7 Oct 2017

A Comparison Review of 21 Facial Puffs, Facial Cottons / Puffs / Swabs Part 1


Facial cotton or cotton pad is arguably one of the most important cosmetic tools. It is widely used in many places and for multiple purposes. You can use facial cotton to remove your makeup, tone and even exfoliate your skin! Alternatively, you can also use it as a quick 3-5 minutes lotion mask to keep your skin soft and plump.

I used cotton pad in many ways, from cleansing, toning, to masking. I know some people think that they are a waste of money and product but I personally would argue otherwise! I think the key of using facial cotton is to make sure that you know which products to use them with, and how. Using only one type of cotton pad for everything head to toes is the reason that you think you are wasting your product, so do use them more wisely!

There are many types of facial cotton, and they each serve different beauty purposes:

  • Cotton swab
  • Square cotton / Round cotton / Pocket cotton
  • Sponge cotton
  • Embossed Cotton
  • Multilayered cotton
  • Water jet cotton

In this review, I’m gonna explain the materials use, properties, and functions of each facial cotton and review some of those I have tried in the past few years. A list of the products reviewed in this post is as below:-

  • 2358! Makeup Cotton 1000s ★★
  • Etude House My Beauty Tool Embossed Cotton Puff 150s ★★★☆
  • Etude House My Beauty Tool Paper Stick Cotton Swabs ★★★☆
  • Hera Cell Essence Facial Care Cotton 60s ★★★★☆
  • Innisfree A-Z Tool Kit ★★★☆
  • Innisfree Eco Beauty Tool Premium Cotton Pads 2.0 80s ☆
  • IOPE Bio-Essence Intensive Conditioning Facial Care Cotton 60s ☆
  • Laneige Facial Care Dual Cotton 60s ★★★
  • Lirikos Triple Treatment Facial Cotton 60s ★★★☆
  • Missha Cotton Swabs 100pcs ★★★☆
  • Missha Soft 5 Layers Cotton Sheet 80s ★★★★


Properties and uses of different types of facial cotton

Cotton Swab

Cotton swabs are little q-tips you use in your everyday’s lives. I think all of us should be familiar with cotton swabs. We use them to correct our makeup, remove corner makeup, blend eye shadow, pluck our ears, and many more. They all have a rather standard look so there is nothing really to talk about here.

Square cotton / Round cotton / Pocket cotton

Square cotton is the conventional multi-purpose facial cotton that comes in square or round. Sometimes, they also come in little pocket for you to insert your fingers inside. There are many ways you can use them. You can use them to remove makeup or apply toner / essence. They are normally cheaper than “specialty cottons” and are available in bulks.

Sponge cotton

Sponge cotton, sometimes also called “½ sponge cotton”, is designed specifically for your cheek area. Normally women soak their toner or essence in these sponge cotton and apply them on both cheeks for 3-5 minutes as lotion mask. The sponge cotton is usually thinner, woven, and hold lesser product. Its unique material makes it perfect for masking.

Embossed cotton

Embossed cotton is similar to ½ sponge cotton but is thicker in width and volume. Since they are thicker, embossed cotton is normally not used for toner or essence as they pick up more product and will not adhere to the skin that well. Depending on the thickness, embossed cotton is more commonly used for exfoliating and makeup removing. Its rougher embossed surface is a perfect yet not as harsh way to “scrub” your skin and bring away impurities and dirt.

Multilayered cotton

Normally, multilayered cotton comes in 3 or 5 thinner layers of cotton. There are many ways to use multi-layer cotton. You can use them as lotion mask for your entire face (not just cheek area), or tear them into pieces to save money and product. These multilayered cotton is normally very stretchy and thin so I don’t think they are that practical for patting or wiping. You can use them in pressing motion (to allow the essence to penetrate deeper) but I prefer using sponge cotton for this purpose. As such, depending on the materials, multilayered cotton works best as lotion mask.

Water jet cotton

Water jet cotton is a fluffy and thicker facial cotton that you can use in various ways. It is usually really soft and can hold a lot of moisture. So far I don’t find good places to use them. I don’t find them practical as lotion mask, nor are they perfect for exfoliating, toning, prepping or wiping. Since they are thicker, so they also pick up more product than I like. Normally I just tear them into two pieces and use them with toner or essence. They are great for cleansing water though but I am not sure if I want to spend so much on facial cotton that is only good for cleansing.

2358! Makeup Cotton 1000s



Type: sponge cotton
Absorbency: ★★ 
Softness: ★★★
Resilience: ★★★☆
Best for: cleansing water, too small for toner/essence
Cons: a bit plasticky, needs to use several pieces of the cotton
Buy at: 1,000s / RM 10 @ Korean concept store

Etude House My Beauty Tool Paper Stick Cotton Swabs


Type: cotton swab
Absorbency: ★★★★
Softness: ★★★
Resilience: ★★★★★ (high quality paper swabs)
Best for: all purpose
Buy at: 100s / Etude House

Etude House My Beauty Tool Embossed Cotton Puff 150s


Type: embossed cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★
Softness: ★★★★
Resilience: ★★★☆ (still produce some cotton lint)
Best for: cleansing water, toner and essence (best for patting and pressing)
Cons: produces cotton lint
Buy at: 150s @ Etude House (sometimes with 1+1 deal)

Hera Cell Essence Facial Care Cotton 60s


Type: embossed cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★★
Softness: ★★★★★
Resilience: ★★★★★
Best for: essence (patting, pressing and swiping)
Cons: a bit thick, inaccessible
Buy at: 60s @ comes with Hera Cell Essence; Jolse

IOPE Bio-Essence Intensive Conditioning Facial Care Cotton 60s


Type: water jet cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★
Softness: ★★★★
Resilience: ☆
Best for: cleansing water
Cons: deform and tear easily
Buy at: 60s @ comes IOPE Bio-Essence Intensive Conditioning

Innisfree Eco Beauty Tool Premium Cotton Pads 2.0 80s


Type: water jet cotton
Absorbency: ★★
Softness: ★★★★
Resilience: ☆
Best for: cleansing water
Cons: deform and tear easily
Buy at: 80s @ Innisfree Malaysia

Laneige Facial Care Dual Cotton 60s


Type: embossed cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★★
Softness: ★★★★★
Resilience: ★★★★★
Best for: essence (patting, pressing and swiping)
Cons: too thick, waste product
Buy at: 60s @ comes with Hera Cell Essence; Jolse

Lirikos Triple Treatment Facial Cotton


Type: embossed cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★★
Softness: ★★★★★☆
Resilience: ★★★★☆
Best for: essence and toner (swiping, patting, pressing)
Cons: too thick, waste product
Buy at: 60s comes with Lirikos Triple Treatment

Missha Cotton Swabs 100pcs


Type: cotton swab
Absorbency: ★★★★
Softness: ★★★★
Resilience: ★★★★★ (high quality paper swabs)
Best for: all purpose
Buy at: 100s / Sweet Corea

Missha Soft 5 Layers Cotton Sheet


Type: multilayered cotton
Absorbency: ★★★★★
Softness: ★★★★★
Resilience: ★★★★★
Best for: lotion mask, essence/toner
Buy at: 80s x 5 sheets @ Missha Malaysia

Read on for more facial cottons / puffs/ swabs reviews here.


[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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