Cotton Balls vs. Reusable Cotton Rounds: Which Is Better and Why?

reusable cotton rounds

The sustainability movement is growing, and people are rethinking their daily lifestyle choices - including how their beauty and skincare routine can be more eco-friendly. As a result, people are switching from single-use cotton balls to reusable cotton rounds - and it’s even better if they’re made with organic cotton! 

Today, let’s talk about why it’s time for you to ditch those single-use cotton balls for reusable organic cotton rounds! Find out all the ways in which reusable organic cotton rounds help your skin, your pocket, and the planet.

Table of Contents

Why are Single-Use Cotton Balls Bad for the Environment?

Q-tips, wipes, and cotton balls have been a core part of beauty regimes for as long as we can remember. Whether you’re removing makeup or applying toners, these little helpers are easy to use and can get the work done in a jiffy!  Here’s the catch, though- as user-friendly as they may seem, they aren’t exactly good news for our planet.

The very fact that these are “single-use” items that need to be discarded instantly makes them wasteful since they go right into the landfill after a single-use. What’s more, a beauty ball made from conventionally grown cotton takes up a considerable volume of water to produce. It typically takes about 10,000 liters of water to produce a kilogram of cotton fabric! It’s pretty shocking!

And if that wasn’t enough, traditional cotton is also notorious for requiring a disproportionate amount of pesticide. This heavy spraying while protecting the crop also ends up polluting the waterways, in turn wreaking havoc on marine life. 

That said, there is a type of cotton that is better for the environment. Organic cotton is a relatively low-impact crop than its conventional counterpart. It is grown sustainably, with less water, and without the use of harmful chemicals. 

What are reusable beauty rounds?

Why buy something you’ll need to toss into the trash after one use when you can buy an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative?

From removing makeup and nail paints to applying skincare products, reusable cotton rounds can do everything a single-use cotton ball can. Where they differ is the reusability. 

In contrast to single-use cotton balls, these eco-friendly beauty rounds are made with natural materials that can be washed, dried, and used many times over. Not only that, they’re much comfier to use. The material can range from organic cotton to bamboo to microfiber, each super effective in removing makeup gently.

Are organic cotton rounds biodegradable?

Technically, everything is biodegradable! Nature can break down practically everything back to its fundamental elements. The question is time. While food scraps take about a few days to biodegrade, plastics can take thousands of years to go back into the environment - and by that time, they can wreak havoc on our environment. 

As a natural fiber, organic cotton is renewable and highly biodegradable. Cotton breaks down much faster than synthetic polyester, which makes it a far more sustainable choice for fabrics. However, if you blend this cotton with manufactured fibers like elastane, its biodegradation time will go up dramatically. 

For cotton at its most eco-friendly and sustainable, cotton rounds made from 100% certified organic variety is your best bet.

Related Article: 20 Sustainable Home Decor Ideas for 2022.

How are organic cotton rounds better than conventional cotton balls?

While conventionally grown cotton is an all-natural fabric, its production takes enormous volumes of water and energy. And all the harmful chemicals involved contribute significantly to soil and groundwater contamination. It is hazardous for all species found on this planet, including us. 

Thankfully, not all cotton is terrible news for the environment. Anything, including beauty rounds, made with pure organic cotton is always a far more sustainable option. This crop uses 88% less water and 62% less energy and with no harsh chemicals. So even if nature breaks it down, there’ll be no harmful toxins left behind. 

Considering how widely conventional cotton is still in use, swapping to its greener variety, an organically grown crop, becomes that much more important. The sooner, the better. 

7 Benefits of Reusable Organic Cotton Rounds

Now let’s get down to the heart of today’s topic - why should you go for organic cotton rounds, and what are its advantages? Choosing reusable organic cotton rounds is not only a far less wasteful option but a better one for your skin as well as the planet! Without further ado, let’s take a look at all the benefits of organic cotton rounds:

1. They are Reusable

Reusable cotton rounds were not available back in the day. And all of those single-use wipes ended up in the bin or flushed down the toilet every time we wiped our mascaras, foundation, or polish. 

