How to: Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Oct 30, 2019 | Reducing Waste, Tutorial

If you wear makeup, you need to remove makeup and you may well be using single use makeup wipes or cotton wool pads to do it. As someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint though, you are looking for a more sustainable option. Reusable makeup remover pads might be the answer.

I personally don’t wear a lot of makeup but I have a teenager daughter who does. Recently I made her a set of reusable makeup remover pads and I thought I would share the process with you. If you are new to sewing, some of the sewing terms might be unfamiliar so I’ve created a glossary below the instructions. Ok, here goes…

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Equipment and Materials

  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • soft cotton fabric (I used an old flannelette sheet)
  • circle template at least 6cm diameter (I used a 8.5cm diameter jar lid)
  • pen to mark the fabric
  • dressmaking pins
  • fabric scissors


How to make Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Step 1

1. Fold fabric in half with wrong sides together and lay on a smooth surface and smooth out the wrinkles in both layers. My fabric didn’t have a right and wrong side but if your fabric is patterned, you want the pattern on the outside of the pad.

2. Trace around the circle template onto your fabric as many times as you can.

How to make Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Step 2

3. Pin both layers of fabric together with one dressmaking pin in the centre of each circle.

How to make Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Step 3

4. Cut out the circles through both layers of fabric, leaving them pinned together.

How to make Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Step 4

5. Set your sewing machine to an overlock or zig zag stitch and adjust the stitch width and stitch length of the stitch to something suitable. You will be overlocking the two circles of fabric together so stitches about half a centimetre wide and long is about right. Test your stitching out on a double layer of your fabric scraps until you are happy with them.

6. Using the stitch you have selected, overlock each pair of fabric circles together. Your needle should swing from about 5mm in from the edge of the fabric to just off the fabric. Sewing around curves like this takes concentration and patience. Take your time and work the circles around and under the presser foot gently and evenly. The result doesn’t have to be perfect but you do need to catch both layers in your stitches and finish the edges of your circles. Don’t forget to do some back and forward stitches (a lock stitch) at the beginning and end of your sewing to secure the threads in place.

How to make Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Step 5

7. Repeat for each pair of circles.

8. Trim the excess threads from the circles and your reusable makeup remover pads are complete.

To use the pads, simply pour a little makeup remover lotion onto them and wipe makeup away gently. I’m going to make some natural makeup remover lotion for my daughter’s sensitive skin so that she can stop buying a commercial product in single use plastic bottles. I’ll let you know how it goes. (UPDATE: It is great. See my Makeup Remover Lotion recipe.)

To wash the pads, throw them together into a wash bag designed for hosiery or lingerie and toss them into a normal wash.

Glossary of Sewing Terms

If you are new to sewing some of the terms above might be unfamiliar. I have explained some here. If you have any other questions though, please ask them in the comments below.

wrong sides – the sides of the fabric that will be the inside when the bag is finished

overlock – preventing a raw edge of fabric from fraying by oversewing it with a stitch that wraps around the edge

stitch width – how wide the stitch will be, that is, how far the needle will swing to make each stitch

stitch length – how long the stitch will be, that is, the distance between the beginning of one stitch and the next

presser foot – the foot piece of the sewing machine which holds the fabric in place under the needle

finish – encase the raw edges of the fabric with an overlocker or zig zag stitch to prevent fraying

lock stitch – a short set of forward, backward and forward again stitches at the beginning and end of a seam to secure the threads in place

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Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Pinterest Image