How Makeup Wipes Are Hurting The Environment

What are Makeup Wipes?
Makeup wipes are a method of removing cosmetics from the epidermis. describes makeup wipes as, “single-use cloths soaked with facial cleanser and/or makeup remover to rid skin of the day’s beauty products, not to mention any remnants of dirt or debris”.

According to the FDA, makeup wipes are classified as a cosmetic due to it’s use as a personal cleansing product.

What are they made of?
The average makeup wipe is typically made up by a combination of synthetic fibers and plastics. This allows the wipe to be durable enough to hold the cleansing solution and be used all over the face without deteriorating.

“Cleansing wipes are made of materials such as polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp, or rayon fibers formed into sheets. They may be packaged individually, or in small or bulk packaging. They are moistened with water and other ingredients, such as cleansing and moisturizing agents that help them work. They may contain other ingredients, such as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.”

What’s in a Wipe? -The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

How are they hurting the environment?
Traditional makeup wipes are non-biodegradable, a kind of substance which cannot be broken down by natural organisms and acts as a source of pollution. 

  • Landfill Pollution
Photo by Tom Fisk on

Millions of makeup wipes are thrown away after usage and end up in landfills. interviewed Diana Felton MD, state toxicologist with the Hawaii Department of Health, on the topic of makeup wipe pollution. Felton stated that, ““The biggest environmental problem with makeup remover wipes is the sheer volume”. There is an estimated 20 million pounds of wet wipes (including baby wipes) disposed of every single day, adding to the ever-growing waste pile of landfills.

  • Sewage Systems

Wipes are non-compostable and are constantly flushed, depsite packaging and signage warning people to not flush makeup wipes and wet wipes down the toilet. The result of this causes fatbergs in the sewage system.
Fatbergs are large, congealed masses of fat, oil, wet wipes, condoms, diapers and other junk that sometimes form — and block — sewer systems when flushed down the toilet,” – USA Today.

Alternatives to Makeup wipes
If you are unable to part with the convenience of the makeup wipe there are alternative methods for makeup removal. This includes but is not limited to:
Biodegradable organic wipes
Facial oils

Cleansing your face

What Products do you use to remove your makeup? Leave a comment!

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