I have a sewing machine. It’s a very glamorous midi sewing machine from Hobby Craft and I have borrowed it from Nathan’s grandmother. It was getting all dusty in our hallway cupboard, until recently. I decided to have a go at sewing reusable make up remover pads. I’m really chuffed with the results! Read on to find out how to make them and whether reusable make up remover pads actually work.
Making it myself
Reusable make up remover pads, they are mentioned more and more in the natural and sustainable lifestyle ‘world’. I got intrigued. Replacing cotton pads with pads that could be used over and over again? Yes please! There are so many sellers online and the prices range from 8 to 18 pounds for a set of 8 pads with a wash bag. I was struggling to pick one and then Nathan suggested another option: Why don’t you try and make them yourselves?
So I searched online for tutorials and information with the conviction that I, a very un-experienced sewer, surely wouldn’t be able to sew such a thing. But guess what? It didn’t seem all that complicated! I found a very good tutorial from Happiest Camper and decided to have a go at it. The the design of the wash bag I made is based on the tutorial from Create Craft Love. I still had some cute floral fabric lying around (also known as a pillowcase cover) and I ordered an organic bamboo jersey fabric for the side of the pads that you actually use on your skin. My research online showed me that the fabrics you can use are: solid flannel, cotton flannel and jersey. I ordered organic bamboo jersey because I liked the idea of having something organic and gentle for my skin.
After struggling a while with the sewing machine, I managed to figure out how to work with it and two days later I had a stash of reusable make up remover pads and a wash bag. I was thrilled! The fact that I visualized something, pottered around on the sewing machine and had it two days later was so satisfying to me. It was also so much cheaper than buying it online. Especially if you consider the fact that I have enough fabric left to make at least five more sets. An excitement and intrigue for sewing was born. My toner and homemade eye make up remover worked well on the pads and it’s even easier to get my make up off. It seemed to be a great success.
Trouble in paradise
Until… it was time to wash them. I put the pads in the wash bag and put it in the washing machine for a ‘delicates’ cycle. The pads with the toner on it were squeaky clean, but the pads with the mascara on it came out all black and smudgy. That didn’t improve after a second round in the washing machine. Despair took a hold of me and I started wondering: had I wasted my time? Are reusable make up remover pads even a feasible idea? I searched online and found other people who struggled with washing the pads. After reading their reviews, I felt like the pads would only be useful for my toner. I aim to be more sustainable, but I do like it to be practical and this just didn’t seem to work.
Then I saw someone suggest the following cleaning method: washing the pads by hand with hot water and a bar of soap. When I read that I was skeptical. If it really was this simple, why didn’t those other people try it? I grabbed my shampoo bar (which was the only soap bar I had in the house at that time, read this blog post to see which brand of shampoo bars I use) and tried it out. Lo and behold, the marks were coming off and quite quick as well! What a relief!
Full testing of the soap bar cleaning method
Just in order to give you a full picture of whether the soap bar cleaning method really works, I’ve also tried getting the mascara out with a simple bar of soap from the Aldi. I decided to test it on a pad with foundation on it as well (even though I rarely wear any).
When you try this method, make sure not to only rub the soap on the pad. Also make sure to hold the pad with two hands and rub it between your hands. This way you will make sure to really work that soap into the fabric and to attack the make up marks.
I’m afraid that even after using scrubbing quite vigorously, the pads didn’t clean up as well as they did with the shampoo bar. I’m not sure whether you can see it in the picture, but the left pad still has a grey-ish glow over it from the mascara and the foundation on the pad on the right wouldn’t fully go off.
So I tried it again with the shampoo bar and I am glad to say that it did work then. I must add that a little bit of the foundation leaked through on the cotton floral fabric on the back of the pad. It’s barely visible, but I’m afraid I didn’t manage to fully remove it there.
So what to conclude after this? It’s possible to remove mascara and toner from a reusable pad. It’s also possible to remove foundation, but it might prove a bit trickier. Especially when you use foundation regularly. It’s more work to remove it from the reusable pads and you sometimes might not manage to fully remove it.
I imagine any shampoo bar from the brand Folksoap would probably be just as effective as the one I used, but this is the exact shampoo bar I used.
I think reusable make up remover pads are a great alternative when you want to switch cotton pads with a more sustainable option. Have you made the switch yet? If so, did you order them or did you make them yourselves?