Applying foundation: Using a makeup brush vs using a beauty sponge

Every applicator comes with its pros and cons. So which is right for you?

Whether you are a makeup novice or a beauty professional, you have probably asked yourself at some stage, "do I use a makeup brush or sponge?" It's a valid question.

We battle out the beauty applicators to help you decide.


What's the difference?

A makeup sponge works well to provide a light, even coverage of your foundation. It's easy to use as it blends products effortlessly into the skin and can help you achieve a dewy look to your skin.

A makeup brush, on the other hand, provides you with a full coverage base, which is great for those days when your skin isn't at its best. You can use it with either a matte or dewy foundation, as it doesn't alter the finish of the product. They are exactly like a paint brush for your face, making them very easy to use.


Do you have to choose one?

The answer is no. The everyday makeup wearer will prefer to choose one application method but most professional makeup artists use a combination of the two. And to be honest, I do as well. I always use a beauty sponge to blend out my concealer. However, I change between using a brush and sponge for my foundation, depending on how much coverage I need for the day. If I want a light, natural coverage then I will opt for a makeup sponge. If I need high coverage for long wear, I prefer to blend out my foundation with a brush.


The pros and cons

These are the points you need to know when choosing between a sponge and a brush.

Sponge

Pros

Cons
Easy to use. All you need to do is press the product into your skin, as the sponge effortlessly blends out foundation or BB cream.Sponges absorb product. It's normal for this to happen as they are a sponge, which is why you get a lighter coverage.
Sheer coverage. If you love a dewy finish, a brush just can't compete. A beauty sponge provides even application of product with a natural finish.Don't last long. Sponges don't last as long as a good quality brush. They need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months, even if you clean them often.
Variety of shapes. Some have round edges and others have a flat edge. This means you can get into all the nooks and crannies of your face. Some brands like Beauty Blender have come out with mini makeup sponges.Sponges work better when damp. There is nothing worse than sitting down to do your makeup and remembering you forgot to wet your sponge. Using a damp sponge rather than dry helps to create an even, dewy finish.
Inexpensive. Even the most expensive sponge on the market cannot compare to the price of a makeup brush. Makeup sponges are a great tool if you are on the hunt for beauty on a budget.Hard to travel with. You can't travel with a wet sponge because enclosing it in a bag gives it no room to breathe. This makes it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow.

Our Favourites

Fenty Beauty Lil Precision Makeup Sponge Duo 105
Fenty Beauty Lil Precision Makeup Sponge Duo 105

Sephora

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Adore Beauty

L'ORÉAL PARIS Foundation Beauty Blender
L'ORÉAL PARIS Foundation Beauty Blender

Priceline

NYX Professional Makeup Flawless Finish Blending Sponge
NYX Professional Makeup Flawless Finish Blending Sponge

Cult Beauty


Brush

ProsCons
Multi-use. Makeup brushes can be used with any kind of foundation base, whether it be liquid, cream or powder. Brushes range in price, quality, shape and size. We have a guide explaining every kind of makeup brush.Need to be cleaned often. If you want a good quality brush to last, it needs to be cleaned often. Professional makeup artists clean after each use, but you can get away with every 2-3 weeks.
High coverage. Applying foundation with a makeup brush promises high coverage that lasts all day long.Expensive. It's hard to find a cheap good quality makeup brush. They retail higher than a makeup sponge.
Fast and easy on the go. Makeup brushes provide a fast application every time. They work great if applying makeup on the go, as you don't get your hands dirty with product.Natural vs synthetic. That's right, brush hairs come in two types which can be confusing for beginners. The difference? Natural brush hairs work better for powder, and you should use a synthetic brush for liquid products.
Last long. While sponges are inexpensive, they don't last as long as a good quality brush. If you wash them often and keep them in good condition, a makeup brush can last you years.It needs to be good quality. If you find a cheap makeup brush, be careful it's not poor quality. A makeup brush that isn't up to standard can mean disaster application. It can leave a streaky finish and unwanted brush hairs all over your face.

Our Favourites

FENTY BEAUTY Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110
FENTY BEAUTY Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110

Sephora

SIGMA Beauty F80- Flat kabuki™ Brush
SIGMA Beauty F80- Flat kabuki™ Brush

Adore Beauty

REAL TECHNIQUES Blend & Blur Foundation Brush
REAL TECHNIQUES Blend & Blur Foundation Brush

Adore Beauty

IT COSMETICS Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush #6
IT COSMETICS Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush #6

Cult Beauty


To sum it up

It might take some trial and error to decide on the right applicator for you. Choosing your favoured makeup tool is an individual process. You need to weigh up the pros and cons and decide which one suits your lifestyle and gives you the makeup finish you desire.


If you were feeling a little unsure… what does a makeup sponge and brush look like?

A makeup sponge will usually come in bright colours and different shapes, and they are all made of a porous spongy material that is squishy to touch.

A makeup brush looks like a paint brush. It has a sturdy handle and bristles on the top. Makeup brushes come in a variety of styles with the hairs being either synthetic or animal hair.


More beauty news

Main Image: Instagram user Real Techniques

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