As the clean beauty movement has driven us to make safer choices in our makeup and skincare, many of us have also started looking at the amount of waste our beauty routines produce.
It’s unfortunate that the beauty industry is a big contributor to the huge amount of waste we generate. From plastic containers and packaging to all of the disposable cotton buds and pads, there’s a lot of waste that ends up in the trash.
Disposable cotton rounds are convenient for both serum/toner application and makeup removal, but being single-use, they’re a good target to replace with a more eco-friendly solution.
If you’re looking to reduce your waste and you use a couple of cotton rounds or wipes every day, that adds up a good amount of makeup-stained waste over the course of a year.
The Environmental Impact of Cotton Rounds & Wipes
You might be surprised to learn that the production of cotton takes a lot of natural resources—especially water.
One kilogram of cotton—the size of a t-shirt—can take more than 20,000 liters of water to make. Non-organic cotton is also grown with a lot of toxic pesticides that are slowly polluting our environment.
Also consider the fact that most cotton rounds come packaged in single-use plastic that ends up in the landfill along with the rounds. They’re just not an eco-friendly product no matter how you look at it.
Disposable Wipes Are Even Worse
Most disposable wipes are made from a combination of materials like polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp and rayon. The former two ingredients are petroleum-derived, coming from a non-renewable resource.
They aren’t biodegradable, and into the landfill they go. Some people opt to flush them down the toilet, but that’s the worst thing you can do.
In the sewer system, they don’t break down and end up causing costly clogs. Once these clogs are removed, they’re still ultimately taken to the landfill.
The Health Impact of Cotton Rounds & Wipes
Since a lot of pesticides are used in the production of cotton, there’s a potential health impact as well. Since, if used as makeup removers, you’re rubbing them on your face around your eyes and mouth, there’s the potential of chemical exposure.
Again, Disposable Wipes Are Even Worse
The companies that make disposable wipes tend to fill them with toxic ingredients and irritants.
Fragrance is often used (read about why we never recommend products with fragrance), which is full of mystery chemicals that can be both harmful and irritating. Harmful preservatives are often found, along with lots of other chemicals you want nowhere near your eyes and mouth.
Getting rid of the disposable cotton rounds and disposable wipes and replacing them with reusable ones is a quick and easy way to not only reduce your waste, but to also make your makeup routine a little cleaner as well.
How To Wash Your Reusable Cotton Rounds and Keep Them Sanitary
It’s a good idea to wash your reusable pads before using them for the first time. They’ll feel softer, and you’ll get rid of any contaminants that might be there from the manufacturing process. Bamboo pads especially will increase in absorbency after being washed a few times.
- Put them in a mesh bag. You know how easily socks go missing? Cotton rounds will disappear in the wash for sure. If you have reusable produce bags, you can do a two-for-one and put them inside, washing both at the same time.
- Let them air dry. Always air dry your reusable rounds rather than put them in the dryer. They’ll last a lot longer that way.
- Don’t use fabric softener, bleach or stain remover. These products can build up on the pads, reducing their absorbency, plus the residue could potentially be irritating on the face.
- Give them a quick wash with warm water and soap. Hand-washing them will remove a large amount of the makeup residue without having to put them in the washing machine. This will reduce wear and tear.
- Don’t boil bamboo-based pads. Bamboo (rayon) can’t stand up to this, and doing so will significantly reduce their lifespan.
Storing Your Reusable Cotton Rounds
You should keep your cotton rounds stored away when not in use. They can collect dust and debris easily when left out.
Some reusable rounds come with a container bag to use, but if not, your best bet is to keep them in a small pouch or makeup bag.
Best Reusable Cotton Rounds
Face Halo reusable pads is an award-winning, PETA-approved makeup remover pad. It contains HaloTech fibers that are 100 times finer than human hair. These fibers efficiently work to remove makeup, reaching deep into the pores, so your skin will be cleaned well even with just water. Because it’s reusable, one Face Halo pad replaces up to 500 single-use wipes, how awesome is that? Truly an environmentally friendly product.
