These are all the makeup sponges I have.  I was a girl who never wore foundation & now I find myself dealing with it all the time.  I bought my 1st makeup sponge at TJMaxx, & I have been fascinated with them ever since.  When I had a wedding reception for my side of the family (who are on the other side of the world) I had to do my own makeup.  I knew someone who was a makeup artist in a wedding studio & I begged her to show me how to do makeup professionally.  And I definitely had to put on foundation.

And ever since then it’s opened a pandora’s box.  Now I wear them for special occasions, nights out with the girls, & other special events.  I also went out & bought myself a set of makeup brushes, & a contouring palette.

Why have so many you ask?  Whenever I see another version, it piques my interest; also sometimes I use a few at a time.  The same with makeup brushes, I use a different one while another one sits and dries.

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Instructions: All of these sponges you’re supposed to soak them, squeeze out the water.  Place some of your foundation on your hand / palette & dab your foundation at the base (or the widest part) of the sponge.  And then you can blend your foundation all over your face & neck.  The pointed end you can use for the parts closest to your eyes, or nose.  Honestly I’ve always preferred to put the foundation directly on my face with my fingers, & then I will blend it out with the sponge.


Tip: Honestly I find it more efficient if I just put foundation on the back of my hand, dab a flat foundation brush in it, & then lightly dab it all over your face.  (This saves a lot of foundation.)  Whether we like it or not, ALL makeup sponges absorb foundation.  They ALL do.  Putting on foundation with a brush is far more efficient; but many women like the effects of these makeup sponges.


Another tip: This is not just for foundation.  You can use them with blush, concealer, & contouring.  Look at how amazing this girl looks with the contouring on her face!  I think that’s why there’s such a craze with them: they are multi-faceted & give you an airbrushed look (without airbrushing).

Here I’ll list all the ones I have here by price from lowest to highest, compare them to the original Beauty Blender, rate them, & tell you which ones are worth the money.


Forever 21’s Makeup Contouring Sponge, $4

This one’s strange.  It’s different than all the others, that you’re not supposed to soak it.  I soaked it the 1st time I used it, & it went into the texture of a silly putty ball.  No joke.  Ugh how horrible!    To use it, you’re supposed to slightly dampen it, & then you can put the foundation on your face.  When dry, it is a bit hard.  This hard to judge because the texture is REALLY different from the Beauty Blender.  Think of it as a really soft handball that you can squeeze.  Like the other harder sponges below, it makes a thumping noise when you pat it against your face.  Sorry, don’t like it.  My Grade: D


Target’s Up & Up Super Blender, $5

Below, you will see my review on the blender by Sonia Kashuk (also featured at Target).  Up & Up, likes to make cheaper versions of many items featured at Target.  (This is 1 of them) As a makeup sponge it’s not that great, you will find it pretty hard, & it makes a thumping noise when you pat it on your skin.  Even when wet, it’s harder than your kitchen sponge!  My grade: D+

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Makeup sponges from TJMaxx or Marshall’s, $5

(Sorry they don’t sell beauty products online)  They too are a little bit hard.  But they do become softer & expand after you soak them.  The 1st one I bought, after several uses, is starting to rip, which I don’t like.  I guess here you get what you pay for.  My grade: D


Swissco’s Precision Blending Sponge, $5

This one I also picked up while I was in Ulta & I happen to catch it at their Grab & Go section by their register.  It’s a pretty good sponge, very soft & bouncy, and after a couple uses I have no complaints about it!  I’m not crazy about these bumpy shaped sponges, but quite good!  My Grade: B+

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Real techniques Miracle Sponge, $5

Ah this is a great deal!  A quarter of the price of the beauty blender, it’s a really great sponge, & versatile!  The round wider part you would use on your face, the flat end you could smooth out your forehead/cheeks, & the pointy end is for smaller areas like i.e. Around your eyes.  Love it!  My grade: A


Earth Therapeutics Beauty Blending Sponge, $6

I actually picked this up at Kohl’s.  I was really disappointed, because it’s soft & fluffy, this is actually quite close to the actually Beauty Blender in texture, & expands to twice the size when wet!  However, it started ripping after the first use!  My Grade: F


