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SUSTAINABLE MAKEUP REMOVER

Beatrice Aiello

Some people may be unaware of it, but something we do on a daily basis, except during this quarantine period, tremendously impacts the environment. Obviously you may think, “well I wonder what doesn’t”. The interesting part is that it is a practice that can be easily modified without much effort…interested?

I’m talking about the make-up removal practice and, in particular, the usage of disposable cotton pads and make-up wipes. While most of the attention nowadays is directed to plastic usage and recycling, cotton is often overlooked. There are two key reasons why cotton farming is threatening the environment. Firstly, the way it is cultivated, especially when this doesn’t follow organic practices. Indeed, it involves a huge deployment of chemicals that can pollute rivers, damage local wildlife and harshly damage the ecosystem. Secondly, conventional cotton production requires a large amount of water: more than 20,000 liters of water are needed to obtain approximately one kilogram of cotton. Moreover, once used, disposable pads and make-up wipes can only be discharged as common waste (do not throw them into the toilet!), as they are not biodegradable. This adds up to the enormous amount of waste human beings produce every day. Although we might think our choices are of little impact, when you add it all up, it’s a lot. It has been estimated that 1.3 billion wipes are used and tossed each day.

Here comes the positive part. We can easily make a change starting from our routines. There are two basic alternatives: either substitute the usual cotton pads with organic ones or, taking this one step further, remove single-use cotton pads from your routines. The first path ensures the usage of cotton that has been sustainably produced strictly respecting the environment at each stage. The offer of organic cotton pads is currently quite vast and you can also find them in a normal supermarket, simply by looking for the Soil Association logo. In the second case, we can look to a vast array of sustainable and reusable make-up removal alternatives. I’ll cite a few of them, but I am sure even more are out there and others will be soon invented:

  1. 100% organic and reusable cotton pads. They work perfectly like disposable pads, but for one thing, instead of ending their life into the garbage, they gain a new life every time they’re washed, either in the washing machine or by hand-washing them. 

  2. Konjac Sponge is a sponge made by vegetable fibers that can be reused up to 3-4 months and then tossed into the organic bin. It also gently exfoliates your skin while removing make-up. 

  3. Coconut oil can be used as an alternative to chemical eye makeup removers. It is a true zero-waste solution as it is applied directly with your hands. Works also for waterproof mascara!