What is a makeup sponge?

Makeup sponges can be used to make delicate adjustments to eye makeup.

Makeup sponges, also called cosmetic sponges, are used to apply and remove certain types of makeup, moisturizers, and cleansers. They are available in many varieties and can be purchased at local drugstores and discount or high-end department stores. Depending on the purpose, they can be found in wedge shapes, round puffs, infused with Vitamin E, smooth, rough, porous, dense or in any other shape or texture needed to achieve the best application or removal of a product.

Some sponges are designed for use with facial cleansers and help with makeup removal.

Triangular, smooth, semi-dense makeup sponge wedges are most commonly used for applying liquid foundation. Just as the surface of the wedge is smooth, so is the application of liquid makeup. This is important because liquid foundation is applied to the face and will be very visible. A sponge with larger “pores” would absorb a lot of the liquid and application would not be smooth as the large craters would cause different amounts of makeup to be distributed as the sponge is pulled across the face. They are also available infused with vitamin E, which nourishes and protects the skin.

A makeup sponge can be used in place of a brush to apply liquid foundation.

As a general rule of thumb when applying liquid foundation with a sponge, select a sponge with the same texture as the desired result. Smooth and soft with small, almost invisible pores is the usual goal. Smaller wedges with sharp edges are also useful for blending in small areas. The beautifully crafted edge can be used to make delicate adjustments to eye makeup without disturbing the entire area and is ideal for controlling lipstick smudges.

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Sharing makeup applicators with others can spread bacteria and irritate your eyelids.

A rough, porous makeup sponge is the best choice for makeup removal. These sponges are highly absorbent and their rougher texture serves as a tool to dislodge makeup embedded in pores, ensuring a clean, fresh face. The type of sponge recommended for this purpose is called a cellulose makeup sponge. These sponges stay with the cleaner during the removal process, and if water is added to the sponge, the amount of cleaner needed is reduced. The porous nature of the cellulose sponge allows the cleaner and water to be distributed throughout the sponge and mixed together when pressed gently.

While there are myriad types of makeup sponges, most require the same maintenance. Sponges should be stored separately from makeup, washed with mild soap after each use, and air dried. Replace sponges when they start to crumble or fray.

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