Makeup Brush vs. Beauty Sponge - AMR Hair & Beauty

Makeup Brush vs. Beauty Sponge

Mar 14, 2018Scott Peers

There is great debate comparing the quality and the finish of using a Makeup Brush versus a Beauty Sponge. 

In this blog we will compare the pros and cons of both and share some expert opinions on which is best.

Makeup Brushes Intro

The makeup brush is an oldy but a goody, a classic you can say as this one was invented first. The makeup brush comes in many styles, thin or thick bristles, materials, and real or faux fibres.

Beauty Sponge Intro

The beauty sponge was traditionally a disposable white triangular wedge shape. In more recent years though, it is more commonly seen in the infamous and iconic teardrop-shaped sponge.

Modern sponges are hydrophilic, meaning they are designed to absorb water, whereas earlier sponges were designed to repel all traces of moisture when applying makeup. Sponges are forever evolving with different variations in size, shape and even the silicone they are made from.

Let the Battle Begin

To help decide between the competing couple, we have created a Pros and Cons list to distinguish the great and not-so-great things about each makeup tool.

Makeup Brush Pros & Cons

Palladio Foundation Brush

Palladio Foundation Brush


  • More sanitary
  • Convenient - you don't have to add water to make it work
  • Easier to clean than a beauty sponge
  • Suits all skin types
  • Great for a full coverage foundation finish
  • Feels sturdier
  • Quicker
  • Can distribute foundation more evenly
  • There are many varieties to choose from, so it can be quite overwhelming for a beginner to choose the right foundation brush as there are flat foundation brushes, stippling brushes, oval brushes, densely rounded buffing brushes and etc.
  • More expensive compared to a beauty sponge
  • You can only use this brush really for just your foundation
  • Depending on what foundation brush, you may use you can leave off streaky lines
  • Are not always vegan

Beauty Sponge Pros & Cons

Lily Make Up Sponge


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • More affordable in price than a brush
  • Compact/ Travel size
  • You can use this to blend out both your foundation, concealer and cream contour in one sponge.
  • You don't waste product when using it
  • You can use cream and powder products with the beauty sponge.
  • Great for medium to sheer coverage finish
  • They can be quite fragile if you clean them aggressively
  • You have to wet it in order to get the best results
  • Sometimes when you are comfy and about to start your base application, you forget to wet or dampen the beauty sponge making you must get up again from your comfy spot
  • There are certain specific care instructions for this beauty sponge
  • The care for a beauty sponge can be more complex than a makeup brush as after cleaning the sponge it must be kept in a dry and open aired out atmosphere as keeping it stored in a damp, dark enclosed space will create mould
  • This may not suit people with texturised skin
  • Time-consuming when blending



How To Clean Makeup Sponges. Quick and Easy Tips

Many make-up lovers are not aware that they must clean their make-up brushes, let alone sponges. Usually at the end of the day, we all go home and remove the makeup from our faces.

After a long hard day, you just want to get rid of the caked-on foundation which will be mixed in with your natural oils and dust particles. The dirt build-up on your face can be quite detrimental to your skin in the long run as it can lead to clogged pores, which will then lead to unruly blackheads, annoying white heads and everyone's worst nightmare - pimples!

Cleaning your face is as important as cleaning your makeup sponges. If you wouldn't want all that old makeup on your face, then why would you want it on your makeup tools? It is a very essential element of your beauty routine, so here are some of my easy tips on how to clean makeup sponges:

Step 1. Prepare Alcohol Solution

Firstly, I pour my alcohol solution into a spray bottle. I just bought my spray bottle from the local bargain store and I bought my alcohol solution from Scotty's located in Broadway, NSW which you can buy in-store or online.

Use an Isopropyl Alcohol and pour it into a Spray Bottle.

Step 2. Spray with Alcohol

I then spritz my dirty foundation sponge with alcohol spray to kill any further bacteria growing within my sponge. This tip helps to break down the dense and muddy grit.

The brands of makeup sponges that I use are Beauty BlenderNapoleon PerdisCHI CHI and Real Techniques

how to clean makeup sponges

Step 3. Remove Grit Under Running Water

Under a running tap of warm to hot water, depending on your heat threshold, I allow the dirty makeup sponge to absorb the water while continuously wringing and squeezing out the dirt from the sponge.

Repeat this process once you get the main grime and grit of the yucky foundation off.

how to clean makeup sponges

Step 4. Wash Thoroughly with Detergent

Now, your sponge should be wet, light, soft and bouncy. I then apply Daiso sponge cleaner, or dishwashing liquid, or baby shampoo to the sponge and thoroughly massage the detergent in the sponge to rid of stubborn foundation muck and grit. This should be the most laborious task to rid the sponge of stubborn stains.

This step requires some time and patience, but just remember how important it is to be doing it.

how to clean makeup spongeshow to clean makeup spongeshow to clean makeup sponges

Step 5. Dry with Paper Towel

Dry the sponge using a paper towel to remove excess water.

how to clean makeup spongeshow to clean makeup spongeshow to clean makeup sponges

Step 6. Alcohol Spritz to Remove Bacteria

Once your sponge is clean, I then spritz the alcohol lightly over the now clean makeup sponge to rid of any bacteria.

Step 7. Ready to Use Again or Thorough Drying

You can either use your good as new clean sponge straight away to apply makeup, or simply leave the sponge to thoroughly air dry.

Step 8. Let it Breathe

After the sponge is dry, leave it in an area where it can breathe. Do not keep it in a confined small space; for example, in Tupperware or a box as this will lead to bacteria growth and mould.

