Like you, I know how convenient disposable makeup wipes are, they come in a variety of forms, as little sheets, as cotton rounds or cotton pads, all meant to be used once then tossed. Given this convenient conundrum, switching to reusable cotton rounds is a much more sustainable choice. Green beauty has come a long way and many brands are looking to make more low or zero-waste options available to consumers.
Are cotton rounds eco friendly?
It really depends on the fabric. When you choose reusable makeup remover cloths or pads you are helping to cut back on landfill waste caused by single-use options. You will also save a ton of cash, you might have to invest a little more on the initial purchase, but if you take care of your reusable cotton rounds by washing them properly, they will last you a few years.
You are also reducing chemical exposure from pesticides used in the production of cotton, which is one of the most harmful industries on the planet. To find out how I chose these six brands, keep reading to the end of the post to learn more about that and the impact of cotton on the planet.
When it comes to choices in the reusable cotton rounds category, there are many! There are cloths that you simply add water to which you can use with your favourite removers, you can also throw them in the washing machine. Then there are shapes to chose from, square and round both of which look like the ones you’d buy at a makeup store. I’ve rounded up my top 6 reusable wipes on the internet, based on a ton of great reviews.
THE BEST REUSABLE COTTON
1. TRU EARTH BAMBOO ROUNDS
Photo Tru Earth
Tru Earth is an on-line eco shop founded by three guys trying to make a difference in the world. After watching a TV show with his kids and seeing how much waste kids’ toys generate, he asked himself “there’s got to be something we can do! This plastic is just about convenience, but what if there’s a way to make sustainable packaging convenient?” So he called a friend to discuss and they launched Tru Earth Laundry detergent and within 12 months they had 60,000 people in 40 countries buying the products. They have since expanded the line to include a range of zero-waste options including reusable make pads.
Why I love these reusable cotton rounds: They are made from Bamboo, a much more sustainable fabric than cotton. Bamboo grows quickly unlike old-growth forests which take hundreds of years. When you buy a pack, you get 14 pads plus a reusable cotton laundry bag for $22, which you can use to collect them as you use them.
I typically throw the whole bag in the wash, because they are like socks and can disappear without warning. Bamboo is super soft, which is very good for the skin, especially when removing makeup. Tru Earth says you will get over 1000 uses out of each one making the switch to these a no-brainer.
What people are saying about them: “When I bought these I was trying to make my skincare regimen a little more ‘sustainable’. I was using disposable rounds twice a day for toner and felt like I was creating a lot of waste. These bamboo pads are perfect. Large enough to get the job done, but not so thick that they waste toner. I can’t say enough good things about these. I feel better knowing I’ve cut back on waste, and I’m excited that these will last a long time! Really good investment! – Kelly T, Reviewer
Shop: Tru Earth
2. ORGANICS BY HEATHER MINI FACE CLOTHS
Photo Organics By Heather
Organics by Heather is a small batch, local business based in St. Thomas Ontario and makes one the best reusable cotton rounds. Heather spent most of her childhood sewing with her mom and helping her in her fabric shop. When she had her own kids she took that love of sewing to a whole new level by making “Halloween costumes, Christmas pageant costumes, and several other hand-made creations”, learning early on the benefit of creating low-impact reusable items that are good for people and the planet.
“Ultimately, it made sense to combine my love for fabric with my love and respect of nature”. Such a lovely story. Don’t you just love supporting small brands like this? Heather’s creations include head towels, washcloths and mini square makeup pads.
What I love about them: they are made using organic cotton, so you don’t need to worry about being exposed to toxins pesticides from conventional cotton. All of her items are handmade in Canada, the organic cotton comes from the USA and “complies with Health Canada’s Flammability and labelling requirements set out in Canada’s Textile Flammability and Labelling Regulations for general textile products”.
Each one is made with care, you get a pack of 4 for $8. Super affordable and made to last. If you buy these, use code ECOHUB10 at checkout.
