Should you buy a reusable cotton swab? We found out
Including the world’s first reusable q-tip!
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Giving sustainable gifts can be difficult, especially when it comes to stocking stuffers. Not everyone is delighted to receive thrifted items or homemade gifts. Even tougher are environmentally friendly personal care products like cotton swabs, tissues, and makeup rounds. But now LastObject, a Denmark-based company, is here to help. They’ve designed portable, cute, and incredibly sustainable alternatives for the hard-to-replace bathroom essentials.
What is LastObject?
LastObject aims to eliminate single-use beauty products, including cotton swabs, tissues, and more. It sells reusable alternatives for the eco-conscious, including:
- LastSwab: The world’s first reusable cotton swab. It comes in two styles that make it useful for cleaning and applying beauty products.
- LastTissue: A reinvented handkerchief set made for those of us who are always sniffly or always on the go.
- LastRound: A reusable medicine cabinet staple that will help you reduce your trash.
Speaking in terms of aesthetics, LastObject’s creations are cute and cheery, making sometimes-awkward-to-discuss items stylish. Swabs, tissues, and rounds may not be the first gift you think of, but they make incredible stocking stuffers and small gifts.
When it comes to packaging, LastObject doesn't disappoint. Anytime I buy a zero waste or sustainable product, I’m always curious to see how it arrives on my doorstep. Will the items be individually wrapped in plastic? Will they be bouncing around in a box larger than necessary? Though I often reuse whatever shipping materials come with my product, it’s important to me that companies aiming to be Earth-friendly consider their packaging too.
Thankfully, my Last Object items came as I had hoped. They each had their own cardboard box that was easy to open and take apart since it was folded together instead of using tape or stickers. The inside of the box included instructions for cleaning and care of the item, which was also helpful, though I tossed them in the recycling after reading once. There was no plastic in the shipment—yay!
The LastSwab: An effective alternative to cotton swabs
If you haven’t seen it already, LastSwab is a silicone alternative to cotton swabs, aka q-tips. This eco-friendly alternative The LastSwab replaces up to 1000 single-use cotton swabs. There are two variations of the swab: one for general usage and one that is more suitable for applying beauty products (like eye and lip makeup). Both versions of LastSwab come in a biodegradable case that keeps the swab safe during travels and helps to keep it clean between uses.
I was a bit hesitant to try LastSwab, but as an effort to extend my zero waste efforts I gave both versions a try. The swabs felt pretty normal, though they don’t absorb water or makeup, which I found to be a bit different. When cleaning my ears after a shower, I missed how a cheap, cotton swab would help get water or excess conditioner from my ears. Both versions of LastSwab are effective though, and I liked the slim carrying cases. The LastSwab is also easy to clean after each use—just apply a small drop of soap and run it under water. I’d leave my carrying case open to let the swab air dry.
It’s so convenient to have one on hand for last-minute makeup touchups. Switching over also reduces how much space q-tips will take up in your medicine cabinet or travel bag, which is always a win for me.
The LastTissue: Not as good as tissues, but a solid substitute
The LastTissue is practically a modern handkerchief set. It’s a simple, silicone case that holds six cotton tissues. You pull each (clean) tissue from the bottom and then insert the used tissues in the top. While I loved always having a few reusable tissues with me while on the go, I have a few complaints as well.
Firstly, the cloth tissues are smaller than a normal tissue, which I found frustrating. I liked the convenience, but the size threw me off each time I used them. Second, I wish the marker was a different color. For context, the marker is a rubbery label on one of the six tissues that helps you identify the final clean tissue of the set. It’s white, like all the other tissues, so it was a bit difficult to know when I’d reached the last clean tissue. I hope future iterations of the product include a different color marker, or a different last tissue as a whole.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend Last Tissue. They are so handy when hiking, travelling, at a concert or sports game, or to keep in the car. You only get six tissues, unless you buy another set of refills, but six is usually enough to get you through an evening out or a direct flight. Once they’ve all been used, you can easily clean them in the washer and dryer by placing them in a mesh laundry bag. Just don’t forget to rinse out the silicone case as well!
The LastRound: A nice-to-have, not need-to-have
LastRound is a sustainable alternative to cotton rounds. You’ve probably seen other alternatives like fabric rounds through online, zero waste advertising. LastRound is an alternative to cotton, which is generally a clean material, but takes a large amount of water to produce. Each pack of rounds replaces 1,000 disposable rounds, so a package of seven makes a big impact!
I used the LastRound the least of the three products I tried (aside from the laundry bag). I didn’t neglect them for their usability or durability though, I just tend to prefer using my hands for applying moisturizer or oil.
I did like using the rounds to help take off a face mask because they’re ultra-absorbent and soft on both sides. They also dried easily in my medicine cabinet. I tried to use them to apply jojoba oil, but it required a lot of oil to make the stiff round softer, and I didn’t want to waste the product when I could use my hands instead. I do love the case for the rounds because it’s easy to open and stacks well with other beauty items.
Should you buy products from LastObject?
If you feel strongly about sustainability, LastObject may be a great investment for you. I’ve used at least one of the items each day, and I do find myself not needing other products now that I have LastSwab, LastTissue, and LastRound. While each item has immense environmental and convenient aspects, they aren’t a perfect replacement. But, overall I think any Earth-loving friend or family member will appreciate and use the products often. I plan to keep using the LastSwab at home and while travelling, keep the LastTissues in my purse for on-the-go needs, and use LastRound for days when I need to remove face masks or makeup.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.