Extra Tips

Cleaning your makeup sponge should be done at least once a week regardless of whether you hardly wear any foundation or if you use it seven days a week.

However, if you are pressed for time, a quick spritz of the alcohol spray will kill some of the bacteria for the time being and you can re-use your makeup sponge.

Just be aware that the bacteria within the sponge breeds and spreads germs, which can be the root of all your skin problems and it will just be a never-ending cycle. Break the chain and clean your makeup tools!

How To Clean Makeup Sponges. Quick and Easy Tips

Here is a quick guide on how to clean your makeup brushes effectively.

Materials you'll need:

  • Mild liquid soap or brush cleanser
  • Warm water
  • Small bowl or container
  • Clean towel or paper towels
  • Optional: silicone brush cleaning mat or glove

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

Gather all the materials you'll need and set up a clean and well-lit workspace. Make sure you have access to a sink with warm water.

Step 2: Wet the Brush

Hold the brush under lukewarm water with the bristles pointing downwards. Be cautious not to wet the handle or the ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles) excessively, as this can weaken the glue that holds the bristles in place.

Step 3: Apply Cleanser

Place a small amount of mild liquid soap or brush cleanser into the palm of your hand. Gently swirl the damp brush into the soap to create a lather. Alternatively, you can use a silicone brush cleaning mat or glove to lather the brush.

Step 4: Cleanse the Bristles

Gently massage the bristles in a circular motion on your palm, the cleaning mat, or the glove. This action will help dislodge the makeup residue, oils, and dirt trapped in the bristles.

Step 5: Rinse

Hold the brush under running lukewarm water, continuing to massage the bristles with your fingers until the water runs clear. Make sure to rinse away all the soap and makeup residue.

Repeat Step 5 if Necessary

If the brush is particularly dirty or you haven't cleaned it in a while, you might need to repeat steps 3 to 5 until the water runs clear and the brush looks clean.

Step 6: Squeeze Out Excess Water

Gently squeeze the bristles from the base to the tip to remove excess water. Be gentle and avoid pulling on the bristles, as this can cause them to become misshapen or fall out.

Step 7: Reshape the Brush

Using your fingers, reshape the bristles to their original form. This is especially important for brushes with natural bristles, as they can lose their shape when wet.

Step 8: Dry the Brush

Lay the clean towel or paper towels flat on a surface. Place the brush on the towel with the bristles hanging off the edge to allow proper air circulation. Avoid letting the brush touch any surfaces while drying.

Step 9: Final Drying

Allow the brush to air dry completely. This can take several hours to overnight, depending on the brush's size and density. Avoid using a blow dryer or any other heat source, as it can damage the bristles.

Repeat for Other Brushes

Repeat the process for all your other makeup brushes.

Remember, regular cleaning of your makeup brushes is essential to maintain their performance and ensure your makeup application is smooth and hygienic.

There is more than one way to skin a cat and there is more than one way to clean a makeup brush:

Clean brushes can also help prevent breakouts and skin irritations. Aim to clean your brushes at least once a week for brushes used with liquid products, and every two weeks for powder brushes.

There are no rules with makeup, your face is your canvas, however clean and hygienic sanitation is vital.

Real Reviews of Makeup Sponge vs Makeup Brush

Review from the team at AMR on what they prefer using:

Ok, in my opinion, I have used both brushes and a beauty sponge to apply my foundation. I find that a brush is much better for my skin and the application is easier, I have no time to soak my beauty sponge in water to soak up the product, I am mostly on the go with my makeup bag in my purse, so having a brush is more compact and this suits me best. - Alyce

Depending on my mood I like to use both. The rounded buffing brush is great if I am in a total rush and need to get my base done ASAP for a quick full coverage look and I like to use the sponge when I have plenty of time and take my time in doing a sheer foundation look. - Tako

I prefer a beauty sponge. The reason is that when it's damp, the foundation stick betters and blends into the skin rather than the foundation just sitting on top of the skin I find. Sometimes, brushes don't always blend the foundation in smoothly and create strokes in the face from the brush bristles. - Odette

I prefer using a beauty sponge because I feel like it absorbs better into my skin compared to a makeup brush. It helps with layering, so I can build the density to how I want it. With a makeup brush, I feel it is thicker in the application and I don't usually like having foundation packed on too heavily. - Samantha

I hate sponges. The whole dabbing your face thing my arm gets tired, it's so exhausting. I prefer using a brush because it is so much better, and I feel it's a faster application and I get better results when applying my foundation. - Giselle

I love using beauty sponges over makeup brushes for liquid foundation because it's a lot easier and to be honest I couldn't be bothered to constantly clean a makeup brush. My beauty sponge gives me that luminous, flawless finish and infuses the foundation to make it look like skin. Beauty sponges are easier to clean and easy to blend leaving no streaks and I find they soak up less foundation than a brush would. I also love using my beauty blender damp to press in my highlighter to give a really natural glow. - Lisa-Marie

I prefer the beauty sponges, especially the silicone ones. They don't use up or waste as much makeup and are easy to spread. Brushes always leave brush marks because I use full coverage where sponges blend nicely. - Taylor

Sponge or Brush - You Be the Judge

So, there you have it guys - you be the judge. There is no right or wrong way when applying makeup and you can choose the tools you are comfortable using. Your face is your canvas so do what works for you.

You can shop a large range of makeup tools, brushes and sponges with AMR with delivery available Australia-wide.

I hope you all liked this blog, please feel free to comment below on what your opinion is on your favourite makeup tool to apply foundation.

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