Have You Thought Twice About Tissues?


Excuse this lapse of patriotism, but sometimes other countries just do things better than we do them here in America. I’ve written before about my expat days in the Middle East, a region of many wonders, not the least of which is its expansive facial tissue market. The first time I visited the grocery store in Qatar, I found myself shocked and delighted by the fact it boasted an entire aisle dedicated to tissues—boxes of every imaginable design, texture, and absorbency stacked twenty-high and five-deep. There were even tissue boxes dedicated to the major cities of this tiny nation, festooned with gold-embossed landmarks. Talk about patriotic.

Naturally, such variety has rendered my American tissue shopping experience a little lackluster this cold and flu season. While our brands have a great deal of function and decent value, they lack flair. But still, we all make do, and here are some tissues to consider:

Kleenex Everyday Facial Tissues are some of the best looking boxes on the market; the marbleized blue and aqua variety makes for a tiny oasis on the back of your toilet. Kleenex Cool Touch tissue boxes are similarly inoffensive-looking, while the tissues themselves have moisturizing, cooling properties for dry, irritated skin. 'Kleenex’ is so regularly used to refer to all brands of facial tissue, that it’s become a noun in the English dictionary. Worth 18 points in Scrabble!

Puffs brand is well loved for their plush textured, Puffs Plus Lotion With the Scent of Vickstissues, and their Softpack tissues can easily be shoved into larger purses.

In the eco-friendlier arena, Walgreens' Ology Facial Tissues are a bleach-free, tree-free option. (They're made from sugarcane husk and bamboo.) In terms of use, they might be best for those who prefer tissues on the less-than-plush end of the spectrum. They also tend to tear when pulled from the box. Seventh Generation, of recent condom-centric conversation on ITG, offers cheerfully packaged facial tissues made from 100 percent recycled paper.

Japan, the country responsible for inventing the tissue, also has the highest tissue-per-capita usage rate. Nepia's Hana Celeb (or “Nose Celebrity”) lotion tissues are the holy-grail product on the tissue market, sold in packs featuring images of fluffy white zoo animals (pup seals, bunnies…you get the drift).

Finally, the debate for our bespoke and sustainable times: to handkerchief or not to handkerchief? For those keen to make the switch to fabric, a vintage, monogrammed one would make a handsome option. Though, sometimes the responsible thing to do also seems like grossest—so I pose this question to you, dear readers: Should disposable tissues go the way of the dinosaur? Are hankies and pocket squares the 'new' Kleenex and Puffs? If so, where do you store them after thorough use, especially when you’re out and about? Someone’s got to ask.

—Lauren Maas

Photographed by Tom Newton.