Makeup tools

Zero Waste Makeup Removal

“Everyday I’m finding zero waste alternatives for common products I would usually have bought at the store”


Since beginning my zero waste journey, I haven’t just learned about how much waste is produced through purchasing commercial cosmetic products; I’ve also learned how many harmful chemicals are used in these everyday products; chemicals such as parabens, pthalates, fragrances and formaldehyde to name a few. One of those important daily products is makeup remover.




Last year I made the decision to never wear foundation ever again. The only makeup I wear now is eyeshadow and mascara and I usually only wear them when I’m having a night out on the town. For me personally, this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. My skin thanks me for it everyday, the environment is a little less trashed, my hip pocket is healthier for it and my psyche has never been calmer. If people don’t like me for the skin I’m in then they’re not meant to be part of my journey through life.

But of course, makeup is such a big part of everyday life for a lot of people; and it’s so important to remove it at the end of each day to avoid clogged pores. Many store bought products can leave your face feeling raw and need to be used in conjunction with cotton balls or swabs to actually remove the makeup (as I’ve said in a previous post, cotton is a very water intensive and sometimes chemical intensive product). Makeup remover wipes just scream chemicals to me and can take up to 100 years to breakdown, not to mention the added non-recyclable packaging they come in.

But never fear, there are zero waste, zero chemical alternatives available that are super easy!!




Got any old flannel pillow cases that you never use? How about an old fleece that you were just about to give to goodwill? These are perfect items to turn into reusable wash cloths for removing makeup. Just cut into squares or rounds of any size, use and then launder when required.

Fleece is a little easier to work with as it doesn’t fray so you don’t have to finish the seams. Flannel will fray to some degree so it is best to lay two pieces together and finish either with a sewing machine or hand sewn technique like the blanket stitch or the top and turn.

You can use other old materials too. Cotton is great and I actually used an old towel that was cut up into rags to make some reusable rounds and they work perfectly. I finished mine on my sewing machine as toweling definitely does fray but a hand stitch will work great too.


Handmade reusable makeup remover pads


If you don’t have any of these materials lying around, you could always check out your local secondhand store or ask any friends if they have any they want to offload. By making your own wipes, you are eliminating the creation of waste through packaging and production of commercial brand wipes and cotton balls and reusing a material that may have also found its way to the bin.




When it comes to the actual makeup remover, I have found nothing beats coconut oil or sweet almond oil. My two favourite oils, although coconut oil is generally a little easier to buy in bulk. It’s as easy as applying the oil to your whole face including the eye area and gently wiping it away with your homemade wipe. Both of these oils are gentle enough that they will not irritate the eye area and will effectively remove all traces of any makeup. Both of these oils are also considered great cleansers too so there is really no need to wash your face afterwards.


coconut oil and sweet almond oil


Although my favourite may be to use oil, there are definitely other options. I always recommend DIY as that way you know exactly what is on the ingredients list and can avoid harmful chemicals like the plague that they are. I recently came across this great idea for making your own reusable makeup wipes on the 1 Million Women blog. If I was settled in one place, I would definitely be giving this a go!

I’ve read using clay can be a great makeup remover and all round cleanser also, however I’m not sure how this product would work around the eye area. As an advocate for simplicity and time saving, oil is the winner for me as I can use it on my whole face including my eyes.


Zero waste makeup removal


Everyday I’m finding zero waste alternatives for common products I would usually have bought at the store. Everything is easier, cheaper and healthier for me and the planet and I can’t stop smiling because of it!

What are some of your favourite zero waste alternatives?

Love Kat xx








  • Kate

    June 23, 2017

    Love this, I’ve been using the dreaded wipes for years, without a second thought until a few weeks ago when I was packing to go away. I’m conscious about my plastic use and disposal amongst other things, and try my hardest to be as eco-friendly as I can. But I realised I’d forgotten to replenish my wipes and didn’t have time to get a new pack. Then I thought, ah, actually I can just use a flannel (remember BJ…? “Hand towels, hand towels, dibids, dibids”, lol!). And then I thought, SHIT, these wipes are probably super bad for the environment, as and you say, not to mention the chemicals, horrors!! So I’ve switched for good. I use heavy duty waterproof mascara which comes off beautifully when massaged gently with my fingers and some coconut oil. Then I wipe the excess off with 1 square of tissue paper and clean up using my “hand towel, hand towel’. Can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner! 🙂

    • blueharmony

      June 24, 2017

      Thanks babes! So glad to hear you’ve made the switch, it’s so easy to make small changes that make a big difference. And I’m glad to hear you’re doing it on a tiny island! Again it just proves zero waste is possible anywhere 🙂


    July 1, 2018

    After being laid off from a job I spent with 8 years.
    I had to cut back on certain expenses.
    I used to purchase Rose Water to remove foundation residue from my face and neck.
    I was already conscientious of the environment and my impact and making the switch to eco friendly products.
    I googled at home DIY make up remover and found that Apple Cider Vinegar does the job very nicely!
    I also once ran out if hair conditioner and googled at home DIY hair conditioner and found out ACV also works as a natural hair conditioner.
    When I started using the ACV on my face people started complimenting me on my skin.
    I love the idea of using fabrics you already have, cutting them into pads or squares and washing and reuse.
    Thank you for this post!! 👍🙏🌷

    • Kat

      July 19, 2018

      Hi Naomi, thanks so much for this great tip! I haven’t really researched apple cider vinegar too much but I’ll definitely check it out now 🙂


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