Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Drugstore Dupes to the Test: Beautyblender vs. Pro Beauty Makeup Sponge

I have been procrastinating on buying a beautyblender, the beloved makeup sponge that has been embraced by various beauty bloggers. "But it's the bestest way to apply your foundation!" the internet pleaded. Shuddup, internet. I have fingers, and they're free.

But the allure finally caught up with me. "Why would people be buying a $20 sponge if it wasn't magic?", I justified to myself.

At $19.95 for a single sponge, beautyblenders are pricey. As a result of their popularity, there have been a huge number of dupes. I decided to investigate if this extra fancy sponge performed better than its cheaper doppelgangers. For a comparison, I used the Wistonia Pro Beauty Water Droplet Puff, which retails for $3.83, less than a fifth of the cost of the beautyblender.


Visually, the two are very similar. The real beauty blender is a bit more pointed, a bit more vibrantly colored, and a bit smaller. However, the real morphological difference isn't visual. The knockoff is incredibly dense and much rougher. The difference is stark; it's comparable to the difference between homemade and store-bought gnocchi. One is pillow-soft, light, and fluffy, the other is heavy and massed. There is no way that they would get mixed up.

How they look dry (BeautyBlender on the left, ProBeauty on the right)
Beautyblenders are meant to be used wet. When you soak it in water, the sponge (quickly!) expands substantially. Even after you squeeze out the excess, it ends up 1.5 to two times its original size. The Pro Beauty sponge just gets weird and wrinkly when wet, unless you allow it to soak for a significant period of time.

How they look wet (BeautyBlender on the left, ProBeauty on the right)
I have used both of these products a few times now. The beautyblender is not as magical as I might have hoped. I love the shape, since it lets me doodle around my nose without being awkward and weird. It creates a beautiful, natural-looking finish, but it sheers out my makeup substantially. Given that my goal is usually to have foundation as thick as house paint, this doesn't work as well for me as it might for ladies with naturally lovely skin. Additionally, if you are already using a relatively sheer foundation, I speculate that you will pretty much lose coverage entirely. Using the beautyblender, I have to do put a lot of additional effort into covering my blemishes.

The Pro Beauty dupe doesn't sheer out my makeup as much as the beautyblender, but it also doesn't create the same gorgeous, natural glow. It looks comparable to the look I get from brushes. It also feels rough on my face.

Both sponges got awkwardly stained by my makeup.

Overall, I have to conclude that the Pro Beauty sponge is not an adequate dupe for the beautyblender because it does not create the natural, glowing finish that beautyblender devotees strive for. I would strongly recommend the beautyblender to anyone with skin that already looks rather nice. That being said, the Pro Beauty sponge might be a good, inexpensive option for someone who doesn't have brushes and wants to try out a more elegant method of application.

15 comments:

  1. Interesting! I've been wondering about this. Last week I got one of the Sephora sponges that is similar. It's yellow, and kind of looks like if a beauty blender was a cell, and was dividing. Bulbs with pointy ends, attatched in the middle. Could you compare this one to the beauty blender? I think I like it, it sheers out my make up a bit too, but I think I still get good coverage. Unless I'm just trying to convince myself lol..

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  2. Here it is:

    http://www.sephora.com/the-perfectionist-makeup-sponge-P377350?skuId=1468339

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    1. I don't have that one, so I can't compare!

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  3. I've been thinking about trying the beauty blender for a while because I went to high school with the creator's daughter and her daughter posts about it all the time on fb. But I definitely like foundation to cover all my blemishes so it doesn't sound like its good for me!

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    1. Same here... I am sure it works well for women who have relatively clear skin, though.

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  4. I read that a really good way to apply foundation is to first use a brush to get the coverage and then use the beauty blender afterwards to blend in the areas that need it. It gives a nice finish with a bit more coverage.

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    1. I like that idea. I'll give it a try!

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  5. You are amazing and I am glad you started this blog. I love it when people explain why they feel a certain way about something, and your methods are excellent.

    The personal issue I had with the beauty blender is that it's way too expensive for a sponge and takes a while to dry. I never feel like I can get it clean enough and that that will come back to bite me very soon. This puts me in the awkward state between never using it so I can preserve it and wanting to throw it away but being stopped by my "investment". Your post makes me happy because I feel like I can finally chuck the thing and stick to brushes.

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    Replies
    1. You win some, you lose some. Don't hold on to things you don't like!

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  6. I also was curious about buying the real deal Beauty Blender. I initially purchased a drugstore one (http://www.drugstore.com/soho-blender-sponge-coral/qxp469766) to see if I would even like it. I cannot compare it to a Beauty Blender, but I also saw great foundation application, with only minimal sheering. The main problem I saw was that it started to shred to pieces after 1 use!!! After using it, I gently rubbed some baby shampoo on the stains (uggg, the stains are a pain) and squeezed out as much water as possible to let it dry. The next day I saw rips all throughout the sponge! Have you noticed this with your Beauty Blender? I am not keen on paying $20 for something that will rip right away.

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    1. I haven't had any problems, but I have also been using it for less than a week. I have heard that they last about three months.

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  7. Just found these guys on Amazon and am currently obsessed. I guess they just launched so they're offering 4 different shaped sponges for the price of one BB. I've been using them for 3 weeks now almost every day and am obsessed!

    I wash them after every use (cause I'm kinda OCD like that) and they have shown no signs of tearing. Totally recommend!

    http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Makeup-Sponges-4pc-Foundation/dp/B00D0ANSAG

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    1. If they are working for you, that's great! They're definitely super different from the beautyblender, though.

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  8. A factor you've missed is costs per use. I tried the Walgreens and Essence sponges, and also a random one from Amazon, and all of them shredded rapidly. In fact I only got 3 weeks of daily use out of the longest-lasting one. The BeautyBlender cost 3x as much as the average generic sponge, so it only has to last 9 weeks to cost the same mount per use as a generic. And it lasts much, much longer than 9 weeks -- I bit the bullet, ordered one, and have had it for about 5 months now and it looks almost new.

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    1. I don't use them enough to know when they'll really get shredded. But if you keep track of number of uses, please do let me know what your results are!

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