Go greener with your skincare regime by giving these reusable make-up remover pads a go

It’s no secret that the beauty industry is a top offender when it comes to producing waste. According to Zero Waste Week, an estimated 120 billion units of cosmetic packaging is generated globally every year with surplus boxes, cellophane, lids and pumps often tricky to recycle and more likely to wind up in landfill. But it’s not just packaging that’s the problem; single-use, disposable products like cotton pads and face wipes are to blame, too.

"Cotton can be particularly taxing to farm – using lots of pesticides, fertilisers and water," explains Dr Sophie Shotter, consultant dermatologist. "Wipes are also bad for the environment." A large proportion of the 11 billion wet wipes used in the UK every year still contain some form of plastic, according to the Marine Conservation Society and when flushed into our sewers, can break down into microplastics that affect marine wildlife and clog up our beaches.

Thankfully, there are things we can do and choices we can make to help clean up the beauty industry’s act. Boots has committed to removing all wet wipes that contain plastic fibres from its shelves by the end of 2022, replacing them with plant-based biodegradable alternatives. What’s more, there’s a wide range of affordable and effective reusable options that are kind to skin, as well as the environment.

Switching to reusable cleansing pads is an easy way to reduce your daily waste, while also saving you money in the long term. Often machine washable, these reusable rounds can be used time and time again and serve many different purposes. In addition to removing make-up, they can be used to apply essences and toners, for removing masks and to gently exfoliate skin. Here, we round-up the best reusable cleansing pads on the market – and how to use them.

How to use reusable cleansing pads

As with single-use cotton pads, reusable options are designed to be used wet and/or with your favourite cleanser to remove make-up. Some, such as Face Halo, can be used solely with water. "Simply wet your Face Halo with water and gently glide it over the skin," says Lizzy Pike, co-founder of Face Halo. "The Halo tech fibres reach into the pores to help remove make-up and dirt." After use, wash your reusable cotton pad (following your chosen brand’s specific instructions) and hang to dry.

"I recommend reusable pads to my patients," says Dr Shotter, "but only on the condition that they’re washed after every use. Otherwise, if left sitting on the side, they’ll grow bacteria."

Are reusable cleansing pads better for skin?

While make-up wipes are often drenched in potential skin irritants, such as alcohol, reusable cotton pads aren’t. "Reusable pads tend to be better for your skin as they remove make-up without the need for harsh chemicals," says Lizzy. "Face Halo pads also don’t disrupt the natural PH balance of your skin as you’re using water only." Of course, several reusable rounds can be used with cleanser – so then it really depends on what cleanser you use and whether it’s good/suitable for your skin type in regards to pads being better for you skin or not.

Do reusable cleansing pads work?

Loved by dermatologists and make-up artists alike, reusable cotton pads are hailed as a speedy, more eco-friendly way to remove make-up. While a water-only option like Face Halo may sound too good to be true, we can confirm that they do really work. Not convinced? Try a standard reusable round first and use it alongside your go-to cleanser. The soft fabric, generous size and ease-of-use is guaranteed to win you over.

Seven of the best reusable face cleansing pads at Boots

Here are seven of Boots' favourite reusable cleansing pads and reusable make-up remover pads to provide some add-to-cart inspo. Whatever your budget or skin type, they’ll soon become your new more eco-conscious skincare staple.

Shop more eco-friendly beauty picks in our full range.

Try: Garnier Micellar Reusable Make-up Remover Eco Pads

• Contains: three pads

• Made from 100% polyester

• Last up to 1,000 washes

• Suitable for all skin types

• Machine washable

The winner of the Clean Beauty Champion category in 2022’s Boots Beauty Awards, these microfibre reusable make-up pads are a firm favourite of ours. Boasting a thin, ultra-soft fabric that’s designed to be used with micellar water, they remove every last morsel of make-up. Swipe over skin and once finished, rinse your pad with soap and water or pop it into your next clothes wash for a deeper clean.

Try: Soap & Glory Reusable Cleansing Pads

• Contains: two pads

• Dual sided

• Machine washable

• Super soft

• Use with cleanser

Removing make-up needn’t be a chore – with these super soft reusable rounds, we can guarantee you’ll look forward to taking off the day. Not only do they feel amazing on the skin, but they remove every scrap of make-up (when used with your favourite cleanser) to reveal a fresh-faced complexion. Oh, and they hold up really well, wash after wash. 

Try: Face Halo Makeup Remover Pad Original

• Contains: three pads

• Only requires water

• Last up to 200 washes

• Gentle on the skin

• Remove stubborn make-up

Face Halo’s pads are a bestseller for good reason. The extra-large, fluffy face pads take off the day using water only (yes, seriously). Simply rinse the pad in warm or cold water, before sweeping it over your face to gently remove stubborn make-up. It’s honestly amazing how effective these pads are – try them!

Try: Botanics Reusable Cleansing Pads

• Contains: 14 pads

• Includes 2 types of pads

• Washable bag included

• Use with cleanser

• Gentle on the skin

Swap out your single-use cotton rounds for these reusable cleansing pads that will easily slot into your daily skincare regime. There’s 14 in total – 10 velvet pads to gently cut through make-up, as well as four scrub pads to help loosen stubborn make-up and exfoliate skin. We love how you get a cotton storage bag and washable mesh bag included.

Try: Real Techniques Skintools Makeup Remover Pads

• Contains: two pads

• Dual textured

• Use with or without cleanser

• Gentle on the skin

• Last one to three months

Not only do Real Techniques create some of the best brushes around, but they’re behind these ingenious pads that boast two textures to help remove all kinds of product. The dark grey side removes oils and powder products, while the light grey side removes liquid and creams. Super versatile, these pads can also be used with or without cleanser.

Try: Bambaw Reusable Make Up Remover Pads

• Contains: 16 pads

• Washable bag included

• Made from bamboo, cotton and polyester

• Includes two types of pads

• Gentle on the skin 

Get some serious bang for your buck with this pack of 16 reusable make-up remover pads that come complete with a washable bag (so you don’t lose them in the washing machine drum). Inside the bag, you’ll find 12 velvet-soft pads to gently sweep away make-up alongside four scrub pads to help exfoliate skin. Use them with your go-to make-up cleanser for best results.

Try: Boots Glow Reusable Cleansing Pads

• Contains: six pads

• Machine washable

• Come in recyclable carton

Sometimes a set of two or three cleansing pads isn’t enough. To make sure you’re stocked up so you can last until your next clothes wash, invest in this pack of six. Affordable and effective, these soft, terry-like reusable rounds can be used with a micellar water or cleanser to remove make-up, dirt and grime in minutes.