An Ode to Cotton Buds

This may just about be the most unglamorous and utterly simple post that will ever grace the pages here at VDM. ‘An ode to cotton buds? Has she gone mad?‘, you may exclaim, but stick with me here as those little lengths of cotton clean-up, blendable bud goodness may just be about one of the handiest beauty tools out there, and bloomin’ cheap they are too. They’re one of those bathroom cabinet essentials that we take for granted until you’re getting ready at a mates and nonchalantly ask for one and their response is that they haven’t gone any – my face looks a little like this. I have been mulling over their beauty functions for a few days and here is my final list of what I like to dig into my bowl of buds for…

Ear cleaning aside (probably one of the most satisfying tasks on the planet), don’t we all find cotton buds come in super handy for cleaning up my makeup spills and smudges? I always have a few on hand to dunk into nail polish remover to correct any misplaced polish mid-mani and for eyeliner, there’s no better tool to sharpen up a feline liquid flick or smudge out a smokey pencil. If your natural lip line has been ignored during lipstick application then a cotton bud dipped in makeup remover on one end and concealer on the other should help to coax back out the natural shape of your pout. I’m notorious for being an eyeshadow noob, and when I blend out my shades a wee bit too high a quick swipe of a bud sorts that out and the same goes for eyebrows; if I’ve gone too heavy with the powder a bit of blending with one will soften my bold brow look. If a spot rears its ugly head then that’s when I find myself dipping into my pot the post, instead of using fingers or dirtying and contaminating brushes I find the easiest way is grab a cotton bud to apply spot treatments and concealer directly on the bad boy. No fuss, no germs – just lob them in the bin when you’re done. These are all the uses I could squeeze out of my cotton bud loving brain but this list is not exhaustive – any other particular purposes then do add them to the CB adoration forum below.

If we’re going to get particular about cotton buds, I’m rather partial to the Sainsbury’s ones from the baby section cause they are as cheap as chips. And storage wise? I cuddle all mine up into used Diptyque candle holders. Cotton bud ode concluded.


  • Faith Summer Mitchell

    I totally understand what you mean about not realising how much you do love them until you go to other people’s houses and they don’t! I honestly couldn’t live without them, especially when I wear eyeliner! Xxx

  • Maria

    I feel the same way! I love ’em so much.


  • Laura

    Cotton buds are absolute babes!

    Off topic, but… Please, please, please, pleaseeeee do more style/fashion posts because your styles is amazing and it’s really interesting. They’re really appreciated by everybody I think.

    You’re my fave blogger. So sweet and sincere. xx

  • I love them too! I go through them so quickly because they are so so useful. I buy the Asda ones, supermarket own brand ftw.
    I always turn to them when I’ve sleepily managed to get mascara places other than my lashes! Once it’s dried, of course.

  • Daria Buonin

    Such a good post Anna 🙂 I use them for make up mistakes too and keep them in my old Yankee Candle jars (wish they were Dyptiques!) Xxx

  • Linsay

    Haha fabulous. I’m the same, when I go into my drawer and realise i’m down to my last few cotton buds I panic! I use mine for clearing up mascara smudges mostly. I’ll also use them alongside Bioderma to spot clean under my eyes if I smudge my eyeshadow too low etc. Great wee invention!

  • I love cotton buds too!

  • Frances Wilson

    I bought a couple of massive packs of cotton buds from Wilkinsons last year and am still working through them. I keep them kept in my storage drawers but with a pot on my dressing table much like your Diptyque one but less fancy. I get through so many as like you say they are so so useful x

  • LMC

    Firstly, I love your blog and videos Vivianna you can do no wrong in my eyes!! That said, I know that it is very tempting but I urge you not to use cotton buds in your ears! You can buy ear wax removal drops for just a few pounds from boots that do the trick without causing the trauma that these buds cause to the skin in your inner ear. This trauma can lead to infection, ear drum perforation or even disrupt the normal pattern of skin cells and wax from leaving the ear naturally to migrating inwards and forming what is called a cholesteatoma. Google it, it is not pretty and requires a serious operation to remove- and it’s not that uncommon! I am a 4th year med student and I’ve just finished my ENT placement so I’ve seen it with my own eyes! Just a little warning, those drops are MUCH safer for the ears! xx

    • Thanks for the heads up hun! I’m always uber careful when having a dig in my ears, but will look into those drops! 🙂

  • Georgia adsett

    Definitely love those badboys! Especially getting ready for a night out when the macquillage has taken hours to perfect and a bit of mascara blobs on your eyelid, they have saved the day numerous times! Also I occasionally ombré my nail tips with them.

  • Hollie Galvin

    Ive only ever tried them for my mascara when it gets the top of my eyelid and I use them to wipe them off. Using them for spot treatments is a good idea:) Great post as always x

  • kitty paterson

    I love the cat face. I stayed the night at my friends after a night out recently and she did’t have any make-up remover!! How do these girls live?! x

  • HelloOctober

    Love them for getting the remains of my origins eye cream out of the creases in the tub – cheapskate!

  • Hayley Davies

    You make the most boring object fun and interesting!! Well done you!
    I do agree though, it’s a nightmare when someone doesn’t have any (there is never any in my boyfriends house!!!) and then you’re left trying to improvise – using a floppy bit of toilet paper to remove the smudges of mascara from your eyelid. Not the best.

  • rachel.4

    Hit the nail on the head here, Anna! I LOVE cotton buds, I bore anyone I meet and willing to listen for however long about the many uses and my adoration! The boy goes CRAZY because wherever I go I leave behind a trail of cotton buds.. I’m certain you’ll know they can end up anywhere!

    Highly entertaining and fun post as ever 🙂

    Rachelle xo

  • I never could be bothered with cotton buds but after seeing a pixiwoo video where they recommended having them near by I decided it was time to give them a whirl!
    Very glad I did. They are a quiet beauty saviour!
    Another wonderful post 🙂
    Rebecca xx

  • Katie Moorby

    These come in so handy when you sneeze after putting on mascara -.- just me? Ok haha
    Great post xx

  • Hannah Maggs

    hehe this made me giggle 🙂 i use them for all the same reasons as you, i also make sure i take them with me for make-up jobs, theyre a stable in my kit! thank god for cotton buds hay 🙂 love the way youve stored them in the candle holder, they look pretty x

  • Katie Hello

    I just love the way you write! Great post, I *shock horror* have never used cotton buds for the things you’ve mentioned but I might try now…

    Katie xx

  • Jackie

    Excellent tribute to cotton buds – what kind of woman does NOT have cotton buds in their boudoir?

  • Keeley

    This made me chuckle haha. Lovely post.

    – Keeley | Living In Your Imagination

  • sam

    i have arrived at the point where i cannot live without cotton buds. i use them daily to fix mascara blobs on my eyelids. they are SO handy, i love this post!

  • LOL always hitting the nail on the head, Anna! 🙂 It IS very satisfying 😀

  • Amelia

    I’ve taken to plopping mine into old glass candles as well. Got the idea from you! This post made me all sorts of happy. Gotta love the handy, yet vastly under-appreciated, cotton bud! xx

  • Millie

    I love cotton buds too! They are one of the handiest things ever!! 🙂 ♥

  • katherine.parkes
  • They are absolute lifesavers! Forever removing mascara from around my eyes & softening up over zealous brow product application!! x