MPs are campaigning for a total ban on plastic-containing wet wipes at COP26

MPs are currently campaigning for a total ban on the sale of plastic-containing wet wipes in the UK. Here, we round up the best reusable and eco-friendly make-up remover pads and cloths to replace disposable cotton pads and wipes. 

When it comes to building a sustainable beauty routine, you may be inclined to investigate the packaging of your products or the origins of the ingredients. However, there might be one area that’s particularly harmful to the environment slipping under your radar.

Cotton make-up pads seem like an easy option – soak one in make-up remover, sweep it around your face and you’re done, right? But cotton is actually considered one of the worst fabrics for having a damaging impact on the environment. The production of cotton requires a huge amount of water and substantial use of pesticides, which causes pollution. 

Or, if you’re partial to a face wipe, know that there’s trouble there too. In the UK it’s estimated 11 billion wet wipes are sold each year, with 2.5 billion disposed of incorrectly (flushed, not binned). 

While it may not feel substantial using (and flushing) a wipe, there are serious ecological and environmental issues further down the line. This is because some wipes contain plastic (which when wet turn into microplastics) that cannot be fully broken down when flushed. This leads to animals ingesting the plastic or it entering our water supply. 

So, it’s welcome news that MPs are currently campaigning for a total ban on plastic-containing wet wipes made and sold in the UK at the United Nations climate change conference, COP26. In fact, it feels long overdue with the rate at which we’re using and disposing of them. 

But, what can you use instead?

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Well, a new wave of make-up removers are becoming more and more popular in the beauty industry: reusable pads made out of organic materials and/or fibres. The idea is that these pads can be used multiple times and can be cleaned along with your normal laundry load. As a result, just one of these clever innovations can replace the need for hundreds of make-up wipes. Pretty impressive, right?

Here, we round up our favourite make-up remover pads and cloths that will allow you to ditch the need for disposable cotton pads for good.

  • Skin Proud Clear Off Microfibre Pads

    Beauty brand Skin Proud is known for a refreshing approach to beauty: embrace your skin’s texture, tone and blemishes included.  Backed by skin expert Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, they’ve swept in with affordable, effective products to great response. 

    From the gel-to-ice frozen hydrator TikTok is obsessed with to innovative reusable microfibre pads Stylist senior beauty writer Morgan Fargo swears by to remove make-up, SPF and daily grime. 

    Simply soak the pad with water and gently swipe across your face – no need for cleansers or rubbing. 

    Shop Skin Proud Clear Off Microfibre Pads at Boots, £12.95 for 2

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  • Face Halo Make-Up Remover Pads

    Made up of gentle fibres that remain pH-neutral, these Face Halo pads effectively remove make-up (when wet) without irritating skin. Just one pad replaces 500 make-up wipes and requires zero make-up remover – just soak it under the tap and you’re good to go.

    Shop Face Halo Make-Up Remover Pads, £18 for three pads

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  • Garnier Micellar Reusable Make-up Remover Eco Pads

    In a bid to reduce daily wastage, Garnier has created its first eco-friendly micro-fibre pads, which last up to 1,000 washes each. While they can be used with just water, the brand recommends pairing it up with your favourite micellar water to break down make-up and every day dirt.

    Shop Garnier Micellar Reusable Make-up Remover Eco Pads at Superdrug, £8.99 for three pads

    buy now

  • My Eco Panda Bamboo Reusable Cotton Pads

    These 100% organic bamboo cotton pads has two layers of fabric in them, meaning they’re not only durable but are extra effective at leaving your skin clean. Plus, the pads come in a 100% bamboo wooden box to store your pads.

    Shop My Eco Panda Bamboo Reusable Cotton Pads at My Eco Panda, £20.90 for 18 pads

    buy now

  • Bambaw Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads

    Not only does Bambaw’s reusable pads come with 12 soft velvet rounds for make-up removal, but there are also four scrub terry pads. These pads are created to remove more stubborn make-up (though we wouldn’t recommend the eye area) while providing gentle exfoliation.

    Shop Bambaw Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads, £13.50 for 16 pads

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  • Stylepro Reusable Bamboo Make-Up Remover Pads

    Alongside a long-lasting three-ply design, these reusable pads come with a natural cotton laundry bag, meaning – unlike our socks – there’s zero risk of them going missing in the washing machine.

    Shop Stylepro Reusable Bamboo Make-Up Remover Pads, £12.99

    buy now

  • Holland & Barrett Thick Cotton Pads

    Made from organic cotton, these pads are extra gentle on skin, meaning they’re suitable of all skin types. They also come with a travel bag that can be used to keep them together in the wash, too.

    Shop Holland & Barrett Thick Cotton Pads at Holland & Barrett, £8 for a pack of six

    buy now

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