For almost a decade, the beautyblender has been the holy grail of makeup sponges. Since hitting the market 10 years ago, beauty lovers and professional makeup artists have dropped their budget drugstore sponges in favor of the $20 teardrop-shaped silicone sponge. One of the main reasons why people flock to the beautyblender is because of its versatility. When used dry, it helps blend in foundation for a supremely matte texture and when used damp, it creates a dewy effect.
“For blending anything on your face, I am a massive fan of the beautyblender,” says Honey Artists Makeup Artist Suzy Gerstein, a makeup artist who works with Camilla Belle. “It’s definitely worth all the hype — you just have to be sure to use it properly. I like to dampen my blender with warm water, then squeeze off any excess water in a paper towel so it’s damp, not wet.”
But the beautyblender isn’t the only premium makeup sponge on the market. Since its arrival and subsequent massive popularity, there have been many new forms of sponges and makeup applicators that have attempted to win over blender fans. The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge clearly pays homage to the beautyblender but at a more affordable cost of around $7. Similarly shaped, it has a flat bottom instead of a round one, which allows for more precise contouring and enables the sponge to stand up when placed on a counter. After testing both sponges, we found that the Real Techniques sponge blends makeup well but doesn’t have as much “bounce” as the beautyblender when damp, making it a bit harder to achieve flawless-looking foundation.
There’s also been a lot of buzz lately about the SiliSponge. Not technically a sponge, it’s an oval-shaped piece of silicone created by a makeup company in Hong Kong called Molly Cosmetics. Not only does it cost less than half of what the beautyblender costs, but the nonabsorbant material uses less product and offers a more hygienic foundation application. It’s being marketed toward professional makeup artists who often have to spend time cleaning their beautyblenders. YouTuber Tati gives SiliSponge mixed reviews but still prefers to use a beautyblender.
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Aidan Keogh, a makeup artist who works with Kendall Jenner, says he prefers the über expensive Artis brushes for makeup application. “The elite Oval 7 brush is amazing,” he says. “Cream, liquid or powder products blend seamlessly with these brushes. They blend makeup so well that the skin gets an almost mannequin-esque look.”
But that doesn’t mean Keogh doesn’t use the beautyblender. He still loves it. “I use it on almost every client,” he says. “I also leave one with my clients once I use it on them.” Keogh likes to use a little trick when using the beautyblender: He sprays it with the Caudalie Beauty Elixir to add more moisture and a nice floral scent. “What I love most is that the beautyblender blends and easily moves to all the right areas without absorbing the foundation or base,” he says.
So, is the beautyblender over? We wouldn’t say so. But there are definitely some more affordable options and alternative designs out there that may suit your preferences. But if you’re looking for a sponge that’s great for everyday use that pro makeup artists rely on all the time, the beautyblender still reigns supreme.