Today’s post is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time! I’ve always been curious about comparing different products that are similar in style or function. Makeup sponges a la the Beauty Blender are definitely one of those things!!
There’s so much hype around the different sponges and whether they’re “worth it” and now that I own….several….of these sponges, I felt like it was time to officially compare them all.
In total, I currently own 16 different makeup sponges:
- Beauty Blender Original
- Beauty Blender Pro
- Beauty Blender Nude
- EcoTools Perfecting Blender Duo
- Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
- Real Techniques Miracle Diamond Sponge
- EcoTools Color Perfecting Minis
- Sephora Collection Confetti Mini Sponges
Don’t worry, I had been holding on to some for the purpose of writing this post, and I won’t have this many for long!!
I decided the easiest way to write this would be to go through them individually, then compare. For each different sponge, I looked at the brand behind the product, as well as the size, shape, material, and price of the blender. For each one I took photos while both wet and dry, since most manufacturers suggest and encourage it to be used damp. Let’s see how it went…
Starting with the “original” – the Beauty Blender:
Forgive how dirty the pink one is, I neglected to wash it before these photos haha but here we have the original Beauty Blender (pink), the Beauty Blender Pro (black) and the Beauty Blender Nude. (Note: some people say the different colors feel different, particularly that the Pro is more firm than other blenders, but in my personal opinion and experience, there is no major difference between the three aside from color.) Beauty Blender is generally regarded as the original makeup sponge and the inspiration for all the rest.
- Brand history: The Beauty Blender was first conceptualized in 2002 by makeup artist Rea Ann Silva (love women-owned businesses!!). It took off quickly and has since grown from a single sponge to an entire line of related products, including cleansers, smaller sponges, and blotting sponges. The sponge also comes in a variety of colors. The entire Beauty Blender brand is also cruelty-free and vegan.
dry sponges on left, wet on right – they grow significantly in size when dampened
- Shape: Beauty Blenders are extremely popular for their egg shape with a pointed tip. Beauty Blender markets the sponge as being seamless, and therefore perfect to blend out the face seamlessly. I really like the pointed tip, as it’s small enough to get into tiny areas, but remains firm so it can actually efficiently blend the product.
- Size: As you can see here, each one of the “original” sized blenders measures 2.5″ tall when dry, and expands to about 3″ when wet. They’re a comfortable size to hold when wet or dry and the tapered, pointed tip makes it easy to blend concealer or foundation into smaller places like under your eyes.
- Material: Beauty Blenders are known for the exclusively-made, extremely squishy sponge material that no other brand has been able to recreate quite perfectly. It has the perfect amount of “bounce” and claims to absorb water, not product, to create a perfect finish for makeup. I find personally that of all the sponges this one really does absorb the least amount of product, and I like that the super squishy material makes it so much easier to use when wet.
- Price: Each of the standard-sized blenders pictured here are sold for $20 each.
- My thoughts: The Beauty Blender is a bestseller for a reason. It’s amazingly soft, squishy, and perfect for blending in makeup. I do think that this is the best beauty sponge on the market but there are many other alternatives that are quite good as well. This is also such a superficial thing, but I love that it comes in many different colors and I LOVE the iconic pink. I’m the type of person who wants all of my things to be pink so I like to see a makeup brand embrace that bit of femininity. It’s my personal favorite makeup sponge and I will probably keep repurchasing it.
Side note – since BB is pretty much the original and what most people compare other sponges to, I’ll have pictures and comments interspersed throughout this post comparing others to these in particular.
Next up we have the EcoTools Perfecting Blender Duo:
The EcoTools Perfecting Blender Duo is a set of two different-sized sponges for blending and applying makeup. They’re also sold individually – the larger dark green one is the Total Perfecting Blender and the smaller yellow green one is the Perfecting Detail Blender.
- Brand history: EcoTools the brand was started in 2007 by a pair of sisters (yes @ another women-owned brand) looking to create a line of quality brushes that were also not harmful to the environment. They use recycled and renewable materials in all their products, and are also 100% cruelty-free and vegan. They also sell many other beauty products including their extremely popular makeup brushes.
- Shape: The EcoTools blenders feature a unique shape. One side is rounded, like the egg-shape of the Beauty Blender, while the other has a flat surface and a small wedge-like tip. EcoTools states that the wedge is perfect for creating precise lines, while the flat surface works well to apply product on large areas. I like the straight edges of this blender for blending product in precise areas, like under my eyes or around my nose.
