Silicone makeup sponges or beauty blenders; that is the question.
The only times my foundation and coverup get done with any sort of tool is when I have it done by a professional makeup artist. Otherwise, whether it's for work or for a night out, my makeup gets slapped on the good ol' fashioned way: with my fingers. Recently, I discovered a mini beauty blender is great for placing and blending cream blushes, but I have yet to fully adopt a fingerless routine.
I'm also not sure which route I would even go in: Do I succumb to beauty blender pressures, or opt for another highly-searched makeup tool, the silicone makeup sponge? Silicone makeup sponges are splattered all over Amazon, with tons of reviews praising the makeup tool.
I don't know much about them, though, so I talked to a professional makeup artist based in New York named Moani Lee, who works with celebrities like Miranda Lambert, to get the scoop on this makeup application technique. As with most things, there are pros and cons to using silicone makeup sponges as opposed to beauty blenders and vice versa.
Lee points out silicone makeup sponges are very easy to clean and to travel with as well as "fantastic for minimizing product use." Multiple Amazon reviewers for a three-pack of silicone makeup sponges ($5.34; Amazon) express the same positives, saying silicone sponges absorb less makeup than the spongier beauty blenders.
Beauty bloggers also have opinions on the sponge vs. sponge matter, and one named Dia recently weighed in on Instagram, saying under a photo she shared, "I loooove how easy and quick it is to clean, so I know I’m not spreading around bacteria like with an old sponge applicator, and I also really appreciate the quality."
Beauty blenders have gained a little bit of a rep for being confusing to clean, with people posting both successful and hilariously-gone-wrong hacks on social media.
In terms of downsides, Lee says, "I find that silicone sponges don’t quite give you the even application you can achieve with traditional sponges/beauty blenders or even brushes or clean hands." Dia also mentioned this when relaying the silicone makeup sponge's sanitary virtues, saying, "There was definitely a learning curve switching from using my fingers (and in the past a sponge) to a silicone sponge. Blending out makeup definitely takes a little longer with this, and I still struggle getting foundation to look nice and smooth around my eyes and nose, but this little drop is growing on me."
As with most things, the beauty blender vs. silicone makeup sponge match-up boils down to priorities: Is conserving product and a low-maintenance cleaning process more important to you, or is getting the smoothest makeup application possible? Whatever your preferences, now you've got the run down on the differences between two makeup tools so you can make a more informed decision about what goes on your face and how.