Claire’s Hourglass Bending Sponge, $7

I picked them up because I thought the colors of these sponges were quite adorable.  But honestly, it’s what you see, is what you get.  It’s a soft, contoured makeup sponge, doesn’t expand when wet, & actually is difficult to clean.  I usually use dishwashing detergent, & it took me a couple times to get the thing clean!  This is a very basic straightforward makeup sponge.  My Grade: B


Sonia Kashuk’s Makeup sponge, $10

Another sponge also sold at Target, this makeup sponge is also pretty hard, AND also makes a hollow sound when you pat it against your skin.  Here I give it a better grade because it is slightly softer than the Up & Up one. My grade: C

rickys sponge.jpg

Rickycare Original 3D Blender, $10

I really wanted to like this one.  Sold at Ricky’s a well known makeup store throughout NYC.  They too, sell the original Beauty Blender & their own variations of it.  Touching it, I could feel that the quality is really cheap; it feels just like the disposable triangle shaped makeup sponges.  And it too, started ripping after the first use.  Don’t get this one.  My Grade: D+


Stila’s makeup sponge, $12

i had bought this at Ulta, where I had seen rave reviews about it on their website.  I figure, it’s that good, I’d want to try it!  What a piece of crap!  Started ripping after the 3rd use!  And doesn’t even come in a real box or container!  My grade: F


Sephora Collection’s Airbrush Sponge, $12

I think Sephora saw all the business that the Beauty Blender was getting & decided to make a cheaper version for themselves.  It is shaped differently than all the others, & according to the directions you’re supposed to use the flat end for your face & the smaller flat area for around your eyes & nose.  Very soft & foamy, it also balloons up to almost twice in size when set.  I do love the texture of this one; it has the softness of almost like a memory foam.  I found the shape strange, but honestly it functions just like all the others.  It does put on makeup quite well, & I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorites in the bunch!  My Grade: A-


The original Beauty Blender, $20

Yes. I know it’s a bit pricey.  And for awhile I didn’t want to buy it because of the price.  $20?  For 1 makeup sponge?  But it is so light, airy, bouncy & gives you a lovely airbrushed look when you’re finished.  It looks small when you buy it, but once it’s wet it balloons up to almost twice in size!  And 1 makeup sponge is said to last a whole year.  Think of all the disposable ones you would save!  My grade: A+


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dr bronners castile soap

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, price & size varies, 4 oz for $7, 32 oz for $20

And finally, how to clean them?  I’ve tried different kinds of soap, only to be aggravated because these sponges are a pain in the ass to clean.  And there’s this fear that if you don’t get your sponge spotless, that you might transmitting bacteria back to your face?  And the best soap I’ve found to clean them?  Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap!  Never heard of it?  It’s being sold at your local Target!  Vegan & cruelty free, they claim to have 18 uses in one bottle!  And I find this is an amazing soap for brushes & makeup sponges!

How to do it:  Squeeze soap onto the sponge, & smooth it down the sides of the sponge.  If you get a bar of soap, you can dampen the sponge & rub it upon the service of the soap.  Submerge the sponge in water (i.e. like in a container or your sink) & squeeze it a few times under water.  You will start to see the makeup come out of the sponge!  The amazing thing about the castile soap, is that it soaks right into the sponge, & you can see the makeup come right out!

Tip: avoid pressing your nails into it, for that can rip up the sponge.

mesh bags

Lazy Girl Hack On How To Clean Them: I came across an article in a magazine where a makeup artist said that she puts her beauty blenders, & velour puffs into a mesh bag & just tosses them into the washing machine!  And make sure you put it on a gentle cycle, with a gentle rinse cycle afterwards.  Here, I would cover them in dish washing detergent before putting them in the bag, & then let the machine do its magic!

And finally, make sure you squeeze out all the water or else they can mold, and then let them sit somewhere to air dry.


Summary?  If you can afford the real Beauty Blender I think it is a worthwhile investment because it does last awhile.  Great substitutes?  The Real techniques Miracle Sponge, and  the Swissco’s Precision Blending Sponge.  Each one is shaped differently, & both of them are $6 or less!!!  There you have it!  Pick one & go with it!!


