Skip to main content

The Vanishing: How do 400 Cotton Swabs Seem to Disappear so Easily?

I'm mystified every time I need to buy a new box of 400 Q-Tips. How did I use up 400 Q-Tips? That's a LOT! How do I need more? Again?? Turns out I'm putting them to good use. But I'm still confounded when comes time to replenish. Just me?
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Dior-SS-2013-backstage-beauty_Pat McGrath

I'm confounded every time. I need more cotton swabs? But there are 4oo in a package! I just bought one! Where did they go? How do I need yet another box? Who uses that many Q-Tips without being aware of it??

That seriously runs through my head every time I reach for a Q-Tip and discover they're all gone. Again. Feels like that socks-laundry mystery.

I use cotton swabs to dip into jars of face cream and eye cream. I'm not keen on transferring bacteria from my fingertips to my skincare so a colony of bacteria can grow into a metropolis by the time I'm close to finishing the jar. (I'm aware that whatever preservative the formulator has decided to use will offset that, but I'm still icked out by the idea.) And using Q-Tips with short-shelf-life natural skincare is a must. By the way, if you're not using swabs to scoop out your skincare, call this a beauty resolution and get on it.

I also use cotton swabs to clean my ears (yes, the shell -- no poking so deep you run into your brain). But all of that adds up to what, maybe three or four per day?


I'd be going through them faster if I ever used them for makeup, but I don't, not even the kind designed with one pointy end and one "applicator" end -- I much prefer brushes. (Those kind of cotton-swab applicators are great, though, for anyone who has to be ultra-hygenic about their beauty tools.)

I don't even really use swabs for makeup removal, at least not on myself (these are an exception). And I'm really about the Q-Tip brand -- cheaper versions tend to have bendy sticks and way less cushiony tips. Ugh.

Am I the only one who is surprised when 400-strong supply needs replenishing? Believe me, I know it's a weird question. I think my math issues make me think 400 is such a lot that I shouldn't need to restock in my lifetime. Duh.

Someone please make me feel better about myself?

And obviously there are loads more ways to use cotton swabs than mentioned here. How do you use them?