How to Remove Makeup Zero-Waste

Making your own makeup remover is one way to stay zero-waste (but still glam)! 


Sep. 6 2019, Updated 1:39 p.m. ET

makeup remover diy

There is so much wastefulness in conventional skincare. Isn’t it time to take a step back from what we’re putting on our faces each day and really evaluate it? Which parts of our skincare routine are necessary and which parts of our routine are totally uneconomical and unsustainable to boot?

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Taking off makeup doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. It might take some getting used to a new routine (with new tools and ingredients), but overall, it’s worth making the switch.

Traditionally when removing makeup, you might use single-use cotton balls or pads and a makeup remover formula that comes in single-use plastic packaging. Then, you might wipe your face with a towel. In a zero-waste skincare routine for makeup removal, that face cloth is the only thing that stays the same. But never fear: Going zero waste for your face is not only better for the environment, it’s also better for your bank account.

Keep reading for ways to remove your makeup more sustainably!

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Facial Rounds

First thing’s first, ditch those single-use cotton balls or pads! Reusable facial rounds totally exist; you can find them on Amazon or Etsy, or if you’re feeling crafty you can even sew them yourself. The most common fabrics for reusable facial rounds include bamboo and cotton. 

Reusable rounds are soft and work exactly the same way as cotton balls, only instead of throwing them out after one use, you can throw them in the washing machine.

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Witch Hazel

On its own, witch hazel is a powerful, natural makeup remover, but you can also combine it with the strength of an oil like safflower oil and water to do double duty. Witch hazel, on its own, is a natural astringent, which means it’s effective in clearing the skin of bacteria and dirt. It’s best to use an alcohol-free witch hazel, especially for those with sensitive skin. 

Witch hazel is the best option for someone who doesn’t want to use 100 percent oil on their face, or maybe has acne-prone skin. Safflower oil offers witch hazel a bit of a boost because it is noncomedogenic and anti-inflammatory, helping treat acne, pimples, and spots. 

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Coconut Oil

If you need to remove makeup, coconut oil will definitely get the job done. Coconut oil quite literally melts makeup off your face, even waterproof mascara and eyeliner that’s traditionally difficult to get off. However, coconut oil does have a reputation for aggravating the skin, clogging pores, and causing pimples in people with oily or acne-prone skin. For those with sensitive skin or allergies, coconut oil might not be the best sustainable makeup remover option.

Olive Oil

Since olive oil is an oil, it will easily dissolve other oils in makeup. Much like coconut oil, olive oil is super effective at removing makeup. However, olive oil does not clog pores, as it is a known noncomedogenic. It’s also softer on the skin and generally shouldn’t lead to breakouts (though it depends on the particular skin type).  

Croon Reusable Microfibers

Instead of using both reusable facial rounds and makeup remover, you can simplify your routine even more with croon. A croon microfiber is a reusable microfiber alternative to a cotton round that requires no makeup remover whatsoever. All you need to do is wet your croon microfiber, rub your face with it in soft circular motions, and the microfibers in the cloth will remove all of your makeup. A croon microfiber can be hand washed or machine washed, it can be used more than 200 times, and the company even lets you mail old ones back to be recycled in exchange for a coupon.

More from Green Matters

This article is part of Green Matters #EarthAfterEarthDay, a campaign to remind readers that preserving the Earth is just as important after Earth Day as it is on the annual holiday. To help you keep up your sustainable habits year-round, Green Matters is hosting a giveaway for a $500 gift card to Lush, a cruelty-free beauty and skincare store with numerous package-free products. 

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