Makeup sponges are a quick and easy way to apply many types of base makeup. We have tested make-up sponges from Beautyblender, NYX, Real Techniques, Milk Makeup, Fenty, Elf Cosmetics, L’Oréal Paris and Juno & Co. to find the right sponge that is suitable for all applications.
After testing many foundation applications with multiple makeup sponges used both wet and dry, we found that these are our ultimate top 2:
The Beautyblender Original Makeup Sponge was announced by beauty editors and make-up artists like the GOAT and, in our opinion, lived up to its hype. While it’s more expensive than others we tested, its quality (it didn’t degrade over time like others) and effectiveness (it resulted in the cleanest application of the bundle) make it worth the money.
The NYX Teardrop Blending Sponge was our favorite budget sponge. Many of the other budget sponges are overly stiff, but this sponge is as flexible as some prestige brands. Its unique shape makes it easy to manipulate and blend your foundation into any crevice on your face.
We see these two as complementary products and we think each deserves a place on your makeup vanity. We applied cream and liquid products by dabbing with the beauty blender and then applied them with a push of the powder using the NYX flat sponge. This is a useful technique if you prefer not to mix different shades and formulas on the same sponge to save time cleaning your makeup tools.
Thanks to its versatility, effectiveness and its overall comfortable feeling, the beauty blender took our top spot. It is a round, teardrop-shaped sponge designed to be used when wet. The brand claims in this video that if you use a bouncy dabbing motion instead of pulling on your foundation, it should “bounce” off your makeup. And it does bounce. Due to its flexible shape and high quality material, it increases in size by 30% when wet. It really feels like you can effortlessly quickly apply your base makeup on instead of using some of the firmer sponges that don’t feel as soft or flexible (sorry, L’Oréal). It also applied our foundation to the fastest and easiest of all makeup sponges we tested.
When used as intended, the beauty blender swells, making it easier to quickly cover a large area with foundation. You can even use a damp beauty blender to revamp your base makeup after you’ve applied everything (including powder) to set it in place and get that coveted flawless finish. Due to its flexible shape, the beauty blender worked better with this technique than the other, stiffer sponges that smeared our make-up. (The Real Techniques sponge, which is a little firmer than the Beautyblender, pressed lines into the finish of our base makeup when we used the angled side.) We also love that the Beautyblender as opposed to during the application process Juno & Co. stayed damp. Velvet sponge that dried out a little too quickly.
The Beautyblender is also the most versatile sponge we’ve tested. With it, we can easily apply multiple forms of makeup. It is commonly used for applying primers. However, if you want to cover a large area with powder, concealer, or even highlighter, then this tool is no problem to use. (It’s also a good tool to “bake” your powder if you want.) You can also use the pointy tip of the sponge to apply powder eyeshadow (wet for a more intense look, or dry for more of the traditional powder finish.) ).
Cleaning the beauty blender was possibly our least favorite aspect as it isn’t particularly easy to clean where it looks like new. However, it is possible, especially if you use the special cleaning solutions that the brand offers.
We love it when a product is both effective and affordable. The NYX Teardrop Blending Sponge is teardrop-shaped but flat. So we recommend this sponge more for powder products, but it can also mix creams and foundations effectively. While we found it easier and faster to do a quick full face application by dabbing with the beauty blender (due to its rounded shape), if you are familiar with pressure or pulling techniques for your makeup (as you may know) if you are using flat wedge sponges the old school that you stole from your mom’s makeup stash, you may prefer the flat shape. This sponge is also latex-free, which makes it a great option for people who may have allergies (or who just prefer the texture of a latex-free sponge).
The shape is also great for reaching smaller, hard-to-blend areas (like right under the eyes). You can bend or roll it, or even puncture tiny details with the tip (like shimmer powder in the inner corners of your eyes).
Compared to the beauty blender, it left a lot to be desired in certain areas. For example, although the shape and shape of the NYX sponge was effective for certain aspects of a more detailed makeup application, it was not as well suited for quick, all-over application. Ultimately, we preferred the thicker, rounded teardrop shape of the beauty blender, especially for cream-colored and liquid products. The larger size made it quicker and easier to use.
