beauty

What's the "beauty blender" everyone's using and is it really worth all the hype?

Image: supplied.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to applying foundation (such as the brush versus sponge versus fingers debate), but the general consensus is that it doesn’t matter how expensive your foundation is, it will only look as good as your application technique

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Enter the Beauty Blender. A product that has quickly earned (and maintained) a cult reputation, the hot pink spherical-cone shaped sponge promises flawless application of any base product, including primer, foundation and concealer.

A staple of makeup artists, celebrities and bloggers everywhere, it’s been so popular multiple copies have spawned. I put the original (and a few less expensive dupes) to the test.

Beauty Blender

The beauty blender. Image: supplied.

The beauty blender is a lot smaller in real life than you'd expect - about the size of a large pencil sharpener, although it grows about three times in size once wet.

The hot pink colour is bright and vibrant, but don't worry - it won't transfer on your skin or alter the colour of the product.

It feels light and fluffy, almost like a marshmallow texture when dry and hardens a little once it's wet. (Post continues in and after gallery.)

The dab/bounce motion is a little harder to get the hang of, but after a few strokes I felt I had mastered it. The overall look was natural, dewy and provided ample coverage. I have to admit - it was the best my foundation has looked in a long time - and this isn't even with primer.

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I've also heard people recommend the beauty blender as an essential tool for people with dry skin, as it is softer on the skin so doesn't tear or irritate dryer patches as your fingers or brushes do. I definitely noticed this - and the result was a much smoother effect.

Expect to go through your foundation a little quicker; I did feel I used slightly more foundation than I normally would. This was despite the fact that because you use the sponge wet, less foundation is absorbed than typical sponges. That said, I think it's just a case of trial and error, as you learn how much you need with each application.

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It does take care though. To avoid germs, it's so, so important to wash the beauty blender after each use which is a hassle, but it really will make it last longer (about three months). There are special cleansing products available, or you can wash with baby shampoo and let it air dry.

The result is smooth and dewy looking. Image supplied.

The one downside that puts people off? The price. Now available at Sephora Australia (no more having to track down from US sites, yey!) the original beauty blender retails for $27. It's not cheap, but I think for the results you get it's worth it - at least for a try.

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How do others compare?

If you're not ready to invest in a beauty blender straight away or not as close as you'd like to be to Sephora, there are a number of other similar and less expensive "dupes" (short for duplicates) on the market.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Real Techniques are my go-to for high quality without the too-high price tag brushes, and their miracle complexion sponge promises similar results to the beauty blender.

A slightly different shape, this sponge also has a flat angled side, so you can experiment to see which creates a smoother look on your face. It's also great for covering large areas quickly and contouring around the eyes and nose.

It does absorb slightly more product than the beauty blender, but is certainly a great budget option.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, $16.99, available here

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Chi Chi Blending Sponge

A fantastic low-budget quality makeup range, Chi Chi offers not one but FOUR different types of blending sponges.

A range of different colours (purely aesthetic) and shapes (for different purposes) at $5.95, these are definitely worth a try.

One of the four Chi Chi blending sponges. Image: Chi Chi

Again they're slightly more absorbent than the original and not quite as light, but they do give an almost airbrushed looking effect on foundation, and can also be used to apply liquid or cream blushes as well.

Chi Chi Blending Sponge, $5.95, buy here

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Cosmetics Fragance Direct Blending Sponge

I picked this up a while ago when it was on special over Christmas. About two thirds of the size of the original beauty blender, it's a similar shape although it has a ridge around the middle which does make it slightly easier to hold.

CFD Blending sponge. Image: supplied.
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The texture is a lot heaver and less squishy, although it doesn't absorb too much product which is good.

It goes on nicely, although the look is very dewy and not quite as flawless and even as the beauty blender - and it's a little harder to clean. There was a noticeable difference when compared side to side with the beauty blender, but again it's a good alternative if you're on a smaller budget.

Compare the pair: original versus dupe. Image: supplied.

Cosmetics Fragrances Direct Blending Sponge, $6, buy here

While there are some great alternatives out there, if you find they work for you and you like them, I highly recommend giving the beauty blender a try - it hasn't earned it's reputation for nothing!

Do you use the beauty blender? What do you think?

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