Alternatives to Single use Cotton Pads in Toners: What else can you use?

Every one of us must have used cotton pads or cotton balls to clean our daily make up. They are small, fuss-free and can be tucked easily in your purse. 

Being one of the most easily accessible natural products, cotton pads have been used as makeup wipes since forever. So, why look for its substitutes now?

Read this article to know more about how cotton pads affect the environment, and the best environment-friendly substitutes for them.

Best substitutes to cotton pads for toners

Now that you know why cotton pads for toners need to be replaced, here are some amazing alternatives for cotton wipes:

1. Bamboo Pads

One of the most popular alternatives for cotton pads are bamboo pads. These are made from the pulp of bamboo grass and thus are natural products. Not only are bamboo pads soft, but also useful for mild exfoliation.

Besides, bamboo pads are very durable and can be washed using the standard settings of the washing machine.

2. Konjac Sponges

Another natural and vegan-friendly alternative for cotton pads are konjac sponges. Unlike the name, these are not derived from sponges found in the sea. Instead, they are made from the roots of a porous vegetable called Konjac.

However, Konjac sponges are not entirely sustainable. They need to be replaced every couple of months. The old sponges are biodegradable and do not harm the environment.

The best part about konjac sponges is that they come infused with various natural ingredients such as green tea. This enhances their cleansing and exfoliating properties and reduces the need to use harsh toners.

3. Flannel Pads

Flannel is the most widely used alternative to cotton pads. Made from soft natural fibres like cotton or wool, flannel pads are also reusable. 

Flannel cloths are known for being long-lasting. They can be machine washed. However, people with sensitive skin should avoid using wipes made of flannel cloth as it can feel rough on the face. 

Instead of buying flannel cloth wipes, you can even make them by recycling old flannel shirts. Simply cut round pieces of flannel, sew both the ends, and you will have a whole new set of recycled, eco-friendly pads for toners.

4. Muslin Pads

Similar to flannel, muslin pads are also made from cotton. However, muslin is thinner than a standard cotton fabric. This makes it much more breathable and easier to use.

Muslin cloth must always be hand washed after each use. Generally, muslin cloth acts as a good exfoliator and is used for removing make up.

5. Microfiber Pads

Although microfiber pads are not fully natural, they are still a great choice if you want to cut down on your makeup waste. Microfiber cloths are made from a blend of polyester or polyamide along with nylon. 

Microfiber cloths have a large number of shirt fibres allowing it to have a large surface area. This process helps microfiber pads in being a good material for toning.

Microfiber cloths can also be machine washed without affecting its quality.

6. Makeup Eraser

One of the newest additions to the cleansing routine is the makeup eraser. They are made from a combination of silk and polyester that is finer than human hair. 

Makeup erasers work by creating a hydro-mechanical process that breaks the bond between oil and makeup on our skin. 

Using a makeup eraser, you do not need any oil cleanser, micellar water or toner to remove the makeup. Simply soak the cloth in warm water and rub on your face gently until all the makeup is off.

Why do we need substitutes for cotton pads for toners?

Although cotton balls or wipes might seem the most useful makeup removing product out there, it comes with a price. The environmental impact of growing cotton is huge. The major reasons why we are looking for alternatives for cotton pads are as follows:

  1. Production of the cotton crop requires most pesticides. These pesticides stay in the soil for a long time and affect the flora and fauna of the ecosystem.
  2. Cotton cultivation requires enormous quantities of water. It is estimated that the amount of water needed to cultivate one kilogram of cotton can be utilised for drinking by a person for three years.
  3. Most of the cotton products in makeup and skincare  are single use and ultimately end up in the landfill.
  4. Cotton pads are not good for cleansing the face. Most of the product such as cleanser or toner gets absorbed in the fibres instead of getting applied to the face.
  5. Cotton pads have lint which leave tiny residual fibres on the skin. This can lead to allergies and block the pores.
  6. Most of the cotton pads that we use are actually single use synthetic fibres. They do not get decomposed and ultimately pollute the environment.


As more and more people are becoming conscious of how their lifestyle affects the environment, our choices of products are evolving. By replacing single use cotton pads for toners with reusable and ecologically sustainable pads, we are reducing the amount of waste that we generate per day.

Each of these toning pads are helpful in reducing our carbon footprint. Made with advanced technology, these pads will not only allow easy application of toners or cleansers, but can also be washed without any hassle.

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