Drugstore vs. Designer: Beauty Blending Sponges

By now, I'm sure you've at least heard of the beautyblender® makeup sponge, even if you haven't tried one. I didn't jump on the makeup sponge bandwagon until a few months ago, because frankly, I figured it was a lot of hype over nothing. I was wrong. You heard me. Oh, all right, I'll say it again - I was wrong!! They're incredible!

While beautyblender® may be the "original", there are also a lot of similar blending sponges out there. One that I kept hearing a lot of good things about is the Real Techniques® Miracle Complexion Sponge, so you know I had to get one to compare. And that's what this blog post is all about - how does the $8 Real Techniques® sponge compare to the $20 beautyblender® sponge?

two different brands of beauty blender sponges

For those of you who have never used (or heard of) a makeup sponge like this, it's basically a dense foam sponge, somewhat ovoid in shape, usually with a pointed end for getting into smaller areas. When you wet the sponge, it doubles in size and becomes much softer and more pliable. Once it's wet, it tends to keep makeup from being absorbed into the sponge too much, so you can use it to blot or stipple makeup onto the face - or once the makeup is on, you can use it to smooth it out and make it look flawless. You can also use it for concealer, cream blush, etc. I've even seen it used with loose powder, although I haven't tried that myself.

beauty blender sponge

The beautyblender® sponge comes in several different versions, but I have the original hot pink one. I bought mine at Sephora for $20. Once dampened, it about doubles in size (the sponge in the photo above is dampened). It still remains fairly firm and dense, but is soft enough to make it easy to apply makeup. I like the pointed tip for areas like under my eyes and around my nose. I'm indifferent to the large rounded end. It just seems awkward when trying to use it to either apply makeup or smooth makeup because it doesn't "fit" the contours of my face. But other than that, I love the finish that this gives to my foundation! My pores are definitely less noticeable.

original beauty blender sponge

My biggest complaints with this sponge is that it is difficult to clean and it started to get tears after just 3-4 weeks. After my first use, it was stained, and I never was able to get it clean - even using the beautyblender® cleanser. I was surprised it got tears so quickly because I only used it 3-5 times per week and was careful to squeeze gently when cleaning it. In the photo above, you can see that the bright pink sponge is stained to an orangish color and has at least one large tear as well as several smaller tears. This sponge was used 3-5 times per week for about 8 weeks. Just to show you how much this sponge is stained and faded, below is a photo of a new beautyblender®, courtesy of beautyblender.com:

Drugstore vs. Designer: Beauty Blender Sponges - is the $20 original beautyblender® better than the $8 Real Techniques® Miracle Complexion Sponge? Or can you save yourself $12 and get the same results? Check out my review and find out!

Now let's talk about the Real Techniques® Miracle Complexion Sponge:

Real Techniques® Miracle Complexion Sponge

The Real Techniques® sponge is bright orange. It also has an ovoid shape, but the main difference is that instead of having a large oval on one end, part of that is sliced off, leaving a flat surface. So with this sponge, you get a pointed end, a rounded middle section, a flat end section, and a lot of sharp edges that can be used to get into small areas. I bought mine at Amazon for about $8. To me, this sponge feels just slightly less dense than the beautyblender®, but it's still dense enough to do what needs to be done. I actually like the texture of this sponge a little better. Like the beautyblender®, it also doubles in size when dampened (it's dampened in the above photo). I love the flattened surface on this sponge! It's perfect for applying or smoothing foundation, because it fits the contours of my face so much better.

Real Techniques® Miracle Complexion Sponge

Another plus to this sponge is that I didn't have any issues with any of my different types of foundations leaving stains on it! It washed clean every single time, using the cleaning methods I used with the beautyblender® (which was usually my facial cleanser). As you can see in the photo above, this sponge also has a larger tear in it, as well as a few smaller tears - although these tears are not as deep as the ones in the other sponge. This sponge was also used 3-5 times per week for about 8 weeks. Note: This sponge is also available in packs of 2 for about $11, which is a steal!

two different beauty blender sponges

For me, comparing all things equally, the Real Techniques® sponge is the winner. They both lasted about the same amount of time and ended up similar conditions. But the Real Techniques® sponge is less expensive, I was able to keep it stain-free, and I actually prefer the results with it. At 2/$11, I can buy 4 for the price of one beautyblender® sponge.

P.S. Since starting this comparison, I've been testing The Perfectionist: Airbrush Sponge from Sephora ($12), and I'm really liking that one, too. Look for a review soon!

Have you tried a beauty blending sponge?
What's your favorite?


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