Found in every makeup bag, ever - sponges have redefined the beauty world. These porous tools have revolutionised the way we tap on our concealer, how we sculpt our cheekbones and the way we blend out foundation.
From compact sponges to Beautyblenders, I've been on quite the beauty journey. In the past few years, a whole sea of sponges has hit both the virtual and literal shelves - bringing with them 'grammable designs, quirky shapes and different textures all that range from pharmacy prices to designer. However, it wasn't until I fell down the rabbit hole of watching beauty tutorials that I realised not just how many makeup sponges exist but actually how many I own...and know nothing about. Purchased because of that 'grammable design or for the pure novelty of applying foundation with a diamond, I thought it was about time I enrolled myself in makeup sponge 101.
Below, is a definitive guide to what the best makeup sponges currently on the market actually do.
The Everyone's First
They say you always remember your first and if 'they' were referring to foundation, then 'they' would be correct. What was a hand me down from my mother, my first ever foundation came condensed into a travelable compact. Equipped with a rectangularly shaped sponge, I used it to drag a foundation that was three shades too dark for my pale skin. Incorrect shade aside, it turns out that wasn't the only beauty faux pas I was making as these sponges are best used for applying pressed powder.
What I and many others consider to be a transitional sponge into the beauty world, wedge-shaped sponges are designed to blend concealer and foundation onto your face. However, they don't give the precision of their more creatively-shaped competition.
When BeautyBlenders first came onto the scene back in 2007, I remember thinking it was all hype. But once I experienced the powers held by a damp BeautyBlender sponge, I have never looked back. Teardrop shaped sponges do pretty much everything but the dishes - and that's solely down to the fact I could never betray my beloved foundation applicator to that kind of labour. The round end of the sponge can be used to smooth out foundation, while the tapered point is ideal for blending concealer in those hard-to-reach places.
A flat-ended makeup sponge like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge can be used for pretty much anything. The architectural shape has a precision tip for blemishes, a rounded side for stippling and a flat edge for cream highlight and contour.
A shape my body has sought after for years unsurprisingly came easy in the beauty department. However, knowing how to use it, isn't so easy. A curvy sponge allows you to control the amount of coverage you wish to apply to a specific area. To do so, hold it directly where it curves inwards to deliver a more opaque finish. Alternatively, holding the rounded base produces a sheerer application. The tip also allows you to get in at areas you may have missed like the corners of your eyes or nose.
The Not To Be Confused With A Chicken Fillet
Much like their breast enhancer counterparts, it was curiosity which made me purchase a silicone makeup sponge. The trend exploded last year but after a few weeks, things went quiet. The theory was that they offer superior blending powders, use less product and are more hygienic which are all true. Granted, it feels unusual applying foundation with a cold hard sponge but once you get the hang of it, it applies it evenly without absorbing a single speck. However, I've since found it works better to apply face creams and serums than it does makeup.
First things first, take a second to soak up just how adorable these teeny-tiny makeup sponges are. Now that's out of the way, if you're into flawless eye makeup, these mini sponges make tidying up any rogue shadow easy. They're also great for applying any eye creams, concealers or powders. Oh, and they also work wonders for precision contouring.
Blend, blend, blend.