Brush, Blender or Sponge?

Author: Danielle Cauchi   Date Posted: 14 September 2021 

Makeup brushes, beauty blenders and silicone sponges. It can all feel a bit much sometimes trying to work out what tool to use for what look. But this guide should clear up the confusion!


A common question that can baffle most makeup beginners is, “What applicator should I use? Should I stick to traditional makeup brushes? Should I use a beauty blender? Or should I try a silicone sponge?”

Each beauty tool has its pros and cons and its specific uses depending on what type of product you’re applying and where exactly you’re applying it.

Before we break down each beauty tool to help you make the most informed decision, it’s important to keep in mind that there really isn’t a correct choice. Like everything in makeup, it always comes down to personal preference.

You may want to use certain tools for specific steps, or you may even choose to use them together for one look. The choice is completely up to you and depends on what you feel most comfortable with and what you feel works best for you.

With that being said, let’s jump into the uses and benefits of each makeup applicator.



Makeup Brushes


Makeup brushes are typically your first port of call when it comes to applying makeup.

They can be used with powder, cream and liquid products although the effectiveness depends on the material of the bristles. Natural hairs work better with powders, whilst synthetic fibres are a better choice for liquid and cream products.

Makeup brushes are shaped and crafted in specific ways to fit into particular spaces (e.g. the crease of the lid or the contours of the cheekbones) which helps you achieve an accurate blend.

What deters most people from makeup brushes is the fact that there are so many different brushes and it can be a little daunting for beginners who are trying to become familiar with each brush and its purpose, but once you get used to it, you realise that these different designs are essential for creating a perfect makeup look.

Makeup brushes are especially ideal for blending intricate eyeshadow looks, setting the face with powder and sweeping away fall-out and baking powder.



Beauty blenders / Blending sponges


These multi-coloured sponges are typically egg-shaped and work by bouncing product into the skin for a flawless blend.

Some beauty blenders / blending sponges have both rounded edges and a flat side to make them more multi-purpose (eg. applying product with the flat side and blending with the rounded side to offer more precision).

Whilst these sponges are best used with liquid and cream products, you can also use them with loose baking powder to set certain areas of the face.

Beauty blenders / blending sponges are great for applying foundation, concealer, cream contour, cream blush and liquid highlighters.



Silicone Sponges


Much like the beauty blender / blending sponge, silicone sponges are also designed to work with liquid and cream face products.

They were initially targeted at professional makeup artists because they’re super easy to clean and maintain, however they do require more time and effort to blend.

Although silicone sponges require you to slide product across the skin before blending, they leave you with a flawless airbrushed finish and are well worth the effort if you like that full coverage ‘real life' Instagram filter look.

They’re not exactly the most practical everyday option when you’re in a rush, but they’re great for those big nights when you have a bit more time to get ready.



Why choose when you can use them all?


Some people like to use makeup brushes to apply product and then a blending sponge to achieve a better blend and diffuse any streakiness or harsh lines.

I would personally advise you to give them all a go before making a decision, especially if you’re new to makeup. There’s a whole new world out there ready to explore so why limit yourself to one medium?


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