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5 Types of Makeup Sponges (and how to use them)

by NIKKI HYNEK |

Makeup sponges, also known as beauty sponges, come in all shapes and sizes. Popular egg-shaped beauty sponges have taken the world by storm but there are actually over 20 different types of beauty sponges to choose from. 

If you’ve secretly wondered what makeup sponge to use and when we’re here to put your pretty little mind at ease. The secret is out ladies and today we’re going to breakdown the ins and outs of makeup sponges.

History of the makeup sponge

Beauty sponges have become more widely used as of recently, but have actually been around for decades. They were originally used and loved by professional makeup artists like our very own founder, Nikki Hynek on the sets of movies and fashion shows. 

Up until a few years ago, makeup sponges had lost some of their popularity in the beauty world due to the growing demand for artistic makeup brushes. That was until the beautyblender was born. With a practical egg shape and pretty pink color, beautyblender reinvigorated the beauty blending landscape.

Beautyblender makeup spongebeautyblender makeup sponge - what makeup sponge to use - Pretty Lane Boutique

beautyblender was designed to apply and blend any cream or liquid makeup product onto the skin for a smooth, poreless finish. It’s known for its ‘exclusive aqua-activated foam’ and its sphere shape that can reach almost every contour on your face.

How to use this makeup sponge: Get the sponge wet, squeeze excess water and then blend. It’s that easy!

When to use this makeup sponge: Use to apply foundation, concealer, beauty balms (more commonly known as bb creams), serums and moisturizers.

The good: The beautyblender is known for the flawless, poreless finish it can provide.  If you hate the tacky feeling of foundation all of your fingers, the beautyblender is a great applicator.

The bad: It can absorb a lot of your precious makeup when used dry. While touted as being able to, the sphere shape actually doesn’t reach every facial contour.

Pretty Pro tip: The beautyblender can be used wet or dry, but the Pretty Pros prefer dry for initial application and wet to bounce and blend makeup into the skin.

Wedge-shaped makeup sponge

While the beautyblender works well, some pretty smart people saw ways to take its success and improve upon it. That’s where the wedge sponge comes in. Ever heard the song Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better? That pretty much sums up the story between the wedge makeup sponge and beautyblender.

A wedge makeup sponge can do the same things as a beautyblender in terms of liquid and cream makeup applications and blending. The key difference comes from the difference in design. Wedge makeup sponges have flat edges and bottoms which allow you to truly reach every edge of your facial contour.

Wedge-shaped makeup sponge - what makeup sponge to use - Pretty Lane Boutique

How to use this makeup sponge: The wedge sponge can be used wet or dry. Simply make small tapping motions in application areas to work the product into the skin.

When to use this makeup sponge: The sharp (not literally) or “skinny” edge of the wedge can be used for contouring small areas like the nose. Wedge sponges also work pretty darn well for hard to reach and smaller places like under the eye or around eyebrows.

The good: The wedge-shaped beauty sponges are slightly more versatile than the beautyblender. They can cover lots of ground, but they really shine when it comes to precise applications.

The bad: These sponges are intended for one-time use. If using them for cream and powder application, you need to use one for each. It can become pretty easy to go through these rather quickly.

Also, since makeup wedges are typically smaller than something like the beautyblender, you will need a few spare minutes to cover the same amount of ground with a full face application.

Pretty Pro tip: When using a wedge makeup sponge for quick all-over foundation application, get more mileage out of your foundation by diluting it. Wedge sponges are usually made of a material called hydrophilic foam - essentially a fancy word that means “designed to absorb water”. Simply get your makeup sponge wet before applying your foundation and achieve a more sheer application.

Pretty Puff makeup sponge

Here at Pretty Lane on any given day, we’re 1 part caffeine, 1 part beauty pros, and 1 part rocket scientists. For those reasons, we couldn’t help but put our pretty heads together and come up with a hybrid makeup sponge. Thus the Pretty Puff was born!

The Pretty Puff is the best of both the beautyblender makeup sponge and wedge-shaped makeup sponge concepts. It has a unique rounded teardrop design like the beautyblender for hard-to-reach areas, but it also has a flat edge for pressing, patting and pushing makeup into the skin. These features will give you an airbrush-esque finish. Not to mention it has that fancy pancy hydrophilic foam, as well so that your makeup goes on your face and not into your sponge. 

Is your mind blown yet?

Pretty Puff makeup sponge - what makeup sponge to use - Pretty Lane Boutique

How to use this makeup sponge: Similar to the beautyblender, all you have to do is get the Pretty Puff wet, squeeze excess water and blend.

When to use this makeup sponge: With its hybrid functionality, the Pretty Puff is great for all over application and small detail work like contouring or around the sides of your nose or under eyes.

The good: The Pretty Puff has been proven to last longer than other blenders which speak to its quality.

The bad: Consistent cleaning is necessary to not only get longevity out of the Pretty Puff but also to prevent bacteria from breeding. Using a brush cleaner, alcohol spritz or even dish soap will do the trick.

Silicone makeup sponge

Next up is the silicone makeup sponge. It’s considered the newbie on the block when it comes to the world of beauty sponges. At first glance, it may even remind you of those pliable silicone bra inserts.
 
The silicone sponge is most commonly flat with rounded edges and is used to apply liquid or cream foundations only. Silicone provides a unique advantage because it does not absorb a single ounce of your coveted beauty products. What does that mean? Zero products waste. Zilch. Nada. Nil.  

Silicone makeup sponge - what makeup sponge to use - Pretty Lane Boutique

How to use this makeup sponge: Dot foundation onto your skin first and work your product into the skin with a ‘pushing motion’ using the silicone sponge. Blend further with any of the porous sponge options we shared earlier.

When to use this makeup sponge: Silicone makeup sponges can only be used for liquid or cream makeup applications. They will not work for powder.

The good: The non-absorbing material saves you from overuse or waste of product. Additionally, a silicone sponge is not porous like the beautyblender or wedge-shaped makeup sponges and therefore doesn’t harbor any bacteria. It’s easy to clean, sanitize and reuse to your heart’s desire.

The bad: Silicone sponges are great for smooth coverage, but don’t work well for blending.

Microfiber makeup sponge

Imagine soft velvet brushing up against your skin. That’s exactly how the microfiber makeup sponge feels!

While silicone sponges won’t work for powder application, microfiber sponges do. In fact, many beauty bloggers, like one of our faves, Kathleen Lights, are now adopting the tool to use with setting powder instead of makeup brushes. 

Microfiber makeup sponge - what makeup sponge to use - Pretty Lane Boutique

How to use this makeup sponge: You can also use the microfiber sponge wet with water and use to apply and blend your liquid foundation.

When to use this makeup sponge: The dense fibers of the microfiber makeup sponge deliver a concentrated full-coverage powder application. However, you can also use it for blush, bronzer or any other powder applications in your makeup routine.

The good: Not one for having a makeup bag full of every tool under the sun? The microfiber sponge can double as your makeup brush.

The bad:  While not necessarily a bad thing, the stiff fuzzy texture of the microfiber sponge does take a little time to get used to.

Pretty Pro tip: Use the microfiber sponge to set your concealer under your eyes with powder. 

There you have it pretties! The myth of the makeup sponge has been unmasked for you. 

Hey! Did we mention that with every Pretty Party, you get to take home your very own Pretty Puff for FREE? Book your class now.