Base application is no longer the unquestionable realm of brushes. Sponges are just as – if not more – of a popular choice these days. But these aren’t just your £1 for 6 sponges from Boots; the new breed of makeup sponges are something else altogether.
The Beautyblender was undoubtedly a pioneer of the new trend, created in the early 2000’s but really bursting on to the scene in the late 2010’s. They differed in that they were designed to absorb water rather than repel it as most sponges had been designed to do up until that point. The idea was that if the sponge absorbed water there was no room left for it to soak up your foundation giving you a flawless finish with no product wastage. It was also re-usable, unlike the one-use sponges that came before it. A little soap and a rinse and it is good to go for another use.
I love the Beautyblender and would definitely recommend trying one out if you haven’t before. They are high-quality, durable and make your foundation application flawless. However, buying one will set you back around £17. Although re-usable, this can seem like quite a lot to pay in one go for what is, essentially, a sponge.
So if you want the effect of a Beautyblender, but not the price tag that comes with it, then where should you look? My favourite alternative by far – and I’ve tried a few – is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.
£5.99 from Boots or Superdrug, well-designed and amazing at applying everything from cream foundation to loose powder, it is every bit as good as the Beautyblender.
It’s not an exact dupe as the sponges do have slightly different textures. The Beautyblender doesn’t expand as much when soaked in water and has bigger ‘holes’ making the texture less dense. Meanwhile, the Real Techniques sponge is larger, softer and denser. Dense doesn’t seem like a word you would want to associate with your makeup sponge but it’s actually something I love about the high-street sponge. It seems like less product is soaked up and that there is less ‘empty space’ within the sponge, making for an even more flawless makeup application.
Despite the dense texture, the Real Techniques sponge remains soft. This is especially true when placed under running water to allow it to expand. I actually find that it feels a lot nicer when bounced over my skin than the Beautyblender.
My only gripe with the Real Techniques sponge is its durability. A Beautyblender I can have for months and even when used every day it will still look every bit as good by the end of those months – if considerably more grubby! The Real Techniques sponge, on the other hand, will only last a couple of months or so before rips and tears begin to show.
Therefore, if you’re looking for more of an investment in your makeup toolkit then the Beautyblender is the way to go. Alternatively, if you’re looking to try out makeup sponges and aren’t as interested in investing in one, then the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is a brilliant, purse-friendly alternative.