Sponge Showdown

I’ve had my thoughts on doing a Beauty Blender type showdown for a few months and have been collating new ones to make up a post. For today’s post I have been testing and trying 5 beauty sponges for three weeks with a different foundation each week to test their compatibility with different foundations. I’m going to jump straight into the reviews as I feel this post is going to be quite long!

The five sponge’s up for the battle are the New Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Miracle Sponge, Quo Blending Sponge, Brushworks Complexion Sponge, Real Techniques ‘Original’ Miracle Blending Sponge and the Nanshy Marvel 4 in 1 Sponge. Each has won an award (good), has been tested for it’s blendability with different foundations, and noted how well it cleans, I’ve also listed each sponge’s price & dimensions too.

Hooray for British clouds, repeatedly changing these pictures from bright and white to dark and grey, I’ve edited them the best I can but hey, gotta get used to it – we now have 8 months before there’s reliable light again!

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Nanshy Marvel 4 in 1 Sponge

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Award – Favourite Packaging

Dimensions – 6.5cm x 5.5cm (flat edge – 4.7cm)

Price – £5.95

Notes – Vegan and Cruelty Free Product & Line

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By far my least favourite out of the bunch, which is a shame as I loved how this came packaged! None of the foundations I tried this with worked well at all. It felt the densest out of the 5 sponges and seemed to just smear the product. I tried the traditional bouncing technique as well as the Pixiwoo girls’ light swipe technique and neither of the methods worked, I just felt that it was picking product back up again each time and ultimately I ended up having to apply extra product with my fingers, or rubbing it in so it had a nice finish. This was by far the widest out of the 5, and the flat area on top meant it had a decent surface area, unfortunately neither the curved bottom or the flat area seemed to make a difference to application. Probably the most difficult to clean, because it’s so dense I found myself taking about double the time to squeeze out the product!


Real Techniques Complexion Perfection Sponge

Award – Best Price for Availability

Dimensions – 7.5cm x 4.5cm (flat edge 4.5cm)

Price – £5.99

Notes – Vegan and Cruelty Free Product & Line

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I’ve been through loads of these in the past, seriously I must have bought about 6 of them. One of the things I’ve always disliked about them is how easily they seem to tear, when washing I find they’re very, very easily snagged on my nails when rinsing out or, squeezing with water which means they seem to need replacing easily. I do really love this sponge, I find most foundations really easy to apply with it (I think I’ve only ever disliked the combo with the Kat Von D Lock It foundation), and it leaves a very natural look to the skin. Other good points is that it doesn’t seem to absorb and waste too much product either.


Quo Blending Sponge & Brushworks Complexion Sponge

brushworks-complexion-sponge-reviewquo-blending-sponge

Award – Best All Rounder

Dimensions – 6.5cm x 4.5cm

Price – $CAD 5 (Quo) £3.99 (Brushworks)

Notes – Vegan and Cruelty Free Product & Line

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Two sponges in one category? Well that’s because they are 100% the same sponge. I won the Quo Blending Sponge (Quo is an own brand Candian brand from Shoppers’ Drug Mart) in January in Stash Matters’ Favourites giveaway, and I fell in love instantly. Not long later I spotted something which looked identical to me in my local CCO from a brand called Brushworks so I picked one up straight away to see if I had found the equivalent in the UK, I had done – the problem was I muddled them up straight away and never knew which was which for review. When I did a swap with Chris from FiveZero she saw I’d loved the Quo sponge so included another so I had to hunt down the brush works version again to compare for this post and my CCO no longer had them and I ended up stumbling across one in TK Maxx!

These are very bouncy, and wash very well. They’re much less fragile compared to the RT Complexion Sponge and seem to wash really well. Side by side, dry and wet they are 100% definitely the same as one another.


Real Techniques Bold Metals Miracle Diamond Sponge

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Award – Most Intriguing & Best For Awkward Spaces

Dimensions – 6cm x 5cm

Price – £12.00

Notes – Vegan and Cruelty Free Product & Line

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Probably the most exciting launch in the sponge world for a while is the first to be added to the Real Techniques bold metal collection. The equivalent diamond would be worth 900 carats, this has 13 facets of different sizes and shapes designed to get into every nook and cranny and are also designed for use with different areas. The sponge of this is supposedly specially injected formula, and each has a unique marble design (not so keen on the marble personally as it doesn’t really look like Marble), this is the lightest and bounciest in texture. I really like the different shapes on this, especially using the long pointed side to get into into the corners of the eye easily. The top flat facet is meant for blending out the foundation for a flawless finish, the tip is for concealing small imperfections, the side is for applying for large areas such as cheeks or forehead, with the facets around the top for precision contouring. It can also be used dry with powders for a full coverage application – although I can’t comment on that! Cleaning leaves this with a slight foundation tinge, it doesn’t turn back pure white but it does seem to clean relatively easily. I like the packaging of this in theory, but the plastic on the base of it which helps it looks like it’s levitating in the packaging these have created some indents in the sponge – even after weeks of use and washing these still are visible.


