DRUGSTORE PICKS: Sponges/Blenders
If you haven't heard of the beauty blender....or seen these freaky little sponge-creatures in Department stores OR Drugstores in a makeup aisle for the last few years....say hello. Blending sponges are all the rage these days. They're everywhere and people are using them for evvvvvverything makeup-wise: Foundation, concealer, cream-contouring, blush.....alllllllll things face.
And if Blending sponges are all the rage, consider the Beauty Blender the PROM QUEEN of them all. It retails for $20 and is recommended to be replaced every 3 months. To use one: Wet it before using and the sponge doubles in size and gets substantially softer. Apply foundation to the larger side of the sponge and dab or pat product all over your face until blended to your preference. The smaller side can be used in the same way for foundation, OR smaller-area products like concealer, precise contouring, etc. The reality is that these things can be used HOW you want them for whatever you want. Sephora.com says to use them for shadow....but you won't catch me jumping ship on my brushes for a sponge application for eye-shadow. Sue me but.....not happening.
For YEARS now, people have asked me how I feel about blending sponges. And between you and I....I have stayed very, verrrrrrry reluctant to board this train. Before the beauty blender showed up on the scene, sponges had a bad rap and rightfully so as far as I'm concerned. Here's why.
1. They waste makeup: Sponges absorb liquid like craaaaazy. I mean, hello, you wet one and it doubles in size. Think about your kitchen-sink sponge! It's a crusty little dried-up monster and as soon as water hits it, it multiplies to clean our dishes? Not so weird when it comes to water.....but what about when it comes to your $40 foundation???? Anything that's going to absorb my FORTY DOLLAR foundation before I can apply it to my face, is no friend of mine. If I wanted to waste my favorite makeup product, I'd.....wait. I don't. Ever. I'd rather use every drop of it rather than letting a sponge suck up half of the bottle.
2. They breed bacteria: Think about it. We've got oil on the surface of our skin, (even when its clean.) You pick up your sponge and dab it into your face repeatedly, grabbing oil every time it makes contact. You finish your makeup application and throw the sponge in your makeup bag. Overnight, all of the oil in the sponge multiplies over and over. Fast forward to the next day to when you grab the SAME sponge, but this time with twice the oil and bacteria, and you use it to apply foundation AGAIN. See where we are going with this?! How much JUNK is in your sponge by day 5?? 10?!?! Ew. And the bummer for us acne-prone girls?? We literally are PACKING on more oil and bacteria to our skin with every single application. Understandably, sponges can be washed and attempts can be made at cleaning it, but it's horribly naive to think that you can wipe out any and all bacteria from a sponge once it's been used. It's just NOT going to happen. Brushes are sterile and not spongey...which clean very easily and don't break-down quickly.
IF YOU ARE ACNE-PRONE, MULTIPLE-USE SPONGES ARE NOT FOR YOU. USE ONE, AND TOSS IT.
Bold statement?? Sorry I'm not sorry. After fighting acne for years and years, (and years and years,) I don't want to embrace ANY product that make my skin condition worse!! For those of you who wouldn't break out if you bobbed for apples in a bowl of baby oil....you are blessed beyond measure and I'm jealous. Blending sponges might never affect you the way they affect us poor, unfortunate breakout-prone souls.
ALLLLLLLL that being said....even if I am not SUPER excited about a product as a whole, I still want to try to them, weigh in on them and attempt to make them work un-biasedly, even if it's just to pass along the info!! I've heard plenty of complaints about the $20 price-tag on Beauty blenders so....I set out to find comparable drugstore sponges. And here's what I found.
1. Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge: $10
The stats/claims: Blends, smooths, applies makeup how you want, where you want. Wet sponge and use on any product. Creates "air-brushed" affect on your makeup.
The verdict: For a girl who DOESN'T love sponges, I actually really liked applying my matte foundation with it. It looked soft, subtle and perfectly blended. It was also super user-friendly to flip over and use the smaller side for my under-eye concealer. While I'm not sure I'd want to use one regularly because of my existing concerns, I did like the finish that it left me with. Overal, I might buy one again but I'd have major reservations about using it more than once without an industrial-cleaning.
2. e.l.f. Blending sponge $5
The stats/claims: EXACTLY the same as above. Exactly. Yet e.l.f. loves that their sponge is wider, larger and more rounded which they say "fits your hand" better.
The verdict: This sponge made my foundation look equally as good as the Sonia Kashuk one, however it didn't provide quite as much control. I actually didn't like the size of the larger one. The "smaller" side of the sponge was not helpful in trying to blend under-eyes. I did feel like it rubbed product off repeatedly, as opposed to blending it. It retained WAY too much water so even days after using it initially, it stayed wet. Over time, that will not only smell but it will also explode in bacteria, almost more-so than the ones that dry quicker. (Think about a mildewy sponge, on your face. Ewwww.) Overal, I would NOT buy this product again. I'd rather pay double of the Sonia one.
There you go...my attempt at being open-minded to Beauty blending sponges. I DID like the Sonia one way more than I thought I would. However, I'm not sure that I could rationally use one daily despite all of my concerns and the info about how gross sponges can be. Special occasions?? No doubt. But beyond that?? I'll probably keep walking past them and hug my makeup brushes a little harder tonight.
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