There's nothing to shred if you use a leather pad.
Forget a cotton pad. Vegetable material such as cotton is made from matting tiny fibres together. When you pull it across your beard stubble you are effectively "carding" the cotton. Carding is a "combing" process used to separate cotton fibres for manufacturing cloth and thread by "spinning." The spinning twists the tiny fibres into longer workable ones.Then the threads are weaved into a fabric pad. You are reversing the process and shredding the fibres all over again.
There's nothing so soft as chamois leather. Chamois is softer than silk when moist. It is very absorbent so don't use a big sheet of it for your expensive toner.
Chamois is tough as it's leather and will outlast any fabric or woven material
You can get it at a hardware store in a piece big enough to wash a car——cut a small square from the edge to use as your applicator.
Wash the chamois before use according to the directions on the bag. Then, keep the same piece for applying the toner. Wash it well after use and store it on top of your toner bottle to keep it handy.