If you told me two years ago that I would be making cotton rounds to apply toner and removing makeup, I would've said you were crazy. Absolutely crazy. I was a cotton ball user since way back, but then I discovered disposable cotton rounds and couldn't have been happier. Adjusting to Cleveland weather/environment was a struggle for my skin, and toner has been just one step in a very complicated skin routine to keep me from being a dry monster. At the bare minimum, I was using 2 disposable rounds a day, 7 days a week. One day I was cleaning out a full trash can and saw that the only thing in it was disposable cotton rounds, which felt wrong. We recycle, use reusable shopping bags when possible, and I had just bought a washable shower liner. Surely this was another area in life we could try to be more eco-friendly. So I went researching and found reusable cotton rounds.
What Are Reusable Cotton Rounds?
Basically, reusable cotton rounds are just that. Reusable. They're cotton rounds that you can use over and over again. Instead of a "use once then never think of again" situation, you're able to use, wash, and reuse. And by reuse, I don't mean like a week and then they're done. I mean months. I share reusable cotton rounds with my husband, so we have maybe 28 or so on hand. We wash when we're out, which is about every week. We've had our reusable cotton rounds for almost a year now and we're about ready to start thinking of replacing them.
Since you're not throwing away dozens of disposable cotton balls/rounds, they're very eco-friendly. Since they're usually made of 100% cotton, when they've reached the end of their life and are kinda grungy, you can cut them up into small pieces and throw them into a compost pile (double check the fabric and percentage of cotton from the manufacturer before composting, since synthetic fabrics won't decompose as quickly).
Reusable cotton rounds are also pretty versatile. I use them almost exclusively to apply toner (just recently started using them to remove makeup as well!), but you could use them to apply other skincare products. I've also seen others use them to remove nail polish, although they would most likely stain and have nail polish residue on them, so don't expect them to last as long if that's how you plan on using them.
Reusable cotton rounds are pretty nifty, right?
Pros & Cons
Lemme start with the negatives (cause I'd rather end this section on a positive). There are a few drawbacks to reusable cotton rounds. One of the biggest complaints I've seen was that they stain easily if you're using them to remove makeup. Which I totally get...for the white ones. Just like washcloths or towels, if they're white, makeup is going to stain them. They'll look dirty even though they're clean, and so that's the problem most people have with reusable cotton rounds (learn more about the solution I found for this later!). Another problem is that it can take some time to get used to. Liquid doesn't immediately soak into reusable cotton rounds but has a tendency to roll off. So if you're used to pouring product onto a cotton ball that soaks it all up, it does take some adjustment. A little goes a long way! It also might feel a bit more painful on the wallet to buy reusable cotton rounds. You can easily run to Target to buy disposable cotton balls/rounds, but the reusable ones you'd either have to buy a set or make them yourself. Even if the reusable cotton rounds are technically more budget-friendly in the long run, it's an investment that not everyone has the time or funds for.
I will admit, I am very pro reusable cotton rounds. I can't say enough how much better they are for the environment than the single-use disposable cotton balls/rounds. Not only that, since they're made from 100% cotton, they're super soft to the skin, which adds a spa-like feel to any skincare routine. As I mentioned earlier, liquid doesn't immediately soak into it the way they do with their disposable counterpoints. This means that you don't use as much product, since more of it is getting on your face than into the cotton ball/round!
The cleaning process might be one of the best parts about these cotton rounds. I personally have a mesh washing bag that I use to hold the dirty rounds and then I just toss that in with whatever dirty laundry when it's laundry day. That easy. They will probably last longer if you wash them by hand, but that's totally your own preference and not necessary. I've also seen people use hot water to clean them for sanitary purposes, but again. Your own preferences. I prefer doing laundry with cold/warm water and very rarely use hot (since I've run into many problems with shrinking laundry), and I've been absolutely satisfied with their cleanness. You could also just nix the washing bag and throw them straight into the washing machine, but picking them out from your clothes ends up being another task altogether.
Shameless Momako Designs Plug
Hopefully this article gave you some insight into reusable cotton rounds! If you're considering purchasing any, shop the cotton rounds section of the website. Momako Designs reusable cotton rounds are made of three layers: a decorative top layer that you can choose yourself, a middle 100% cotton batting layer for additional absorption, and a 100% cotton flannel layer for a soft touch. They're available in white or black flannel, with white being better for toner and black for removing makeup (since stains won't be so obvious on the black!). You can choose the amount you want, create your own sets, or choose a "Dealer's Choice" option where you get a random set/style. Buy a single one to try out or get enough to last you a month!