A box of tissues
Boxes of facial tissues for sale on a shelf

Facial tissue and paper handkerchief refers to a class of soft, absorbent, disposable papers that are suitable for use on the face. They are disposable alternatives for cloth handkerchiefs. The terms are commonly used to refer to the type of paper tissue, usually sold in boxes, that is designed to facilitate the expulsion of nasal mucus from the nose (nose-blowing) although it may refer to other types of facial tissues such as napkins and wipes.

Facial tissues are often referred to simply as "tissues", or (in Canada and the United States) by the generic trademark "Kleenex", which popularized the invention and its use outside of Japan.


Facial tissue and paper handkerchiefs are made from the lowest basis weights tissue paper (14–18 g/m2). The surface is often made smoother by light calendering. These paper types consist usually of 2–3 plies. Because of high quality requirements the base tissue is normally made entirely from pure chemical pulp, but might contain added selected recycled fiber.[1] The tissue paper might be treated with softeners, lotions or added perfume to get the right properties or "feeling". The finished facial tissues or handkerchiefs are folded and put in pocket-size packages or a box dispenser.

Facial tissue may contain non-biodegradable additives for strength.[2]


A person holding tissue to their nose.

Facial tissue has been used for centuries in Japan, in the form of washi (和紙) or Japanese tissue, as described in this 17th-century European account of the voyage of Hasekura Tsunenaga:

"They blow their noses in soft silky papers the size of a hand, which they never use twice, so that they throw them on the ground after usage, and they were delighted to see people around them precipitate themselves to pick them up."[3]

In 1924, facial tissues as they are known today were first introduced by Kimberly-Clark as Kleenex. It was invented as a means to remove cold cream. Early advertisements linked Kleenex to Hollywood makeup departments and sometimes included endorsements from movie stars (Helen Hayes and Jean Harlow) who used Kleenex to remove their theatrical makeup with cold cream. It was the customers that started to use Kleenex as a disposable handkerchief, and a reader review in 1926 by a newspaper in Peoria, Illinois found that 60% of the users used it for blowing their nose. The other 40% used it for various reasons, including napkins and toilet paper.[4]

Kimberly-Clark also introduced pop-up, colored, printed, pocket, and 3-ply facial tissues.[5]

Leading global players

The leading global players[6] in Facial Tissue Market are:

Notable brands in USA

Notable brands outside USA

See also


  1. ^ Paulapuro, Hannu (2000). Paper and Board Grades. Atlanta: TAPPI. ISBN 978-952-5216-18-9.
  2. ^ "Is Kleenex® Tissue biodegradable?", Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Kleenex® Brand Tissues
  3. ^ "Relations of Mme de St Troppez", October 1615, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, Carpentras. Extracts from the Old French original:
    "...Ilz se mouchent dans des mouchoirs de papier de soye de Chine, de la grandeur de la main a peu prez, et ne se servent jamais deux fois d'un mouchoir, de sorte que toutes les fois qu'ilz ne mouchoyent, ils jestoyent leurs papiers par terre, et avoyent le plaisir de les voir ramasser a ceux de deca qui les alloyent voir, ou il y avoit grande presse du peuple qui s'entre batoit pour un ramasser principallement de ceux de l'Ambassadeur qui estoyent hystoriez par les bordz, comme les plus riches poulletz des dames de la Cour. Ils en portient quantite dans leur seign, et ils ont apporte provision suffisante pour ce long voyage, qu'ilz sont venus faire du deca...."
  4. ^ History of Kleenex tissue
  5. ^ "Kleenex® Brand Cold and Flu Tips & Facts | Kleenex® Brand Tissues". Kleenex.com. 2011-01-31. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  6. ^ Facial Tissue Paper Market Global Industry Analysis 2020 to 2026 Forecast Analysis Covers Manufacturing Size and Share Status by Top Regions [1] Archived 2020-07-14 at the Wayback Machine June 5, 2020|press release=The Expresswire