20 wipes over the course of a trip. BUT having biodegradable wipes go into the trash isn't any more wasteful than tossing a huge plastic bottle into your hotel room's trash (hopefully you'll be able to recycle, but that's not universally available).

Best Face Wipes
When it comes to face wipes, I'm of two minds. The best (best!) ones I've ever used are Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Cloths. They solve one of my biggest issues with Cetaphil, which is that it doesn't quiiiite cleanse enough on its own. With the wipe there's a gentle physical exfoliation, so you truly do get completely bare skin with moisture barrier intact. You also use way, way less product, which is nice.

But Cetaphil isn't exactly paraben free, and it's chock full of SLS, too. So hard as it is, I'm trying to break the habit. During my last trip, I switched over to Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes, which are equally amazing and full of certified organic goodness. They smell like rose geranium and juniper, they feel a little astringent in a pleasant, non-drying way, and even the box they come in was created using wind power and post-consumer paper. The only downside is that they're individually wrapped, which puts a huge damper on any feel-good, "I'm saving the world one face washing at a time" stuff you might otherwise be experiencing.

Best Body Wipes
No longer are we limited to Boogie Wipes, Wet Ones, and the off-brand squishy cotton packages of yore. These days, you name it and somebody's soaked a piece of cloth in it and sealed it up in vacuum packets for resale. Which is why it's strange that great body wipes are still kinda hard to come by. After a lot of searching, I've decided on Heritage Store Castor Clean Towelettes. They're natural, simple (basically just witch hazel and baking soda), portable, gentle, and cheap. They don't smell like anything, they get sweat and gunk off you, and they don't have any harsh surfactants, which is nice for sensitive-skinned peeps.

Best Lotion Wipes
There are a couple brands that make lotion-infused wipes, but for my money I like either Pacifica or Lotion Lab. Pacifica's lotion wipes smell like a tropical vacation (Lemon Blossom scent FTW), while the Lotion Lab Shea and Cocoa wipes smell like absolutely nothing at all. Both, however, are nicely sans parabens!

—Lacey Gattis

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://taliashulze.com/ Talia

    Not gonna lie I am totally on team wipes. Team Wipes for the win!

    • ITGLacey

      Awesome! Very important question: Can this guy be our mascot?

      • http://www.clevergirlreviews.com/ Clever Girl Reviews


      • Joanna

        Hi Lacey! I'm a huge fan of wipes and especially the fabulous amount of time they give me to do other fun things. I really like Ole Henriksen's line of wipes. They're just about the epitomy of Wipes with a Cause. Also Loving that mascot!

      • MsEaves

        That guy can be the mascot of everything

      • seeabigail


  • Haiku Jew

    Wipes are wonderful
    they will remove my makeup
    and all facial schmutz.

    • ITGLacey

      Haiku in comments
      feel I must respond in kind
      thumbs up on the prose!

      • Haiku Jew

        Thanks, for your kind words
        haiku in comments is cool
        and "cuts to the chase!"

  • Kristy

    I never even knew you could get some of these products in a wipe, I love the idea of sunscreen in one. How handy.


    • Monique Ng

      I also wish it was less expensive...

  • ame

    I like the Josie Maran Bare Naked wipes for face. I keep a pack by my bed and one in my travel bag as well. I also like the Honest Baby Wipes for body.

    I feel like I can only get away with the "wipes only" thing when I am taking an overnight trip though.

  • ITGLacey

    Totally sympathize: I'm not a fan of any face care that has a fragrance, super fancy ingredients, or "textured" cloths in general for that reason, and I can't even use the Neutrogena ones (or most Neutrogena in general) even though I hear other people giving them rave reviews.

    With makeup remover wipes, I get annoyed because a lot of them leave me feeling sticky, itchy, & not cleaned off at all, so a definite yes on washing afterwards, if only to make sure whatever's in them doesn't break you out?

    The Cetaphil ones really do a thorough, gentle job, but patch testing is alllllways an excellent idea.

  • ITGLacey

    Give the Cetaphil ones a look! I have really dry skin & they don't leave me with that weird, tight feeling a lot of "cleansing" wipes do!

    • http://theconsciencefund.com/ Divya

      Thanks Lacey! Ill look these up at a local drugstore! :-)

  • http://www.whatwouldjadedo.com/ Jade McShane

    I love this site - you guys are on a rampage, you'll have the beauty people up in arms - first with homemade sunblock and then singing the praises of wipes. Brilliant! I only use wipes if I have no other choice but hey each to their own...and I love that you guys are happy to just say it how it is!

    Jade x

    • ErinB

      Just bought nail polish remover wipes for a trip! Love using sunscreen wipes for kids but haven't seen any to buy. Erik have to check these out!

  • Lavang

    I love Herban Essentials individual wipes. They are great when traveling, especially when hand soap is lacking. The wipes are made with essential oils, and the scents are quite therapeutic - orange, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint. My favorite is the peppermint one.

    I know they are sold at Whole Foods for sure, but I've seen them at other major retailers now and then. A little pricey, so don't use five in one day - but a wipe definitely gets the job done without all those unnecessary chemicals!


  • http://clemenceconsiders.blogspot.com/ Clémence

    WIIIIPES! I have this huge pack of 7th Generation baby wipes that I use pre-face washing to remove makeup and general gunk, but have never considered any other variety - I am very intrigued by these lotion wipes, however.

