How to Remove Makeup Without Using Cotton Pads or Cotton Wool

Alternatives to disposable cotton pads or cotton wool for removing makeup

If you are reading this then the likelihood is you have decided all those disposable cotton pads can’t be good for the environment and you are looking for a more eco-friendly reusable makeup pads option that is good for the planet and good for your skin.

We also know that if any change you make is going to stick the alternative needs to be easy to use, not prohibitively expensive and at least as good as the disposable option if not a whole lot better.

A journey to zero waste

The chances are this is not your first swap. Maybe you have already tried bio-degradable cotton buds, reusable sanitary pads, reusable baby wipes or even nappies, or you’ve made the switch to a bamboo toothbrush, bar soap and shampoo bars.

Or maybe you’ve started in other areas of your life, switching to a reusable coffee cup or water bottle, or using a wrap instead of clingfilm when you take sandwiches to work.

If you are new to this don’t worry. The swaps we are suggesting really do work. Do be aware however that everyone’s skin is different and it’s worth doing your research to ensure you make the best choice for you.

Top alternatives to cotton pads for removing makeup

If you are used to using cotton rounds of cotton wool then the simplest reusable alternative will be one that you can still use alongside your existing products without having to change your beauty regime.

Reusable cotton pads are perfect as you use them in exactly the same way as disposable cotton pads before popping them in the washing machine ready to use again and again. They give the same results with none of the waste. And you can just put them in with your normal wash meaning there’s no extra laundry time or expense.

We have a great range of reusable cotton pads all of which are slightly different, or you can choose to make your own either using a fabric of by getting out the crochet skills. The fabrics used don’t just affect the look of the wipes but also how they work. A terry fabric, for example, will give a gentle exfoliation while a smooth jersey fabric may be preferable for the delicate eye area or if you have very sensitive skin.

Other alternatives include:

  • Muslin cloths - great for gentle daily exfoliation and very quick drying. Perfect for oil cleansing.
  • A classic flannel. These may have been around for years but they still work.
  • Micro fibre cloths. These are a bit magic and can allow you to remove makeup with just water.
  • Reusable breast pads. Maybe a little out there but if you are done with using them for nursing reusable breast pads are perfect for taking off your makeup.


Next up: How to use reusable makeup pads

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