- Size: The larger blender is similar to the Beauty Blender in size – starting off at about 2.5″ dry and growing to 3″ when wet. The smaller one starts off right around 2″ but only expands a few fractions of an inch when wet. It was weird to me to see that the large blender is so similar in size to the original Beauty Blenders because it feels so much bigger – this could be because it is made of a much firmer material.
the rounded bottom of EcoTools’ large blender compared to the Beauty Blender
- Material: Both Perfecting Blenders are made from a unique “EcoFoam” made of 70% plant-based materials. The sponge is MUCH firmer than the Beauty Blender and less squishy. I also would say it is less absorbent than the Beauty Blender and I thought it would grow less when dampened, but clearly I was wrong about that haha
- Price: Prices vary since this is a drugstore brand, but on the EcoTools website the set retails for $9.99, or $5.49 for the small blender individually and $5.99 for the large.
- My thoughts: While these are both very good sponges, they are not my favorite of the ones I own. They are MUCH firmer than the Beauty Blender which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for the purposes of blending makeup I like my sponges to be a bit squishier. I also think the firmness can lead to a shorter product life – you can see in the first photo that I’ve already taken a chunk out of the small sponge and I’ve never had that happen with a BB. I do like the firmness for applying other products though, like loose powder. I also do like the flat edge for precise application. And one really good thing about the firmness of these sponges is that it makes for a much easier task when cleaning them – they absorb less product so it’s easier to get it all out!
I’m going to continue on with another set by EcoTools – the Color Perfecting Minis:
- Shape: These mini blenders are the exact same shape as the larger EcoTools sponges: rounded on one side, with a chiseled wedge end on the other side.
- Size: These are tiny tiny little sponges, made for blending in color correctors or other complexion products into small spaces. They’re just over an inch long when dry, and expand to about 1.5″ when wet.
- Material: These are actually much softer than the larger ET blenders, and it says they’re made of the same EcoFoam material but these also say they’re latex-free, which I think could be the difference. They’re more soft and squishy which is helpful to get into smaller areas of your face. These feel more similar to the beauty blender in terms of softness.
- Price: This set of 4 is $8 at Ulta!
- My thoughts: I like this tiny set for detail work, like blending in a very small amount of concealer or color corrector. I think it’s a bit silly that they “color-coded” them according to what types of color corrector you’re supposed to use each one for, especially since I only ever use green corrector. Regardless, I really like the tiny chiseled edge for getting right in there on precise areas. I think these are great for their intended purpose.
- Overview/brand history: Real Techniques is ANOTHER women-founded brand!! It was started in 2011 by Sam & Nic Chapman aka Pixiwoo on youtube – they’re some of the original beauty bloggers from the early days of youtube. They’re some of my favorite beauty youtubers actually, they really know their stuff! Real Techniques is their line of affordable makeup tools. Their synthetic brushes are very popular too (and for good reason, they’re great!) and like the other brands mentioned here, their whole line is 100% cruelty free and vegan. They also have a bunch of other sponges, and the Miracle Complexion Sponge (the orange one) in particular is considered to be one of the best Beauty Blender alternatives out there.
Miracle Complexion Sponge compared to the Beauty Blender Pro
- Shape – Complexion: This sponge looks very similar to a Beauty Blender, except with the bottom part a bit wider with a flat edge. The soft rounded tip is a little bit more dull than the BB tip but is about the same in terms of firmness.
- Size – Complexion: This sponge is similar in size to both EcoTools and Beauty Blender, but a bit larger. You can see here it starts off around 2.75″ when dry and expanding to about 3.25″ when dampened. This one in particular holds a lot of water, more so than other sponges imo, and feels like it gets much bigger when dampened:
- Shape – Diamond: Obviously the diamond sponge takes after its name and is shaped like a diamond! This was released as part of a “Bold Metals” collection. I thought this was a bit gimmicky but it actually really is well-suited to makeup application. The multifaceted surface allows for lots of different types of application. The flat top is great for buffing in large areas, and the chiseled sides and edges are great for precise lines and blending. My least favorite part of the sponge is actually the tip. The pointed tip is nice, but I find it to be a bit more flimsy than the pointed tip of the Beauty Blender or even the RT Complexion Sponge, making it difficult to apply nicely in small places.
- Size – Diamond: The Diamond Sponge is in the same range as the rest of the ones we’ve talked about, but a bit smaller to start off. When dry, it’s about 2.25″ tall and a little under 2.5″ in diameter. When dampened (bottom right photo), it expands to about 3″ tall.
the Diamond Sponge compared to the Beauty Blender Pro
- Material: I couldn’t find much information about what the RT sponges are made out of, except that it’s a top secret formula that is latex-free, which is supposed to make it softer. I will say that in my opinion the RT sponges are very, very similar to the BB sponge material. The BB sponges are just a little bit softer and more squishy, and absorb less water than the RT sponge – but it’s a very slight difference. I would also say that the Diamond sponge is just a TOUCH softer than the Miracle Complexion sponge – but again, that’s just my opinion and they could be exactly the same for all I can tell haha
both sponges after being dampened
- Price: Since this is another drugstore product the prices vary from place to place, but the Miracle Complexion Sponge is listed for $6 on the RT website, and the Diamond Sponge for $10. The Complexion Sponge is also sold in a 2 pack for $11 or a 4 pack for $18 at Ulta.
