In some ways, makeup wipes are the unsung heroes of skin care. Simple in theory and application, they’re great for touch-ups, redos and, most obviously, for offering up a quick and easy way to remove makeup and sweat after a long day (or even longer night). But of course, they don’t come without certain setbacks — including the fact that because makeup wipes are single-use and often made of synthetic materials like polyester and plastic, they’re undoubtedly not good for the environment.
In the face of that truth, plenty of people have been forgoing makeup wipes altogether or turning to reusable muslin cloths or terrycloth removers instead. While both of those options (reducing and reusing) are ultimately the most sustainable options, beauty brands have also been stepping up their efforts in the category lately, churning out biodegradable versions that offer slightly more environmentally conscious options for consumers unwilling to give up their beloved convenient wipes. Just this month, Simple, owned by mega-consumer goods company Unilever, released Compostable Cleansing Wipes, an eco-minded upgrade from the brand’s popular cleansing wipes, and its first-ever product of the kind.
“At Unilever, we are guided by the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company’s blueprint for sustainable growth. As part of that, our R&D teams help us find new and innovative technologies and materials to lessen our impact on the environment and reduce waste,” explains Sarah Irby, Director of U.S. Face Care & Incubation at Unilever. “So the solution was creating products that actually give back to the environment.”
Made with natural fibers and ingredients like wood pulp and cornflower, today’s most effective biodegradable wipes will naturally break down — some in as little as 28 days — when composted. Brands like Beautycounter, whose founding mission is to get safer beauty products to everyone, make the effort to pair their biodegradable offerings with education, according to the brand’s SVP of Social Mission, Lindsay Dahl. “Based on our customer feedback, most people understand the concept of composting and biodegradability. With that being said, we invest heavily in consumer education to help our clients understand how our formulations differ and how to safely dispose of our products and packaging. [We’re] committed to going above and beyond with an unparalleled dedication to responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging and advocating for legislation that will change the beauty industry for good.”
Ahead, shop from a handful of biodegradable wipe options from brands that share those same sentiments, and feel better about not only where your beauty products come from, but where they’ll go when you’re done with them.
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