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What is a Makeup Sponge?

Hillary Flynn
Updated May 21, 2024
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Makeup sponges, also called cosmetic sponges, are used to apply and remove certain types of makeup, moisturizer, and cleanser. They’re available in many varieties and can be purchased at local drugstores and discount or high-end department stores. Depending on the purpose, they can be found in wedge shapes, round puffs, infused with Vitamin E, smooth, rough, porous, dense, or any other shape or texture required to achieve the best application or removal of a product.

Triangular, smooth, semi-dense makeup sponge wedges are best used to apply liquid foundation. Just as the surface on the wedge is smooth, so will be the liquid makeup application. This is important as liquid foundation is applied to the face and will be highly visible. A sponge with larger “pores,” would soak up too much of the liquid, plus the application would not be smooth as the large craters would cause different amounts of makeup to be distributed as the makeup sponge is pulled across the face. They are also available infused with Vitamin E which is said to nourish and protect skin.

As a general rule when applying liquid foundation with a sponge, select a sponge with the same texture as the desired result. Smooth and soft with small, nearly invisible pores is the usual goal. Smaller wedges with well-defined edges are also useful for blending in small areas. The sharply crafted edge can be used to make delicate adjustments to eye makeup without disturbing the entire area, and is ideal for managing lipstick smudges.

A rough, porous makeup sponge is the best choice for makeup removal. These sponges are highly absorbent, and their rougher texture serves as a tool for dislodging makeup embedded in pores, ensuring a clean, fresh face. The type of sponge recommended for this purpose is called a cellulose makeup sponge. These sponges hang on to cleanser during the removal process and if water is added to the sponge, the amount of cleanser needed is reduced. The porous nature of the cellulose sponge allows the cleanser and water to be distributed throughout the sponge and mixed together when gently squeezed.

Though there are myriad types of makeup sponges, most require the same maintenance. Sponges should be stored separately from makeup, washed with mild hand soap after every use, and air dried. Replace sponges when they begin to crumble or fray.

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Hillary Flynn
By Hillary Flynn , Writer
Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the BeautyAnswered team, where she contributes well-researched articles on various topics. In addition to her work with BeautyAnswered, Hillary manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. With a passion for satirical writing and traveling to historical places, Hillary brings a distinctive voice to her content.

Discussion Comments

By surfNturf — On Mar 09, 2011

Sneakers41 - I agree that blending your foundation along the jaw line is critical if you want your makeup to look natural.

I have a Bobbi Brown makeup brush set that I use to apply my makeup with.

It comes in a little bag that makes it easy to take with you anywhere. The quality of the makeup application does appear much better with the use of these brushes. I get near perfect blending with the lip brush when I apply my lip liner and lipstick.

By sneakers41 — On Mar 07, 2011

SauteePan - I just wanted to say that for my eye makeup application, I prefer using cosmetic brushes instead of disposable makeup applicators.

I think that you get a more precise look that way. I also think that you can blend the eye shadow better by using makeup brush sets instead of a makeup sponge applicator.

The makeup sponge is better for blending foundation because you can really blend around hard to reach places like your nose and near your chin and neck area. There is nothing worse then having a severe contrast between the color on your face and the color of your neck.

By SauteePan — On Mar 06, 2011

I like using disposable makeup sponge applicators because it reduces the accumulated bacteria in the makeup. I also try to keep the plastic insert in my compact for the same reason.

I always try to get extras so that I can throw my used applicators after every few weeks or so.

Hillary Flynn

Hillary Flynn


Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the BeautyAnswered team, where she contributes well-researched...
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