- My thoughts: The Complexion Sponge is what I used for years before I finally gave in and tried the Beauty Blender, and I still really, really like it. I would agree that these sponges are the closest thing I’ve seen to a Beauty Blender in terms of the material itself. It’s super squishy and soft, but the slightest bit more absorbent, which makes them a bit harder to clean imo. The diamond one I still think is a bit gimmicky, and the shape makes it a bit hard to use, but it’s kind of a fun thing to have on your vanity and I think there’s some merit to that. However, I really love both of these products and would honestly repurchase either one of them. They are a great alternative if you don’t want to spend $20 on a sponge.
Finally, my last set is from Sephora’s in-house brand, Sephora Collection. These are the Confetti Mini Sponges:
It feels silly to talk about the history of Sephora as a brand soooo I’m going to skip that part haha. The one thing I will mention is that Sephora is not 100% cruelty free – they do not test on animals except where required by law. In case you were wondering!
- Shape: These tiny sponges come in quite the assortment of shapes. The red one is basically a mini version of the RT Complexion Sponge, except it’s like 3x smaller. The purple one is a round spherical egg-like shape, but wider than the shape of a Beauty Blender. The pink, green, and blue ones are almost hourglass-y, with a pinched middle and a pointed end for the pink and green. And that blue one just has a mind of its own with that asymmetrical flat edge…it’s going through some stuff, clearly.
- Size: These are quite small little sponges – when dry, they’re just over an inch tall, and expand to about 1.25-1.5″ when wet. Teensy!
- Material: According to the product page on Sephora, these are made of 100% non-latex polyurethane. You’d think the non-latex part would make them squishy soft but no!! These are SO firm. Especially when compared to the soft beauty that is a BB or RT sponge – these are extremely hard. Even when dampened, they remain pretty solid.
- Price: This set of 5 is $12 at Sephora.
- My thoughts: I really, really liked these when I bought them a few months back, but now I feel like they’re definitely my least favorite of the sponges I own! They’re good for applying loose powder to very small areas since they’re so hard and small…but that’s about it. They’re just too firm to blend nicely for my liking, and don’t get squishy enough. I’d probably pass on buying these again, especially since other super soft mini sponges exist for half the price! My favorite thing about this set is honestly the colors haha
Now that I’m finished talking your ear off about all these sponges – I decided to do one last blend test. I used the regular pink Beauty Blender for one side of my face, and the Real Techniques Complexion Sponge for the other, since those are probably the two most popular. Also, I took these pics the same day as the ones for my Beauty Spatula post, when my foundation was dripping all over…so excuse the messy-looking application here hahaha
Happily blending away – this side of my face will be with the pink BB. Excuse my appearance please since in this photo I do not have brows on yet so it looks particularly weird haha
Above is how the Beauty Blender side turned out, first pic with just my foundation and the second with all the rest of my face products on too. And here’s how the Real Techniques side turned out:
Okay so clearly my camera quality is not the best or anything and I’m probably biased because I saw how it looked in real life, but I HONESTLY cannot see a difference between the two. They both blended my makeup flawlessly, and both sides of my face look great. I know I said earlier that the Beauty Blender was my favorite, and I still think it is because of how soft and squishy it is – but you really can’t deny that the RT one does just as good of a job!!
And finally – my personal ranking of blending sponges:
- Beauty Blender (original, pro OR nude – they’re all the same to me) / Real Techniques Complexion Sponge – it’s a toss up! You can’t go wrong with either. It’s up to personal preference at this point based on shape and how much money you’re willing to spend. Both are great!
- Real Techniques Miracle Diamond Sponge
- EcoTools Color Perfecting Minis
- EcoTools Perfecting Blender Duo
- Sephora Collection Confetti Minis
Honestly…buy any of those #1 or 2 and you’re golden. I truly think that those are the best for the intended purpose and those are the ones I use the most often in my daily makeup. The only thing left to do after all my testing was wash all my sponges…
There they are all happily drying 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this post! I know it was a wordy one on a silly subject but…I won’t apologize for being wordy about a subject I’m passionate about haha. Which makeup sponge is your favorite? Thanks for reading as always!!