Other related articles:

Drugstore foundations that makeup artists love

CONTOURING!! And you CAN do it on a budget!!


Secret Alternative Uses For Your Makeup!



  1. Great tips, i usually use a foundation brush but Now considering trying the blending sponge. Great advice, thanks


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  3. Thanks for this great post! I haven’t used beauty blenders before but heard that they are great for foundation application! I am used to just using my fingers to apply but will definitely check these out!


  4. A very informative article. I have had my eye on the original beauty blender and I will definitely add it to my Christmas wish list. Thank you!!


  5. Awesome review! I love how you reviewed so many different kinds and were very honest about the ones that sucked. I like the letter grade ratings too. The only thing is that not many of these brands can be found in Canada so they don’t all apply here but I did just buy the Real Techniques Sponge as my first beauty sponge and I’m getting used to it. I didn’t think it would get a good rating from you because I’ve heard bad reviews online. And mine started to rip after only a couple weeks of use. I’d like to upgrade and get a Beauty Blender eventually. Thanks for the tips on cleaning them too. That’s a great idea! I also dab the foundation around in spots on my face too and then use the sponge to blend. That method works well. I haven’t found they work well with concealer but I like them for primer and foundation. Thanks for a great blog post!


    1. thank you julie! you’ve got to be careful when using them; When you press them with your nails, it can rip! Definitely check out the other brands if you want to pick up something! Sephora usually has some kind of beauty blender dupe floating around.. go for it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh My!! 😘 I SOO didn’t know to soak the beauty blenders first! I only did that washing them 😉 and had the same troubles You did ;-} Thank You SOOOOO Much!! I am learning more everyday (for Life!! 💋) 🐞


  7. I really appreciate this post! There is so many different types of beauty blenders now and it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not just by looking at them! Ive never actually taken the plunge for the or beauty blender but the first makeup sponge I ever got when I asked for help at ulta and the lady suggested the ulta blending sponges I believe it was two small ones for around $5-$10 and I really enjoyed them, they were just too small, so that’s when I discovered my favorite, the real techniques orange sponges. I think they work so well, are decently priced, and last a good amount of time. I have tried the Sephora blue sponge near the check out that looks like the one you showed but I just found it kind of hard and difficult to use. The absolute worst sponge I got was the beauty 360 pink sponge, I believe CVS’s beauty brand and it was so strange and hard and just weird! It had a little “bowl” like spot St the top to pour your foundation in But I just found it too weird and so hard! With all sponges I know you’re supposed to use them damp but it seems like I always end up using them dry. Even with my favorite sponges which I think still work fine, but I do want to try to start using them damp. I just heard that is more for if you want a dewy look and with having very oily skin I’m always aiming at being as matte as possible. Anyways I’ve rambles enough. I really enjoyed this post though, and appreciate your time, energy and money spent trying them out so we don’t have to! Lol.


  8. Thanks for the review! I’ve been wanting to buy one but wasn’t sure which one to go with. Now, I’ll probably go with the Real Techniques sponge.


  9. I have always used disposable ones but I am now intrigued with the original beauty blender because of how long it lasts.


  10. Great information! I use the original beauty Blender and love it. I have never tried any of the other brands. I didn’t realize there were so many out there. I’ve never used a foundation brush, and would like to try that, but not willing to give up my Beauty Blender.


  11. So great to read about! I have been looking at these for a while now wondering whether to take the plunge…


  12. I have been wanting to try a beauty blender for awhile. Thanks so much for this review. It helped to eliminate some of the guess work. Now I know which one to get!


  13. I have been hearing so much about these make up sponges. Thanks for breaking down the differences and also acknowledging the best cleaning process. I’m still not sure about them but I know you can get some serious skin problems and eye infections if the sponges are not cleaned properly and frequently. Thanks for answering that concern with the best way to clean them!


  14. what do you think aboit those silicone “sponges” that don’t absorb makeup, hence saving tons of product? I have one, and im not sure how I feel aboit it, have you tried?


  15. The sponge beauty blenders are the best. Washable is so important. Better to use than anything else. Great information! Thankyou.


  16. I really need to get one of the sponges! Any one of the ones you reviews would probably be better than using my fingers like I usually do…


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