Should I Use A Sponge Or A Brush?

This is something I get asked quite often, and it’s understandable why – if you watch beauty gurus on YouTube or Instagram, you often will see them using beauty sponges like Beauty Blenders for applying foundation, concealers, setting powder, baking, finessing…pretty much any reason to use a beauty sponge, it’s being used.

The #1 reason for using a beauty sponge? It soaks up excess product that you’ve put on your face so that it should leave you with *just the right amount*. That’s why you see them use TOO MUCH FOUNDATION, and TOO MUCH CONCEALER – because they know that they can soak up whatever is too much with their sponge. In that way, it’s a relatively easy tool to use to create a decent base for your face.

The top reasons for using a brush? Not wasting as much product as with a sponge, and also for precision.  When you are using thinner or sheerer foundations (or even tinted moisturisers), you will want to be precise if you’re putting down concealer to ensure it doesn’t look splotchy between the thin texture of foundation and the thick coverage of a particularly full coverage concealer.

The clear difference between the two is that you will get through your foundations and concealers way faster if you are using a beauty sponge than if you use brushes. Brushes do soak up product, but not as much as a beauty sponge does. Thicker bodied brushes, like the big grey one pictured here, are great for smoothing out foundation over your face, but you can also use fluffier brushes which will spread a thinner layer of product over your face as well.

Beauty sponges will also wear out faster than brushes – a good set of brushes, treated well, will last you many years.

The best bang for your buck? Brushes.

SURPRISE MECHANICS 😂: certain foundations are also formulated to work better when applied with a sponge vs. a brush, and vice versa – for example: all oil-based products, like Scott Barnes’ foundation and Tom Ford’s new Emotion-Proof Concealer, need to be applied with brushes, because oil repels water; conversely, cream-based foundations, like foundation sticks, tend to apply better with a sponge because you can use the sponge to really (gently) push it into your skin.

SO: What should you choose?

Honestly – aside from where a product clearly states that you need to use a brush or a sponge, it’s a question of preference in how you apply your favourite products to your face. If you are happier using beauty sponges, use beauty sponges – if you prefer brushes, use brushes. Neither are particularly better than the other because they are used a little differently, and there are advantages and disadvantages to using either option.

I personally prefer using brushes on the whole, particularly because a lot of the products I use are very liquidy (*cough* viscous) and thin, and because I like the speed and accuracy of using brushes – however, I do have some non-latex sponges in my kit ready to use because my colour corrector is a heavy, full-coverage cream.