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I applied the mirror modifier to my object. So now, how can I return the mirror modifier and work symmetrically? When I try to add the mirror modifier again, the faces of my existing mesh have been duplicated.

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Either undo (CTRL+Z), or File > Revert, or load a backup file, or manually remove mirrored vertices:

  1. Press Numpad 7 if your object was mirrored around X or Y, or e.g. Numpad 1 if it was mirrored around Z, then press SHIFT + Z for X-Ray mode and drag-select all vertices that have been mirrored - and press Del or X to remove them.
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One important thing to understand about modifiers in Blender is that they are non-destructive, meaning that their effects are non-permanent for as long as they continue to be in use. This has a lot of advantages, such as tweaking the modifier's specific starting values in order to get a complex outcome on the fly, for the sake of visualization, without the need to commit to the results.

So when you apply any modifier, then, that is the moment at which it becomes final, or permanent. That modifier is no longer in use once applied. If the modifier is one that generates geometry (as the Mirror modifier does), then applying it makes the geometry it generates "real". You can see this by going into Edit Mode both before and after the modifier is applied. Before it's applied, the new geometry is not shown in full, substantial form, because Edit Mode does not lie, and so it only shows the real geometry in full form. After the modifier is applied, Edit Mode will show you the new geometry fully represented along with the old, as if the new geometry had already been part of your mesh, ready to be tweaked as needed.

Once this is understood, your problem becomes clear. Applying your modifier created extra geometry (or duplicated faces, as you say). If you want your modifier to remain editable, then you must not apply it; you should not apply a modifier until you are finished tweaking it or dialing its starting values. This is because there's no going back after applying, unless you are in a position to Undo back to that point, which you may or may not be able to do in various cases.

Hope this helps.

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