7 May 2013

Cheap-ass v Fancy-ass? Shiseido v Lidl in the Battle Of The Cotton Pads

The humble cotton pad / cotton round...

Today's post was written in two halves - by both myself and my friend @MontyC.  It's a review of something we all use and need; for makeup removal, for toning the face, for refreshing the eyes, for nail polish removal... the humble cotton pad.

Fancy-ass/Splurge:  Shiseido Cotton Pads - A bit posh but are they worth it?
(This half of the post is with thanks to @MontyC)

Shiseido Facial Cotton

Shiseido and I don't know either very well.  We're acquaintances more than friends. I have their foundation brush and one pot of their shimmering cream eye shadows.  And now these cottons pads.
[Ed: strangely, I have exactly the same amount of Shiseido "stuff" in my arsenal, although likely a different colour cream shadow I imagine - mine is the black one and I love it].

When you think of the humble cotton pad, you may think to yourself what's the fuss?  Aren't they all same?  Why bother buying a packet of posh ones?  Well, a pet pet peeve of mine is when the pad disintegrates in your hand as you're attempting to use it.  So when I read the serious amount of love that was being heaped on these pads online, I decided to check them out for myself.  

Firstly and most importantly, the price.  There aren't many things you can get for a fiver at any of your high end brand counters these days.  Well, now you can.  The Shiseido cottons pads come in at €5 for a box of 60 pads.  Yep, that's right.  Five quid.
[Ed: a fiver for cotton pads - that right there is going to galvanise you one way or the other]

Secondly, and just as importantly, are they any good?  Short answer - yes they are.  I'm happy to report that they do not fall apart.  Another great thing about these is that they don't soak up all your product;  since I've started using these, I've noticed I'm using less toner/nail polish remover/cleanser than I did before.

Thirdly, are they really better than your average packet of cottons pads from Boots?  I believe they are a lot better.  So much so that I'm going to go back to my Shiseido counter to buy two more boxes.

Cheap-ass/Save:  Lidl Iseree Cotton Pads - Sure will these ones not just do instead?
(This half of the post is written by myself)

Lidl cotton pads...

I understand, and share, MontyC's annoyance with cotton pads that disintegrate in your paws as you try to use them.  At this point in time, I've used all the usual drugstore and supermarket offerings:  Boots (not bad but not great), Tesco (separate-out as soon as removed from the packet), Tesco cheapies (disintegrate if you look crooked at them), Penneys (harsh and scratchy, awful, awful, truly awful, I can't overstate how bloody awful), The Body Shop (not bad but not cheap), DeMak'Up (nearly the same price as the Shiseido ones, ok-but-not-great), Irish Breeze (more or less ditto), Sephora (only ok and can't get them in Ireland anyhow), ones from Salon Services and Flair (the best I'd found so far and at trade prices, not bad, especially as I usually buy these in bulk) and of late, the Lidl Isereee offerings (my current favourite).

I could buy and sell shares in cotton pads.  Between my own use, my kit use and my class use, I go through a lot of these.  I am personally highly unlikely, therefore, to sit in the splurge category, but I'm always interested in hearing about an item that is a good buy because it's a good product, occasionally despite its price (I am no stranger to occasional splurging on certain products myself).

At the other end of the price scale from the Shiseido pads MontyC mentioned above are the Iseree pads from Lidl.  At 79¢ for 120 of them, and after trying a lot of other offerings out, I've settled upon these as the best option in terms of value-for-money, for my level of usage.  There's a textured side and a flat side and they're crimped at the edges.  They don't separate into two halves, they don't shed, they don't disintegrate.  They don't feel harsh but neither are they as silky soft as I believe the Shiseido ones are, but they'll do for me.

From a per-usage price perspective, 8¢ for 1 pad (for the Shiseido ones) equates to approximately 12 of the Lidl pads, or in other words, the fiver I'd spend on 60 Shiseido pads would net me about 800 Lidl pads, so I know which ones I personally will be buying and using, but for people with sensitive eyes, contact lenses, sore or sensitised skin, or simply a general intolerance to tiny tufty bits of cotton wool on their faces, it looks like the Shiseido ones are a good bet.  And for all their (relative) expense, no where near as expensive as the Chanel equivalent (which are around the €20 mark (!!), as I understand).

Look here for more info on the Iseree pads and here for more info on the Shiseido ones.  And as always, thanks to MontyC for her insights!


  1. I use the Lidl ones and I like them, the pennys ones are horrible though!

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