Growing up, I was taught basic “green” behaviors by my parents and in school, things like recycling, composting, and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. I’ve always been interested in the relationships between human actions and the environment and still try to learn how I can make long-term changes to my lifestyle to decrease my ecological footprint. As much as I’d like to believe that my choices to buy local and organic produce when I can, recycle, and walk to work make a positive impact on the environment, I see definite room for improvement in a few areas of my lifestyle, one of which is decreasing waste.
This became even more apparent one day when I emptied the trash from my bathroom. A majority of it consisted of mascara-soaked cotton rounds from my nightly makeup removal.
Going to sleep with a clean face each night? Necessary.
The volume of cotton I was tossing into the garbage every day? Not necessary.
I started looking into alternatives to this routine with the goal in mind to reduce the amount of trash I produce. That meant not just switching to organic cotton, but finding something that was reusable.
In my research, I found that some cotton rounds and cotton balls aren’t even made from cotton, but from synthetic fibers, which can’t be composted and don’t have a very environmentally-friendly decomposition time. Real cotton is biodegradable, but still has a decomposition time of up to five months, which considering the volume that gets thrown away each week, can definitely build up in a dump somewhere.
To my surprise, I also found multiple reusable cotton round makers and brands with rave reviews. I ordered some from a seller on Etsy instead of opting to make my own (which actually looks pretty easy!) These cotton rounds are made from two layers of organic bamboo cotton fleece, are super soft to the touch, and pretty reasonably priced.
After using these cotton rounds for about two weeks now, I can honestly say that I really like them. I was skeptical at first—would these just get super stained with eye makeup and become unusable? Would they fall apart in the wash?—but I haven’t had any issues so far. After a few cycles in the washer and dryer, they’ve kept in good shape (no fraying) and, equally as important to me, come out clean and makeup-free after each wash.
I’d encourage anyone who regularly uses cotton rounds to cleanse their face or remove their makeup to switch to reusable ones. Not only do they help reduce the amount of waste you produce, but they’ll save you money in the long run from no longer repurchasing packs and packs of cotton rounds each year.
Tips for Getting the Most from Reusable Cotton Rounds
- Wash your cotton rounds before you use them.
- When you toss your cotton rounds in the wash, make sure they’re in a lingerie/delicates bag to prevent fraying.
- To make them last longer between washings, use a little warm water and soap to rinse out makeup.
- The material used to make the cotton rounds I purchased isn’t super absorbent right off the bat—you can’t easily saturate them with lots of makeup remover, micellar water, etc. Let your choice of makeup remover sit and sink into the cotton round for a few seconds before you begin your routine.
Make the Swap
Ditch your disposable cotton rounds and use these instead: