Sunday, July 20, 2014

Battle of the Blenders

This post has taken a little longer than expected getting out for two reasons:
  1. I had my wisdom teeth removed this past Monday and the painkillers they gave me pretty much made me hibernate; and
  2. I've been incredibly lazy and didn't feel like typing up my thoughts despite knowing exactly what I wanted to say.
And now, I'm probably just procrastinating packing for my big college move, but hey, what better way to procrastinate than by actually doing something productive, right?

Before I get started, I do want to make note that I now have a Facebook page! Please check it out, and it would mean so much to me if you could like it. Check it out here, or click on the little Facebook icon on the right sidebar. 

Anyways, onto today's topic. The Beauty Blender has been a pretty big thing for a couple of years now, and now it seems like every brand is making a point to come out with a dupe of their own. I haven't had my Beauty Blender for very long, but it has already changed the way I apply my foundation. However, the original Beauty Blender usually runs for about $20. I was lucky enough to get a fantastic deal at PHAMExpo, but I know not everyone has the opportunity to go to a beauty show and get one. 

Not too long ago, Real Techniques came out with their own Beauty Blender dupe: the Miracle Complexion Sponge. I had been eyeing this sponge for a while since I already love the Real Techniques brushes (especially the Expert Face Brush), and after falling in love with the original Beauty Blender, I decided to give this dupe a shot! At only $6, I figured, what do I have to lose?

Purchasing: This one is easy. The Beauty Blender runs for $19.95 and can be bought online, or you can find a store near you that carries them by clicking here. The Miracle Complexion Sponge is $6, and can be bought online or in many different drugstores, or at Ulta. You can also find local retailers that carry it by clicking here.

First Look: At first glance, to me, the Beauty Blender simply appears more expensive. I don't think it really appears to be worth $20, but it does look more high-end than the Miracle Complexion Sponge. I think this may be because the Miracle Complexion Sponge appears to be more porous than the Beauty Blender, making me kind of think of a cheap makeup sponge wedge that you can buy in packs of 100 at Walmart.

I placed both sponges next to a mini Bath & Body Works candle as a sizing reference.

Shape: The Beauty Blender has the classic egg-shaped design that almost doubles in size when wet. The Miracle Complexion Sponge also gets somewhat larger when wet, and has a similar design to the Beauty Blender, with an added flat side that is meant to be used around the contours of the eyes and nose. I think I prefer the shape of the Miracle Complexion Sponge because it is bigger, and I love the flat side for general application of foundation. The Beauty Blender's size tends to make everything a little bit tedious, and the rounded shape limits the application. 

Texture: The difference in the porosity of the two sponges is very apparent just by looking at them. When you look at the original Beauty Blender, it looks very firm, and you are almost surprised at how bouncy and spongy it actually is. With the Miracle Complexion Sponge, it's very obvious that it is, in fact, a sponge, and it is much less dense than the Beauty Blender. It doesn't bounce off the skin quite like the Beauty Blender does. That being said, both the Beauty Blender and the Miracle Complexion Sponge are very soft, yet dense, and feel comfortable on the skin.

Application: Of course, application is the most important topic! With both sponges, you will want to dampen them for a few reasons. If you don't, you will have a very small tool to work with, and it'll take significantly longer to apply your makeup, and it'll probably feel pretty tedious. If you wet either sponge, they will almost double in size. Also, if you don't wet these sponges, they will absorb pretty much any liquidy product you try to use, which will only waste product and make your application sloppy. Point of this little ramble is to wet your sponges. All you have to do is run it under the tap and squeeze out the excess water.

When the Beauty Blender is dampened, it gets much larger, but retains its firmness. I felt that it also got a bit softer when wet. The Beauty Blender isn't as porous as the Miracle Complexion Sponge, so it retains much less water while still getting bigger. With the Miracle Complexion Sponge, I found that even after squeezing and squeezing, it still remained pretty wet, and it only expands a little bit. Strangely enough, I actually found that I got more coverage out of my foundation using the Miracle Complexion Sponge than I did the Beauty Blender. I'm not entirely sure how that makes sense, given the way both sponges responded to water, but that's what happened consistently as I was trying both of these sponges out.

My biggest problem is that the way the Miracle Complexion Sponge retained water actually seemed to dry out my skin. My skin responds pretty dramatically to water (due to the pH balance, yada yada), so the excess water in the Miracle Complexion Sponge seemed to end up on my face, which made my skin feel a little bit stripped. I didn't have this problem with the Beauty Blender.

Cleaning: Both sponges are incredibly easy to clean. I love using the Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser because it's just so easy, however, you can use a gentle facial cleanser or a gentle shampoo to clean both the Beauty Blender and the Miracle Complexion Sponge. If your sponge starts to smell a bit, or you're worried about bacteria, simply throw it into the microwave in a bowl with about an inch of water in it, let it cool, wash it as normal, and you're good to go!

Final Smackdown: All in all, both sponges are fantastic. I feel like my analysis of these sponges seems very...cold? But I really do love both of these sponges and I think they both have their pros and cons. Of course, the Beauty Blender is more expensive. However, I feel like it gives you better control in terms of coverage, and it holds just the right amount of water. The Miracle Complexion Sponge is better for someone who prefers a higher coverage and likes a super quick, flawless application, who isn't bothered by the water thing. I also think that the Beauty Blender is best for concealing and blending out other products that you may have gone a bit overboard on, while the Miracle Complexion Sponge is better for a general foundation application. I think that if I could take the material of the Beauty Blender and mix it with the design of the Miracle Complexion Sponge, I would have my perfect foundation tool.

If I had to pick one, I'd probably lean toward the original Beauty Blender, simply because of the water problem. However, I do not in any way think the Miracle Complexion Sponge is a bad product! I will definitely use both sponges depending on my needs. For $6, you definitely can't go wrong with the Miracle Complexion Sponge. However, if you don't mind spending the $20, the original Beauty Blender is a cult classic!

Which sponge do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below!

- D.

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  1. I recently bought the Beauty Blender and I am IN LOVE. I used to be a skeptic because I bought a cheap knock-off from Amazon and used it daily. My BB is now drying next to my window because I plan to use it again ASAP!

    1. If you want to invest in the Solid cleanser, I swear it makes everything dry SO much faster. I've been using it to clean my brushes and both sponges, and everything dries within a couple of hours. Usually my makeup brushes have to sit out overnight!

  2. Hmm. I don't have either of these -- I'm not sure if the Real Techniques one is available in Australia yet, I didn't see them the last time I was in Priceline -- but I do have a dupe by Kit Cosmetics that I keep forgetting I have. I'll test it out in the next couple of days and let you know how it seems to compare!