Rant & Rave: Foundation Sponges

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Foundation Sponges

I love sponges for giving lighter coverage and working with more matte formulas, as I find the dampness helps stretch and spread them better. My biggest “issue” with sponges is just how much time they can take to really clean!

— Christine


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Nancy T Avatar

Rave: I actually love them, as they allow me to press my foundation on in a pouncing manner. This is far more effective for me because of my having rather large pores, as it gives me a smoother look overall. Plus, I usually also use it for pouncing my concealer setting powder into place for a more natural, less dry appearance.

Rant: You must clean them after every usage. Something I do in reverse! I clean mine right BEFORE I’m going to apply my foundation instead! Works perfectly every time, too.

Lisa Avatar

I love using sponges to apply foundation. Mainly with higher coverage, matte foundations. I can get my base done really quickly and it doesn’t lift dry patches. (If I do have any). I feel it’s also gentler on my skin since using a brush I’m more inclined to buff firmer around my face.

They do in time absorb product deep within the sponge and takes more effort to fully clean. They can also smell if they don’t dry properly.

Anais Bon Avatar

I love sponges and it’s exclusive all I use to apply product. Brushes are nice from time to time but they tend to leave a lot of texture behind. I feel like everyone should know about the Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge. This stuff removes ALL TRACES of product from a sponge in just one wash. I haven’t found anything at remotely similar to this and it’s the only thing I use to clean my sponges. It’s just annoying because you have to do order it from overseas but quite frankly I don’t care lol! It’s that good!

Deborah S. Avatar

In a perfect world I would use an air puff for makeup application everyday. I am not a huge brush fan for base makeup products. I didn’t use a brush when I first started wearing makeup and so I think I may have a pattern that just doesn’t lend itself to brush application. I also do not clean my brushes so using one for makeup application would result in a very nasty brush after a little while. With the release of the BB I started using makeup sponges and instantly fell in love. I have a strong preference for the actual BB rather than a substitute. My daughter loves her BB but swears by the Sonia Kashuk sponge. I have not tried it myself. When I started using cushion foundation I fell in love with the air puffs that come with most cushions. I feel like I get really good coverage as they don’t eat up the foundation like most sponges. I also feel that since they are thinner they allow me to press the foundation into my skin so that I get a much smoother application. They are relatively inexpensive so I buy them in packages of 10 from a South Korean company. There are a few foundations that don’t seem to work well with the air puff, for whatever reason, so I use my BB for those. If I am wearing a foundation that I don’t have to set all over then I can use the air puff to touch up my foundation during the day. Ultimately, I like finger application the best, however. Again, I think part of it stems from having applied my foundation that way for 40 years. I could really control where I applied and how much I applied when using my fingers. I also think the warmth of the hand makes some foundations apply better.

CeeBee Avatar

If I can get the density and dampness ratio right, they are amazing! But that can be a lot of work, just trying to get there… Also, I HATE it when they start to degrade (sometimes after only a few months!) and leave little bits of broken down sponge on your face. So annoying.
They do leave a beautiful finish, but it takes longer for me to apply and blend using a sponge than a flat top buffing brush, so I only use them to finish off my foundation occasionally.

I found the BB a little too soft, the Spectrum Unicorn one a bit too firm, the RT one I just hated full stop and the Designer Brands freebie I got was the best texture wise but lasted less than 3 months.

Laurie Avatar

I always finish with a sponge, but while I used to use a Beauty Blender all the time, lately I’m into a brush or the foundation brush attachment on my Clarisonic. I used to use the Beauty Blender to thin out fuller-coverage foundations, but with the Clarisonic, As little foundation goes a long way. Like you, I hate cleaning my Beauty Blender—which I do every time I use it—and I hate that my obsession to really clean it can cause the dye to come out. Also, unless I get every bit of soap out, it’ll ruin my next application.

Genevieve Avatar

I don’t use foundation sponges at all nowadays. I tried them in the past and found that I ended up with more foundation in the sponge than on my face and they seemed to waste a lot of foundation too.
Cleaning them properly is a real pain and I think they could easily end up being bacteria magnets.

bibi Avatar

I tried a beauty blender once and was not impressed. I prefer to apply foundation with my fingers and then buff it out with a fluffy brush if necessary.
I just can’t see how you could ever those things clean other than autoclaving? Kitchen sponges are notorious for spreading bacteria – I would think foundation sponges would be the same.

Jan Kelley Avatar

I love the look my skin gets with a damp sponge. But, because I’m a bit of a germ phobe, I always have at least three in rotation. I use once and wash. I also tend to toss them fairly frequently.

Sarah Avatar

I agree that they help blend out more matte formulas.

I don’t regularly use them though, since I don’t feel like cleaning them. And they don’t fit in my brush holder, which bothers me lol

Dolores Avatar

Rave- the more matte the foundation is the more likely I will use a sponge. I use the Sonia Kashuk and the beauty blender. Lately, I’ve used the Sonia G or Wayne Goss foundation brushes or apply with my fingers then follow up with the brush.
Rant- I clean after every use so it takes up time, and have to make sure to air dry in an open area The Sonia Kashuk is a very dense sponge which I like but it holds a lot of water so I have to really squeeze it out. At this point a brush is faster for me to use.

Lee Ann Avatar

I normally use a sponge and rotate 2 of them. I use it, clean it, then dry it and use a second one the next time repeating the process. I wear my foundation 4 days a week usually and toss them every month. Has anyone used the Micheal Todd beauty brushes or know anything about them?

Ana Maria Avatar

– The beautiful natural finish I get with some foundations, especially creamier formulas.
– The versatility of being able to use them for foundation, concealer, even powder application; they work great also for applying cream blushes / bronzers / highlighters.

– The patchiness I get with some foundations, especially very liquid formulas.
– How hard they are to clean; I wash them with diluted Castille soap (aka my homemade hand soap) after every use, but I still need to give them another deep clean 1-2 a week (depending I often I use them).
– How easy they are to `destroy`. Even for the most durable ones (Beauty Blenders can last months and months) there’s the issue of carelessness (either tearing them with my nails or my cat ending up playing with them).
– The pouncing / bounciness of application; it’s odd, but I prefer buffing things on my face, pouncing it’s not a nice feeling in my mind (even if the sponge is very soft).
– The fact that I have to prepare them before using (wetting them, them squeezing all the water out, maybe damping a little with a clean towel).

Sienna Avatar

I like foundation sponges because they help me to control the amount of product I’m using and get more of an even usage across my face. i also like how using it damp effects the foundation- cant do that with the brush. but I dont like how theres less control over it at the same time. I like the control of using a brush

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