Since I’ve been getting back into using liquid and cream foundations, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with makeup sponges. In other words, I’ve jumped on the sponge bandwagon. Big time. I started with the realTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponge followed by the Precision Makeup Sponge (a London Drugs knockoff of the Beauty Blender). Finally, I took the plunge and went for the real deal, ordering the Beauty Blender from Sephora. I’ve thoroughly tested all three sponges and am ready to weigh in with my thoughts on each. Do the less expensive knockoffs measure up to the Beauty Blender? Does the Beauty Blender live up to all the hype? Read on to find out!
First Contender – Miracle Complexion Sponge by realTechniques ($9.99 CA)
realTechniques attempted to make this sponge a less obvious BB knockoff by changing the shape and colour. Instead of giving it the classic egg shape, they lopped off part of the rounded bottom to create a flat edge that is supposed to help get into the hard-to-reach contours of the face. It doesn’t. I find the flat side is too big for that purpose. Call me nitpicky, but I also find that flat edge makes this sponge a little awkward to hold when compared to the classic egg-shaped ones. As far as application goes, this sponge does a decent job. Most of the time I can get a smooth, even blend that is superior to what I can achieve with a brush. My one real beef with this sponge has to do with texture. It’s very dense and very firm. It also eats up product like you wouldn’t believe. A lot of foundation gets absorbed into the sponge, which makes cleaning a challenge. I’ve tried all sorts of soaps and cleansers and find it very hard to remove all of the foundation. It also eats up soap like crazy and is very difficult to rinse. You rinse and squeeze for ever and there’s still suds coming out. The inconvenience of cleaning this really deters me from using it even if it does a decent job of application.
Second Contender – Precision Makeup Sponge by London Premiere ($8.99 CA)
I found this more obvious BB knockoff at London Drugs, and I found it to be a slight improvement over the realTechniques sponge. It’s slightly softer (not much though) and doesn’t absorb quite as much product or soap. It is still somewhat difficult to clean and rinse though. I think this one does a lovely job of applying foundation, perhaps even a little better than the realTechniques. If this one were a little easier to clean, I would give it two thumbs up, but it’s still kind of a pain, so only one thumb.
Third Contender – Beauty Blender ($26 CA)
This one was the clear winner for me. It applies foundation like a dream and doesn’t eat up nearly as much product as the other two. It’s also very easy to clean and rinse. Whether I use the pricey Blender Cleanser that came with it or just a plain old bar of Ivory soap, it comes out like new every time I wash it and takes significantly less time to get all the soap out afterwards. The texture of the BB is noticeably lighter, softer and springier than the other two. It’s nowhere near as firm or dense. I also feel better using it on my skin, because it always seems so much cleaner and fresher. I’ve used it and washed it many times and have not yet noticed any staining or dis-colouration. (The other two are starting to look a bit dull and grungy by comparison). Granted, $26.00 CA is a lot to spend on a makeup sponge, but considering my experience with the knockoffs, I’d say it’s worth it. How much are you really saving if the cheaper sponge is eating all of your foundation?
One problem I want to point out that I noticed with all three sponges is that they bleed colour when you wash them. It must have something to do with the way these sponges are dyed, because they all do it. It doesn’t really bother me; the only harm I can see in it is that the sponges will fade over time.