Now that we’ve officially ditched plastic straws, let’s talk about what’s in our medicine cabinet. When it comes to reducing your daily waste, small changes have a big impact — if you’re a devout P50 user or winged-eyeliner obsessive, you might not even realize how many bags of single-use cotton rounds or Q-tips you go through regularly. And listen, I love eye patches and sheet masks as much as the next guy, but there are so many incredible, new zero-waste innovations on the market that help us achieve the same results — without the excess trash. And in 2021, I predict (and hope!) that many more planet-friendly beauty launches are coming our way. Below, a list of the very best reusable, onetime-buy skin-care products and tools out there.
If you use a lot of toners or micellar water, these reusable cotton pads are a dream. There’s a lot of them on the market, but my favorites are these from Versed. They’re incredibly soft and gentle (they’re a blend of cotton and bamboo) and glide across the skin without pulling. When you’re finished, put them in the included bag, tie it with a double knot, and toss them in the laundry.
Let’s talk briefly about how sheet masks work. Basically, the mask’s fabric is an occlusive layer, which is a physical barrier that prevents water loss and therefore helps products absorb into the skin. So applying this silicone sheet mask after your favorite serums or essences will help them penetrate. Do your routine, apply this mask for ten to 30 minutes, and, when you’re done, wash it with warm water and leave it out to dry.
These reusable eye patches from Dieux work in the same way. Apply your favorite eye cream, then pop these on for ten to 30 minutes. They’ll help your skin absorb all that product and lock in moisture. Afterward, wash the patches in warm water, dry with a towel, and pop them back in their case. I like to keep these in the fridge for a cooling, de-puffing effect. (Note: These are available for preorder, as they are incredibly popular. If you order them now, they’ll be ready to ship in two weeks.)
These are magnificent. Yes, these cotton wipes are fabulous for the conventional tissue things like a runny nose or weepy eyes. But they’re also great for blotting lipstick and, if I’m being honest, extracting spots. I don’t do this often (try not to pick!), but when I do, I wrap my fingers in a lot of tissue so I don’t damage my skin. These tissues are from eco-friendly start-up EarthHero and are made of 100 percent cotton and come in a reusable tissue case. The case has a silicone barrier so you can separate used and new tissues. Wash them in the little laundry bag they come with. And the silicone case can be washed by hand with hot water or in the washing machine.
I rely on Q-tips for a few different beauty endeavors (like fixing winged liner, cleaning up the edges of lipstick, and applying spot treatments). These reusable Q-tips have been a real game changer. Not only do I find the silicone texture better for my Q-tip use, but it’s also super-easy to clean — when you’re finished, just run them under hot water with a little bit of soap, dry them, and put them back in their container for next time.
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