Fifty make-uppy-like things to do with a cotton bud

Fifty make-uppy-like things to do with a cotton bud!

MumtpyStyle Cotton BudsI’ve had this on my “very important posts to write” list (!) for quite a while now.  I had thought it would be really tricky to find 50 uses that were pretty much makeup and beauty-related, but actually when I sat down and did it late one Friday night, it was suprisingly easy … they’re magical little things those cotton buds!  Actually, if I were more “on trend”, I would called these 50 uses “beauty hacks” but I’m not, so I’ve just called them 50 uses!

Are you a Makeup Obsessive?  Post your “unusual uses” of a cotton bud to the Facebook page!

Anyway, let’s get onto it!  You can use a cotton bud …

1) to remove those annoying little dried black bits of mascara that end up on your eyelids from your eyelashes hitting them.
2) to remove eyeliner that’s smudged – you just dip a cotton bud in your eye makeup remover, swipe the offending bits away and then reapply (or smooth over a bit of concealer again if you’ve given up on the eyeliner lark!)
3) to remove the “goopy” bits from the inner corners of your eyes – ya’ know, the mascara and stuff that Chandler went on about that time on Friends?!
4) to actually clean your ears – although my partner tells me off if he ever catches me doing that – apparently he’s seen all sorts of abcesses in ears caused by the little fibres getting stuck and then infected.  So be careful and for goodness sake, don’t stick them too far in – technically they say nothing bigger than an elbow should go near your ear canal, but that’s not very practical now is it?!
5) to scoop out face cream so that your container remains hygienic.
6) to scoop out eyecream and delicately smear across your eyes!
7) to outline your lips with a good powder before you apply a liner and a bright lippy, thus providing longevity of Lime Crime Velvetine-like proportions!
8) to make “perfume minis” – just soak the ends in your favourite perfume and put them in a ziplock bag … that way you can refresh your perfume throughout the day without having to risk a broken perfume bottle in your good handbag.
9) to touch up your roots in between dye jobs!  Just put an appropriate-coloured eyeshadow on the end of the cotton bud and kind of “colour in” the grey bits!
10) to touch up the bits where you went over the edges with your nail polish.  Dip the cotton bud in your polish remover and use it like a pen to get rid of your “overruns.”
11) to squeeze your zits – you use two obviously!  Pretty self-explanatory, but remember to be gentle – you don’t want to cause scarring!
12) to dust powder on your lashes before you apply mascara.  If I’m honest, this doesn’t appeal to me so I haven’t tried it, but apparently it is “a thing.”
13) to apply the glue along the line of your false eyelashes.
14) to perfect your cat eye “flick” – just dip it in eye makeup remover and use the fine end of the cotton bud to “sculpt” and define/fix your wing.
15) to apply concealer over any eyeliner “mistakes” … that way you don’t have to start all over again with foundation, concealer etc blah blah!
16) to blend your eyeshadows.
17) to fill in eyebrows!  Dip them in an appropriate eyeshadow or whatever you use and gently fill them in using the cotton bud like a pen/brush.
18) as a very fine brush – like when you’re creating speciality makeup such as sugar skulls and the like.
19) to apply concealer to spots and blemishes; just squeeze a bit of concealer onto the cotton bud; dot it onto your blemish and then gently blend.  Then you can throw out the cotton bud with no risk of contamination.  You can use it in the same way for applying tea-tree oil to zits!

FUN FACT: countries other than New Zealand call cotton buds q tips – what next?!

20) to apply Zovirax or whatever other coldsore-killing-cream you have!  Same method as above really.  And for those of you who do suffer from those horrible things, click here for a super-awesome way of cutting down the length of a coldsore’s visit by the wonderful Zoe Foster-Blake at Fruity Beauty (Zoe’s now blogging over  And while you’re at it, you might as well read her super-awesome guide to properly and completely concealing a coldsore with makeup.
21) in your makeup bag – chuck a whole pack in if you’ve got room; you’ll be amazed how often you’ll use them!
22) to remove the bits where you went over the edges with your brightly-coloured lipstick!
23) to replace your finger in the old “purse your lips; put your finger in and then pull it out” trick – when you wear red lipstick that’s a pain because then you have a red finger!  Just use a cotton bud instead!
24) to clean out your belly-button – yes, I went there with that one and you probably thought it was taboo!
25) to apply wax or hairspray to your eyebrows to keep them in place.

