How To Take Your Makeup Off More Sustainably: From Bamboo Cotton Buds to Reusable Pads

It can be quick, easy and good for the planet.

Whether your makeup removal routine is a meticulous affair or an exhausted rush at the end of the day, the impact on the planet is likely to be pretty big.

Although the government ban on microbeads means you are no longer flushing tiny pieces of plastic down the sink with every wash, there’s still the impact of discarded wipes and cotton buds to consider. Who can forget the heartbreaking picture of a seahorse swimming through the ocean, tail curled around a cotton bud? So what changes should you be making?

RossHelen via Getty Images

Use bamboo cotton buds

Cotton buds might seem a staple bathroom cupboard product, but even such a small item contains plastic that can cause damage to the ocean and marine life. Using completely biodegradable cotton buds made from bamboo is a more sustainable option for more delicate makeup removal tasks. Try Bamboo Cotton Buds by Hydrophil from for £2.49 per box.

If you want to use a wipe, make sure it’s biodegradable

If you can avoid using wipes, than that is probably the best approach. But if you need them in your life, then buy wipes that are biodegradable so they at least breakdown naturally afterwards. Natracare’s plant-based, compostable wipe range start from £3.19 per pack from Ethical Superstore.

But whatever you buy, remember you shouldn’t flush any wipes.

Try out re-usable pads

Instead of throwing away cotton pads or wipes into landfill every time you need to remove your makeup, opt for a reusable option that cuts down on waste. As long as they are washed regularly, re-usable makeup remover pads are both great for your face and your waste footprint.

Check out these organic reusable wipes from Boobalou Eco Living, which cost £15.99 for a 10-pad box.

Boobalou Eco Living

Or, you could try a cleansing bar

Minimise the pollutive aspects of packaging from your beauty routine and go straight for a cleansing bar to remove your makeup at the end of a long day. Try Friendly Soap’s Cocoa Butter Facial Cleansing Bar for £2.60 from Ethical Superstore.

Check if your packaging is recyclable

It may seem obvious, but checking the packaging on your makeup remover to ensure it can be recycled could save a lot of plastic from going to landfill. For more help in deciphering what the confusing array of recycling symbols on our packaging mean, check out our comprehensive guide.

Check that your cleanser doesn’t include microbeads

If you use a facial wash to remove your makeup, it might be worth checking if it still contains plastic microbeads. Although there have been bans placed on a range of ‘rinse-off’ cosmetic products, Jeroren Dagevos, a representative for the Beat The Microbead campaign, recommends checking for polyethylene in the ingredients, as the ban may not cover all cosmetic products.

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