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Zenda beauty sponges in five colors

We’ll get right to the point: These are as cost-effective as they are cute. (Photo: Amazon)

Makeup sponges have evolved far past the freebies you’d get when you bought a compact — they’re powerful tools in their own right, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a makeup artist that doesn’t rely on them for a seamless, blended look. They can also be used in tandem with so much more than just foundation — they can create a striking contour, highlight the high points of your face, add a flush to your cheeks and give your skin a sun-kissed glow. No wonder they get so discolored so quickly!

While you should definitely wash makeup sponges after every use to avoid introducing bacteria to your face, you should still replace your beauty sponge every three months (or even earlier if they start to get stinky or fall apart). Of course, all that replacing adds up, especially if you’re using a certain $20 hot pink sponge.

Amazon shoppers think they found the alternative to expensive makeup sponges, and here’s the kicker: They come out to under $2.50 each. Say hello to Zenda Naturals Makeup Sponges, which are a ridiculous $12 for a set of five.

Plus, if you have Amazon Prime you’ll get free shipping, of course. Haven’t signed up yet? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

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Red and purple makeup sponges shown on the left while a woman's hand is putting a blue one into a black cosmetic bag.

Smooth application, minimal absorption, and durability? It’s in the bag! (Photo: Amazon)

The egg-shaped sponges come in a rainbow of colors, and they work well with liquids, creams and powders. The more voluminous end is made for applying product on large swathes of your face, like your forehead or cheeks, while the pointy tip is for getting in crevices, like around your nose and eyes. Just make sure to wet them first.

It comes down to this: Why pay for an expensive name-brand sponge when these do the job just as well? Plus, if you’re replacing these every few months anyway, why not get a few that won’t leave you feeling like you’re throwing money in the trash? There’s a reason over 1,500 shoppers love them, after all.

“I used to buy those really expensive makeup sponges because I thought that they were the best,” shared one convert. “Recently, and because I was on a budget, I decided to give these a try and oh, boy I was in for a treat! …They have a slightly different texture than the ‘pricey’ ones which is great since they don’t absorb as much of my foundation during the application process.”

Even hardcore makeup lovers prefer these to the more expensive sponges. As one (who called them a “beauty blender for a diva on a budget”) put it: “I am makeup fanatic! I love all things makeup/beauty supplies. These blend out beautifully. They are soft like the expensive sponges. Usually, when you order cheap sponges they are rock hard even when you wet them. These aren’t like that at all. These are a Beautyblender dupe (possibly even better) for a fraction of the price.”

Plus, if you still rely on your fingers or a brush to apply your foundation, let this reviewer dissuade you: “I love these sponges!!” she shared. “I have just used my fingers to apply my liquid foundation but decided to use these sponges just to see the difference and WOW! They have made a difference in the outcome of how my makeup has turned out! My makeup looks so much smoother and more evenly applied!”

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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