Best Makeup Sponges

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best makeup sponges

Last Updated October 2019

When you want your foundation and concealer to look flawless, you need the right tools to apply your makeup. Brushes work well if you want a full-coverage look. But for the most natural, airbrushed finish, you can’t beat the results you get from makeup sponges.

A makeup sponge is a small, porous tool that can be used to apply and blend foundation, concealer, cream-based products, and some powders over the skin. Sponges are available in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes, which allows you to choose the best option depending on the area of the face that you’re applying makeup to and the type of finish you want. Some makeup sponges are meant to be tossed after one use, while others can be washed and reused for up to three months.

Not sure which sponges to choose? Our buying guide contains all the tips and tricks you need to find the ideal makeup sponges for your beauty routine. For headache-free shopping, take a look at our specific product recommendations.

In addition to color cosmetics, you can use a makeup sponge to apply your foundation primer and even skincare products.

Key considerations

Material

Makeup sponges are made from a variety of materials, which all perform slightly differently:

  • Latex foam is one of the most common materials for makeup sponges. Many users prefer sponges made of latex foam because it’s not as porous as other materials, so it doesn’t soak up foundation and other liquid makeup products as easily as other sponges. Instead, they transfer most of the product directly to your face. However, they’re obviously not an option if you have a latex allergy.

  • Hydrophilic polyurethane is a common material for newer makeup sponges. Unlike latex sponges, which are designed not to absorb liquid, these sponges have larger cells, so they’re more porous and readily absorb liquid. As such, they’re designed to be dampened before you use them, because when they’re filled with water, they don’t soak up as much makeup. Hydrophilic polyurethane is also latex-free, so it’s an ideal option for individuals with allergies.

  • Silicone is used for makeup sponges because it’s much less porous than other materials. That means these sponges won’t soak up as much makeup and are easy to clean, so you can reuse them. However, with a silicone sponge, you run the risk of applying too much foundation or concealer, because it doesn’t absorb excess makeup. Also, silicone sponges aren’t as effective at blending as latex and hydrophilic polyurethane sponges.

Type

In addition to the material, it’s important to consider the type of makeup sponge you choose. Some sponges are better for certain makeup application techniques than others based on their shape and thickness.

  • Beauty blending sponges usually have a teardrop or egg shape and are designed for applying liquid and cream products. They’re particularly effective for applying foundation and concealer because they allow you to “bounce” the makeup into the skin for an airbrushed look. You can also use the sponges to apply cream blush, highlighter, and bronzer. They also work well if you want to press powder into the skin for “baking.”

  • Contouring sponges are designed for contouring and highlighting the face. They usually have a wedge shape to allow you to apply makeup in a concentrated area to shape your face. Contouring sponges can typically be used with liquid, cream, or powder products, though you can often use a beauty blending sponge for the same purpose, so you may not need both types of sponges.

  • Wedge sponges are the most common type of makeup sponge and are exactly what they sound like — small wedges that can be used to apply liquid, cream, and even powder products. They’re usually meant for just one use.

  • Flat powder sponges are usually round and fairly thin. They’re the same type of sponge that’s often included with pressed powders, so they work well for applying both pressed and loose powder.

Outstanding design for professional-quality application

Looking for a sponge that can make you feel like a professional makeup artist? The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges outclass much of their competition in terms of material and shape for fuss-free foundation, concealer, highlight, and contour application. They’re made of latex-free foam that can be used wet or dry to give your foundation an airbrushed look. We also love that the sponge features rounded sides that work well for large areas of the face and a precision tip for smaller spots.

Features

Disposable vs. reusable

  • Disposable: Many traditional makeup sponges are designed to be used once and then thrown away because they absorb makeup, dirt, and bacteria and can’t be washed. A pack of disposable sponges are typically inexpensive because they require frequent replacement.

  • Reusable: Some sponges can actually be cleaned with soap and water, so you’re able to reuse them for up to three months. While reusable sponges cost more upfront, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Wet vs. dry use

Makeup sponges are usually designed to be used either wet or dry, though some options can be used both wet and dry. Wetting a sponge not only prevents it from absorbing too much product but also sheers out your makeup a bit, so you get a more natural look. If you prefer fuller coverage from your foundation, though, you’re better off with a sponge that can be used dry. You should also use a dry sponge when you’re applying powder products.

