The best reusable make-up pads to help reduce single-use beauty products

Ready to make the switch over to the green side?

best reusable make-up pads – woman washing her face

Ready to make the switch over to the green side?

In the beauty industry, face wipes and cotton pads are some of the worst environmental offenders for contributing to waste and single-use consumption: they create a huge amount of unnecessary pollution, litter our beaches and oceans, and take years and years to decompose in landfill. Which is why making the switch to reusable make-up pads is the sensible choice.

We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of reusable make-up pads hitting the market and with good reason. They’re super easy to use and you can pop them in with the rest of your laundry. Better yet, with so much innovation behind them now, you’ll find that reusable make-up pads are a lot more high-tech – and a lot better for your skin – than a standard face wipe, too.

Seeing as it’s Plastic Free July this month, now is a prime opportunity to switch up your routine by making a few small swaps here and there to reduce your carbon footprint—and the best reusable make-up pads are a great place to start.

Why are face wipes so bad for the environment?

We’ve all fallen victim to the convenience of a face wipe at some point or another, especially when we’re feeling lazy at the end of the day. But while they can feel like the easier option to remove your make-up they are, to put it simply, terrible for the planet.

Most will know the environmental damage caused by face wipes, however, despite growing awareness, the average woman still uses nine wipes every week – with every single wipe taking over 100 years to break down in landfill. According to a study carried out by Mintel on Women's Facial Skincare in August 2020, 44% of women still use facial cleansing wipes.

Then there’s the production of cotton that can require a lot of water and pesticides that can cause pollution too.

Aside from the environmental impact, face wipes are often formulated with preservatives, which can damage the all important skin barrier too. Many won’t actually cleanse your skin and remove make-up effectively, while others are formulated with ingredients that can be abrasive and too harsh on sensitive skin types.

How do reusable pads work?

Reusable make-up pads mean you can use the same piece of material over and over again: simply sweep water, cleanser or toner onto the pad, remove your make-up or clean your skin, and then toss the pad into your laundry. Genius, right?

Not only are they completely reusable – with each one promising an average of 500-1,000 uses – it makes them a more cost-effective way of taking care of your skin too. Better yet, the majority of reusable make-up remover pads are made from natural fibres too, some of which biodegrade entirely within a few years.

Some of these materials also come with added skincare benefits, too. Bamboo, for instance, is hypoallergenic and contains naturally porous particles meaning it’s ideal for absorbing excess oil to help reduce skin shine, while also still being gentle on the skin.

With so many new reusable iterations cropping up from indie and big brands, there’s a lot to choose from. Forget bog standard pads too, now you’ll find mitts that heat up to your body temperature, gentle flannel-like cloths to remove every last trace of make-up; those that activate simply with plain water, and others that you can pair with your go-to micellar water.

As for the array of options, Eco brand Bambaw’s cleansing pads are double-sided with a soft, velvet side for the delicate under-eye area and the other to exfoliate for a deeper cleanse. Meanwhile, Face Halo’s HaloTech gentle fibres remove make-up using water only. Whatever your skin type, the PETA certified make-up remover is gentle and pH neutral and uses a revolutionary fibre-filled pad to reach deep into your pores without disrupting your skin barrier. Did we mention it takes half the time to clean your face and remove make-up than a standard face wipe, too?

How do you look after your reusable pads at home?

Though different products vary, most reusable cotton pads can be thrown into the laundry after use. Some will even come with a wash bag to keep them together too.

Many will advise that once you’ve cleansed your face, rinse the pads with warm water and soap to remove any residue and reduce stains before throwing the pads into the wash. This helps get rid of any product buildup and prolongs the longevity of the pad for future use.

Ready to switch up your routine? Keep scrolling for some of the best reusable make-up pads around..

Amelia Bell
Amelia Bell is a freelance beauty editor from London, covering everything from new skincare launches to health and wellness trends and all things sustainable beauty. She loves writing about the buzzworthy ingredients making the rounds, testing out every new facial treatment there is to try, and unearthing the very best sustainable beauty brands. Beauty stuff aside, she’s a big fan of painting, pasta and travelling, all of which you will often find her writing about, too. See her work in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Popsugar, Refinery29, Woman & Home and more.