A few Fridays ago, I was watching one of Alle’s xoVain videos in my usual state of delighted awe. This particular edition was about fixing makeup mistakes and, as always, she had oodles -- oodles! -- of great advice.
But something shook me deep down to my core.
Alle, who I’d trust with both my face and my life, was using REGULAR COTTON SWABS (or Q-tips for those of you who insist on genericized trademarks). She even rips a bunch of the cotton off one of them and squeezes what’s left for a more precise tip in order to fix a cat-eye mistake!
If you’re wondering why I’m swab-shaming a dear friend and colleague, it’s because pointed cotton swabs exist, and they are the most useful thing ever. Fine, not ever. Google is probably more useful. Water, too. But they are really freakin’ useful, OK?
I’ve been reaching for them over and over for a number of uses, including…
Fixing An Effed-Up Cat Eye
Sometimes one eye ends up with a thicker wing than the other, but instead of making the thinner wing thicker, you’d rather slim down the thicker one. Once you get over your semantic satiation of the word “thicker,” simply dip one end of the swab in some eye-makeup remover and carefully erase the excess eyeliner, much like Alle does in the aforementioned video. (Seriously, watch it. So good.)
The pointy tip allows for much more control, especially if you don’t completely saturate it.
Applying A Spot Treatment Exactly Where It's Needed
A finger and even a regular cotton swab have too much area to apply something like an acne spot treatment without getting it where you don't need it. And considering how drying those treatments can be, it's best to get them right on the zit, not the zit and the surrounding skin. A pointy swab allows you to perfectly target what needs treating without wasting product on skin that doesn't need it.
Applying Concealer Exactly Where It's Needed
Nothing says "I'm wearing concealer" quite like wearing it not just on the blemish you want concealed, but all around it. Use the pointed tip for a much more precise application than any brush, applicator or finger can offer.
Cleaning Up A Sloppy Nail Polish Job
I bet manicurists would be awesome surgeons and vice versa. I, however, would not be good at either profession because I just don’t have steady hands. When I paint my nails, the color overflows past my cuticles and I’m left wondering why I don’t just dip my fingers in a bowl of polish.
I used to use a sharp tweezer to painstakingly (emphasis on pain) peel the excess polish and get right into the nooks and/or crannies, but pointy cotton swabs are a much gentler and equally meticulous way to clean up around the edges.
They're also great for when you remove polish and still have some left around the edges.
Defining A Cupid’s Bow
One of my favorite facial features is the shape of my lips; I like how well-defined my Cupid's bow is...until I apply lipstick, press my lips together, and find I've transferred the color from my much-fuller bottom lip onto my philtrum.
Using a bit of moisturizer (another great suggestion from Alle's video), a pointy cotton swab lets me remove the color precisely to bring out the natural curve of my lips.
Disinfecting Crusty Earring Holes
Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets gross stuff built up in her piercings when she hasn't taken out her earrings in a while.
Have you made the switch to pointy cotton swabs yet? I'd love to hear what other uses you've come up with.