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Whether you’re removing stubborn waterproof mascara, applying an essence, swiping on a toner, or removing nail polish, a cotton pad is essential. Because of its versatility, it should definitely have a place in your skincare routine.
As easy as it seems to just buy a pack—they’re just cotton, after all—not all cotton rounds are created equal. Which is why we’ve rounded (excuse the pun) up the softest and most lush cotton rounds the beauty market has to offer right now. From the best bang for your buck to the best reusable, there’s a cotton pad for every skin type and preference.
Go ahead and take your pick from the best cotton pads on the market, below.
Best Overall: Klairs Toner Mate 2 in 1 Cotton Pad
If you’ve got several steps in your skincare routine, these specially designed pads are meant for you. There are two different types of pads in each package—the first a compressed cotton pad that’s ideal for removing any dirt or oil and the second a sponge cotton pad that doesn’t absorb most of the product you’re using. The latter is great for applying a toner or essence as its unique delivery system lets the skin naturally absorb the formula.
Best Organic: Organyc 100% Certified Organic Cotton Makeup Pads
These organic cotton rounds are a bestseller for a reason. Made of 100% certified organic cotton, the naturally breathable rounds are ideal for all skin types, especially those who tend to be sensitive. Because one side is slightly textured than the other, you have the choice to go for a bit more exfoliation, especially when deep cleaning. Plus, the pads are fragrance- and chlorine bleach-free.
Best K-Beauty: MISSHA Silk-Feel Cotton Puff
We love these cotton pads for their sturdy thickness—they’re great for applying any of your liquid skincare products, including toners and essences. Users also find that makeup removing oils work well with the material. Reviewers love the high-quality feel and performance. Their biggest tip is to stock up.
Best for Makeup Removal: Cle de Peau Cotton Pad Set
Created with premium cotton and silk, these rich cotton pads feel like luxury on the face. The ultra-high-density silk helps to break down makeup, dirt, and oil for a clean, smooth canvas. One reviewer reports that these aren’t like other cotton pads as these are thicker, softer, and more durable.
Best for Sensitive Skin: MUJI Soft Cut Cotton
Fussy skin? These unbleached cotton squares are exactly what you need to cleanse and tone your skin. Because these are thicker, there’s less scratching and pilling, which means less irritation on your face. Users highly recommend pairing these squares with toner as it doesn’t absorb all your products, so the toner actually ends up on your face.
Best Plush: Shiseido Facial Cotton
Hello, maximum absorption. These wonderfully soft and smooth squares help to evenly distribute product all over your face without wasting it. Almost every reviewer raves that they’d never go back to another drugstore alternative again. Because they don’t shed, you won’t find any excess cotton on your face after application—a big win in our opinion!
Best Exfoliating: Swisspers Premium Exfoliating Cotton Rounds
This dual-sided cotton round is perfect for everyday use—use the textured side with micro-beads to gently exfoliate and the smoother, embossed side to apply products such as creams and toners. Because the rounds are so gentle, they can be used daily and on sensitive skin. Bonus: The stitched edges keep the product from pilling and leaving behind excess fabric on your face.
Best Budget: Up & Up Basic Cotton Rounds
Reviewers love that although these are considered “basic” cotton rounds, they do the job and do it well. One user notes that she typically needs 3-5 rounds, but 1-2 of these pads get it done. Made of ultra-soft cotton, the pads feel comfortable and smooth over the face.
Best Splurge: Chanel Le Coton Extra Soft Cotton Pads
Are those angels we hear as we swipe this cotton pad across our face? Probably. Triple-layered and heavenly soft, these insanely bouncy pads literally feel like clouds on your face. The middle layer is made of entwined elastic fibers, making this pad strong but plush. Use with your favorite cleanser, toner, or lotion.
Best Value: Equate Beauty Premium Cotton Rounds
With three packs included in each purchase, you’ll be completely stocked up. Created with 100% cotton, these pads are gentle on the skin, but efficient at dispersing your product-of-choice all over the face. One reviewer finds that these pads are also perfect for removing nail polish—she used just one on all ten of her fingers.
Best Reusable: Marley's Monsters 100% Organic Cotton Facial Rounds
If you’re an eco-warrior—let’s face it, we all should be—these reusable cotton squares are right up your alley. They're 100% cotton and easy to use, and the double layer is sturdy and can withstand even the most waterproof makeup products. While the product itself should last a lifetime, the materials are compostable, so should you ever need to dispose of it, just remove the thread and find your nearest recycling center.