This isn’t complicated: Cotton balls soak up too much product. Ditch them and use cotton pads like these. For some reason they cost $5+ even in drugstores, but you can get them at the dollar store for…well, a dollar (or less).
But if you want to REALLY treat your skin well, order a pack of Muji Makeup Facial Soft Cut Cotton (Unbleached). I converted to these six months ago and haven’t looked back. They’re incredibly soft, and you use a lot less product. I get through two a day, unless I have particularly stubborn eye makeup on, in which case I use more. But a pack of 140 for $7 will easily last you a month. No-brainer.