    Also, as an aside, I am seriously obsessed with the Heritage Store. Their products are pseudo science-y to the point of being absurd and yet they all work so well! (The rose water and the "aura glow" body oil seriously amaze)

  • Kelly

    Awesome, just make sure they go in the garbage, not down the toilet. Even though lots of wipes claim to be flushable, they are responsible for causing massive clogs in sewage systems. My city ran a story on them with this accompanying horrifying image http://wpmedia.o.canada.com/2013/11/flushable_wipes_20131117_29194567.jpg?w=660&h=330&crop=1

  • kris

    I love wipes too, not just for travelling but for making my every day handbag a whole lot lighter. Along with my specialized wipes (anti-bac, facial, lady parts etc.) I love carrying baby wipes with me because you can pretty much use them for anything.

  • ITGLacey

    A) Thank you & your spouse for your service—my brother-in-law in the military, & spouses deserve more recognition for their contribution!

    & B) that's a great thing to know! Now I have an adorable image of Rangers pulling out sunscreen wipes stuck in my head

    • http://www.clevergirlreviews.com/ Clever Girl Reviews

      Thanks Lacey! Wipes for 'MURICA!

  • Aubrey Green

    Wipes always without fail irritate my skin, either making it dry and/or flaky, and/or breakout :(. I love the idea of them though.

  • Simran@leavepillow

    Wiped work great...wonderful article

  • vvn

    I agree, wipes are awesome for traveling and the gym! I like to pack them onto my carry-on because they don't count as liquid and are great for freshening up on long and/or red eye flights. They're great at the gym for wiping all my make up off quickly before working out (great when you're barely ever on time for class). I haven't found my favourite face wipes yet though.

  • LB

    Great post, has anyone tried those Jennifer Garner wipes from the commercials? I'm sure you get this a lot but parabens being harmful is a myth, like gluten intolerance. You'll laugh about it someday, trust me.

    • ITGLacey

      No idea about the J Garner face wipes, but she does have the cutest dimples!
      I actually use stuff with parabens in it—I just know that a lot of other people don't, so I like to point it out if I know a product contains them. My main thing with the Cetaphil wipes is SLS; I have rosacea & it's a common trigger. Haven't had a bad reaction yet, but doesn't mean it couldn't happen :(

      • anne

        I also have rosacea too--would you consider writing a post about what you use for skin care? Thanks!

        • ITGLacey

          Hey! That can be arranged ;) I wish I were better at controlling mine; all the product testing I do is terrible for my skin, though. I like simple, organic skincare without too many essential oils (also plain olive-derived squalane & jojoba oil when things are really bad), but a roundup of rosacea products is definitely in order. I feel like so many things out there are just sort of green-tinted & don't really help.

  • http://www.skincare-girl.com skincare girl

    Wipes are also essential for the gym! I always carry cleansing wipes in my gym bag to use right after I work out. Also, sunscreen wipes are great for those who exercise outside.

  • ITGLacey

    Hey! Most of these are actually bamboo or cotton. I think the ones from Cetaphil are indeed polyester though, unfortunately :(

  • Kaitlyn

    Best face wipes = Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towlettes

    Best Body wipes = Burt's Bees Baby Bee Chlorine-Free Wipes...No icky residue! My roomie randomly brought them to use while camping at a music festival. She introduced me and we've been hooked ever since.

  • Makeup

    I already use makeup remover wipes. How did we ever live without them. I did not know cetaphil made wipes. That's great. I just came back from a vacation where I way over packed so this article is great. I'm old fashioned and don't usually like a lot of you're articles. But this one is really good.

  • Grace

    Ive heard that face wipes basically just push bacteria around on your face rather than cleaning it properly? :S
    also you forgot nail polish remover wipes and lens cleaning wipes!

  • mpuniew

    They're super convenient though not very eco-friendly which is why I try to refrain :( too much waste

    • ITGLacey

      Hey! Completely understand the sentiment. Here, I tried to include a lot of compostable/biodegradable options with minimal packaging. That way, compared to throwing away a big plastic bottle, a lot of these actually generate minimal waste.

    • Kate

      I agree!

  • ITGLacey

    That Binchotan is super cool!

  • thatreadinggrl1111

    OMG..... a wipe for lotion exists? here`s to never squirting yourself in the eye w/ a 32 oz bottle again!! :D

  • Deb Johnson

    I always keep a pack in the fridge. As soon I get home I reach for em. So refreshing.

  • Dina

    Caroline Hirons would have a fit (google her). "Flights, fannies, and festivals" are apparently the only appropriate places to use wipes. Hiron-fanatic out.

  • joannanyc

    I love the IDEA of wipes but in reality, I either forget to close the package and they dry out (nothing more useless than a dried-out wipe) OR with the individually wrapped kinds I get all excited and distribute them in jacket pockets, handbags, backpacks, weekend bags, etc., and then forget I own them.

    I do realize that this is not the wipes' fault.

    Of the ones I've managed to use before they expired from dessication or disappeared from consciousness, I liked the Boots' ones, Herban Essentials, EO Sanitizing Hand Wipes, Seventh Generation lavender ones, and Yes To cucumber. And when I lived in Europe I liked Comodynes. They make everything in a wipe, or used to

  • Evelyn Brockmann

    This is a very unconstructive comment - I would love to have and use these wipes but here in Central Europe they have not arrived into public consumption (and Internet Shopping is sooo bleurgh for me, although this one really stilish friend of mine keeps touting the LA Fresh Wipes around and they are great and I am well jalouse) so I am just commenting to Lacey STALK.
    Good for you that there is an Ocean between us. *creepy laughter*

  • OMCS

    I love Josie Maran's Bear Naked nail polish remover wipes--they are like a mini-mani bc they are so moisturizing. For makeup removal, I'll be packing my Boots wipes for sensitive skin (thank you, Target) for my holiday weekend!


MD MOMS Baby Silk
Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes, SPF 30+
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths
Ursa Major
Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes
Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom Hand & Body Lotion Wipes