Welcome back to the Beauty Book, where we cover everything you need to know about skin care and makeup! In Chapter 2, we break down the different types of beauty sponges and explain how each one fits your makeup routine. If you’re new to beauty sponges, or you’re just confused about the different types, then you’ve come to the right place!
What’s a Beauty Sponge?
A beauty sponge comes in various shapes, sizes and colors. Some of YesStyle’s bestsellers include Holika Holika – Lazy & Joy Egg Bun Puff (Gedetama Edition), Makeup Blender Beauty Sponge by Cutie Bazaar and Litfly’s Makeup Blender Beauty Sponge (Tear Drop in Pink). Compared to makeup brushes, using a beauty sponge to apply foundation is effortless and gives you a more natural finish. It also allows you to build up the coverage you want. You can easily go from sheer to high coverage.
The launch of the iconic Beauty Blender by Hollywood makeup artist Rea Ann Silva back in 2007 has completely changed the makeup game. This genius creation led to makeup sponges becoming a staple in every girl’s makeup collection. More than a decade after its release, the Beauty Blender is still popular with the beauty community. In fact, Google’s most-searched beauty phrase for 2017 was “beauty blender.”
Types of Sponges
Since the birth of the classic egg-shaped sponge, new shapes have emerged. Each sponge can be used for different purposes – it all depends on how the sponge is constructed. Once you’re familiar with the various shapes, you can achieve a flawless finish whether you’re applying foundation, concealer, contour, highlighter or even powder. Here are the different types of sponges and their uses:
1. Teardrop Sponge
Let’s start off with the OG of all sponges: the egg-shaped or teardrop-shaped sponge. Made without any sharp edges, this sponge is perfect for a sheer, airbrush-like finish. Use the rounded end of the sponge to apply liquid foundation and the pointed end for blending purposes, like blending out concealer. You can also get away with using the pointed end for contouring and highlighting, as well as for spots that are harder to reach, like under the eyes or around the nose.
2. Flat Edge Sponge
A flat edge sponge looks quite similar to a teardrop sponge except that there’s an extra edge to it. This sponge has three sides; use the round side for stippling foundation, the flat edge for adding some glow to your cheekbones with highlighter or contouring your face, and the precision tip to apply concealer under the eyes or on blemishes.
Another (fun) way to use the pointed end is to “bake” your makeup. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “baking” refers to applying translucent powder on areas of your face that you want to brighten and letting it sit for around 10 minutes. You can use the tip of a flat edge sponge to apply the powder. Since most sponges have a pointed tip, you can also use other types for this. After the baking process, simply dust off the excess powder and you’re left with a smooth and creaseless finish.
3. Hourglass Sponge
The main benefit of an hourglass sponge is a better grip. With its curvy waist, you have a bit more control on the amount of coverage. An hourglass sponge is a lot denser when compared to a typical teardrop sponge and feels firmer on the skin. Its uses are the same as the above sponges; use the rounded base for applying foundation and the pointed tip for blending and concealing around smaller areas.
4. Silicone Sponge
The new kid on the block that broke the internet about two years ago is the silicone sponge, also known as the “Silisponge.” It’s received mixed reviews from the beauty community – some love it and others give it a hard pass. Using a silicone sponge is similar to using regular sponges where you apply foundation with a tapping motion until your skin has fully absorbed the product.
One of the main upsides of a silicone sponge is zero product absorption. Unlike a regular sponge, a silicon sponge won’t soak up a beauty product because of its gel-like surface – so there’s no need to use a lot and you can save even more! Even a small drop of foundation goes a long way with a silicone sponge. The downside is that because of how a silicon sponge is made, it’s harder to reach smaller areas on the face like around the nose and under the eyes. It also requires a lot of time and practice to perfect your application with a silicon sponge.
5. Makeup Wedges
Back in the day, the only beauty sponges available in stores were makeup wedges. This type of sponge is best for applying cream foundation. Even though you can use a teardrop sponge to apply cream foundation, this tends to build too much coverage and ends up looking unnatural on the skin. With makeup wedges, the finish is much more sheer.
Since a makeup wedge has sharpened sides and is smaller in size, it’s also the perfect tool to apply cream contours and setting powders.
How to Use a Beauty Sponge
Aside from knowing the different types of sponges, it’s important to understand the best way to use one. These steps are all you need to know:
- Dampen the sponge until it expands to about twice its original size.
- Gently squeeze the sponge to get rid of any excess water. You can use a paper towel to do this.
- Apply your makeup with the sponge.
It’s that simple!
Do’s and Don’ts
Before you start adding sponges to your shopping cart, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts about using and taking care of your sponge:
DO dab, dab, dab
DON’T use a sweeping motion
It’s important to use a bouncing motion instead of wiping the sponge across your face when applying product. The right technique will give you a streak-free look and you’ll avoid an uneven finish.
DO soak your sponge before each use
DON’T use it dry
Applying foundation with a dry sponge is a total no-no! Doing so will allow the sponge to absorb your product – it’s meant for your face, not the sponge! However, if you realize that you’ve put on way too much blush and want to tone it down a bit, then you can use a dry sponge to soften the color.
DO clean your sponge daily
DON’T throw it away after every use
To prolong the life of your sponge, clean it daily – ideally after every use. You can wash it with soap (in liquid or bar form) or shampoo, and remember not to wring the sponge or you’ll end up damaging it. Instead, gently squeeze it until you get rid of all the excess water. Unfortunately, sponges don’t last forever so you’ll have to replace it every 4-6 weeks or whenever you find that your sponge starts to fall apart.
DO store it on a stand
DON’T store it in your makeup bag
After washing your sponge, place it on a makeup sponge stand to let it dry. Storing it on a stand gives it proper ventilation and will prevent bacterial growth. It also makes a cute display on your makeup vanity! Avoid storing it in unsanitary places like your makeup bag unless you want mold to grow – yuck!
Now the question is: Are you “team makeup brush” or “team beauty sponge”? My answer would be to not choose one over the other. As a long-time user of beauty sponges, I don’t think it can completely replace makeup brushes but it’s certainly a great alternative.