The Simple Swap That Made My Skin-Care Routine So Much Better

Astrology is total bullshit as far as I'm concerned, but honestly, I am such a Taurus. Consistent, practical, opinionated, and absurdly, almost comically stubborn on the one hand; sensual and overindulgent on the other, a lover of earthly pleasures with a keen eye for beauty and a vague yet unshakeable desire to sink into a large memory-foam bed made up with pristine white linens and big, fluffy pillows and emerge only to be fed lobster tails drenched in melted butter and guzzle (not sip) Champagne.
Being that I am so fueled by all that is lavish and decadent, I sometimes struggle to draw the line between the little delights that make life that much more enjoyable for the luxury-loving Taurus, and the fully gratuitous. It's the difference between savoring moments spent lingering quietly on a porch swing overlooking a field of roses at dusk with a cashmere blanket wrapped around your shoulders and fellow Taurus Barbra Streisand playing in the background and buying yourself a $1,500 box of eternity roses just because. And where, I wonder, does a bathroom cabinet fully stocked with plush, velvety, all-natural cotton pads fall on that continuum?
On an imagined compendium of Tiny Tweaks That Will Make You Feel Richer, I would rank upgrading from your regular old cotton balls to fancy cotton pads at the very top of the list, far above "maximizing your space" with elegant storage solutions and painting old furniture gold (as if suddenly your dingy first-floor studio will start to feel just like Versailles). I would rank it there because not only is it a simple thing that will instantly elevate your lifestyle, but it is actually a very economical one, in the grand scheme of things. Unlike the old Rite Aid-brand cotton balls that I, a plebe, once used to swipe various solutions onto my face, this extra soft, extra fancy cotton can be stretched and separated according to your needs; you can pull them apart and use one half now, one half later. Essentially, you get two for the price of one, which is always a good deal.
I am also convinced that this upgrade has made my skin better, smoother, clearer; a licensed medical professional says that this is all in my head. "The softer cotton and brand embellishments may add to the experience of using skin care, but certainly will not improve the results," says dermatologist Ted Lain, MD. "As long as the pads are 100% cotton, and not applied too abrasively, all of the different brands should be considered equivalent in their ability to apply the skin-care product and remove dead skin cells and other debris on the skin surface." But what if they're Chanel?
I am not a doctor, but what do I know is this: Sweeping off my makeup with a Shiseido Facial Cotton pad (165 for $10 — a steal!) doused in micellar water makes the whole tedious process feel borderline breezy; a few drops of Biologique Recherche's tingly, exhilarating P50 patted gently over my skin after cleansing each morning is an experience... that leaves me smelling like vinegar for 20 minutes, but an experience nonetheless. If it's really all about the little things in life, well, then this is the littlest one of all; this luxurious version of a utilitarian must is a minor expense to feel like the goddamn Queen of England. (She's a Taurus, too, by the way.)

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