The best biodegradable face wipes that are kind to your skin and the environment

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There’s no denying it, the world has a huge waste problem. Plastic, non-recyclable goods and harmful toxins are making their way into our oceans, pouring into landfills and making the air we breathe more polluted than ever. And unfortunately, the beauty industry is a major contributor to the problem, with plastic packaging and non-recyclable materials in make-up and skincare one of the main culprits.

According to the world’s leading market intelligence agency, Mintel, 47% of people regularly use face wipes, and many (the majority) aren’t biodegradable and end up in landfills or worse, causing massive blockages in our sewage pipes.

But the good news is that the tide is changing and the industry is starting to pull its weight, by creating face wipes that are made from natural, biodegradable fibres. So, because we want to do our part, but still take the lazy option for our makeup removal, we’ve trialled 4 well-known brands’ biodegradable face wipes to see if eco-friendly can still be effective.

Yes to Cucumbers soothing hypoallergenic facial wipes, £3.99

Content Editor, Leila, said, “These wipes were full of moisture (which is the thing I look for most in a face wipe!) so I didn’t feel as if I needed to scrub hard to remove my makeup. They glided across my face easily and removed every scrap of my mascara and eyeliner.  They smelled pretty fresh and neutral, likely as a result of cucumber extract, and felt cooling and calming on my skin. Plus, £3.99 is around what i’d usually spend on face wipes so the fact that these are bio degradable is a bonus! Would definitely buy again.”

Botanics All Bright cleansing biodegradable face wipes, £3.49

Social Media Manager, Nina, said, “As I normally use micellar water and cotton pads, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to bring a packet of Botanics wipes to the gym instead of a whole bottle of make-up remover PLUS pads. The wipes weren’t too moist when taken out of the packaging, so don’t leave your face sticky or oily, but it did take me much longer than usual to remove mascara and lipstick. Overall I had to use 3 wipes to make sure my skin was clean and it was pretty uncomfortable after a few minutes. The smell is lovely and not overpowering and I was happy that I didn’t go red straight after, as my skin is usually quite sensitive. Price-wise, it’s no more expensive than the products I usually buy so, overall, I’d buy them again!”

Simple Kind to Skin biodegradable cleansing wipes, £4.39

Front End Developer, Caroline, said, “I usually use a cleansing oil with a reusable cloth to get my eye makeup off when I’m at home, so I was excited to try these out as a more eco friendly alternative to baby wipes this festival season. Plucking my first wipe from the packet, I noticed it had a slightly more paper-y texture than regular wipes so I was a bit worried about ripping it as I pulled it out, but it was surprisingly tough. It had a subtle clean scent, it was very moist and it did not irritate my eyes at all. I had to go over my eyes a few times to get most of my eyeliner off, which is not unusual, but given that the wipes claim to remove waterproof mascara I did expect a bit more ‘oomph’. At £4.39 for 25 there is no way that I would buy these wipes full price, but if there was a decent offer and I was feeling particularly eco-conscious I might put some in my basket.”

Burt’s Bees sensitive facial cleansing towelettes, £6.50

Head of Content, Katie, said, “I am definitely a ‘Friday night face wipes’ kinda gal, meaning, when I’m feeling lazy at the weekend, instead of properly cleansing with my Eve Lom balm and muslin cloth, I’ll just reach for my Simple wipes and get the job done quick. So, when I realised the harmful impact of some non-biodegradable face wipes on the environment, I knew I had to find an alternative. I trialled Burt’s Bees towelettes, and was quite impressed. The wipes themselves are drier than my usual Simple wipes, but I quite enjoyed not having an excess of product left on my skin. The formula definitely felt gentle and cleansing, but I wasn’t a fan of the scent, which was hard to pin down! Going forward, I will continue to seek out biodegradable wipes, but I don’t think I’ll be buying this specific pack of Burt’s Bees towelettes again.”  

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