The pad is about 3.6 inches in diameter, and can be used up to 200 times. Its texture is very gentle and can be used even by those who have extremely sensitive skin.
With just water, it can remove even heavy makeup, or hard to remove mascara and lipstick. These are also very absorbent, even more than the usual cotton face pads. They’re so easy to care for, too. Each pack you buy comes with 3 pads so you don’t have to fret when one or two need to be washed.
These luxury organic bamboo rounds are machine washable and reusable. It is perfect for cleaning your face, removing makeup, or applying skincare products like toner.
These rounds are made from bamboo as opposed to cotton, a much more sustainable material. Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial, meaning it can be used even by those who have sensitive skin. It has a soft terry texture that not only cleanses your skin but exfoliates too.
Each pack comes with a generous number of 14 cosmetic rounds that are packaged in a beautiful storage bag. They also come with a mesh drawstring bag that you can use when it’s time to clean them.
ProCIV creates cotton rounds that are reusable, eco-friendly, and guaranteed high-quality. It can be used with a gentle cleanser or warm water to effectively remove makeup. The most updated version of this pad is now fit to be used by all types of skin, whether dry, sensitive, or oily. It is so soft and organic that you can also use this to clean your baby’s skin or use it on the delicate parts of your face (i.e. around your eyes).
ProCiv comes with 18 reusable cotton pads and a washable laundry bag. As with every reusable pad, you just need to toss this into the washing machine to clean it. With proper care, these pads can be used up to a thousand times collectively. You don’t need to worry about disposing it either because these are certified biodegradable.
Handmade By Avo (Etsy)
HandmadeByAVO’s cotton pads are 100% organic cotton that is GOTS, OCS certified. It is guaranteed chlorine- and chemical-free. True to its name, these cotton pads are handmade and can be customized to meet your specific need. We think that’s pretty amazing, don’t you?
These pads are highly absorbent and hypo-allergenic and can be used on different skin types (even sensitive ones!). It is mostly used as a makeup remover because it can deeply clean your face, eyes, and neck. Each pad is roughly 3.4 inches in diameter and comes in a stylish mandarin patterned fabric pouch.
Wegreeco’s bamboo pads are excellent for removing makeup, sunscreen, or dust and grime from your skin. Its fabric is soft and fluffy, making it safe to use even for those with sensitive, oily, or dry skin. It’s guaranteed to be so gentle that it can even be used on babies. Just use it with your favorite cleanser, or even with just warm water and soap.
Each pack comes with 16 pads that are about the size of your palm. It is lightweight, convenient to bring anywhere, easy to use, and can be washed effortlessly. Each purchase is more or less equivalent to 2,000 disposable cotton rounds, and can be collectively used by up to 1,000 times! Now that’s really doing your part to help save the environment.
Greenzla’s cotton pads are designed to last for several years. When you choose to ditch the disposable cotton rounds for these reusable ones, you are helping limit a significant amount of waste that ends up in the landfills or seas.
These gentle wipes can be used with your favorite facial products. With each pack, you get 20 reusable pads so you can use as many as you need throughout your entire beauty regime. They are made from organic bamboo that is USDA-cerified and meets the strict standards of Oeko-Tek. It is 100% natural and also very lightweight so it can be used by all skin types. These are also biodegradable so you don’t have to worry about it after you’ve disposed of it.
OsoCozy’s unbleached flannels are a great replacement for baby wipes. It is made of 100% cotton and is soft and gentle enough to be used on your baby’s delicate skin. Despite it being a single-layer fabric, it is durable enough to last for several uses. It is highly absorbent but also dries up quickly. Each wipe is roughly 8″ x 8″, which is bigger than the standard disposable wipe.
Each pack comes with 15 wipes so you will have enough to use even when you’re not at home. Each baby goes through thousands of wipes in just their first year. Imagine the impact you will have on lessening pollution when you switch to these eco-friendly wipes. It’s also a great benefit that it will help you save a lot of money in the long run.