Cetaphil enters the cleansing cloth market with its Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths—but these cloths are so gentle as to be minimally effective at what they're supposed to do: cleanse skin and remove makeup, which is why they only earn a two-star, average rating.
The cloths feel sturdy and they don't fall apart during use, but they require a lot of effort (and at least two cloths per use) to remove a full face of makeup. As for removing eye makeup, well, most mascaras and eyeliners won't budge unless you really rub your skin, which we never encourage (rubbing can lead to sagging and inflammation - see More Info for details).
Formula-wise, we were left wondering why Cetaphil used so many preservatives, including one (2-bromo-2-nitropane-1,3 diol) that releases formaldehyde and is known to be sensitizing (Source: British Journal of Dermatology, February 2003).
In the end, from a formulary, usage, and value perspective Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths are not the cleansing cloths to buy. They're only recommended for AM use, and only then if you rinse skin afterward—so you may as well just wash with a water-soluble cleanser! We recommend instead the options you'll find on our list of Best Cleansers (Including Cleansing Cloths).
- The cloths are good quality.
- Terrible at removing most types of makeup, especially eye makeup and long-wearing lip color.
- Requires at least two cloths to remove a full face of makeup, and then you'll still need to use a separate eye makeup remover—so you'll go through these in couple of weeks.
- Contains a formaldehyde-releasing preservative that can be sensitizing, so you'll want to rinse the cleansing solution from skin.
Why You Shouldn't Pull or Tug Your Skin: As much as possible, it's best to avoid pulling at the skin, especially when it comes to how you remove your makeup. Stretching and pulling at the skin breaks down elastin, which is the support fiber in the body that allows the skin to "bounce" back into place. Think of elastin like the springs in a mattress and the stuffing between the springs as collagen, along with other elements of the body, such as fat, cartilage, muscle, and so on. When elastin is damaged, the skin begins to sag; just like when mattress springs get old and damaged, the mattress begins to sag (The Journal of Pathology, 2007 and Acta Dermatoven, 2008).
To help prevent sagging, stick to only occasional use of products like cleansing wipes or use such products very gently (never rub or pull). The constant tugging that can occur when wiping off makeup can eventually stretch out the elastin in your skin; just like a rubber band, eventually it will not snap back to its original shape, and can stretch to the point where it becomes brittle and weak (Age, 2009 and American Journal of Pathology, 2006).