I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy some convenience in life. I mean some days are really hard, so if something can make a task easier, why not? But the price of convenience is usually the environment, as easy doesn’t always mean biodegradable or waste-free.

That’s where sustainable beauty comes in. Sustainable beauty refers to using ingredients and materials that are good for the planet — without carving out extra from your wallet or time. Now, I know that cleaning up your beauty routine can be a daunting task but every little bit helps — starting with saying bye-bye to single-use cotton.

Seriously, cotton?

Yep, you might not realise it but all those makeup remover wipes, cotton squares and rounds add up to one big problem. According to World Wild Life, it takes 20 000 litres to produce just one kilogram of cotton; equivalent to how much water one person would drink in three years! Now, think of all the wipes and single-use cotton you’ve thrown out over the years — that’s a lot of water. Beside water usage, the process of growing cotton involves pesticides, which deplete soil quality and then as a direct result, leech into the water systems, affecting the animals and people living within in the growing areas.

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Where does cotton go after I use it?

Wipes are usually made of a combination of things such as polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp, and rayon fibres, many of which are not biodegradable. And if these wipes are flushed (do not flush wipes, ever) the plastic fibres in them can leech out into water systems having a negative impact on the environment.

You might think that cotton rounds would be a better option but due to the bleaching and mixing process used to create them, they are not biodegradable. So both single-use cotton and wipes end up creating more waste in the landfills.

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So, what’s next?

Lowering your consumption of cotton is the first step to a more sustainable beauty routine as just reducing this one item can have a major impact on the environment. There are many alternatives to cotton rounds and wipes, so I promise that you won’t even miss them — you can trust me because I’m speaking from experience.

Organic Cotton Facial Rounds – 5 Pack

R 65

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I recently made the switch to reusable cotton rounds and I swear that will never go back to using single-use cotton! These reusable cotton rounds from Natural Life are made from organic cotton and are possibly the cutest thing around (they are literally little doilies). I was a bit worried about how they would feel on my skin but they are super soft, gentle and absorbent. Unlike single-use cotton, these babies can be rinsed and used again. After I use them, I simply run them under warm water and allow to air dry. And the best part, I’ve been using one round for the entire week now! That means savings in my wallet and saving the planet one cotton round at a time — it’s honestly a win-win.

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