Keep them out of your ears! Here are seven savvy new uses.

By Chelsea Traber Burns
Updated April 12, 2016
MoMo Productions/Getty Images
MoMo Productions/Getty Images


Instead of lugging around a perfume bottle, lighten your load and reduce the risk of spillage by spritzing a few cotton swabs with your favorite fragrance, then store them in a plastic bag and stash in your purse. When you’re ready to apply, simply swipe one across your skin (two key spots that hold onto scent well: inside of elbows or behind the knee), then toss.


Stretch out your dye job between salon visits by using a Q-tip to dab on a matte eyeshadow in a similar color to your hair to conceal pesky grays.


Tightly line your upper lashes with a shimmery black kohl liner, like Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner ($10, Then use a cotton swab or Q-tip to smudge it upwards until you reach the crease of your lid. Finish with a few swipes of mascara and you’re done.


Wrap your delicate necklaces and bracelets around the middle of a Q-tip, then store in a plastic bag to prevent them from getting tangled or lost.


Derms recommend not popping pimples. But if you’re in a pinch, here’s a less damaging way to do it. Cleanse your face with warm water so the skin is soft. Then place a cotton swab on either side of the pimple and push them toward each other. If it doesn’t easily pop, don’t force it (try again a day later). Doing it this way prevents germs and bacteria from your hands getting into your pores and causing more breakouts.


Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and a great makeup remover. Dip a few cotton swabs in the oil and store them in a plastic bag for portable eye makeup removers (that are carry-on friendly).


Use Q-tips to apply acne medications and concealer. They’re more sanitary than your fingers and makeup brushes, plus they’re the perfect shape and size for targeting a problem spot. The best part: you won’t end up with dry skin around the zit, since you’re treating only the spot.