The 4 Best Makeup Sponges of 2022 | People Tested

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If you’ve ever wondered how celebrities get picture-perfect makeup (apart from professional glam teams, of course), it’s thanks in part to a tiny but mighty beauty tool: the makeup sponge. When applying foundation or any cream-based product, the right makeup sponge can not only blend out the color for a natural-looking finish, but also smooth the look of any unwanted texture. 

Now, all you have to do is find the right makeup sponge for your skin. But don’t fret — we did the hard work for you. Our PEOPLE Tested testers spent a day applying different types of makeup with 13 of the most popular sponges. They evaluated each sponge for absorption (no one likes wasted product!), application, and ease of cleaning, while also considering shape, texture, and the final makeup look. 

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Of all the makeup sponges that PEOPLE Tested, these were considered the best.

Best Overall: L’Oreal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender

Pros: L’Oreal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender applies makeup evenly, has a soft bouncy texture, and is easy to clean.

Cons: Our testers had a hard time building up coverage with this sponge. 

The L’Oreal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender was described by our testers as “the goldilocks of makeup sponges” — because it’s just right for all of your needs. Made from a  plushy sponge material, this blending sponge is quite soft when damp and doesn’t feel rough on the skin. 

It scored well in the absorbency test; when used with foundation, it transferred most of it onto the skin. During application, its pointed dome shape allowed for blending in tight spaces like under the eyes and around the corners of the nose, while the base was great for larger areas like the cheeks, chin, and forehead.

Where this makeup sponge fell short is when our tester — who has oily skin and hyperpigmentation — tried to build up the coverage of the foundation on her skin with this sponge. It was not as seamless as she had hoped.  

Overall, this is a user-friendly and affordable makeup sponge that’s soft on your skin, and applies makeup evenly without streaks or blotches. “It’s a no-fuss beauty blender that does exactly what you expect,” said our tester, adding that it’s super easy to rinse out when you’re ready to clean it.

Liquid or cream foundation

Credit: People/Tamara Staples

Best Budget: Essence Makeup & Baking Sponge

Pros: The large round bottom is great for blending foundation or baking your makeup with powder. 

Cons: The sponge expands when damp. 

When you need to slap makeup on before running out the door, you’ll want a makeup sponge that will do the job quickly and effectively. This sponge was a real teacher’s pet, earning a perfect score in all of our tests, with little to no absorption, flawless and quick application, and easy cleanup. 

Made from a vegan sponge material (no animal products and no animal testing), this beauty blender has a classic pear shape with a large round bottom perfect for blending foundation and baking makeup. Its angled side creates an edge for smoothing and a tip for hard-to-reach spots. 

The only oddity our tester noticed was how large the sponge grew when dampened for application. “Overall, I would use this sponge daily because of its great shape and size,” she said. “It didn’t soak up the product, and blended quickly into my skin.” 

Combining those qualities with the budget-friendly price —
we think this is an ideal everyday makeup sponge.

Pear shape with angled edge

Liquid or cream foundations, pressed or loose powder

Credit: People/Tamara Staples

Best Splurge: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Precision Makeup Sponge 100

Pros: It precisely applies foundation thanks to its unique design and soft texture.

Cons: The latex-free sponge isn’t as durable as other materials.

Rihanna’s Precision Makeup Sponge 100 earned a near perfect score in our testing for its unique design, lack of absorption, and precise application.

Our tester described this cruelty-free sponge as “light and airy” and loved the “flat shape and narrow edge at the end.” This special design facilitates a clean and precise application, easily blending foundation across all areas of the face. Testing also showed how quickly foundation washes from this sponge (only FourFiveSeconds, get it?). 

Though more expensive than others on our list, it’s hard for us to find fault with this premium makeup sponge.

Pointed dome with angled edge

Liquids, creams, or powders

Credit: People/Tamara Staples

Best Silicone: Ulta Fingerprint Silicone Blender

Pros: This silicone makeup blender is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and simple to use and clean. 

Cons: Doesn’t blend as well as a classic sponge because it’s dry.

If you want a hypoallergenic beauty tool (no natural latex!) to create smooth coverage across your face, this silicone beauty blender is the way to go. Our testers were pleasantly surprised with its softness, and how well the teardrop shape performed when applying foundation.

Since it isn’t porous like a classic sponge, this blender doesn’t absorb any makeup, and transfers all product to your face. The tipped side works efficiently to get around tight corners near the eyes and nose, and the round side is better for larger facial areas.

The silicone material doesn’t blend quite as well as a standard sponge because it lacks the dampness that helps your skin take in the product, but it was by far the easiest beauty blender to clean; the makeup washes right off. Overall, the sponge “performed very well, gave full coverage, and is easy to use,” said our tester, winning over her heart.

Liquid or cream foundations

Credit: People/Tamara Staples

Things to Consider Before Buying a Makeup Sponge

Shape

Generally, most makeup sponges have a similar structure, but you want to look for a pointed tip to reach spots around the eyes and nose, and a wider round base for applying foundation to the cheeks, chin, and forehead. As shown during testing, the dimension of the sponge’s shape doesn’t play a huge role since the flat silicone blender applied foundation as well as the three-dimensional sponges.

Material

The material can also play a factor in the effectiveness and usability of a makeup sponge. For instance, our silicone option will only work with liquid makeup, but it’s easy to clean, quite durable, and will last longer than a traditional sponge. Comparatively, when you use a classic sponge, it’s damp, which helps blend makeup more smoothly than a dry silicone sponge. Both can be equally effective, so the “best” option really depends on your preference. 

Cleanliness

Makeup sponges are fabulous tools for creating a smooth finish, but it is essential to keep them clean for the same reason you wouldn’t use a dish sponge on your face. To prevent the growth of bacteria and other germs, rinse your sponge after every use. Cleanliness is a consideration here because some makeup sponges are just easier to keep clean. If you’re someone who rarely cleans their makeup brushes, then you should either consider a silicone sponge, or replace your beauty blender more often.

Credit: People/Tamara Staples

How We Tested Makeup Sponges

During a day of pampering, 11 beauty enthusiasts played with an assortment of makeup products and tools to see how well each worked in action. When assessing makeup sponges, our testers looked at absorption, level of application, and how easy they were to clean.

To test absorption, they applied foundation to the back of their hands, dabbed some on the sponge, and stamped a white piece of paper to see how much foundation transferred. A good makeup sponge is dense and less absorbent, meaning more foundation goes onto the paper. After, they used the sponges to apply a full face of foundation, and considered how they felt, how well the shape aided application, and how the final look turned out. Applying makeup is fun, but cleaning your tools can be a pain, so our testers also checked for ease of cleaning, using soap and warm water to rinse each sponge.

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What Is People Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

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