What people are saying: “The face cloth is perfect, because one side is textured enough to get rid of the dead skin on my face, all while the other side is so soft and gentle. The mini cloths are the perfect size for removing eye makeup and applying my skincare. Magnificent all around!” – Lynne, Reviewer
Shop: Truth Beauty Company
3. OKO CREATIONS REUSBALE ROUNDS
Oko is one of my top picks when it comes to reusable pads and cotton rounds. They offer a range of zero-waste products from reusable handkerchiefs, to menstrual pads to cleaning products. Founded by sisters Marie-Noël and Mélanie Beetz, all of the items are created and designed in Quebec, Canada and all of the textiles are made using hemp and organic cotton. They promote ethical sewing, provide fair wages to employees, and have a corporate culture that is based on human and collective values.
They work hard to minimize their footprint from the beginning to the end of their product cycle by using organic cotton on all their labels, using dyes that a low ecological footprint, they use recycled polyester yarn for many of their products.
What I love about them: I have been using the organic rounds for years and simply love them. By far they are the softest ones I have tried. They are made from natural hemp fleece and can remove any makeup from your face.
They wash so well and are a perfect size, not too big or small. You will have zero residues left on your face from the fabric itself. If you are using a makeup remove or micellar water, they hold the liquid perfectly and you don’t have to use as much. I also keep one to remove nail polish.
Rub the pad in cold water and soap after use if it is soiled. Let it air dry if not washed immediately. Include in your regular wash. Using a lingerie bag will help you easily find your pads afterwards. Tumble or air dry. Note that the heat from the dryer can fix stains by “cooking” them. Do not iron the pads.
If your pads are still dirty after washing, consider changing soap. Some soaps can saturate the fabric and leave residues. You can also soak your pads in hot water with two tbsp of sodium carbonate, stir and let act half a day, then regular machine wash. The cost is $18 for 8.
What people are saying: “Love the makeup removal pads. I wasn’t sure how I would like a non-disposable pad however these pads are great! They are soft and I just wash it out after use and they dry quickly. I have also used them with nail polish remover again washing right after using the colour came right off and didn’t stain the pad. love these!” Rachel- Reviewer
Shop: Life Without Plastic
4. ONE LOVE ORGANICS ORGANIC CLEANSING SPONGE
Photo: One Love Organics
One Love Organics has been in the green beauty space for quite some time and if you have not tried any of their products, I highly recommend you do. The Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream and the Love + Eyebright Eye Serum are two of my absolute favourites. Founded by Suzanne Leroux, this brand takes makes small-batch skincare to ensure freshens.
They formulate all of their creations in their high-tech lab, which is the only ECOCERT® licensed manufacturing facility for natural and organic cosmetics in the state of Georgia. They use only the best ingredients, all sourced from sustainable farmers that they work with directly. All the packaging is glass and can be reused or recycled.
What I love about them: the cleansing sponge is biodegradable and made from konjac plant fiber, which is known for its ability to smooth and purify the skin. They’ve added pink clay which helps to purify the skin. I love this sponge because it’s great for sensitive, mature, dry skin. Its shape is pretty clever too, the heart makes it easy to clean hard-to-reach areas like the nose and jawline.
The Cleansing Sponges do disintegrate unless you hang them after every use – the moisture combined with lack of air can cause this to happen more quickly. If hung and allowed to get air after every use, they do last about three months. Cost $13.
What people are saying: “I’ve been using the pink cleansing sponge for a little over a week, just at night, and I’m already noticing a difference in the clarity and texture of my skin. I do feel like it’s gently removing more dirt and makeup from my face and giving me a deeper cleanse without irritating my skin. – Anastacia, Reviewer
Shop: The Detox Market
5. ODACITE FACIAL CLEANSING SPONGES
Odacite is another green beauty brand that has been around for a long time. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, founder Valerie Grandury started to experiment with making her own skins care, saying, “I wanted it all: efficacy + purity. Not finding, I started blending custom-made skincare, for private clients and myself. Word spread fast, demand grew quickly and so was born Odacité”.
Their range is simply stunning in every way. The Fresh Collection is formulated upon order and comes with a Fresh by Date. The Private Collection and Pure Element Collection are prepared fresh in very small batches every day in their California lab.
What I love about them: They are easy to pack and when you add water they pop up and become well a sponge! They are so easy to use. I found they really helped to reduce puffiness. They are made from cellulose and cotton and are latex-free and 100% biodegradable.
