The What, Why, and How of Makeup Sponges

Augusta Falletta
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makeup sponges

You could have the best foundation on the market in your cosmetics case, but if you don’t properly apply it, it’s worth nothing. Makeup sponges may have been around forever, but ever since the now cult favorite Beauty Blender came out, they’ve been getting a makeover. Now available in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, makeup sponges are taking the world by storm as the ideal way to apply liquid makeup. Not quite sure about them yet? Below we answer the what, why, and how of makeup sponges for an application so flawless, it won’t even look like you’re wearing any makeup.

What: In the past, makeup sponges used to come in 50 packs at the drugstore and were meant for one-time use. Now, sponges are made to be more durable, each one lasting for months (as long as you clean them properly). The absorbency of the sponge soaks up any excess liquid makeup you may be using so that you don’t over apply. As you move it over your face to blend your makeup, the sponge works to blot and feather away any evidence that you’re even wearing makeup.

MORE: How to Clean Every Tool in Your Makeup Bag

Why: The entire point of wearing face makeup is to make our skin look naturally flawless, and makeup sponges are the best way to get that result. You can also use sponges with powder makeup for a smoother, more natural look, in which case you should dampen the sponge first for a wet application.

How: The size and shape of your sponge depends on where you’re putting makeup. Larger, more rounded sponges are great for larger areas of your face where you’ll be applying foundation, while smaller, squared off sponges work best for the smaller corners of your face (like your under eyes) or on targeted areas where you’re trying to conceal blemishes.

For the best results, wet the sponge before you begin, because the water will help to smooth out the application. If you’re using liquid makeup, squeeze a small amount onto the back of your non-dominant hand, then grabbing your makeup sponge, dab makeup onto the sponge and begin to apply to your face. Don’t swipe or drag the sponge across your face as this won’t give you a seamless finish. Instead, use a stippling motion to consistently dab the makeup onto your face, making for smooth, all over coverage. Continue adding foundation a little bit at a time (you can always add more, but go slowly so you don’t waste your makeup) until your face is covered. Without any product on the sponge, go back over your face with the stippling motion to blend in anything you may have missed.

Our Picks: Our favorite makeup sponges are The Beauty Blender, Sephora’s Perfectionist Makeup Sponge, and the Koh Gen Do Makeup Sponge.

Image via Anthony Lee/Getty Images

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