Review: Is the beautyblender worth the dough?

The original beautyblender.

The original beautyblender.

If you've been hanging out around these parts awhile, you may remember how much I liked the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, which is a cheaper alternative to the much-hyped beautyblender. It's orange, slightly larger than the beautyblender, and a slightly different shape. It's also $16 cheaper. And you know what? At the time, I had no complaints because I had nothing to compare it to. It did a great job of blending out my under-eye concealer and finishing off areas on my face (like my nose) where I wanted to be extra-sure my finish was flawless.

Then, during last month's VIB sale, I decided to give the "real thing" a whirl. I had heard from makeupbytiffanyd that the beautyblender felt less "wet" during use than the RT sponge. I had indeed noticed that the RT sponge left a touch of water on my face when I was blending my foundation. Additionally, my RT sponge was looking a little worse for wear—it had several pock marks on it. So rather than replacing it for $10, I upgraded.

My friends, I'm not looking back. The original beautyblender is more than double the price at $26, and I know it hurts, but I promise it's 100 per cent worth it.

Here's the deal: The beautyblender seems less porous than the RT sponge. It has no trouble absorbing water, which allows the sponge to grow, but once you towel it off and give it a squeeze, you'll get no water on your skin. Additionally, the surface is smoother. This textural difference is what blows the  RT sponge out of the water. The foundation finish you're left with is just better. 

Another little bonus? Packaging. The beautyblender comes in this little round canister with a lid that has a small hole in the top. When you're finished using it, you perch it on top of your canister, and as it dries, it slowly shrinks down and slips back into the canister. If you want to travel with it, pop the lid on top and you're good to go! This feels much more sanitary than the RT sponge, which I always had to store on or in tissue.

Rating: Four and a half stars out of five. Amazing product that I will repurchase, but $26 for a scrap of sponge? Seriously? Come on now.

Verdict: The beautyblender is expensive (sigh), but worth the splurge. Sorry, Sam and Nic—I love many of the Real Techniques brushes, but I'm going big on my foundation sponge! Beautyblender forever!

Available: Sephora and Sephora.ca for $26 Canadian. I've also seen it at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Have you tried the beautyblender and compared it to sponges by other brands? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: Review and Photos

The new Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

If you're not already familiar with Sam and Nic, the makeup artists behind the Pixiwoo YouTube channel, Two Magazine, the Real Techniques makeup brush line, and more…you're welcome! I'm about to introduce you to something wonderful. 

Sam and Nic, based in the U.K., are sisters and partners, and their makeup tutorials are some of the best online, in my opinion. They seem quite committed to helping the average person with his or her makeup in their tutorials, and to back that up, they have a line of great-quality brushes at average-person prices. No more of this trading your right arm $50 for a lone makeup brush. Their average brush is priced at about $10. Thanks, ladies!

The Miracle Complexion Sponge is a new addition to their line, meant to compete with the much more expensive Beauty Blender Sponge. I've never actually tried a Beauty Blender, so I can't compare the two products. After using the RT sponge for the last few weeks, though, I can say that if you like applying your base with a sponge, you'll probably like this product. 

Pros:

  • It's soft and feels comfortable against the skin
  • It's easy and quick to use
  • It leaves a great, natural-looking finish to your foundation—even if you're using full-coverage products (which I do almost daily)
  • The contours of the sponge make it fairly easy to get at hard-to-reach spots on the face
  • It's inexpensive—only about $10 Canadian

Cons:

  • It absorbs more product than I would like
  • It's a pain (really) to wash
  • Storage isn't the most convenient

You can use the sponge wet or damp, but I think it leaves a better finish when used damp. It also absorbs less product while damp, so that's how I prefer to use it.

You can use the sponge to to apply your base and then blend it in (the best technique I've found is a bouncing motion), but to minimize product waste, I  like to apply foundation with a brush, blend the product so that it's even on my face, and then bounce to a flawless finish with the sponge. It's also great for making sure concealer is perfectly smooth.

My favourite thing about the sponge, though, is the fact that it lets me be lazy during the week. Unlike my brushes, I can use the sponge for a week before it really needs washing. If I don't spot clean my cream-product brushes every day or two, their performance suffers. 

Here's what the product looks like:

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

Here's the other side of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. See the pock marks on the bottom there? I did a little damage the other day trying to get all the product out of the sponge. I scrubbed a little with my nails—whoops! Don't be like me.

The verdict: Overall, a decent product—especially for the price. I don't feel the need to spend triple the cash on a Beauty Blender. I don't think it will replace my favourite brushes in my foundation routine, but it's great to have around when I'm in a hurry or when my concealer brush needs washing. 

Rating: Three and a half stars out of five. I'd like it to absorb less product and be easier to wash. That could be an unreasonable expectation for a sponge, though. 

Available: Online through iherb.com and Farleyco, and also in stores such as Walmart and London Drugs for about $10 Canadian.

Have you tried the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge? What did you think? How does it compare to other foundation sponges you've tried?

Disclosure: This product was provided by PR for my consideration.