Which is Better, Makeup Brush or Sponge?

Makeup brushes have always been the go-to for the modern gal (or guy) who is delving into the world of makeup for the first time. Sponges, meanwhile, have an old-school vibe to them — something our mothers and grandmothers used to apply their powders in their small compacts. But, over the past few years, sponges have experienced a resurgence, with some beauty companies giving the typical look of a sponge a modern twist.

With this evolution in makeup tools, it leaves us makeup lovers wondering, “Which one is better?” The answer to this depends on a few factors, from what kind of coverage you wish to achieve to how much time you can afford to spend on applying your makeup. Let’s take a closer look at which makeup tool reigns supreme in your makeup routine:


Which Makeup Tool is Right For You?

Whether you prefer one over the other or you alternate between the two regularly, your choice between using a makeup brush or sponge can depend on several factors. From what kind of finish you would like to achieve to your skin type, a makeup brush and sponge can provide a completely different end result to your makeup look.

Let’s look at the different factors you should consider when deciding between which tool to go for before starting off with your makeup for the day:

Coverage: Full or Sheer?

When applying foundation, you can either go completely full coverage or opt for a sheer finish for a more natural look. You’d think either of these results would depend on the type of foundation you use, which to some extent is true. Applying a heavyweight foundation would generally give your skin higher coverage compared to something more lightweight such as a tinted moisturiser or BB cream. However, the texture of your foundation is not the only thing that matters when it comes to the amount of coverage you want. Even with a heavyweight foundation, a sheer finish can be achieved simply by using a makeup sponge in place of a brush. All you have to do is dampen the sponge and dab the foundation gently onto your skin. Plus, the moisture from the sponge will lend your skin a dewy appearance not easily achieved with a brush. If you want a fuller coverage or wish to hide any skin imperfections, then you can either build up your layers of foundation with a sponge or use a dense foundation brush to buff the product onto your skin.

Skin Type: Oily or Dry?

You might be thinking, “What does my skin type have to do with using a makeup brush or sponge?” Well, while having a particular skin type does not necessarily mean you have to limit yourself to just one makeup tool, sticking to one over the other does have its benefits. For instance, if you have dry skin that often flakes or peels, applying your makeup using a brush can sometimes aggravate those skin issues even more. The buffing and swiping motion of the brush can worsen the flaking and peeling, which will make it even more difficult for you to apply your foundation smoothly. Using a damp sponge, however, is much gentler on this skin type as long as you use a dabbing motion to apply your makeup. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, a damp sponge might not provide their skin with the nicest finish as the moisture from the sponge can provide too much dewiness for their already oily skin. If you do use a sponge, just be more careful with the amount of product you apply and remember to set your makeup with a light dusting of powder and setting spray to keep your skin matte.

Skin Condition: Sensitive?

For those with sensitive skin, applying makeup with a brush can sometimes be too harsh due to rough bristles as well as the constant buffing and swiping motion of application. If you find that your brushes tend to aggravate the sensitivity of your skin, try using a sponge instead. The soft texture of the sponge will undoubtedly be more gentle on your delicate skin, making your makeup application a more pleasant experience.

Time: In a Rush or Free as a Bird?

Even though a damp sponge can provide our skin with a natural yet flawless finish, this result admittedly takes a lot more time to achieve (unless you already have naturally flawless skin, to begin with). If you wear makeup on the daily and do not have the luxury in the mornings to spend an hour just on your foundation, using a sponge might not be the best option as it takes a few layers to build up a reasonable coverage. On days when you are totally in a rush, go for a brush instead, which will allow you to achieve good coverage after one or two layers of foundation (this depends on the texture of your foundation too, of course).