While we must do everything we can to limit excessive product waste in protecting our environment, some may not realize that there are several things you can do with your beauty products and routine to help. Utilizing reusable products that are safe and efficient is key when wanting to cut down on product waste, not to mention it saves us money in the long run, which is always a welcomed bonus. Brushes and sponges are great tools to utilize when wanting to limit your product waste, but you may find yourself asking which sponges are safe to re-use? Silicone beauty sponges have become quite a viral sensation, but how exactly should one use them?
Ahead, we asked Steve Kassajikian, Urban Decay’s Global Makeup Artist, for a few tips on how to master using silicone sponges and put together an easy guide on everything you need to know about silicone sponges and whether or not they're a fit for your daily beauty routine.
Meet the Expert
- Steve Kassajikian is Urban Decay’s Global Makeup Artist.
What Is a Silicone Beauty Sponge?
The product is exactly as it sounds: a reusable makeup sponge made of silicone. As silicone is very durable and friendlier to the environment than plastic, it holds up better to the elements (and varying temperatures) than plastic does. Silicone sponges are normally completely flat and specifically designed for liquid makeup application and not for powder makeup products. Silicone sponges also come in a variety of shapes from teardrop to oval, round and more.
How To Use a Silicone Beauty Sponge
According to Kassajikian, silicone sponges are quite easy to use. Here's how.
- First, you'll want to apply a small amount of liquid foundation to the sponge. You can use any liquid foundation of your choosing; the key here is to apply small amounts at a time to ensure proper blending. Then, you can apply the foundation directly to the sponge or pump your liquid foundation out on your hand or a metal palette and pick up the product as you go.
- After you've applied the product, blend the foundation with the sponge on your face in a circular swiping motion until your foundation looks even and you've covered all the important parts.
- You can keep adding foundation to the sponge in small increments and blending it onto the face until you get the desired level of coverage. Seeing as liquid foundation formulas have different levels of coverage when using a silicone sponge, you might want to use dewier foundation formulas versus matte, which dries faster.
Silicone Beauty Sponge vs. Traditional Makeup Sponge
There are a few key things to keep in mind when looking at the benefits of traditional makeup sponges versus silicone ones. First, just because a sponge isn't silicone doesn't mean it's not reusable, but how long should a silicone sponge really last someone? "Since it doesn’t absorb product, you can keep using it until there is damage to the outer lining. Just wipe and sanitize with antibacterial soap after every use", suggests Kassajikian, as it's imperative to keep sponges sanitary.
Traditional makeup sponges, such as the ever-coveted Beauty Blender, will absorb product but can be cleaned after each use to maintain the best sanitation practices, and can also be wet to help blend makeup onto the face more seamlessly, where disposable makeup sponges you purchase at the drugstore cannot be wet. With traditional sponges, they will absorb makeup and be disposed of after each use, as most of them are not durable enough to be cleaned, washed, and sanitized. One of the biggest differences between silicone sponges vs. traditional ones other than the material is the shape. Silicon sponges are completely flat, while Beauty Blender sponges are round, and other traditional sponges can have oblong and both triangular shapes. You will need some practice with the silicone sponges as they take a bit of getting used to when it comes to blending.
Kassajikian states that silicone sponges can be used for more than just foundation, saying, "As long as you're using liquid products, you can use the silicone sponge to apply multiple products." All you need to do is clean or wipe off the sponge in between uses so that your foundation doesn't interfere with your liquid blush, bronzer, or highlight, and so on. Seeing as traditional sponges absorb products and silicone sponges don't, you might find that you need to use more of your foundations and liquid makeup products when doing your makeup, which is a key difference between the two types of sponges. Kassajikian adds, "Less foundation is needed when applying it with a silicone sponge. You can apply it in a spreading motion or patting motion depending on preference." When it comes to using your powder products, you can utilize traditional makeup sponges for anything from compact powders, loose powders, and powder foundations. You can also use traditional sponges to blend out powdered eyeshadow—making this another key difference between the two types of sponges.
If you're looking for an alternative and reusable solution for drugstore makeup sponges, you might find that silicone sponges are a better fit when applying your makeup, yet the shape and material will take some getting used to. Practice putting on your foundation with the sponge first, and once you've got that down, try incorporating other liquid products as well. You can absolutely use makeup brushes or other application tools in conjunction with silicone sponges to get the very best results when applying your makeup. You never know, you might love silicone sponges in the long run and feel great about contributing less to excess waste along with getting longevity from costly makeup products.
American Chemistry Council. Silicones, environmental, health, and safety center (SEHSC).