Turns Out Makeup Sponges Are Perfect For the Uncoordinated and Disabled.
I remember when the Beauty Blender hype began a few years ago, and I was interested, but not enough to buy one. At that point I typically wore mineral foundation, which you need to apply with a brush, or no foundation at all. Plus the idea of using a sponge seemed reserved for those who knew how to professionally apply makeup.
Recently I've been concerned that the brush I use to apply my favorite foundation is thinning the formula a little too much, so I'm not getting the coverage I want. I don't typically wear foundation - when I do it's because I want more coverage - so thinning it out is the exact opposite of my desired outcome. I decided to pick up a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge because I liked the price point (one Beauty Blender is $20, but you can get two RT sponges for about $10) and because on the packaging it said the sponge can be used wet or dry. I suppose you can use any makeup sponge wet or dry, but I liked seeing it on the packaging. I'm new to this, I needed someone to hold my hand.
After just one time applying foundation with the complexion sponge I was sold. I had always pictured makeup sponges as tools for pros - there are so many different planes on the sponge for different areas of your face, how do you know what to use where?? But honestly you just mash the sponge into your face like a toddler and in the end you look amazing. I also use the sponge to apply concealer and then I use the pointy end to apply more precisely, but even then I'm just making sure a more specific area of the sponge is boing used to smush the sponge into my face haphazardly. Added bonus: Because you're basically just thwacking this thing on your face willy-nilly to blend out your makeup, your application time is super short. Compared to using a brush, I'd say it's cut in half.
Bonus benefit for disableds! There are also times when I want to do a full-face of makeup but my hands are like, "HAHAHAHA... No." Holding a brush handle and swirling it around on my face is just NOT going to happen. At least not without a great deal of pain and, potentially, my hand getting stuck in a claw position. The sponge is easy to hold (you can hold it any number of ways, whatever's comfy for you, and you can easily use your non-dominant hand), and you can use your wrist or elbow or shoulder or even hold your arm still and move your neck (I've never done this, I'm brainstorming. This may be a terrible idea) depending on what's hurting and what you can or can't move that day.
As for cleaning, I tried using my brush cleaning mat the first time I washed the sponge and tore that little sponge right up. I tried using it after, even though it was torn, and it wasn't great. Now I just put some soap on it and rinse and squeeze over and over until it's relatively clean. I've had no issues with tearing after adopting this new method.
I had my sponge for awhile and was completely smitten, but then I had to travel. How do you travel with a makeup sponge? I usually put my brushes in a separate little bag within my makeup bag, so I guessed I'd put it in there, but I wished there was a better solution. Then I saw that Real Techniques has a case for the Miracle Complexion Sponge. Fair Warning: This case isn't the best. I'm sure this is the beta, and the next iteration will improve on it. You have to pay close attention when you close it - it doesn't snap closed, so you have to look at the seams and gently close it (this takes 1.3 seconds and is not a big deal... but I would change it in later models). I was also worried when I traveled with it that it would break. It didn't (I made sure to pack it in a cushioned area) but if it had I would not have been even a little surprised. All that being said, I am glad I have it and it costs $6, so it's worth giving a try if you think it could work for you.