Over the past couple of years I’ve seen quite a few posts about the various beauty blender style makeup sponges but I don’t think I’ve seen any posts about the Boots own brand ones. I didn’t even know they did them until I was having a look on the Boots website for the Real Techniques one and this popped up as a search result. It’s definitely a different shape and, at £3.50, I think it’s the cheapest one I have seen around so I thought I’d give it a go. They also do one that’s a larger one with a more hour glass type shape like some of the other brands do. This is the Boots Precision Applicator Blending Sponge, which doesn’t have the catchiest name but it tells you what it’s designed for.
I will be reviewing the Real Techniques one too, and I do plan on buying the original at some point but I wanted to see what these were like before comparing them to the one that normally seems to come out on top and if this one at around a quarter of the price would do a good enough job, especially as they recommend replacing these sponges every few months. That is one thing I would like to ask anyone who uses these kinds of sponges; do you actually replace them that often or is it still ok to use them beyond that if you wash them carefully?
One thing about this one that does make it appear more cheap is the packaging, which is fair enough given the price difference and the fact it gets thrown out pretty much immediately normally. It’s a clear plastic on the front which does mean you can see the product and actually give it a bit of a feel to see how squishy it is without having to remove it from the packaging which is a benefit compared to the others. It’s a standard packaging for the Boots everyday basics type products and includes the information you need, it’s not one you’d be keeping to hold the product in after use, or at least I won’t be.
The sponge itself is polyurethane foam, as it says on the bag, which I think is a standard material for these things. It is very soft, it’s nice and smooth if you rub it on your face, and I’d say for squishiness (which is surprisingly a real word) it’s a bit squishier than the Real Techniques if you have that as a reference. I think that has more to do with the shape and the fact it’s probably half the thickness the of the other one. The softness and fineness of the sponge is pretty much the same. The Boots one does hold the product well, the first time it’s used when it’s dry it does absorb some, probably about half of the product I used on the first lot of dabbing went into it rather than on my face but it’s to be expected with a sponge I guess.
I tried this with a few different products, I thought I’d see what it could do as the shape does sort of lend itself to some more precise application than some of the others, or maybe more controlled, at least for me. I tried it on a concealer, both under eye and in general and they both worked really well. It’s a cream concealer I tried it with for both of those products and it left a nice, even finish and it seemed to blend out the edges better.
I only have one thing as a cream or liquid foundation really with any coverage which uses a matte base or primer mixed with a powder and gives a creamy product which is somewhere between a cream and a thin liquid. The sponge worked really well with this, it gave better, more even coverage than the foundation brushes I have and the finish is even more matte and lasts better. I also found that it reduced the amount of foundation that obviously stuck to drier skin. It seems like no matter how much I exfoliate and moisturise there are parts of my skin that foundation naturally sticks to more than others, I guess they’re drier, but this made the same foundation stick to everything.
To see how it worked I did also give it a go with a BB cream, I wasn’t expecting much as it doesn’t have much coverage and as far as that goes it was no different than using the product with my fingers. It was mainly to see how it would work with a more liquid product and it did well, it did absorb some of it more than the others as it is a thinner liquid but that only happened the first time I used it. However it did make it easier to build up the coverage if I wanted to and made the layers naturally thicker than with a brush or my fingers.
This sponge does say you should use it damp so I thought I’d try it both damp and dry as others say they can be used both ways. I didn’t see much difference with the foundation as it’s a matte finish anyway though it did seem to dilute it a bit, maybe that’s because it’s a mix I did myself anyway. The concealer, which was the only premixed thick product, was the thing it worked best with as it seemed to help it to layer and blend the edges, it helped it stick to my skin more rather than moving it around and gave a better finish I think so maybe with thicker, creamier foundations it would work well for that as well.
I really like the shape of this product, it’s smaller than most of the others in the similar style as it’s about the size of my thumb with the thicker end not being as big as the Real Techniques equivalent. I know the others have sharper edges which would probably help with a more precise edge but I liked the fact that you have two rounded ends and both work for different things. It did probably take longer than others with a larger area when it comes to applying all over foundation but it wasn’t noticeably longer than using a brush to me.
Overall I was very impressed with this one, I will definitely be trying the Real Techniques one as I actually have it but I might give some of the others a go in the future as well. I think that, for the price, this is a great product to try if you want to get an idea of how these things work. There is the other shaped, larger 3-in-1 Blending Sponge which is larger and might be better for all over application which is also £3.50 so they’re good ones to look at first. I think that using this for the more precise parts, like down the side of your nose or as a concealer applicator, alongside one of the larger ones might be the best way to use it though it does work perfectly well as an all over face sponge too.
I think that, unless the others have a miraculously better result, I would probably stick with these. I have used it a few times and washed it and it works just as well as it did the first time. I know time will tell but if you have to replace these things every few months then I’d rather have a £3.50 one than a £16 unless there is some big difference. It gives a nice finish, does blend things out well and doesn’t take a long time to use despite its smaller size. It’s really comfortable to hold and soft on the skin and I do like how you can use it easily for more precise concealer but without a point as well as for all over your face if you wanted.
Have any of you tried this or the other Boots one? I haven’t seen much on some of these other beauty blender style sponges. I’ve seen the Real Techniques, the original Beauty Blender, one from B and one from Look Good, Feel Better which all look like nice ones and I think Makeup Revolution do one too. I am kind of tempted to try them all, I have a bit of a weakness for makeup brushes and now I’ve discovered these I want to see which one I get on with best. Maybe I’ll wait and see after a month or so and try one when it’s time to replace this one if I still get on with it. I am interested to see how they all compare with such a range of prices and kind of want to do a comparison post with all of them.