Half way … phew!  MumptyStyle Cotton Buds 26) to apply lipstick when you’ve lost/forgotten your brush.
27) for cleaning up hair dye around the hairline and ears.  Spray a cotton bud with hairspray and rub gently at the stains – it should definitely fade them, if not remove them altogether.
28) dip them in concealer, put them in a ziplock bag and you’ve got an on-the-go concealer with no risk of it smashing in your handbag.
29) to create nail art.  You just pull off the round cottony bit at the end and you have a relatively sharp-edged tool to dip into nail polishes.
30) to conceal the bits where your makeup’s gone a bit “cakey.”  You just dip it in your eyecream and then gently swipe it over those cakey bits under your eyes; wrinkles and fine lines gone = your eyes looking fresh and bright again!
31) to scrub away the old “tanning mistakes” that you get on your ankles, knees, fingers, tops of toes – anywhere there’s lots of little lines really!
32) to “custom-mix” your foundations; you know when you’re in between your summer and winter foundation shades?  Put a few drops of each on the back of your hand; mix them with a cotton bud and apply = custom-blended = flash aye!
33)  to “custom-blend” eyeshadow colours – same concept as above really – I don’t need to explain surely?!
34) to remove lippy from your teeth.
35) to apply antispectic solution to piercings – my daughter’s just had her ears pierced – it’s current OK!
36) to clean round the edges and in between the shadows of your palettes – I don’t know about you, but I like mine to be clear; not all yukky and powdery!
37) to make sure you’ve got your makeup smoothly into all the little nooks and crannies – I know a Beauty Blender is good for that too, but sometimes there are little bits round your nose and stuff like that where a cotton bud is just right size for blending.
38) for those of you who don’t have Revitalash you can use it to gently swipe olive oil, coconut oil, vaseline or whatever other miracle eyelash-lengthening-and-thickening concoction you’ve convinced yourself will work over your lashes!
39) to apply shimmer to your apples!  Just dot a lovely shimmery powder onto the apples of your cheeks with a cotton bud and blend it with a brush; instant pretty glow.
40) to smooth any eyeshadow creases that have appeared during the day (hint: Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette doesn’t do that – not even to me – and I”m old and don’t even use a primer on my eyelids!)
41) to apply lip gloss from a pot or other container – disposable and hygienic.
42) to maximise your lipstick life.  Let’s face it – some lippy’s are extremely pricey, so there’s no shame in using a cotton bud to dig that stuff out!
43) to create shimmering, defined collar bones.  Use a cotton bud to dot shimmer lotion onto your collar bone and then blend.
44) to apply a thin smear of Vaseline to your teeth; that way your lipstick won’t stick.
45) to apply Vaseline to dry cuticles.
46) to help get rid of under-eye puffiness.  You simply dampen them and put them in the fridge or freezer; when they’re cold you just pull them out and gently roll them under the eyes to alleviate puffiness and soothe swollen skin.  Again, I haven’t actually tried this, but it does seem feasible and for God’s sake – I’m at number 46 here so I’m pretty much clutching at straws!
47) to clean between your toes – because it can get pretty manky there right?!  (Yep, I know – clutching at straws again!)
48) to apply a baking soda paste to your teeth for whitening purposes.  I wouldn’t say this was a highly recommended practice and I’d check wth a dental professional first if I were you, but if you were going to do that, you could use a cotton bud to apply it – just sayin’!
49) to apply nail art.  The little sequiny things just kinda stick to the cotton bud (if you’ve got those precision-ended ones) and then you stick them on to your nail – voila!
50) and last but not least, dip them in a paste of salt and water and use them to exfoliate your lips!

Wahoooo … we both made it to 50!  Told you we could do it!  So I hope you learned at least one way to use a cotton bud that you didn’t already know.  You’re welcome by the way.

Do you have any other ways you use cotton buds?  I’d love to hear them … e-mail me at

Love …



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