Article: Makeup Brushes vs. Sponges

I'm crazy about brushes. My obsession began shortly after I became a makeup artist. I developed unreasonable attachments to some of my brushes, especially those I depended on during tough jobs. I admit I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to brushes. So when a client recently asked me when to use a sponge applicator, my first instinct was to say, "never!"

However, that is not entirely true. Sponges are excellent tools that are an important part of my makeup kit. Read on to find out more about these handy items, and when you should opt for one over a brush.

Foundation: Brush or sponge?
When it comes to foundation, the answer is both. It really depends on the type of foundation you're using and what your personal preference is regarding coverage.
Eye Shadow: Brush or sponge?
When it comes to eye shadow, the answer is also both. Brushes work well with highly-pigmented powders, while sponges provide a heavier application that works well with many cheaper shadows.
  • When your eye shadow is too sheer, you can get a denser application with either a brush or a sponge. Sponges tend to pick up more powder, so they will provide denser coverage.
  • Whip a dry brush under a stream of water (or spray with a spray bottle) to wet, and then use it to apply eye shadow. This will provide a "foiled" look with heavier coverage.
  • Use a set of dry brushes alone to get a variety of looks. Highly-pigmented (often moderate to more expensive) shadows tend to provide medium coverage, while cheaper shadows are often more sheer. Layer shadows (one or more colors) to build coverage.
Tips:
  • Sponges tend to have a shorter lifespan than brushes, which is why brushes tend to be a better long-term investment, especially for makeup artists.
  • Just like brushes, sponges should be washed regularly. Experts recommend washing at least once per week with a gentle shampoo such as baby shampoo.
  • If you get an eye shadow sponge free with your eye shadow, test it out to see if you like it better than a brush.

Disclosure notice: Post contains Amazon affiliate links. Some of the brands linked in this article may have sent me products free of charge for review. No additional compensation was accepted and the opinions are my own. Please verify any claims with the manufacturer, especially if you have any allergies or concerns.

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