Sustainable Scrap-Busters: Reusable Makeup Pads

Sustainable Scrap-Busters: Reusable Makeup Pads

Posted by Chloe | May 2, 2019 | Scrap Busting, Sewing Tutorials

Hi friends! It’s Chloe again with another sustainable scrap-busting project! If you’re just tuning in, I’ve started a blog series all about how to use your fabric scraps to make new projects in the name of sustainability. You can read my first post all about how to make a bowl cozy here!

If you take a look around your living space, there are lots of little things that can be done in a sustainable way without making big changes. For example, I love playing with makeup. What I don’t love is taking a disposable cotton round, using it for 30 seconds to remove my makeup, and then tossing it in the garbage. It just feels like such a waste!

DIY Make-up Removal Pads

These little reusable makeup pads are so easy to make, and so handy. Use one to remove your makeup, then put it in a jar in your bathroom. When the jar is full, just toss it in the wash with some towels and voila! The cycle begins again, with no waste created. It’s an extra bonus that reusable makeup pads can be easily made with leftover sewing scraps.

For this tutorial, you will need:

-A scrap of your choice for the backside of the pads- it can be jersey knit, printed cotton, whatever you have on hand.

-A second scrap for the makeup removing side- you can use a microfiber towel, a regular towel (if you don’t have reactive skin like me), fleece scraps, etc., as long as it’s soft enough for your skin and non-irritative. Denim probably isn’t the best choice for the makeup removing side.

-A glass, jar or other round thing to use as a template. I used the top of a fancy candle that I stole from my sister (thanks Helene).

-Sewing scissors or a rotary cutter.

-A marker for tracing the circles.

I used some plush fleecy jersey, some striped cotton, some white cotton batting, and a retired washcloth to made a few makeup pad variations.

First, use your round template to trace circles on your two fabric scraps. You will be using two fabric rounds for each makeup pad.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads
DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Once you have traced your circles, cut them out using a rotary cutter or sewing scissors.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads
DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Next, match up two circles, right sides out. Pin together. If they don’t match up exactly, feel free to trim away excess. They don’t need to be perfect; we’re using these to wipe our faces, after all.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Once you have all your fabric rounds pinned together, it’s time to sew.

If you don’t have a serger, you can still make these reusable makeup pads! Simply use a wide zig-zag setting to sew around the edge of your pads. If your machine has an overcast stitch, feel free to use that setting as well. I usually go around the pad twice when using a regular sewing machine, to make sure the pads are durable.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads

I like the look and security of a serged edge, so for most of my reusable makeup pads, I serged around the edges. It can take a couple of tries to figure out your preferred technique for serging around the edges of a circle, but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it. Remember, these don’t have to be perfect.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads
DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Once you have the amount you want, that’s it! Put your reusable pads into a cute container in your bathroom and you are good to go.

DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Here’s a non-sewing tip: I just mix a little bit of water and jojoba oil together in the palm of my hand for makeup remover. It’s non-comedogenic, less expensive and more sustainable than buying makeup remover from the drugstore. This mixture works great with these reusable makeup pads as well!

DIY Make-up Removal Pads

Do you have any sustainable secrets or techniques for your skincare or makeup routine? Let us know in the comments!

About The Author


Hi, I'm Chloe, the Creative Assistant at Helen's Closet! I'm a Vancouver transplant from San Francisco. I love sewing, the outdoors, and RuPaul's Drag Race.

Blog Comments

Your sustainable sewing series is turning out to be a great idea…keep ’em coming!

Thanks so much!

Love it and fab tip about the jojoba oil – I have some from making wax good wraps x

It makes a great makeup remover and it’s also very moisturizing! I love it.

Great! I’ve been meaning to do something like this for ages (I use muslin/double gauze as face cleansing cloths but sometimes need a smaller pad for applying an exfoliant or whatever) and this is so simple. Thanks for the ideas!

Double gauze would be nice and soft!

I love these! I’ve actually been meaning to make some for some time now. You’ve inspired me to get going with it!!! 🙂

So glad to hear that! You can do it.

You don’t need to make them round! It’s less wasteful of fabric and easier to sew squares. Also much quicker to cut out.

Great point! These can be made in pretty much any shape, and they function the same way.

These are excellent – I think I will add a looped ribbon to some, to be able hang up.
Thank you

That’s a great idea! I’ll have to try it.

Great idea. I won’t be buying more of the disposable ones!


Always looking for ways to use bits up! These are great and I am going to make some for my daughter and encourage her to recycle a bit more! Thanks again and keep the ideas coming x

Awesome, that’s a wonderful idea for your daughter!

Haha, I thought that Helen wrote this, so when you mentioned your sister, Helene, I assumed Helen had a sister named Helene. My brow furrowed at her parents’ name choices for their daughters for a second.

Hah! That would be a great way to make sure nobody could ever remember the right name.

This is one of the more useful stash busting ideas I’ve come across. I wonder, would you be able to list some alternatives to microfiber and fleece though? Microfiber breaks down into micro plastic which eventually makes its way into the water, harming the marine ecosystems. Fleece is a synthetic fabric. I would really love to keep these 100% natural fibre. Any suggestions?

Hi Scarlet,
Excellent points! Natural fleece could work as an alternative, but that can be pretty pricey. For this post, I made some pads using 100% cotton fabric for the backing, and a plain old cotton washcloth for the towel-y side. You could also use a bamboo washcloth- anything goes really as long as it’s working for your skin. It is very important to think about what we’re putting into our water through the wash. There are some very cool products out there, like the Cora Ball, that you can toss in your washing machine to capture micro plastics. Thanks for bringing up this important topic!

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