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Swab Team: Makeup Removers and Tea Tree Oil + Hey, Did You Know Tea Tree's Practically All-Purpose?

Nifty liquid filled swabs come as makeup remover sticks and tea tree oil wands. Hey, did you know how useful tea tree oil can be?
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Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Swabs

Part of the fun of these nifty swabs is breaking the tip and watching the liquid slide down inside the clear wand to the other tip. They're not a brand-new invention, but thanks to Almay and their Oil Free Makeup Eraser Sticks ($5.99 at drugstores), they've got mass exposure. I had them on The Marilyn Denis Show a little while back; they're no-brainers for on-the-run fixes.

how to use a liquid filled cotton swab

At the moment I'm a tad obsessed with Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Liquid Filled Cotton Tips with Aloe Vera ($8 at Loblaws, Rexall/Pharmaplus). When it comes to accelerating the zit-vanquishing process without drying out the skin, tea tree oil is another thing that works for me. (The Body Shop has a great line that includes Exfoliating Pads I'm putting on my to-try list; I'm already a fan of the Blemish Gel wand.)

"Tea tree is a fantastic antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic," says Erin Riseing, ND, a naturopathic doctor and founder of Cantadora Naturopathic Centre in Toronto. It can disinfect cuts, speed blemish banishment, deodorize feet, or help with athlete's foot. Thursday Plantation suggests adding a drop or two to face wash and/or face cream as part of a skin-clear regimen, and to nail polish, to make it antifungal (useful for toes).

Heck, tea tree oil can help your housework, as a counter disinfectant (mix with water in a spray bottle) or laundry-aid (2 teaspoons in the bleach tray).

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil_Tea Tree Oil Exfoliating Pads

But, Riseing points out, pure tea tree oil can be irritating, especially on sensitive skin. She suggests a DIY blend, such as 1 oz tea tree to 4 oz olive oil, or 1 oz tea tree to 2 oz glycerin. In their swabs, Thursday Plantation dilutes the oil with propylene glycol -- a biodegradeable carrier liquid -- as well as water and aloe vera extract.

Jennifer Grochocinski, a naturopathic doctor at The Health Academy and Wellness Centre in Maple, says, "Using tea tree oil as aromatherapy when you have a cold or sinus infection can relieve congestion and help you breathe a bit easier." Put some in your humidifier, or into a warm bath. "A skin patch test before using it may be a good idea of you have sensitive skin or are allergy-prone," she adds.

Have you tried these liquid-filled swab things? Did you know tea tree oil was so handy? Do you use it any of the above ways, or in ways not mentioned here?

Thursday Plantation, and (free shipping in Canada, no minimum order); The Body Shop,; Erin Riseing, ND, 416-530-9993; Jennifer Grochocinski, ND, 905-832-7742