|Shiseido Facial Cotton ($9.50)|
On a trip to San Francisco years ago, I found myself at a Shiseido counter. I can't even remember what I was trying on or what department store it was but I remember the associate handing me a cotton pad with makeup remover on it and I ended up buying the cotton instead of makeup. She even taught me a very systematic way of removing a full face of makeup to maximize each pad. This entails holding the pad lengthwise between three fingers. You put the pad on your middle finger and fold down the sides and hold it there with your index and ring fingers.
This essentially helps you figure out how to divide the sheet into 3 sections. You can start with the middle section, put makeup remover on it and use the sheet one section at a time. (Or you can put remover on the entire pad first.) Then you flip and do the same on the other side. Each rectangular sheet of softness is about 2.5"x2.25" so it's about the width of 3 fingers on its short side. The method is worth the trouble if you want the cotton to last.
When the bag of cotton ran out, I found myself at a duty-free in Japan, trying desperately to explain to the friendly Japanese ladies that what I wanted was a bag of Shiseido Facial Cotton. None of them spoke English (or maybe they simply did not want to speak it) and they kept gesturing with their hands to the Cle de Peau Beaute counter where another lovely Japanese woman sold me a box of their cotton. The only English I heard was "same." So I shelled out for it and she also gave me some samples of nail polish remover. I was pleased with the cotton and I later found out that Shiseido owned Cle de Peau Beaute. However, while completely wonderful and encased in a pretty beige box, the cotton I bought there was twice the price.
I'd been searching for a less expensive alternative for years and I tried Laura Mercier's cotton a couple of times. I liked that the pads were larger in size but they were unbleached so the fibers were not pristine white. I'm just used to the cotton being white so it bothered me a little. I also didn't think that it was as soft. Price-wise, it really wasn't cheaper so I ended up going back to Shiseido. I don't even think Laura Mercier sells those cotton pads anymore.
I recently discovered that Chanel sells cotton pads embossed with the Chanel logo. I'm not crazy enough to buy that although if someone was throwing a spa/makeover party, I think those would make lovely favors as part of a gift bag. Anyway, my point is, this cotton doesn't come cheap. I try to use my stash exclusively for makeup removal, when the makeup remover wipes don't get everything especially around the eyes. If I have to apply anything all over my face with a cotton pad, I also reach for Shiseido. I still buy cotton balls at the pharmacy and use those for everything else. At the end of the day, it's still a luxury to buy and use pricier cotton pads but I love these. I don't think I can be convinced to give them up anytime soon.
Now whatever inspired me to tell you about cotton today? It was a page on Lucky Magazine's April 2011 issue. On page 136, they feature an actor on their Shop With A Pro section. I guess they sent her to Target and made her pick out some noteworthy items from the Cosmetics aisles. There was praise for Up & Up cotton rounds, hailed as "best for removing really stubborn eye makeup- and they're so soft." I couldn't agree less. I shop at Target a lot. Up & Up cotton rounds are probably among the worst cotton rounds I've ever bought. I've gone through almost 4 bags of the stuff so I know it's not just one defective bag. They have rough patches that if I use a round to remove eye makeup, my lids always get scratched. When I use them to remove nail polish, they leave little fibers all over the place. I bought them because they were cheap. If you want something worth praising, these are not it. Just get your cotton at Walgreens or something. Or take my advice and get a bag of Shiseido. Up & Up doesn't even come close.