Geeking Out: Why Shiseido Cotton Pads Are the Best Cotton Pads, Maybe Ever

by Liza and Janine on 29 August 2013 · 24 comments

SAMSUNGSomewhere in downtown Toronto, a young man has scored serious good-boyfriend points with a single smart drugstore beauty purchase: Shiseido cotton pads. And we take total credit. #beautyambush

We don’t know how you spend a Friday night, but apparently we spend ours lurking in random drugstores, offering unsolicited advice to any man who crosses our path. As we loitered at the nail polish display like a couple of 12-year-olds — “Nails Inc. London!” “Oooh, look — Quo Purple Daydream!” — we heard a guy on his cel with his girlfriend. “Yeah, cotton pads,” he said as he reached for a sleeve of rounds from a display hook.

We stopped him. (JF loathes most drugstore cotton pads; here’s why.)

In fact, we gang-beauty-advised him: “Get the Shiseido cotton pads instead!” “Seriously, they’re the best.” “Okay, they’re $11, but they’re worth it.” “She’ll love them!” “They’re so soft.” “They don’t shred.” “Tell her they’re for her face; don’t waste them on nail polish removal!” “They’re almost life-changing.”

Impressively, the guy managed to listen to his girlfriend, hang onto the Shiseido package we thrust at him, and suss out a spot with good cel reception — all the while enduring a beauty-jargon downpour over his poor, confused-boy head.

how to hold a Shiseido cotton pad to apply moisturizer_Shiseido Facial CottonJF geeked out about Shiseido cotton pads here in this post, but has since discovered new reasons to love them. For instance:

  • Shiseido cotton pads are “water-jet processed — they go through a curtain of highly pressured water,” says Sophie Bissuel, Shiseido’s national training manager. The treatment binds the fibres firmly together; it’s why the pads leave zero lint on your skin when you remove your makeup, including waterproof mascara.
  • Shiseido cotton pads are super soft, yet so sturdy that you can soak one in warm water and use it to smooth away rough patches on lips.
  • Shiseido cotton pads are ideal for DIY face masks. Soak four pads in hydrating toner, then place one on your forehead, one on each cheek and one on your chin, says Sophie.
  • Shiseido cotton pads can be used to apply moisturizer and primer, too. “The pad absorbs the product you put on it, but gives it right back,” explains Sophie. Translation: You won’t lose any more moisturizer to the cotton pad than you would if you applied with your fingertips. (JF tried this trick on bridal clients last weekend; she loved it as a soothing, hygenic way to prep client skin.)
  • One Shiseido cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover is enough to do all 10 toes. However, JF insists the pads are far too luxurious to waste on polish removal. But you do the math.

We once heard someone refer to the layers that make up a Shiseido cotton pad as “five millimetres of happiness.”

“Said no woman, ever,” quipped LH.

Well, not unless she’s talking about a Shiseido cotton pad.

Shiseido Facial Cotton ($11/165 cotton pads) is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay,,, and at Shiseido counters.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

YouLookHotToday 29 August 2013 at 7:40 am

Man, you guys really IS geeks! I love it. I love it so much I’m going to Shoppers today to get some of that happiness.


Janine 29 August 2013 at 12:34 pm

I love them so much I gave packages of them as gifts to friends and family the Christmas before last, You! I can’t use anything else on my face, now. They’re particularly good for sensitive-skin types.


Joanne Latimer (@SinusSister) 29 August 2013 at 9:02 am

Aren’t they wonderful? The 20-year-old “sales associate” at Pharmaprix told me about them, saying, and I quote, “They won’t hurt your wrinkles”…But she was RIGHT. :)


Liza 29 August 2013 at 10:22 am

Holy cow. That is cruel. Even worse than being called ‘ma’am.’ Ouch.


Janine 29 August 2013 at 12:35 pm

We need to start using the phrase “it will hurt your collagen” when we speak to 20-year-olds.


Liza 29 August 2013 at 2:09 pm

Ba ha ha ha. Mmmm, collagen…


Lisa 29 August 2013 at 3:11 pm

I’m just getting the opportunity to try them now as part of a bigger Shiseido product review, and I have to say, your geeking out is justified! They’re so sturdy and soft and almost cloth-like.


Janine 29 August 2013 at 3:20 pm

Seriously, try the lip-buffing thing, Lisa. That’s my own tip — was in a rush the other day and did a quick swipe while cleansing, and realized the Shiseido cotton pad is in fact better than a washcloth for gentle yet effective lip exfoliation. (I’ve never liked the toothbrush approach — too harsh.)


Alice 1 September 2013 at 6:27 am

Have you tried Cle de Peau’s pads? Also heaven. In Asia we take our cotton pads seriously!


Janine 1 September 2013 at 12:54 pm

Cle de Peau cotton pads weren’t on my radar, but they are now, thank you, Alice! Shiseido owns Cle de Peau, so I’ve got expectations.


Naddy 2 September 2013 at 5:13 pm

I agree with you, they’re good! And I was hella skeptical at first (because really, chi-chi cotton pads?). #wordseaten


Janine 2 September 2013 at 9:52 pm

See? Life-changing.


Ange 3 September 2013 at 1:06 pm

Love the post… you gals are some funny!

And I really love these pads — ever since JF introduced them to me — can’t even look at another brand.

When I have a lot of eye make to remove, I soak one pad with Bioderma’s micelle solution, split it in two, and put place one half under each eye, then I repeat the same for the top of each eye. I leave the pads to sit for a minute or so (eyes closed) and then with one gentle swoop it removes all that gunk — no lint or anything even after being split in two!


Janine 3 September 2013 at 7:31 pm

I’m so glad you love the Shiseido cotton pads too! (Lint in the eyes is so awful — the price tag on these pads are worth never having to suffer that again, never mind the scratched skin and general frustration that comes with cheapies.)

Fancy cotton pads are a weird gift, but a good one when they deliver such a high rate of satisfaction! *grin* xoxoxo


Kitty Kerosene 6 September 2013 at 3:53 pm

*devil’s advocate mode on* But, what if the gf *did* want cotton pads nail polish removal? *devil’s advocate mode off*

I mean, for tips you can totally use t.p. in a pinch (not that I’ve ever had to do that or anything … no-o-o-o-o-o, never).

But, yes, for real, Shiseido cotton pads are the only cotton that touches my face. Total convert here, too!


Kitty Kerosene 6 September 2013 at 3:54 pm

(Oh, that should read “for nail polish removal.” Dropped a word there….)


Janine 7 September 2013 at 8:37 am

Didn’t even occur to us that she might have needed them to remove polish! At least she’d have been able to do both hands with just one pad. And they’re so good, she’d decide to use them for face care anyway. Mission accomplished! *grin*


K Falcon 7 September 2013 at 10:49 am

If the gf needed ‘em for nail polish removal, she took ‘em out of the package and realized they were too good for nail polish removal. Then she went to Costco and bought that pack of 800 premium cosmetic rounds that costs $15.


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