'I tried biodegradable face wipes from Boots, Tesco, Simple, Superdrug and Primark - and I'd only consider one pack again' - Bethan Shufflebotham - Manchester Evening News

2022-06-01 02:30:00 By : Mr. Anne Xu

Only two of the brands stated a time frame of which their wipes break down

Last week health and beauty retailer Boots followed Aldi in banning plastic wipes from their stores . The news comes after the high street store sold 800 million wet wipes last year.

In a move to offer customers more sustainable options to lessen their impact on the environment, Boots will only be selling biodegradable wipes, replacing plastic-based wipes with ones using plant-based fibres instead.

As around 11 million wet wipes are used in the UK each year - and most contain plastic - it’s important to do your bit for the planet if you must use them.

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So I’ve been taking a look at some of the retailers where you might pick up a packet of face wipes, to see just how good their biodegradable offerings are. I visited Boots, Tesco, Primark and Superdrug to pick up own branded wipes, as well as the well known brand Simple and Boots No7 brand.

Prices ranged from £1 to £4.95, but some left me with panda eyes and reddened skin, while others were much gentler. Here’s what I found when I pitted the six packs against each other.

Boots Biodegradable Moisturising Cleansing Wipes come in a pack of 25 for £1 and have been rated 3.5 stars out of five by shoppers.

The wipes are formulated with almond oil and vitamin e to hydrate the skin, and are free from plastic and chlorine. Cruelty free and biodegradable, these have a light but pleasant fragrance, and claim to remove ‘even waterproof make up’, however, on testing it did seem to struggle to remove all of my mascara, leaving me with panda eyes.

These wipes were the smallest in size, which meant I needed two to take off a full face of makeup, but they did feel very soft and the scent was very nice. There are also cucumber and fragrance free options available though.

The No7 Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes were launched in 2021 when plastic was removed from the No7 wipes range. The pack sizes are noticeably smaller than before, however, they’re cheaper too, previously retailing at £7.95.

Now, you can get 30 wipes for £4.95, but personally, I think 16p a wipe is enough to put me off buying them at all. That said, you can get them for pennies when the No7 money off skincare vouchers are handed out.

Alternatively, shoppers can look out for online offers to get money off. This week, there are deals for three for two on No7 skincare, and save 15 per cent on selected No7.

These gentle wipes are made from 100 per cent wood based cellulose fibres and have been ‘tested to be biodegradable including landfill’. They were pretty effective in wiping away my makeup and my skin felt clean after using the fragrance free wipes, which are said to protect the skin’s natural balance.

What’s more is that No7 have removed 50 per cent of plastic from their packaging compared to the previous No7 Radiant Results Revitalising Cleansing Wipes Pack.

Available in a pack of 25 wipes, the Superdrug Essential Cleansing Bio Face Wipes for sensitive skin come in at £1.

Dermatologically approved, the fragrance free wipes are made from 100 per cent plant derived fibres.

A fairly large wipe, they felt gentler on skin than some of the others, particularly around the delicate eye area and removed most of my makeup with ease. However, I did feel like I needed to go in for a double cleanse as my skin didn’t feel as clean as I’d like.

But for shoppers who love a freebie, Superdrug is offering customers free Superdrug Naturally Radiant Pads with selected skin products - and the wipes are included. The pads are usually £7.99, so it’s a huge saving, and they’re much better for the environment.

Also priced at £1 are Tesco’s Kind and Pure Biodegradable Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes. They certainly lived up to their refreshing name with a cool cucumber fragrance.

The 20 pack of wipes are ‘pH balanced and dermatologically tested’ formulated with seaweed, cucumber and Pro Vitamin B5. Made from 100 per cent plant based fibres from renewable and sustainable sources, they did a great job at removing my makeup, and left barely any residue behind.

Tesco added: “Tesco Kind and Pure is a range of gentle products created with sensitive skin in mind. All our products are pH balanced and dermatologically tested, giving skin the kindness and care it deserves. Daily skin TLC for naturally healthy-looking skin, our wipes have been carefully formulated to gently cleanse and remove make-up (including waterproof mascara) while refreshing your face.”

I found the cucumber fragrance to be my favourite of the bunch, and the wipes were both affordable and gentle on skin.

Simple is a skincare brand that’s been around for more than 60 years, and I used it a lot throughout my acne-ridden teenage years. Their Kind To Skin Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes cost £3.65 for 20, and ‘unclog pores in the convenience of a facewipe’. And really, that’s what using face wipes is all about, right? Convenience.

The wipes are vegan and made with 100% plant based fibre which ‘biodegrade in only 42 days under home and industrial compost conditions.’ This was the first brand I saw mention a time frame for their biodegradability, so they were already on to a winner.

It’s important to note that ‘biodegradable’ means that it will break down eventually - which could still be an extremely long time, though still shorter than plastics. So unless a brand clearly states a timeframe, it could be a case of greenwashing consumers.

Using vitamin B5 and vitamin E, the gentle wipes felt hydrating and, literally kind to skin, and removed all traces of makeup from my face - including stubborn brow gel.

The wipes are unscented with no artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals, and even the outer packaging is 100 per cent recyclable.

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In total, these wipes are said to save the equivalent of four plastic bags which are some pretty interesting statistics.

The wipes were the second smallest of the lot, but offered a slightly textured surface which felt like it was doing all the makeup removal work for me.

Last but not least was Primark, who sell a twin pack of 50 wipes in total for £1, making them the best value for money at 5p a wipe.

Primark said: “Our biodegradable wipes will take you from gorgeous and glam, to a bare faced beauty within a matter of seconds. Our wipes are made from 100% plant-based fibres sourced from responsibly managed forests, allowing you to be kind to your skin and kinder to the planet.”

According to tests completed in accordance with a globally recognised controlled testing method more than 90 per cent of Primark’s wipes would be broken down within 15 days.

Like many of the other wipes, their Prep & Perfect Bio Hydrating Cleansing Wipes contain vitamin B5 which is great for sensitive skin, as well as hyaluronic acid known for its hydrating properties.

The wipes did feel quite nourishing, but were a little big draggy on the skin, which would put me off using them, but I was pleased to see the brand being clear about breakdown times.

Overall, my favourite face wipes were the Simple Kind to Skin wipes, which offered clear guidelines on their biodegradability, and their 100 per cent recyclable packaging. I liked the texture of the wipes and the face it was gentle on skin while effectively removing all of my makeup.

I do like to keep a pack of face wipes in for skincare emergencies or seriously lazy days, but 99 per cent of the time I do prefer a muslin cloth. But I will now be keeping a pack of Simple’s wipes in my skincare cupboard for those days when only a face wipe will do.