a blog chronicling my days of unemployment and all the crafty things i'll do during it

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DIY cosmetic rounds (or squares)

lately i've been (slowly) switching from regular cosmetic/bath products to ones that don't contain nasty chemicals (which can be harmful to both me and the environment). if you want to read more, the campaign for safe cosmetics has a lot of great information about what's inside your shampoo, make-up, and perfume.

we now use a shampoo bar (no plastic packaging!) from a local soap maker; and i've pretty well stopped using conditioner (most days). our soap is DIYed from last summer's adventures in saponification. i'm playing around with a couple hair products that i've purchased from pur alternatives. and i recently purchased the burt's bees rosewater & glycerin toner which isn't perfect in terms of ingredients, but it's better than most.

 but, to use that more eco-friendly toner, i've been buying disposable organic cotton cosmetic rounds. unfortunately, they just pile up in the garbage can because they can't go into our municipal compost system. i figured there had to be a better way, and decided to make my own washable cosmetic rounds.

i headed to the salvation army for inspiration, and came home with some second-hand wool sweaters - to shrink and turn into lovely soft felt. crafting in a green world has a good felting tutorial.

i found that my sweaters needed two rounds in the hot washer and two rounds in the hot dryer to get felted to my satisfaction. i felted a whole bunch of sweaters (for various crafting projects) at once, so i feel less guilty about the energy required to hot-wash and dry (usually we'd cold-wash and hang-dry our clothing). one important thing to note: your sweaters need to have a high wool content, i'd say at least 80%, and the closer to 100% wool you can get, the better the felting results.

so, once my sweater was felted, i cut it into small squares (about 6cm x 6cm each). you could stop here, and have perfectly functional make-up removal/toner pads. however, i decided to dress mine up a bit. so, i cut squares of fabric (from my scrap bin), about 7cm x 7cm, and ironed down all 4 edges on each fabric square.

  i attached the fabric squares to the felted wool pieces, pinned in place, and then sewed the fabric to the felt around all 4 edges. the ones pictured are all plaid, but i've also made some baby blue and navy blue ones to mix-it-up and give as gifts. i'll be giving them in sets of 16 (enough for 2 weeks use plus a couple extra), in an assortment of fabric-scrap colours/patterns.

i'm also planning to make little mesh-bags for washing. these can go into the washer and dryer with your socks and underwear. they'd probably even air-dry pretty quickly (wool is great like that!).

and now for the fun part! i've made an extra set to give away. it's my first blog giveaway!

leave a comment telling me your favourite eco-friendly beauty product (or one you'd most like to try). i'll pick someone at random on friday april 23rd at 10:00am EST. if you don't know me personally, be sure to leave me some way to contact you. if you do know me personally, you might not win - but might get some of these as a gift for your next celebratory event :)


  1. haha, what do you mean I might not win???? lol. SO COOL, i was just thinking as I read, wow Jen, that is super pretty duper cool. (i am so square). anyhoo,
    what I would like to try, honestly I really want to try the 'no-poo' shampoo, especially the recipe A Green Spell has posted about but i am too much of a chicken to try.

  2. I'm just delving into the world of eco-friendly, but a cool item I already own is the mark. "snap-to-it" case. You buy a case, and the powders separately, so when they are all done you only need to replace the little powder square instead of the whole plastic case.

    And can I just say, that is a super-cool prize!!

  3. Your creativity is inspiring!

    At the moment I'm still searching for an eco-friendly shampoo that doesn't make my hair feel stripped of moisture. However I did get a new lip balm from the Guelph Farmer's Market last week that is incredible. Also I still have a tiny bit of the sugar scrub you made that I love.

  4. heya ~ just discovered your blog via ecoyogini and i love it! what a productive and fun way to spend your unemployed time. i had six months of funemployment last year, during that time i learned french, started blogging and grew herbs on my balcony.

    my favourite eco-friendly product is dr. bronner's magic all-one liquid soaps. love the stuff! otherwise, i have to say that i have bad luck with eco products: they make my skin break out and my hair greasy. i keep giving them the old college try, but have yet to find anything that really works with my body chemistry. other than dr bronner!

    i look forward to your continued adventures, and i hope you keep blogging even after you go back to work!

  5. Hi! I found you through EcoYogini, and since I have two green blogs (one general green blog, and one for green beauty) I was totally into this idea! I will be tweeting it, and FB-ing it! Yay!! Thank you for coming up with a great way to make facial pads NON-disposable!!!

  6. These are AWESOME Jen!
    Thank you VERY much :) I'm sure these will be much better to use than the 'cellulose' pads I've been using!
    They are beautiful and Happy (belated) Earth Day to you as well!!

  7. callah - that sounds great. all cosmetic companies should be sell their product with reuseable components like that. i always feel so guilty throwing away my cosmetic containers.

    tara - i've got some shampoo for you to try when you move back to the east coast. and i'll make you some more sugar scrub then too. excited to have you back here, and you can partake in my eco-friendly adventures too!

    roseanne - i'm really enjoying the dr. bronner's peppermint hair cream (i use it to make my wavy hair a bit more curly) - they do have great products!

    a green spell - thanks! i love projects involving felted wool. thanks for passing the idea along too - that's wonderful!