A couple of days ago, I was minding my own business, scrolling through Instagram (as one does) when I was hit with a video that changed my life forever. Sandwiched between pictures of puppies and pumpkin spice lattes, I was confronted with an image of a sea turtle that was so laden with plastic it could barely swim. This hit me especially hard, having recently returned from a trip to Australia where the Feld Family visited a sea turtle rehab center and learned about the horrific effects of plastic on our aquatic friends.
The video went on to inform me that makeup remover wipes – yes, the very same wipes I’d been using for decades – are the third most wasteful product in the world! Apparently they don’t biodegrade! Just hang around forever, polluting our oceans and becoming literal junk food for our most prized species! I was so mortified, that I immediately purchased the product they were selling, Zero Waste Face makeup removal puffs.
Apparently the puffs are manufactured in Korea and took about 3 weeks to get to me. The timing worked out, because I had about 3 weeks worth of the old makeup wipes left. Which of course leads to the conundrum – do I use them? Throw them out? Bury them in the backyard? WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING HERE?? I chose to use them, because not to do so seemed antithetical in a “zero waste movement.”
Zero Waste Face makeup removal puffs aren’t totally unique on the market. A quick google search will yield tons of options that look basically the same. They are likely all made by the same manufacturer and just distributed through multiple partners. And they all make the same promise: just add water to the puff, squeeze out the excess, and wipe away your makeup as you would with a wipe or cotton pad. You can use makeup remover if you want to, but it’s not necessary for most people. I was intrigued.
I am happy to report that they do work as advertised. I use one side of the pad to remove my makeup, including mascara, and when I am done my skin feels just as clean as it used to when using the wipes. I rinse the pad off and let it dry overnight, so I can use the other side of the pad the next night. I bought the 3 pack, so I can throw all 3 of them into the wash at the end of the week (don’t put them in the dryer) and that is it! Easy as that!
Okay, you knew there was a catch though. All is not rosey in the land of Zero Waste Face. First of all, the seller suggests that they will only last 5-6 months, at which point you can send them back and they will “recycle” your set and send you new puffs free of charge. This is great on the surface, but I am not 100% confident that this company will be around forever. Buying a new set of pads (at $20 for a 3 pack) from a new company every 6 months will get pricey.
Secondly, and more importantly, I am sorry to report that this seller is not as environmentally conscious as their marketing would suggest. The whole point is to ditch plastic and SAVE THE TURTLES, but when I received the puffs they were individually wrapped in plastic and then packaged in a plastic mailer! WTF? I was trying to do something good, and I released FOUR non-recyclable bags into the world. Given this obvious disregard for what their target demographic actually wants, I would be extremely surprised if they were actually recycling the old puffs in a responsible way. Multiple attempts to contact the company via Instagram were not successful, even though they were pretty on top of replying to positive comments and questions.
If you are still using makeup removing wipes, I definitely recommend giving a product like this a try. Because of the plastic packaging, I cannot give this one my full endorsement, but there are lots of others that come in more responsible packaging, and at a better price.