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Best reusable cotton pads and cloths for an eco-friendly beauty routine

Managing our personal impact on the environment is vital, and an eco-friendly beauty regime should be part of our crusade to do better. Choosing reusable makeup remover pads rather than single-use wipes or cotton pads is infinitely kinder to both your skin and the planet. Here are the best we’ve found.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Mar 9, 2022

Woman using reusable cotton pad

Taking a moment or two each evening to look after your skin is an integral part of self-care. Even if you’re stressed or busy, the daily ritual of using delicious smelling beauty products, warm water and a soft pad or cloth to cleanse can make you feel more relaxed. 

Maybe you’re a lover of a bright lip, or maybe three coats of deep black mascara are a must for the fluttery eyelashes you crave? Choosing cotton pads with a gentle touch yet real cleansing clout will save your face from lots of harsh scrubbing. 

Your skin type, choice of cleansing products and budget will all inform which reusable cotton pads you buy. Be it pocket-friendly, super-soft bamboo or fuchsia microfibre, all of our carefully selected recommendations will last for years and save thousands of disposable cotton pads and facial wipes from going to the landfill. 

Here are the best reusable cotton pads to buy this year. 

1. Best overall reusable cotton pads: Eco Panda Bamboo Face Pads

Ecopanda cotton pads

Price: £17.90 for 18 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought these recently and really like them. I love the little pot for my dressing table and they come with a bag to wash them in.”MustBeDueSomeBetterFeet

Eco Panda Bamboo Pads are made from a double layer of soft, organic fleece. They feel lovely on the skin and gentle on the delicate under-eye area. At 8cm in diameter, they are the ideal size for taking off your makeup with a cleanser or pure water and for applying toner. 

We were impressed with how well they washed. Pop the pads in the laundry bag provided, tie it at the top, and they will come out of the washing machine white, soft and fluffy. They were quick to dry too. 

The storage tub, crafted from sustainable bamboo wood, was cute and would look great on a dressing table or in the bathroom. This helpful addition, alongside the wash bag and 18 pads, makes the whole set excellent value. 

Pros 

  • 100% organic
  • Great value
  • Bamboo is antibacterial 

Cons 

  • The stitched edges can catch the delicate eye area 

2. Best budget reusable makeup remover cloth: Studio Make-Up Remover Cloth

Superdrug face cloth

Price: £2.99 for one | Buy now from Superdrug

This bright pink microfibre cloth is fantastic for people who find flannels too harsh on their skin but find the bigger size useful. The price is budget-friendly too. We recommend buying two, so you will always have a cloth at hand while the other is in the wash. 

The soft and fluffy cloth feels luxurious and effectively takes off makeup, face masks and applies toner. It does lose some fabric bounce after lots of washes, but it continues to work well. 

Washing and drying are quick and easy. Heavy stains like mascara and lipstick can be rinsed out using just cold water, and it dries on a radiator in minutes. It can, however, still be thrown in the washing machine on a cold wash. 

Pros 

  • Dries quickly 
  • Can be rinsed with cold water 
  • Softer alternative to flannels 

Cons 

  • Becomes thinner after lots of washes

3. Best reusable cotton pads for toner: Tabitha Eve Reusable Make-up Rounds

Tabitha Eve cotton rounds

Price: £7 for five | Buy now from Amazon 

“Tabitha Eve, they’re a small business run by women and their products are the softest! You can get slightly cheaper ones because they aren’t perfect but they’re sustainable so they don’t just ‘waste’ a usable product. Highly recommended.”BloodyCreateUsername

Tabitha Eve is a small business dedicated to producing eco-friendly beauty products, and these reusable makeup removing pads are fantastic. Each circle of cloth is made from sustainable and organic bamboo cotton, and they are biodegradable too. 

Bamboo is a wonderful fabric. It is soft and has natural antibacterial properties. The pads are three inches in diameter, similar to the disposable pads you may have been using already. It’s a handy size for all your beauty needs without taking up too much room. 

We loved the double-sided nature of the pads, a smooth side for sensitive areas and a rougher side for exfoliating at removing heavy face masks. Tabitha Eve pads can be used with all beauty products, and they don’t soak up an excessive amount of liquid so you won’t waste any. 

The pads are easy-to-wash and dry well, though they might shrink slightly on the first wash, so follow the wash cycle and temperature instructions provided. 

Pros 

  • Simple design
  • Effective with just water
  • Biodegradable 

Cons 

  • May shrink by 10% on first wash

4. Best eco-friendly reusable face pads: Greenzla Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Greenzla cotton pads

Price: £9.99 for 20 | Buy now from Amazon

“Greenzla Reusable Makeup Remover Pads are lovely.”earthycarrots

Greenzla Reusable Makeup Remover Pads are gentle on the skin, kind to the environment and come with a handy cotton wash or travel bag and a sustainably made, attractive storage tub. At just under £10 for 20, they are also a fantastic price and would make a great gift. 

