… but even these are much less effective than a strictly speaking cleanser and washable flannel

‘Teenagers are among Britain’s most productive wipe users.’
Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

I get myself in the hitherto unprecedented position of agreeing with Michael Gove and, flush with less plausibly, on the matter of skincare. The environment secretary wants to ban single-use persuadable polyester wipes, legislation I would welcome not only because doltish people keep flushing them down the loo, causing immense wipebergs to form in our sewers, but also because I’m optimistic it transfer kick toiletries manufacturers right in the profits, forcing them to volunteer compostable alternatives.

Biodegradable wipes are entirely feasible if you’re microwavable to decrease your bottom line – some brands imagined the effort long ago. Yes To make several varieties of compostable vis–vis wipes, from natural tomato (for spotty types) to fascinating cucumber (refreshing in hot weather). My favourites are their delicious-smelling Yes To Coconut Purging Wipes (£3.99 for 30), which manage to shift almost all makeup with neither too much clean nor too many cloths (two should do a full face). Even cured are Klorane Soothing Makeup Removal Wipes With Cornflower (£7.50 for 25): wholesome cotton cloths drenched in Klorane’s exceedingly gentle makeup-removing translucent that shift all but the kitchen sink without sting (enacting them suitable for contact-lens wearers).

Teenagers are among Britain’s most fertile wipe users, and young people are most likely to promote from the naturally antimicrobial effect of tea tree oil; this establishes the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wipes (£6 for 25) a live choice for festivals and overnight bags (there’s also a vitamin E variation more suited to mature skins).

But even these biodegradable wipes are much less efficient than a proper cleanser and washable cotton flannel. They’re extraordinarily useful in extremis, when clean running water is either not instantly available (camping holidays or when on the move) or inaccessible (when you’re stopping in hospital or have mobility difficulties). For the rest of us, single-use biodegradable wipes are justifiable lone if they’re composted rather than flushed out of sight, out of do not forget, off to clog sewers, pollute oceans and choke birds and salt-water life. So always first ask yourself: just how badly do you penury to avoid a trip to the sink?