So what seemed like a harmless daily habit ended up doing a lot of damage to the planet without us even realizing it! That is why washable, reusable, and recyclable organic cotton, with its long shelf life, is an excellent pick of material for beauty rounds.

2. They are Biodegradable

Organic cotton rounds and muslin face cloths are made from eco-friendly plant-based fibers and are biodegradable, resulting in less waste. 

Do you know how to use muslin cloth for face? Click on it to read a more thorough guide.

Chlorine bleach, colors, parabens, fragrances, SAP, plastics, and human-made materials, basically anything that takes decades and centuries to break down, are absent from organic cotton rounds.

3. Create Less Waste

Did you know that using an organic cotton round can save hundreds of discarded cotton balls from ending up in landfills? They can be washed, dried, and reused for years if cared for well. And when it’s time to say bye-bye, toss them into a recycle bin instead of a trash can. 

4. More Skin Friendly

You may not have noticed it, but what seems to be cotton in your average cosmetic cotton rounds is not always 100% cotton. It’s usually a combination of synthetics, such as rayon and viscose, that can cause allergic reactions, inflammation, and discomfort in people with sensitive skin. 

Beauty rounds made from organic cotton, on the other hand, are nature-derived and grown without chemicals. They are hypo-allergic, delicate, and soft on the skin. Not only that, it’s breathable and airy. All in all,  pure cotton is a treat for your skin, even better if it is organic. 

Reusable organic cotton rounds are a great addition to your skincare regime. They remove dead skin cells, improving the overall appearance of the skin with regular use. 

5. Easy to Maintain

A little care can go a long way. These reusable cotton rounds can be your skincare buddies for up to 5 years, or even longer, depending on use. 

A reusable cotton round is pretty fuss-free when it comes to cleaning it. You can wash them by hand or pop them into your washer and set them out to dry. That’s it!

6. Cost-Efficient

Here’s a question, on any given day, how many times do you use cotton balls and makeup removal pads to apply something or clean your face? Maybe 3-5 times or more? That’s a minimum of 1000-1500 cotton balls in a year. 

Using a fresh cotton ball and dumping it in the trash after each use not only adds to the world’s waste problem but costs you tons of dollars in restocking them. On the other hand, depending on how many you use daily, buying one or two packs of reusable cotton rounds should be good enough. 

You might find these a tad pricier than regular makeup removing wipes, Qtips, and cotton balls. That said, reusable organic cotton rounds are an absolute bang for your buck! Once you switch over to these, you won’t have to buy another lot for a really long time. 

7. Sustainable Option

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again- It’s time to ditch your single-use cotton balls for reusable organic cotton rounds. 

For starters, organic cotton is more sustainably grown and energy-efficient than its regular counterpart. And the fact that you can reuse them for months and years at a stretch only adds to their eco-friendliness. 

Switching over to this highly biodegradable and sustainable beauty option will not only be good for you but also for the earth and all those who live in it. 

How to wash reusable makeup rounds?

An often asked question is reusing these makeup rounds sensible from a hygiene point of view? An excellent question, considering their primary task is to remove dead cells and a day’s worth of dust and grime off our faces. Well, the good news is if cared for well, they are as sanitary and, in fact, more skin-friendly than regular cotton balls. 

Here are some tips and pointers from us to keep your reusable cotton rounds in excellent condition for years:-

  1. Wash them in warm water with little detergent or soap either by hand or by adding them to your daily laundry.
  2. Once clean, air-dry them. If you’re planning to tumble dry along with other clothing, skip the heat setting to avoid shrinkage.

It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s care recommendations to keep your cotton pads around for as long as possible. 

Final Thoughts

Sustainable, biodegradable, economic, hypo-allergic, economical, and much more, the list goes on! These are some of the many advantages that using reusable organic cotton rounds brings to our lives and this planet! With so many amazing benefits, there’s no reason why we should use disposable makeup rounds anymore. We can’t seem to think of any, can you?

Author: Karen Lamar

Karen is the Chief Content Officer at Organic Cotton Mart. She has a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from NC State with a special focus in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy. Since her High School days, she has been an Environmentalist and was the President of her High School's Environmental Club for 3 years before starting her freshman year at NC State. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of various environment-friendly movements like zero waste, minimalistic living, recycling, and upcycling.

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