Like many living in Victoria’s harsh lockdown period, Lauren Palmer faced uncertainty.
The 21-year-old was working in Melbourne and studying business at university but had to move back in with her parents in regional Victoria.
“Since March I have been working from home. I moved back in with my parents as there was so much uncertainty around job security and I was worried that if I lost my job I would have a lot of financial pressures, so I moved back home like many other Victorians,” she said.
“Working from home was great, as there’s no early mornings and 30 minute one-way traffic in the mornings and nights.
“Instead I found that I had so much more time, being a morning person, that I didn’t know what to do with myself. When gyms completely closed I had so much time that I started thinking of potential business ideas.”
Ms Palmer created a business called Puffy Cheeks and launched an eco-friendly face wipe to the market, called Cheek Puffs.
The chic microfibre face cleansing pads, which sell for $21.95, come in two colours so they can used for heavier and light make-up removal.
They can be reused multiple times and replace up to 200 single-use makeup wipes.
As a skincare junkie, Ms Palmer said she started researching the amount of single-use products on the market and she was shocked.
“I started looking into ways that we can reduce the number of face and makeup wipes that we use because I can use up to three single-use makeup wipes to remove heavy makeup which is outrageous,” she said.
“With the number of other people that are using single-use wipes, it’s scary to imagine the amount of waste we generate by a product that can be easily swapped with something more sustainable and eco-friendly.
“I did a lot of research into minimising single-use wipes and this gave me the idea of bringing a sustainable, reusable and eco-friendly face wipe to Australia.”
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The eco-friendly beauty market has been gaining traction in recent years, with cult favourite Face Halo among the first to make waves.
A spokesman for Face Halo told news.com.au’s The Beauty Diary a three pack replaced $450 worth of single-use makeup wipes, based on the assumption the average person used three make-up wipes a day.
Disposable wipes are a huge environmental issue for Australia – and the rest of the world – costing an estimated $15 million every year in blocked drains and pipes.
Ms Palmer said regular face wipes could also be drying for the skin due to the harsh ingredients, and left an oily, unclean residue.
“With Cheek Puffs you only need water to see magical cleansing results as it removes everything from the surface of the skin including heavy eye makeup which is hard to get off with traditional makeup wipes,” she said.
“Traditional face wipes often require vigorous rubbing to remove eye makeup which isn’t great for the skin, especially the eye area which is very delicate.”
Ms Palmer said she had already sold most of her initial order to gifting and hamper companies, and they were heading to some salons too.
She’s aiming to bring out more colours in the future and expand into other product categories, still within skincare.
“As the beauty industry grows, we need to consider that our planet does not have that same fortune,” she said.
“In the world that we know and love, becoming eco-friendly in the products we distribute is just one way to give back to mother Earth.
“Together, we can make a change in beauty, for the better.”
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