Stories From a Curator is a column by Charlotte Cho, the curator and cofounder of Soko Glam. As a licensed esthetician and the author of The Little Book of Skin Care, Cho gives a glimpse into her discovery process and what brands and products make the cut for the curated site.
You know when you’re talking to a skin care lover when you can rave about cotton pads for 30 minutes straight.
Though I am a self-identified skincare lover, I actually didn’t have a preference in cotton pads. In fact, my knowledge and interest in them has always been lukewarm. Yes, I’ve tried the nice ones from Shiseido when I was gifted a box but, honestly, I’m not really used to splurging on things that aren’t considered necessities, so I never replenished them. Normally, I just pop into a Duane Reade and pick up some generic ones, along with my toothpaste and bag of flossers.
But for someone who uses cotton pads regularly (daily, in fact), why didn’t I have a higher standard for them? The answer is simple: You don’t know what you’re missing out on until you try it. For me, it was the Klairs 2-in-1 Toner Mate Cotton Pad that pushed me over the edge and now I have a very particular interest in cotton pads. Here’s why the Klairs cotton pads made me into a total cotton pad snob.
Let’s drill it down to the basics. There are two reasons why you need cotton pads: to remove makeup and impurities, and to apply skincare products onto your skin.
Klairs identified these two purposes and put them into one. In the compact box you’ll find 60 of the compressed cotton pad and 60 of the sponge cotton pad, so a total of 120 pads.
The compressed cotton pad (the one on the left in the picture below) is what you start off with. It’s super thin but feels stiff, like a square of felt you’d get at your craft store. It’s stiff so that when you swipe it onto your skin you feel it getting the grime and makeup off your face (at the same time, it’s still super gentle). What makes “stiff yet soft” possible is K-beauty technology that compresses multiple layers of organic cotton with the natural force of water jets to create these cotton pads. Genius!
How to use: I have a new routine now where I douse the compressed cotton pad with a cleansing water and then wipe the day off my face. I love how much control I can have over the pad—which, by the way, doesn’t peel or leave any stringy bits of cotton on my skin. Instead of feeling like I’m rubbing the makeup and grime into my skin, I actually feel like I’m swiping it off.
Next is the sponge cotton pad (the one on the right on the image above). The sponge cotton pad is the best for toner and essence application. It collects the liquid and spits it right back onto your skin. The normal cotton pads I’ve used just absorbs most of the product before it ever has a fair chance at depositing it back onto my skin. What a waste! That’s why I would normally sprinkle the essence/toner onto my hands and then tap into the skin to maximize the product. But no longer.
How to use: Using this light, airy sponge only requires a few drops and when I tap the sponge back onto my skin, it leaves my entire face drenched and my skin is ready to slurp it all up. And just because it’s so effective at holding and releasing the liquid, these sponge cotton pads can double as a DIY sheet mask with your favorite essence. It also makes it handy at getting the hard to reach places, like underneath my chin and my neck.
Just a fair warning to you all. Be prepared to cross over into the territory of cotton pad snobbery, because you may never come back.