Those of you who are keeping track of my 2019 Eco Challenge will have already seen me tackle eco-friendly packaging and beeswax wraps in January in a bid to live a bit more sustainably. Well, in February I set myself the challenge of switching to a more eco-friendly gas provider (glam, I know!) and switching out single use cotton make up pads for reusable alternatives. Here’s how I got on in February…
FEBRUARY ECO-FRIENDLY CHALLENGE:
After the absolute mammoth task of making all my Ragged Life packaging materials as eco-friendly as possible in January, I wanted an easy win for February. I find the winter months pretty tiring at the best of times, so wanted to try a challenge that would be simple, but effective.
HERE’S WHAT I CHANGED:
Well, it’s not the most exciting of announcements, but Christian and I changed our gas provider from Spark Energy to Pure Planet. We chose Pure Planet because they source all their electricity from renewable sources and even carbon offset users’ gas usage. It’s hard to say whether it will work out more expensive in the long run (one of the downsides is that you can’t lock in a long-term rate), but I’ll keep you posted if anything interesting develops. For the time being, we’re paying less than we were before, as well as feeling very virtuous 🙂
FEBRUARY ECO-FRIENDLY HOUSEHOLD SUBSTITUTE:
In February, I swapped out single use cotton make up pads for crocheted and cotton fabric face pads. Although I don’t wear much make up (one of the perks of working from home most days), I was keen to see whether I could fully cut out, or at least cut down on, the twenty or so single use cotton face pads I use every month. So how did I get on?
Reusable Face Pads Review:
I realised pretty quickly that I much preferred the fabric face pads to the crocheted ones. They were much softer and removed make up much better than I could have ever expected. Also, the ones I bought from “Kate & Sunny” were slightly bigger than your average cotton wool face pad, so on average it took fewer pads to remove make up and grime. I was particularly impressed by how well they absorbed products and how they weren’t at all rough on sensitive areas like the eyes.
Unfortunately, the crocheted face pads were not for me. I never thought that I had particularly sensitive skin, but rubbing the crocheted pads across my face felt more like a minor form of torture than self care… ouch! I also felt like a lot of my wonderful, expensive product (Clarins seems to cost an arm and a leg) was escaping through the holes and was being wasted.
However, I was keen to see whether anyone else felt the same way, so I posted on the Ragged Life Facebook Page. It turns out that some people actually like the crochet face pads, particularly as a form of exfoliator / scrub. Judith even uses a set for grooming her dog instead of using disposable wipes. So, I guess it’s a case of each to their own.
Although I decided pretty early on that I wouldn’t keep using the crocheted rounds for my face, I was determined to find another use for them. One of the main things I use disposable cotton pads for is removing nail polish (although once again, not all that often). Well, I thought I’d see how the crocheted rounds worked for this other purpose.
I’m sure many of you crafters are probably wincing at the idea of dowsing beautiful crochet with acetone, but the whole point of this challenge was to completely remove disposable cotton pads from my household, so I did need to find an alternative, regardless of what form it came in. Don’t say I don’t take these challenges seriously 😉
Well, it turns out that the crochet pads do a wonderful job of removing nail polish. The slightly abrasive surface meant I was able to remove the nail polish from all ten fingers and toes with just one pad. Nifty eh! I was also surprised by how little they seemed to show the nail polish once I was finished (although I had deliberately chosen darker colours, so they wouldn’t show stains as much). I was keen to see how they washed though…
Washing Reusable Face Pads:
I thought that I was doing really well with both sets of face pads until I went to wash them… In the instructions I got with my purchase, both shops mentioned that the face pads should be washed at 30 degrees. So, like the dutiful customer I am, I bunged the first couple (one fabric and one crocheted pad) in with a delicates wash. Well, this was a failed experiment as the face pads ended up all screwed up and disgustingly dirty in the seal of my washing machine with all the hair and gunge… yuck!
Ding ding, round two… So, for my next attempt to wash the face pads, I put them into a delicates bag on a 30 degree wash. This also somewhat backfired as all the face pads clumped together and didn’t seem to get particularly clean. I guess they didn’t have the space to churn around as much as they needed to…
So, until I can think of a better alternative (than putting each single face pad in a separate delicates bag), I’ve been forced to hand wash all my face pads over the past couple of weeks until a brainwave hits. Although they seem to come out relatively clean, harsher substances like mascara have already begun to stain some of the cotton pads. So, I’ve decided to keep certain face pads purely for mascara knowing that those ones will be a little muckier than the rest.
Anyone have any washing suggestions? Please comment below, I need a saviour!
Travelling with Reusable Face Pads:
Another slight problem I encountered with the reusable face pads became apparent when I travelled up to the NEC for CHSI Stitches 2019 (for those who don’t know it’s a trade fair I do every year). I’d packed my full set of ten somewhat-clean pads with me, but after four days away (and wearing make up every day at the show), I ran out of clean pads on the last day. I rarely wear make up for that many days consecutively, but it did make me think think twice about taking reusable face pads when travelling for long amounts of time. In particular, it was a little gross having to store up all my used face wipes to bring back home with me. I guess, no pain, no gain and I’ll just have to suck it up and accept that nothing is perfect. I’ve learnt my lesson though and next time I will bring along a separate pouch to keep the used make up pads in.
I love my new fabric cotton pads for make up removal and the crochet pads work well for taking off nail polish. The jury is still out on whether I can hack them for a longer holiday – I’ve got a 2 week trip to Australia planned in April / May so the proof will be in the pudding then. They are softer than a conventional flannel and I think they’re prettier too. If only I could work out the best way to clean them…
Tried face pads yourself? Comment below to let me know what you think 🙂
SO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR MARCH?
MARCH ECO-FRIENDLY CHALLENGE:
My March Eco Challenge is all about reducing waste by choosing packaging-free options where possible. At the supermarket I often grab a bag of pre-packaged onions or potatoes for convenience, but from now on, I’ll be choosing the loose ones. I suspect that I’ll have to bring along some reusable bags to stop fruit getting damaged, but I’ll let you know how it all pans out. I’m also going to explore my local zero waste shops (like Bamboo Turtle in Letchworth, Bulkmarket in Hackney and As Nature Intended in Spitalfields) to get more in touch with packaging-free goods. Exciting times!
MARCH ECO-FRIENDLY HOUSEHOLD SUBSTITUTE:
In a bid to reduce my packaging waste, this month I’ve swapped out conventional bottles of shampoo and conditioner for shampoo and conditioner bars. I chose a shampoo bar from Bathing Beauties (as a friend had recommended it to me) and a conditioner bar from Lush. I think it’s quite important to choose the right bars for your particular hair, so I may need to experiment a little to find the right bars for me.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS I’M LOOKING TO ANSWER:
- Do they work as well as normal shampoo and conditioner?
- Does my hair look as good?
- Do they lather up easily?
- Are they easy to store in the shower or do they get gungey?
- How is it to travel with them?
- How long do they last?
Right, those are my eco-friendly challenges for March of the 2019 Eco-Challenge. Do they work? Only time will tell! Subscribe to the Ragged Life Newsletter to be the first to know how I got on with them or stay tuned on our social media channels below 🙂
As always, thanks for reading.