As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we’ve tried. Whether it’s a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you’ll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
I'll never forget the phenomenal moment I used a makeup sponge for the first time. I was a freshman in college and had set up my own mini vanity using my dorm room desk. I made regular trips to Sephora—I bought beauty products just as often as I bought books, a lot. I got especially spoiled when my mom would take me to Sephora over the holiday break as an award for all of my hard work. I had just settled back into my room from a nice trip back home, where I had picked up my first-ever makeup sponge.
I was hooked the moment I saw how it flawlessly melted my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30) right onto my skin. This little pink thing changed my makeup game for the better to the point where I wondered how I even did my makeup without it. Everything instantly became easier when it came to applying my base makeup.
Little did I know I'd meet my true makeup sponge match when the Miracle Complexion Sponge ($6) from Real Techniques came across my desk. I'll admit that I used to go for coveted, spendy makeup tools before meeting this under-$10 steal. I prematurely thought they'd do the job best. And I have to say, the results had me shook.
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
Best for: All skin types
Uses: Blending foundation and concealer into the skin
Star Rating: 5/5
Potential allergens: None
About the brand: Real Techniques was founded in 2011 by makeup artists and sisters Sara and Nic Chapman, also known as YouTube beauty duo Pixiwoo. The brand specializes in affordable and easy-to-use makeup sponges, brushes, and tools.
The Miracle Complexion Sponge is made from latex-free, polyurethane foam. The unique, three-sided shape makes it a bit different from other sponges on the market today. You can use the flat edge to blend in makeup around your mouth and nose, the pointed side for precision blending around your eyes, and the rounded edges for all-over foundation/tinted moisturizer/concealer/BB and CC cream application.
When the sponge is dry, it feels a bit stiff. I almost thought that it really wouldn't work as intended because it's so hard. But once you get it damp, it expands about 20 percent larger and softens up considerably. Applying makeup with it feels seamless—there's no pulling, tugging, or patchy application at all.
How to Use
You can use the Miracle Complexion Sponge wet or dry. Use it dry if you want a full coverage look, or use it wet if you want a more natural, dewy complexion.
I prefer a more natural look, so I recommend dampening the sponge first. Pump a squirt or two of your foundation onto the back of your hand. Take the flat side of the sponge and tap it into your foundation and gently glide the sponge onto your skin. If you want more coverage, you can press the flat side of the sponge into your skin inside of the gliding motion. Repeat the same steps with your concealer, except you can use the pointed edge this time. Tap, tap, tap, and voila—a flawless finish is yours.
I recommend washing your sponge once a week or even more frequently, depending on how often you use it. To clean, use a gentle shampoo (Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo, $3, is a great choice), and make sure you rinse it thoroughly. You'll also want to replace the sponge every month to a month and a half.
As most makeup miracles happen, I was in a rush and needed to use something fast. I ran this sponge under warm water for about five seconds. The material immediately turned super-soft and plush. As soon as I started lightly tapping this underneath my eye, I noticed how easily this seamlessly blended my concealer in.
My makeup-free face before using the Real Techniques sponge to blend in my concealer and foundation:
For one, it took me no time to blend in my makeup. And more importantly, I looked in the mirror and noticed how my makeup seriously looked like a second skin. Then, I started using this sponge to spot-conceal my dark spots before applying my foundation. It allows for such a blendable and buildable application in half the time. I use the flat top underneath my eyes and the pointy tip when targeting certain areas on my face. I replace it every few weeks since it's only $6 a pop, and I'm honestly hooked.
My makeup after using the Real Techniques sponge:
Something about the way this little ball bounces off of my skin and helps my makeup glide right on is just incomparable. If you're looking for a dupe to the more expensive makeup sponges on the market, this is the winner.
I don't think you can get any better than a$6 sponge, especially one that works as well as the Miracle Complexion sponge. This is the kind of product that becomes one of those staples you pick up every time you go to Ulta or Target, and you don't have to worry about refinancing your life to afford it. I can't recommend it enough.
Colourpop Precision Blending Sponge: At just $5, this mini sponge is even more affordable than the Miracle Complexion Sponge. It has the same flat top and pointed end and blends makeup flawlessly.
EcoTools Total Perfecting Blender: This distinctively-shaped sponge also rings in at $5. It's also cruelty-free and made from 70 percent plant-based materials. Use the large flat side to press in foundations and the shorter, flat side to contour.
The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is a great choice for all of your makeup application needs. It's easy to use, it's affordable, and it gives your foundation or any other liquid complexion product of your choice the look and feel of your skin, but better. And you definitely can't argue with that.