makeup removal without cotton zero waste
style zero waste

how to eliminate cotton from your makeup routine

Feeling a twinge of guilt from the steady stream of cotton rounds and makeup remover wipes discarded daily as part of your beauty regimen? You’re not alone. But there are some pretty painless ways to kick your cotton habit once and for all.

makeup removal without cotton zero waste



Here’s a beauty industry secret: there’s no need to soak a cotton round or ball with toner before applying to your skin. In doing so, you’re actually wasting precious product. Instead, use your fingers to gently tap a small amount of toner into your skin. (Be sure they’re clean before you start!)



When you’re about to collapse from exhaustion and 20 minutes of double-cleansing, exfoliating, toning, emulsifying, and patting your face dry seems like a Herculean feat, makeup remover wipes are a Godsend. We’ve all been there before. But they’re a bad habit for your skin – dermatologists are quick to point out that the wipes leave a residue on your skin. This can be drying and irritating, especially for sensitive skin. If you need wipes in a pinch, Klorane makes highly-rated biodegradable makeup wipes.

However, there are plenty of other options out there to remove makeup without wipes. If you’re washing off your face products with cleanser and just need to wipe off the stubborn mascara and eye makeup, a Makeup Eraser is your perfect zero-waste solution. Moisten it with some warm water and wipe away waterproof, smearproof, and HD makeup. Toss it in the washing machine, and reuse again and again.

makeup removal without cotton zero waste

Makeup Eraser


If you’re a breastfeeding mama with some extra reusable nursing pads lying around, soak them with a bit of liquid makeup remover and you’re all set. (Garnier’s micellar water is my jam. One 13-oz bottle lasts me about 6 months.) S.W. Basics Eco Cotton Rounds – made from organic unbleached cotton – are a bit smaller and intended for removing eye makeup.

makeup removal without cotton zero waste


If you need some inspiration on makeup removing products in your pantry, Bustle has a great primer with suggestions ranging from jojoba oil to baby shampoo.



The true, pure Zero Waste philosophy is to ditch nail polish altogether.

However, if you’re unwilling to part with your beloved polish, you can still take steps to minimize waste. Try reusable cotton rounds (like the S.W. Basics eco rounds above). Even better – try Little Ondine’s water-based nail polish, which is free of chemicals (no  terrible VOC odors — hooray!) and peels off. Yep, no nail polish remover needed!

makeup removal without cotton nail polish zero waste

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  • Reply
    December 30, 2016 at 4:31 am

    These are some great tips!
    If you’re a bit handy, you can also crochet or knit your own cotton pads with organic cotton.
    I’m intrigued by the water-based nail polish. I’ve chosen to give up nail polish this year but I have to admit that during the holidays I did miss having a bit of sparkle on my nails. I might give this one a try for special occasions 🙂

    • Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Oh, such a great idea to make your own cotton pads! I haven’t ordered the nail polish yet but put it on my wish list, I’ll report back! 🙂

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