Check the product specifications for any sponge you’re considering to make sure you understand how the sponge can be used to make sure it fits your makeup routine.

Size

Makeup sponges are usually roughly the size of an egg, which allows you to quickly apply foundation to your face. However, for some products, you may prefer a smaller sponge that allows you to apply makeup in a precise spot. For example, small makeup sponges are ideal for applying concealer under the eyes or foundation around the sides of the nose.

EXPERT TIP

If your makeup starts to look cakey throughout the day, press a makeup sponge over the area to blend it out.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you’re using a makeup sponge to apply liquid foundation, squeeze a small amount of makeup onto the back of your hand and dab the sponge into it. You can apply too much foundation if you put it directly on the sponge.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

After you’ve finished applying your makeup, go over it again with your sponge without picking up any more makeup on the sponge. That will help blend out any streaks or missed spots.


Staff  | BestReviews

Makeup sponge prices

Inexpensive: Latex makeup sponges usually are the most affordable, though you’ll go through them more quickly because they’re meant for one-time use. A bag of a hundred latex makeup sponges typically costs between $3 and $12.

Mid-range: Mid-range makeup sponges are typically reusable and made of silicone. A pack of two silicone makeup sponges usually costs between $4 and $18.

Expensive: The priciest makeup sponges are usually reusable and made of hydrophilic polyurethane. A single hydrophilic polyurethane makeup sponge typically costs between $5 and $20.

Excellent value for classic makeup sponges

The FantaSea Latex-Free Foam Wedges are one of the best deals you can get on makeup sponges. Each bag contains 100 foam sponges that are ideal for applying foundation, concealer, and other cream products, so even though they’re not intended to be reused, you have enough sponges to get through three months. We also love that they’re latex-free, so you can still use them if you have an allergy.

Tips

  • When you’re working with a makeup sponge that’s meant to be used wet, make sure that you squeeze out all the excess water before applying your makeup. If the sponge is too damp, it may sheer out your makeup more than you want.

  • If you’re using a reusable makeup sponge, wash it after every use. The sponge not only soaks up makeup, but it can also harbor dirt, oil, and bacteria that can make you break out.

  • You can buy cleansers specifically intended to wash your reusable sponges, but any gentle soap can work well for cleaning makeup sponges.

  • If you’re using a beauty blending makeup sponge, don’t rub it over your skin to apply your makeup. Instead, bounce or press the sponge over the face to stipple the makeup into your skin for a natural, airbrushed look.

Other products we considered

The Face Magic Six-Piece Beauty Sponge Blender Set is the perfect option if you’re looking for versatility. The set includes six latex-free wet/dry sponges that vary in size and shape to make them suitable for different products and areas of the face. We also love the DUcare Two-Piece Silicone Makeup Sponge if you’re concerned about wasting product. The set includes two sponges made of medical-grade silicone, which are nonallergenic and odor-free, so they’re ideal for people with skin sensitivities.

When you travel with a reusable makeup sponge, store it in a plastic bag or another container to protect it from getting dirty in your makeup bag.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of using a makeup sponge instead of a brush?

A. A makeup sponge provides a lighter, more natural application than a brush does, so you never have to worry about cakey-looking makeup. The bristles on a brush can also disturb any hair or peach fuzz you have on your face, making it more visible under your makeup. They also have an exfoliating effect on the skin, so if you have dry skin, they can cause flaky patches that disturb your makeup.

Q. How many makeup sponges do I need?

A. It depends on the type of sponges you’re using and your makeup routine. With disposable makeup sponges, you’ll want to have plenty on hand, since you’ll be throwing them away after each use. You don’t need as many reusable sponges because they can last for up to three months at a time.

However, if you use makeup sponges for multiple products in your daily routine, such as foundation and cream blush, you’ll probably want at least two so you don’t have to use the same sponge for both products. Even if you only use your sponge for foundation, you may want more than one, so you’ll always have one ready to use in case one hasn’t dried after you’ve washed it.

Q. Can reusable makeup sponges develop mold?

A. Even if you don’t wet your makeup sponge, it may develop mold when used with liquid makeup products. To prevent molding, wash your sponge after every use. Rinse the sponge thoroughly and squeeze all of the excess water from it. Let it sit out to air dry completely in a well-ventilated room, and make sure to replace reusable sponges every three to four months.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director

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