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the original beautyblender, real techniques beauty sponge, brush works beauty

Beauty Sponge Showdown - Which Sponge Is The Best?!

By Miss Makeup Magpie
There are endless beauty sponges to choose from, but which one is the best? We've compared multiple sponges to see if any outperform the others...

Within the beauty community there's always a big divide between beauty sponges and brushes for makeup application. I think there are pro's and con's for both beauty sponges and brushes, but I personally prefer to use a sponge for the application of my base products such as primer, foundation and concealer. I prefer to use makeup brushes for my eye makeup and cheek products such as highlighter, bronzer and blush so I have a balance of the two. I really like that beauty sponges can be used both damp or dry depending on your preference and there are many different beauty sponges to choose from.

The most iconic beauty sponge is the Beauty Blender which is my absolute favourite method for applying my foundation. However, for the purpose of today's post, I'm going to compare a selection of sponges from Beauty Blender, Real Techniques, Brush Works and Makeup Revolution to see which comes out on top?! When testing the other sponges, I'm going to compare them to the efficacy and quality of the Beauty Blender sponges as they're my current favourite. I am going to be comparing the sponges on their quality of foam, their softness and size when damp, how effective they are at applying makeup and how easy they are to clean... so let's get started!

The Original Beauty Blender

The most popular beauty sponge is The Beauty Blender. The Beauty Blender (or BeautyBlender) is an award winning elliptical sponge which is typically pink in colour, but there are some other colours to choose from. Following the success of the original Beauty Blender, the brand have launched additional products including different sized sponges for different application methods. The Beauty Blender All About Face Kit is such a fantastic set as it contains three different sizes of the Beauty Blender sponges including; the Original Beauty Blender, the Beauty Blusher and a Micro Mini alongside a miniature version of the BlenderCleanser Solid.

The Beauty Blender is the classic sponge which is designed to be used with primer and foundation and is made from a lightweight, latex-free foam which expands when dampened. The Beauty Blusher is a third of the size of the original Beauty Blender and is a pale grey colour which can be used to apply and blend both cream and powder blushes. The Micro Mini is a tiny teardrop sized sponge which is designed to be used for contouring, highlighting and concealing but all three variations of the sponge increase in size when dampened. All three sizes of the Beauty Blender sponges are pillowy soft when damp or dry, are always extremely effective for makeup application and are very easy to clean. But that's enough praise for now, let's test the other beauty sponges and see how they compare, shall we?

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is the bestselling budget beauty sponge since its launch in 2013, and I always like to have one in my collection as a more budget friendly alternative. The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge has three unique surfaces; rounded sides to blend large areas of the face, precision tip to cover blemishes and imperfections and flat edges to aid coverage around the eyes and nose. I do really like the Real Techniques sponge however I feel that the quality has declined over the years as they don't last very long, with signs of tearing within only a few weeks of use whereas I've never experienced any tearing with my Beauty Blenders.

Quality of foam? The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge feels identical in terms of quality, but longevity wise the Beauty Blender comes out on top as they last longer.

Softness and size when damp? Very soft and on par with the Beauty Blender, and it expands well when damp.

Efficacy at applying makeup? I would say it's a very close tie between the Real Techniques Sponge and the Beauty Blender for makeup application, but I do like the different edges which the Miracle Complexion Sponge has which makes it slightly more unique.

How easy to clean? I don't find the sponge to be as easy to clean as the Beauty Blender but it's still relatively easy to clean with a liquid or solid sponge cleaner.

VERDICT: I feel that the Real Techniques sponge is a good budget alternative to the Beauty Blender but I would choose the Beauty Blender over the Miracle Complexion Sponge as the Beauty Blender lasts longer (up to six months over the six weeks of the Real Techniques sponge) and the Beauty Blender is easier to clean.

Real Techniques Bold Metals

The Real Techniques Bold Metals Miracle Diamond Sponge launched as part of the more premium Real Techniques Bold Metals line alongside the Bold Metals Brushes. The sponge is visually very unique as it has a diamond shape with thirteen different facets so you can use the one sponge to apply multiple products by using its different facets. Real Techniques recommend using the pointed tip for covering small imperfections, the larger areas for the forehead and cheeks and the smaller sides for more precise work such as your eyes, nose, mouth and brow bone.

The sponge is pretty big especially compared to the previous two sponges and is said to be 900 carats if it was a real diamond. I have to admit, I think the shape and style of the sponge is quite gimmicky as I don't see how anyone would need thirteen sides/facets within their makeup routine and it is almost double the price of the standard Real Techniques sponge. If I had to choose one of the Real Techniques sponges I'd hands down go for the standard Miracle Complexion Sponge as it's more affordable, equally as effective and I find that I get better coverage than I do with the Diamond Sponge.

Quality of foam? The foam is of very good quality and I feel like it does slightly exceed the quality of the standard Real Techniques sponge, so I'd like to think it would last longer too.

Softness and size when damp? It feels relatively soft but the shape feels a little strange as I'm so used to teardrop shaped beauty sponges. I don't find that it bounces as much as the other sponges on the skin as it's not rounded in shape, but it does increase slightly in size when damp.

Efficacy at applying makeup? I think it does a great job at applying my makeup, but I don't think it's any better than the standard Real Techniques beauty sponge. I'm just not sold on the need for thirteen different sides as it feels a little excessive, but it certainly does apply your makeup and I like the super pointed tip for concealing under my eyes.

How easy to clean? I have found the diamond sponge to be very easy to clean, and I've not experienced any staining as of yet.