If you take care of them, they will last you up to 2 months. It’s super important to dry them completely between uses. This helps them last longer and reduces the risk of bacteria. I also recommend that at least once a week, you wash them with very mild soap and then let them air dry. They are upset affordable at $9 for 4.
What people are saying: “I love these pop-up facial sponges. They are lightweight, perfect for travel, and they have enough nap to assist with the removal of cleansers and masks without being abrasive. Did I mention they are the perfect size and shape? The small rounds are easy to smooth around the contours of one’s face.” – Fleurycat, Reviewer
Shop: The Detox Market
6. PI’LO HEMP WASHCLOTHS
Pi’lo is a really beautiful local Toronto shop on Etsy. Everything is hand-made by Heather Shaw, a textile artist who believes in making functional, simple, sustainable items for the home. Each piece is carefully sewn in her coach house studio.
Heather makes the most stunning hemp pillows, linen tea cozies and pencil cases that make me want to go back to school. Honestly, all of her creations are beyond gorgeous. Her dishtowels, I want them all, the aprons, well take a look or yourself and these pillows, I just can’t’!
What I love about them: The cloths have the right amount of tooth but are still very soft and machine washable. They are a perfect size if you are looking for something bigger than the brands mentioned above. They are 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton knit terry.
The quality is absolutely terrific, they are made to last and will remove even the heaviest of makeup. The cloths are packaged beautifully and would make a really great gift for anyone.
What people are saying: “I’m delighted with these hemp cloths. I use them for my oil cleansing and as face cloths. Very thick and soft. Super quality. Arrived fast in nice natural packaging.” – Alexandra, Reviewer
HOW I CHOSE THE BEST REUSABLE MAKEUP REMOVER OPTIONS
When choosing any zero or low-waste products it’s important to understand the concept of What Is Zero Waste? The ultimate goal of a zero-waste life to create as little waste as possible. I want to mention that there is really no such thing as zero-waste, everything that is made, even eco-friendly products creates some form of waste. It’s why we need to look to a more circular economy where a product’s lifecycle is taken into account. From extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal.
You might be thinking how does something as small as a makeup round have such a large impact. Well, it’s the production and extraction of the conventional cotton used. Cotton has terrible effects on eco-systems thanks to water use (It takes 101 gallons of water to produce one pound of cotton) and pesticide heavy genetically modified crops that suck up 25% of the world’s chemical insecticides.
The pesticides used are one of the main contributors to our worldwide decline in bee populations, which we need to pollinate our food. Along with the environmental toll these types of plantations take, there is also a very sad human component, namely modern-day slavery and forced child labour.
How do you clean Reusable Cotton Rounds?
It’s so easy. I keep a small mesh bag in the bathroom, it hangs in the wall and each time I use one, I rinse it and then simply place it in the bag. Once the bag is full you can toss it into the laundry machine to wash them. I leave them in the bag as it’s easy for them to get lost if they are separate. Like the forever missing sock! LOL!
How to make your own reusable cotton rounds
It’s actually pretty simple to DIY reusable cotton rounds. All you really need is some leftover fabrics, a sewing machine, scissors, pins and something you can use to trace a circle of about 3″ in diameter.
Step 1: Grab some leftover fabric. You can use pretty much anything. I like to use old towels. But you can use t-shirts, flannel, anything you have that will absorb water and will not be too hard on your face. Wash and dry before you start cutting.
Step 2: Grab a round cup or glass or anything that you can use to trace a circle. 3″ diameter is a pretty good size to aim for. Trace the circle onto the fabric, I used a pencil. Then simply cut the circle out. For these, I only used one piece of fabric and just sewed the edges. It’s a really good fabric. You can use two pieces to make one reusable round.
Step 3: With the wrong side facing each other, sew the two circles or squares together. You can bind the ends if you have the right sewing machine or you can use a blanket-stitch (hand stitched). And that’s it, you are done!
FINAL THOUGHTS Reusable Cotton Rounds
Since all manufacturing, even for organic fabrics have a large footprint, choosing reusable is almost always the greener option. I chose 6 brands that I have used and loved over the years and ones that are steeped in sustainable living practices, that care about people and the planet. If you know a brand, please drop their name in the comments below.
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