I find I’m either reaching for the Quo/Brushworks sponge or the Real Techniques Bold Metals one, If I have more time to get ready I like to use a combination of the two, using the Miracle Diamond sponge to conceal and under the eye area. My Real Techniques original one is now a bit past it’s best now so I’ve put that in my empties as it’s finished being used, I may come back to it in future but for now I’m stocked well on sponges to not need to purchase one for probably over a year!

Overall I actually really like all of these sponges (apart from Nanshy’s – Sorry Nanshy!).

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Helpless Whilst Drying

Email: helplesswhilstdrying@gmail.com

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25 Comments

  1. September 20, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Love this post, I have the real techniques sponge. An as much as I love to use it, I find it gets dirty the quickest and like you said tears really easily.

    • September 20, 2016 / 9:13 am

      Yes it’s a delicate one – when I see people get them perfectly clean I think “what witchcraft are you using!” I can never get mine back to perfect!

      • September 20, 2016 / 8:10 pm

        I don’t know if you’ve tried it or not but I’ve found bar soap cleans these the best, I often manage to get them back to pretty much as good as new 🙂 love the reviews too xx

        • September 20, 2016 / 8:21 pm

          Thanks! I have tried bars of soap, sometimes I find it helps get a bit extra out, but I don’t seem to find it gets it back to being 100% clean. xx

  2. September 20, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Very interesting post! I haven’t tried too many makeup sponges myself but they do seem really easy to use and tend to work well! It’s good you were able to find a dupe for the Quo on your home turf!

  3. September 20, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Great post, very informative. xoxo

  4. September 20, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    Great showdown! The new real techniques diamond one is really unique looking but once you breakdown why they went for this design it makes sense. I’m so tempted to try it!

    • September 20, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      So far it’s been good for me, considering its double the price of their original one it had to do a lot to impress me but it does, and it’s way less delicate too!

  5. September 20, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    Great job – i really like the Real Techniques Original Sponge but it just tears way too easily!

    • September 20, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      Thank god I’m not the only person who thinks this, I never see anyone mention that when it’s talked about, I only have to put my nail into it a little and it can have a giant rip in seconds! Grr!

      • September 21, 2016 / 11:22 am

        I know it’s so annoying. I’ve finally just stayed with the beauty blender. Though, I do want to try the Morphe Sponge.

  6. September 20, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    The Quo one is great! I also got that one from Stashy. Although I don’t have anything to compare to as I’ve never used any other ones 😛 The diamond shaped one from Real Techniques is gorgeous to look at! I know you said it doesn’t really look like marble, but it kind of does from far away, lol.

  7. belindalauriewrites
    September 20, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    I LOVED how thorough your review was. Reviews can be full of so much fluff sometimes but yours left me really feeling like I was armed with solid information to make a buying decision.
    I’m also ecstatic to see a Canadian store brand competing do well. I’m frantically waving my countries flag as I type (slight exaggeration lol). Brilliant job!

  8. September 20, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    Thank you for this! I’ve been thinking about buying the beauty blender but I’ll try one of these cheaper ones instead

  9. September 23, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    Sponges are difficult to maintain. It is not green, but if I do use sponges, I prefer the one time disposable ones? No washing 😀 Otherwise, my all time favourite is from Shu Uemura pentagon sponge. This is an oldie favourite for me.

  10. October 2, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    I love sponge to apply my makeup , My forever favorite is the one from Real techniques , I’m obssed with that one . Didn’t kno that they had one for the metalic collection too , thank for letting us know ❤️

  11. October 2, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    I love sponge to apply my makeup , My forever favorite is the one from Real techniques , I’m obssed with that one . Didn’t kno that they had one for the metalic collection too , thank for letting us know ❤️

  12. November 30, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    My current favourite sponge is a super cheap one I found online. Washes well and gives me the perfect coverage without lifting any product. I found the more expensive ones just weren’t as good.

    • November 30, 2016 / 10:29 pm

      It’s definitely a mixed bag at any price I find! I don’t know if I can bring myself to try out the original beauty blender to find I’ve wasted money on something that’s equal or worse than ones I like!

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