There are many factors that go into making a good quality makeup sponge. We’ve focused on the following categories and sub-categories to examine the best makeup sponges:
- effectiveness: First and foremost, a makeup sponge should be able to dab, dab, or “bounce” on the skin to apply your foundation. It should also help you mix different makeup products (such as blush or contour products) effectively.
- versatility: Can it effectively apply and mix all types of foundation formulas including creams, liquids, and powders?
- Resulting finish: Does the finish look flawless and streak-free or do you have blotchy skin?
- Performance in wet / dry conditions: Many sponges are designed to be used when they are wet (or damp). Will the sponge work both wet and dry? Is One Way More Effective?
- texture: Does it feel soft on the skin?
- Cleanability: How easy is it to clean?
- Form: Was it too stiff? Has the structure worked well for the overall application?
- Shape: Is the shape suitable for both finer uses (e.g. under the eyes) and larger areas such as the cheeks?
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($ 6.98; amazon.com or $ 5.99; ulta.com)
The affordable, effective Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge came close behind the NYX sponge in our tests. It is similar in shape to the beauty blender, but with a sloping foil, making it a multifunctional tool that is easy to mix and dab. This is best for liquid foundations, but you can also use it to apply creams and powders. We preferred the texture and versatility of the NYX sponge, but the Real Techniques sponge is still a great option.
Milk Makeup Dab + Blend Applicator ($ 22; amazon.com)
Gen Z (and TikTok lovers of all ages), listen up. This is not your mother’s makeup sponge. The Milk Makeup Dab + Blend Applicator is a flat, non-porous silicone pad and not a typical sponge. It is unique among the products we have tested. It doesn’t absorb the product as much as other sponges, so it’s less wasteful and easier to clean. It can be a bit of a shock to the texture department if you’re used to the “spongy” feel of traditional makeup sponges. However, if you want to try something new, this is a great choice as the primer is applied similarly to the sponges you tried before. Aside from the different texture, the only minor downside is similar to the only thing we didn’t necessarily love about the NYX applicator, which is the flatter shape. (We found that the larger, rounded teardrop shape of the Bleautyblender made it quicker to apply.) Also, there is glitter embedded that does nothing for its effectiveness, but everything for aesthetic purposes (and looks super cute on our vanity).
Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge ($ 16; sephora.com)
The Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge is another great product from the Rihanna line. It is similar in size and texture to the Beautyblender, but has a flat edge on one side. This makes it especially good for dabbing a concealer or highlighter in the area under the eyes to add dimension to your face. It’s also relatively easy to clean. One downside is that the edges can increase the likelihood of banding if used by less experienced beauty enthusiasts. So it’s important to mix properly and check your finish with this one.
Eleven Cosmetics Total Face Sponge ($ 6; ulta.com)
The inexpensive Total Face Sponge from elf Cosmetics is very similar in shape to the beauty blender, although one side has a flat edge. We love the versatility of this and the low price. It’s a little stiffer than our favorites, but if that’s not a problem for you, this is a great option. It’s also relatively easy to clean, much like most others for the same price.
L’Oréal Paris Makeup Infallible Blend Artist Makeup Sponge ($ 5.29, originally $ 7.99; amazon.com)
L’Oréal Paris consistently creates quality products at a low price. This makeup sponge features a unique hourglass shape with a pointed tip for applying the product and a round base for bouncing and mixing. It is easy to clean and therefore very similar to other traditional sponges in terms of ease of cleaning. It was a little more rigid than the others we tested, but overall this is still a great choice to get the job done.
Juno & Co. microfiber velvet Sponge ($ 5.99; target.com)
The texture of the Juno & Co. sponge is unique. It really feels like soft velvet on your skin, which may be good for some but may not be everyone’s preference. The shape is great as it features a pointy point with a flat edge on one side. The flat edge is relatively small, which is good as it won’t interfere if you prefer the other rounded side. The Juno & Co. sponge dried out very quickly when used wet (compared to the other sponges). This can be a problem unless you prefer a dry sponge. It’s also not particularly easy to clean as the product we applied really penetrated this sponge.
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