Made from organic bamboo cotton, they feel plush while packing the antibacterial power of this clever material. The double-layered fabric is thick and luxurious and prevents you from using two pads when taking off thick makeup. 

These high-quality pads wash and dry beautifully, but with 20 in the pack, it’s unlikely you’ll run out before wash day. 

Pros 

  • 100% non-plastic packaging 
  • Wash bag included
  • Double-sided

Cons 

  • Soaks up toner quickly so apply it to skin immediately

5. Best face cleansing cotton pads: Face Halo Make-Up Remover Pads

Face Halo pads

Price: £16.92 for three | Buy now from Amazon 

“I have a few Face Halos and love them.”PawPawNoodle

Face Halo is an innovative, eco-focused beauty company led by Lizzy Pike who is determined to help make our beauty regimes more sustainable and kinder to the environment. Reusable, biodegradable and recyclable, these clever pads are a part of that ethos. 

Face Halo Makeup Remover Pads are made from a unique, patented fabric that is 100 times finer than a human hair. That means they can swipe away black mascara and blusher at the same time as removing fine particles from deep within your pores, all with just water and no need for harsh scrubbing. 

Thanks to how easy and quick they are to use, these pads will transform the beauty routine of women who feel too busy or tired to cleanse their skin thoroughly. They are also simple to wash; just throw them in the washing machine. 

Pros 

  • Effective with pure water
  • Recyclable
  • A useful size  
  • Lasts for about 200 wash cycles

Cons 

  • The pad edges can be harsh on delicate skin

6. Best eco-friendly makeup remover cloths: Cheeky Wipes Rainbow Reusable Terry Wipes

Cheeky Wipes cloths

Price: £18.50 for 25 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have Cheeky Wipes and they're great. Wash really well.”peachgree

Cheeky Wipes were designed as reusable baby wipes, but Mumsnet users recommend them as an excellent option for skincare and beauty needs. They are a good size, versatile enough as a cleanser or face mask remover, while the soft corners are ideal for eye makeup removal. 

The colours are bright and cheerful and don’t fade. We loved the idea of using the different colours for different beauty needs or keeping a few for you and the rest for the children. 

Each cloth is made from velvety bamboo, robust viscose and heavyweight terry cotton. They are soft, absorbent and will last for hundreds of machine washes at hygiene boosting 60 degrees. The antibacterial properties of bamboo are reassuring too. 

You can use Cheeky Wipes with all kinds of beauty products. They have a soft side for eyes and a textured side for exfoliation or taking off heavy face masks. For lighter cleansing, either pure water or a couple of drops of diluted, skin-friendly essential oil will work beautifully.

Pros 

  • Use a different colour for each beauty task
  • Versatile thanks to their generous size
  • Machine washable at 60 degrees 

Cons 

  • Will shrink slightly in first wash

7. Best reusable organic cloth pads: The Body Shop Clean Conscience Reusable Make-Up Pads

The Body Shop cotton pads

Price £10 for seven | Buy now from The Body Shop

The Body Shop’s Clean Conscience Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads provide a week’s worth of cleansing without making an impact on the environment. They can be used with cleansers or skin-friendly soap to remove cosmetics or apply soothing and clarifying toner. 

The pads are each made from bamboo and organic cotton, so they are gentle on the skin, durable and will wash and dry quickly and easily. 

We were delighted with the wash bag too. It is made from 100% organic cotton and, when tied, keeps all your pads together in the washing machine or acts as lightweight storage or a travel bag.

Pros

  • Day of the week tags for organised cleansing 
  • Compact, attractive storage 
  • Cute wash bag included

Cons 

  • Work better with product rather than just water 

8. Best large reusable cloth pads: Magnitone WipeOut The Amazing Microfibre Cleansing Cloth

Magitone cloths

Price: £14.94 for two | Buy now from Amazon 

Magnitone’s WipeOut makeup remover cloth is an effective but gentle method of removing cosmetics and a day’s worth of grime from the face. The fluffy, airy feel of the fabric is soft enough to not irritate even the most sensitive skin. 

WipeOuts are made from microfibre, which feels light but is super tough on most makeup. All except waterproof mascara lifts with only water, and even that is whisked away with a drop of cleanser or micellar water. 

These clever cloths wash well at low temperatures, with minimal staining. Plus, they dry almost instantly, which makes them brilliant for travelling. We also loved the bigger sizing as they can be used for so much more than taking the day off. 

Pros 

  • Dry quickly
  • Generous size
  • Soft

Cons 

  • May stain

9. Best reusable cloth pads for both mum and baby: TotsBots Reusable Baby Wipes

Totbots cloths

Price: £8.50 for 10 | Buy now from Amazon 

“I got them for my daughter but I really recommend the TotsBots wipes! I use a corner for toner/makeup remover and they wash back to bright white. I had some nice bamboo/cotton (grown-up!) ones but they were so small that they kept getting lost in the wash.”Fridakahlofan

We are always thrilled by an effective, multi-tasking product, and TotsBots have created a reusable baby wipe that is perfect for all your beauty and skincare needs too. 

