This hotel amenity is never coming off my packing list.

Black makeup towel
Kristin Scharkey
A black makeup towel included in a stay at Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito, California

There may be no worse feeling than yawning at the end of a night, putting down your book—your glass of wine, the remote control—and slipping into bed only to realize your makeup is still on your face.

Why, universe, why? Is it really worth a trip back to the bathroom for a full face wash, only to wait as the water turns hot? More often than I’d care to admit, I take a look back at the pillowcase to see if it’s still the same white linen that will confront me with black stains in the morning, and sigh as I pull myself back out of bed for a full-on rinse. Perhaps due to grogginess, or maybe because I’m doing it wrong, my beige bath towels always seem to sport gray smudges of evidence of my late-night rendezvous with the sink.

But not anymore. 

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I’ve discovered a hack thanks to several hotels from Arizona to California: black makeup towels. These ingenious pieces of cotton—or linen—are dark enough to absorb traces of mascara and soft enough to create a much more pleasant late-night removal experience. Some are embroidered, like those found at Ace Hotel locations and the Bay Area’s Cavallo Point resort, so you don’t forget why you bought them in the first place. Or to add a personal touch.

And, lucky for us, some of those hotels also sell them so you can add them to your own bathroom—and never take them off your packing list.

A black makeup towel available for purchase by Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Made by the Turkish Towel Company, Ace’s version is dyed “none-more-than-black to absorb all stains and smudges,” according to the hotel brand’s website. They’re just $12 at

You’ll also find a $25 set of two from Parachute Home, featuring an embroidered crescent moon and “designed for eco-friendly, unfussy makeup removal.” Kitsch’s ultra-soft microfiber towels ($18) have a small pocket where you can slip in your hand for gentle exfoliation. And Laguna Beach Textile Company offers pairs of zero-twist fiber towels made with Supima cotton ($19). 

As they say, good things come in small packages. Who knew such a small investment could yield such satisfying results?