The makeup sponge has been around for the longest time although it evolved in shape. The most popular sponge was the humble triangular sponge/wedge that makeup artists relied on, and still do rely on, for the application of cream and liquid products long before the foundation brush rose to popularity and even longer before the Beauty Blender and all its counterparts came into our hands, homes and studios.

Having made use of a number of makeup tools, I do love the makeup sponge. I find myself trying out a number of sponges for a variety of reasons. One reason is I am a product reviewer so I am always testing and providing my opinion and experience with products. Another reason is my quest to find sponges that are an alternative to the holy grail, Beauty Blender because it is just so pricey and works so darn well. So I look for sponges that can match up or outcompete the Beauty Blender. The categories of comparison that I have taken into account are:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Longevity

So having put a variety of sponges (drugstore, dupes, and high-end) to the test, I have come to find my top 5 sponges. Here they are below together with my thoughts on each in a countdown fashion.

Eco Tools Makeup Sponge

Coming in at number 5 after much deliberation and testing is the Eco Tools sponge. When dry this sponge is firmer than others but once wet it is very soft and bouncy. This sponge has a great shape, which allows for getting into difficult places in the corner of the eyes or around the nose. This sponge does absorb product, which can be a bit annoying. Try to squeeze out as much of the water from the sponge as possible. This sponge is a bit pricey for a drugstore sponge but it lasts a long time and you can purchase them in sets or on 3 for 2 offers at Clicks stores in South Africa. This sponge retails for R160 for a duo set.

Huda Beauty Makeup Sponge

At number 4, the Huda Beauty Makeup Sponge has a special place in my heart. It is firm when dry but becomes absolutely soft and bouncy when wet and grows to almost double its size. It has a great teardrop shape with one flat edge which is great for concealing, setting the under eye and cutting your contour or cleaning up edges. This sponge has a smoother texture than the Eco Tools sponge. The blend that this gives you is flawless, while not absorbing much product, which is why I love it. The downside is that its black so you can’t see if there’s any nasties (fungi) growing on the sponge so you would ensure you replace it frequently. I also experienced that it tears quite easily.… my nail did some damage to that sponge. The Huda Beauty sponge retails for R285 at ARC Stores.

Wet ‘n Wild Makeup Sponge

In number 3, the Wet n Wild sponge is a firm favorite. The sponge is relatively soft and very soft when wet. The sponge grows in size when wet and becomes bouncy. I love that this sponge does not absorb too much of product (liquid makeup) and it does a good job of blending makeup. This sponge is shaped as a teardrop and has one flat side just like the Huda Beauty sponge but is not as smooth. This sponge works exceptionally well at blending makeup but it tends to lose its consistency and ability to keep blending sooner than others. But at the price point I would gladly continue purchasing this sponge. It is available at Clicks stores and retails for R65.

The Original Beauty Blender

In at Number 2, and I don’t think there could be any thought around this sponge not being in the top five, is the OG … the Beauty Blender. This holy grail sponge is made with the perfect amount of softness, bounciness and durability. It does absorb product but it blends makeup like a dream. It has a teardrop shape, which is so versatile. Many brands have have tried to replicate it in shape, texture and performance, often falling short. It has been a favorite of mine for almost 7 years now. It retails for R295 at ARC stores and much more from third party retailers.

OFRA Cosmetics Perfecting Puff

In the top spot at Number 1, is the OFRA Cosmetics Perfecting Puff. This underrated and probably less popular sponge is undoubtedly the best sponge I have ever used. The shape of this sponge is more bullet like as opposed to teardrop and I love the unique color too. The sponge is as smooth as the Huda Sponge and doesn’t absorb much product. It’s not the greatest for getting into the corners around the eyes or for cutting a contour but for overall application and blending it’s a dream. It lasts a long time too, which is another reason to love this sponge. However, I must state that its important to replace your sponge after a few months (before if you see little black dots appearing on the sponge … FYI that’s fungi). I personally love this sponge except for the price point. It retails for R350 at www.ofracosmeticssouthafrica.com This is the priciest sponge I’ve tried to date and it has lived out it’s lifespan. I’m still debating whether I will splurge on another.

As a beauty product reviewer, I continue to hunt down and try out newer sponges that are on the market. I’ve currently got my eyes on the KKW Beauty Sponge, Sigma Sponge, and Colourpop Precision Blending Sponge.

What are your favorite makeup sponges at the moment? Let me know down in the comments and I might be adding your favorite to my list to try.