Made from a mix of cotton and bamboo towelling, they feel lovely on the skin but are strong and thick enough to tackle even the heaviest makeup. The textured side is excellent for oily cleansers or masks, and the softer side is ideal for even the delicate under-eye area. 

Because they are baby wipes, these cloths will last for many washes at 60 degrees, so they will always come out stain-free and fresh when washed with other whites. They take a little longer than other cotton pads and can absorb toner a little too quickly, but we will take that downside for their value and efficiency. 

Pros 

  • The ‘rough’ side is great for exfoliation
  • Generous size
  • Can be washed at 60 degrees

Cons 

  • The edges can be too harsh for the delicate eye area

10. Best eye make-up remover cotton pads: ASPACES Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads

Aspaces cloth pads

Price: £15.98 for 20 | Buy now from Amazon 

“I use these bamboo ones. They are cheap and soft. I’ve been using them for over a year now and they wash really well. Even lipstick and mascara stains wash off and leave them looking like new.” - Thecobwebsarewinning

These ASPACES Reusable Makeup Remover Pads are made from antibacterial bamboo cotton. They feel silky on the skin while removing all your makeup without needing products other than warm water. 

Each soft and fluffy pad is double-sided, so you'll only need to use one per cleanse. With 20 in each set, that's nearly three weeks of your evening beauty routine before the handy cotton wash bag is full. The lightweight bag is excellent for travel storage too. 

We were astounded by how well these little pads washed. Follow the washing instructions, and they will go back to pristine white every time. They dry quickly too. 

Pros

  • Effective with just water 
  • Great value
  • 100% non-plastic packaging

Cons 

  • Some reviewers found the pads escaped from the wash bag in the machine

How do you use reusable cotton pads?

With most reusable makeup remover pads, just follow your usual skincare routine. Apply your cream cleanser directly to the pad or oil or soap-based products to your face and sweep makeup gently away. 

Suppose you're dedicated to being as eco-friendly as you can be. In that case, the best fabric for reusable cotton pads is microfibre, as the dense, super absorbent material will remove the day with water alone. That means there's no need for swilling excess beauty products down the drain or consuming extra packaging. 

Gentle exfoliation is a wonderfully simple way to invigorate your complexion, but kindness to delicate areas such as the eye area is important too. Seek out reusable makeup remover pads with both a textured side and smooth side, and you'll enjoy all the glow-boosting benefits your skin needs in one pad. 

How do you clean reusable cotton pads?

Learning how to wash reusable cotton pads without impacting the environment too much or damaging the fabric is essential. 

Check the instructions on your pads; if they need hand washing, use a gentle detergent such as plant and mineral-based Ecover Washing Up liquid and rinse thoroughly before leaving to air dry. 

If they are machine-washable, check the cycle and temperature the manufacturers recommend and pop them in. Some sets of smaller pads come with helpful wash bags that stop the edges fraying in a vigorous wash, keep them all together and prevent the need for hunting through the washing when the cycle ends. 

Your makeup remover pads may not need washing after every use. If you’re applying toner, a rinse in hot water afterward will be OK for at least a few days. Some microfibre cloths will easily release makeup marks during a good rinse, so they don’t need machine washing after every use either. 

How long do reusable cotton pads last?

If you look after your reusable makeup remover pads by washing and drying them correctly, they should last for years. 

Most manufacturers will boast that their pads have a potential lifetime of 500-1000 washes. However, if you have a set of 20 to rotate, rinse them thoroughly, avoid machine washing them after every use and use a bag for delicates when you do; they should last much longer.

Can you use reusable cotton pads for nail polish?

Most reusable cotton pads are suitable for removing nail polish, simply soak the pad in nail polish remover and wipe the varnish away. However, you may need to use a few pads depending on the strength of the colour. 

We recommended setting aside several pads for nail polish purposes. The highly pigmented, long-lasting polish is very likely to stain the pads and cause the fabric to stiffen slightly. 

What are the best reusable cotton pads? 

We chose Eco Panda Bamboo Reusable Pads as our favourite product thanks to their softness, the durable bamboo fabric and the gorgeous wooden storage box and wash bag they come with. The set will look stylish in any bathroom or bedroom, and the pads wash and dry super fast.

How we chose our recommendations

We focused on the softness, fabric quality and washability of each of the reusable cloth pads we have recommended to ensure that they provide an eco-friendly way to look after the skincare needs of your and your family.

We consulted independent reviews and eco-focused expert websites for trusted opinions on the best products. In addition, we checked out the suggestions made by our Mumsnetters to ensure we are bringing you a helpful summary of the best reusable cotton pads of 2021.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in that time, we've seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

We strive to provide honest and independent advice you can trust, and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents love.

Transparency is vital to us, and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their friends and family.

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