Home-sewn Reusable Cotton Facial-Cosmetic Pads... a tutorial

A set of home-sewn reusable cotton facial/cosmetic pads stashed in the bathroom makes it easy to be more environmentally conscious about personal care. Replacing cheap cotton cosmetic single-use, disposable pads with a reusable alternative is a tiny step that equals big action over time! And I'm going to show you how easy it is to make these!  :)))

Firstly, this is a simple tutorial for makeup removal pads that are not submerged in a makeup removal solution. Just the cotton pads. There are good recipes online for DIY makeup removal and cleansing. Personally, I just use olive oil for facial cleansing. I apply some olive oil to my face, then use one of these reusable facial pads I've made to gently remove makeup. Then I use a cotton cloth and warm water to remove and rinse the excess oil. A few splashes with cold water to finish... and that's my skin care routine! I don't even use makeup every day, sometimes only once per week. If no makeup, I just wash my face with warm water, followed by a cold water slash. I dab on a little olive oil for moisturizer as needed.  My skin has never been better thanks to more simplified and eco-friendly care.

The supplies you'll need are simple and few for making these facial-cosmetic pads.

* Fabric-- I recommend cotton flannel or cotton knit jersey. Here I've used cotton knit jersey in two colors for contrast. Pre-wash and press/iron the fabric.

* Thread--to match fabric, or contrast tread is fun too!

* Sewing pins

* Cardboard-- to create a template for the facial pad rounds

* Pen or pencil--to track the template onto fabric

* Scissors-- paper scissors for cutting the template out, and a pair of good dressmaking/sewing scissors for cutting fabric only

Using the pen, create a round template for the facial-cosmetic pads, and cut out with scissors only for paper. I used a glass tea light candle holder whose dimension I liked for my own template. A small juice glass, or other, would also work well!

Place template on fabric and trace around the cardboard template using the pen. Cut out the fabric round using scissors only for sewing/dressmaking. You will need to cut out TWO rounds to sew together to make one finished cosmetic pad. I've used two colors of cotton jersey for some fun contrast, but you can use one fabric only for your set of pads. 

With a couple of pins, pin together two facial round cut out pieces... and you're ready to sew!

I can recommend beginning with doing a stay stitch around the cosmetic pad. This, I found, made it easier for the next step, which was to overlock the edges, and created less stretching of the fabric. If you are using flannel, or other fabric, you may not need this stay stitch step. My Janome sewing machine has several different overlock functions that give a very neat and professional result. If your machine doesn't offer overlock functionality, you can use a zigzag stitch. Whatever stitch you choose, sew around the cosmetic pad, slowly pivoting, as you go. With a little practice, sewing round and round goes more easily, and is quite fun! If the sewn edges are a little rippled,when finished press with a warm iron to smooth the pads out. 

And if you don't have a sewing machine, you can still make a very fine set of facial-cosmetic rounds! Follow the pattern up until the point of pinning pieces together. Then you can sew closely around the edges of the pads by hand using a running stitch, or a back stitch. The edges may curl when finished, used, washed, etc., but the pads will still be useful!

And there you have it... a set of home-sewn reusable cotton facial-cosmetic pads! 

To care for these, after using, rinse gently with luke-warm water. To launder, just toss them in with your laundry! I place mine in a small zippered mesh laundry bag and then add to the washer, washing on warm. They can, of course, be washed by hand, if need be. From time to time, you might want to soak the pads in a vinegar and water solution to freshen them up. The vinegar kills traces of any bacteria. Pressing them with a warm iron will also kill off bacteria. 

If you're not ready to sew up your own facial pads, there are a lot of online sources where you can purchase them, including Life Without Plastic, lots of handmade sellers offering similar products via Etsy, and some can be found on Amazon

If you make some of these, I'd love to see them--drop me an email, or feel free to post about them! 


  1. What a good idea, Tracy. And your tutorial description is excellent! I suspect once you get going, these move really fast, too. I like the stitch on your sewing machine. Makes them look really pretty!

  2. What a clever, economical little project.

  3. What a brilliant fabulous idea Tracy! I never thought of this! Thanks so much! xoxo

  4. Wow, I haven't even thought of homemade cosmetic removal pads before. It is a very good idea. Thanks for the tutorial on how to make them. Also, happy you gave some links for buying them.
    I really like your cleansing ideas. It sounds so economical and good for your skin. Thanks you very much for sharing this one.
    Sending loving thoughts, wished for blessings and hugs your way!


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