VERDICT: I really like the diamond sponge, but I wouldn't choose it over the Miracle Complexion Sponge if I had to replace it tomorrow as they both perform equally well, yet the diamond sponge is double the price due to the fancy faceted design. If you want to try something unique shape wise, I think it's a good sponge but I would prefer to purchase the Beauty Blender if I was going to spend the extra money.

Makeup Revolution

Makeup Revolution are the kings of imitation and always like to copy higher end products so it was inevitable that they'd release their own interpretation of the popular beauty sponges. There are three different Makeup Revolution beauty sponges and I have the Makeup Revolution Advanced Complexion Expert Sponge Soft which they describe as being a defining and sculpting sponge to create HD results. The sponge is cream in colour and I was intrigued to see if it was a genuine dupe for the much loved Beauty Blender. The design of the sponge is a little different with the typical teardrop shape at one end and the other end features a slanted edge. When dampening the Makeup Revolution sponge, I found it difficult to squeeze any excess water as it doesn't absorb water as well as the other sponges.

Quality of foam? The Makeup Revolution 'Soft' Sponge has much denser foam than the three aforementioned sponges, and feels heavier too.

Softness and size when damp? As I mentioned above, the Makeup Revolution sponge doesn't absorb water as easily as the other sponges so it takes a fair few squeezes to ensure the sponge is thoroughly damp as it feels as if the water pours off the sponge rather than be absorbed into the sponge. Size wise the sponge only increases very slightly compared to the other sponges I've tried, but it doesn't feel very soft in my opinion - it's considerably firmer than any of the other sponges I've tried.

Efficacy at applying makeup? The Makeup Revolution Soft Sponge is OK to apply makeup once I've got it dampened enough, but it absorbs quite a lot of product when damp which is a little wasteful.

How easy to clean? This is the major downside for the sponge in my opinion, which might be down to its very pale colour. The sponge became stained the very first time I used it with foundation and the stains haven't rinsed away even with multiple washes so the foam is very prone to staining which might be off-putting to many. They do a black sponge but that's their 'Hard' sponge and I much prefer a softer sponge for applying my makeup, especially when you consider how delicate the skin is around your eyes; I'm not sure a hard sponge is necessary. I've also noticed that this sponge takes the longest to dry after being cleaned which again I believe is down to the denser foam it's made from.

VERDICT: Sadly I wouldn't recommend this Makeup Revolution Sponge as it's only marginally cheaper than the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, but the Real Techniques Sponge is considerably more effective in every respect, is easier to clean and doesn't stain so I'd personally rather pay the extra pence for the Real Techniques sponge.

Brush Works Contouring Kit

Brush Works are a vegan friendly and allergy free makeup brush brand with affordable beauty tools which are all hand cut. Until now I'd never tried any of the Brush Works items but I have seen them pop up on a few beauty blogs within the last few months. The Brush Works The Complete Complexion & Contouring Kit in theory could be a good budget alternative to the Beauty Blender All About Face Kit so I thought it would be good to compare them both as they both contain three different beauty sponges.

Within the kit there is a typical teardrop shaped sponge, an hourglass shaped sponge and a smaller teardrop shaped sponge. The box has usage tips on the back on how best to use the sponges, but I prefer to use the teardrop sponge for applying my foundation and concealer, and the hourglass sponge for applying my primer and/or liquid highlighter as it's a little denser than the teardrop sponge. The smaller sized sponge is much bigger than the Beauty Blender Micro Mini but it still works well for under eye correcting and concealing. I'm not entirely sure why they chose to include a teardrop and hourglass shaped sponge within the set as they're identical performance wise, so I would have preferred them to have included a smaller size like the Beauty Blender All About Face Kit which could be used for blush and bronzer. Brush Works claim the sponges can be used for flawless high-definition makeup, but it's dependant on the products you use rather than the sponge for HD results.

Quality of foam? All three sponges are latex free and are of good quality. I would describe them as being better quality than the Makeup Revolution sponge, but not as high quality as the two Real Techniques sponges.

Softness and size when damp? The three sponges are nice and soft and all increase in size when damp, and their sizes increase more than the Makeup Revolution sponge. The two teardrop sponges feel softer and are 'bouncier' on the skin than the hourglass shaped sponge.

Efficacy at applying makeup? They're all effective at applying makeup, and I would say that they are on par with the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge although I don't find that the hourglass shaped sponge is as effective as the two teardrop shaped sponges.

How easy to clean? All three sponges are easy to clean with no staining issues.

VERDICT: In all honesty I didn't expect very much from these sponges as I've never tried the Brush Works brand myself, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality. I wouldn't say they're the best sponges I've used but I do think they're just as good as the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, and you get three sponges for less than the price of the Bold Metals Diamond sponge so it's a great value set.

After trialling all of the sponges my absolute favourite beauty sponges are those within the Beauty Blender All About Face Kit. All three of the sponges are better quality and more effective than the sponges from Real Techniques, Brush Works and Makeup Revolution and I feel that the Beauty Blender sponges are very much worth their price especially as they wash and wear really well with no tearing or staining issues whatsoever. I feel that the Makeup Revolution beauty sponge is the least impressive I've tried from this sponge collection and the sponge I'd recommend skipping, as the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is considerably better quality and is only slightly more expensive. I feel that the Real Techniques Bold Metals Diamond Sponge isn't worth the extra money when the original sponge is so effective. The Brush Works Sponge Set is a great little set if you want multiple sponges within a kit, but if you're looking for the best quality and most effective sponges, the Beauty Blender All About Face Kit ticks all of the boxes and more especially as it contains a miniature BlenderCleanser.

We really hope you found this Beauty Sponge Smackdown useful. We'd love to know your favourite beauty sponge!

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