Actually, *This* Is The Proper Way To Use A Beautyblender, According To Makeup Artists

Turns out, a lot of people are using it wrong.

by Kristin Limoges and Claire Fox
Originally Published: 
Michael Stewart/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Brandy Norwood using Beautyblender
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These days, makeup sponges are so essential to our daily regimes that you could probably seamlessly blend your foundation with your eyes closed. Despite your close relationship with the simple beauty tool, there are likely still a few things you didn’t know about how to use a Beautyblender. Or perhaps you’re more of a use-your-finger type of makeup applier, but you’re interested in learning more about sponges. Whatever your style of makeup application, it’s always useful to hear what experts have to say about how to properly use makeup tools, even if they’re already in your regular rotation.

The Beautyblender has been around since 2007, and the tool grew in popularity simply because it works more effectively than traditional makeup sponges at transferring product to your skin, essentially meaning you use less foundation but still get more coverage. Despite its success over the past decade, though, the tool is still one of the most misused, confused, and underused tool in any makeup user’s kit. Knowing how to use a Beautyblender the way experts use theirs can make all the difference in your makeup routine. Below, read all about the Beautyblender mistakes — and hacks — that the pros have learned throughout the many years they’ve been using the tool.

How To Use A Beautyblender

Clean It Before & After Use

“So many people never wash their Beautyblenders,” Lottie, an editorial makeup artist, tells TZR. “This is so nasty.” We’ve all seen the horror stories of users cutting open their sponges to reveal *gulp* a whole lotta mold. (This typically shows up in the form of tiny black dots.) That’s not par for the course, though. Part of knowing how to use a Beautyblender correctly includes cleaning your sponge daily before you use it. If you do this, you’ll be able to hold onto it for months — ideally two to three — without much trouble. Lottie washes her personal sponges every two to three days — and her makeup kit sponges are washed and dried completely after every use.

Giving your makeup sponge a haphazard rinse won’t suffice. With proper cleansing, you should be able to make it look as good as new. There are a variety of soaps and methods that cut through the excess makeup on the sponge, depending on the severity of it. Beautyblender even makes its own cleansers and cleansing devices, or you can simply use a fragrance-free dish soap.

“I’ve gotten into a great routine of washing them before every use,” Rea Ann Silva, founder of Beautyblender, reveals to TZR. “I have to wet it beforehand, anyway, so I might as well cleanse in the process.” If your sponge still has hard-to-remove spots, Silva suggests soaking it overnight with the brand's liquid cleanser in a bowl of water.

Dampen It

“A Beautyblender should always be used damp to ensure it blends seamlessly,” Lottie notes. That’s why the golden rule of Beautyblenders is wet, squeeze, bounce. The Beautyblender is hydrophilic, meaning it’s actually designed to absorb water. When it’s wet, it’s too full to absorb your foundation, too. That hydrophilic science means the pre-soak before makeup application allows it to blend seamlessly and not wastefully absorb all your fancy products.

“Bounce” It Onto Your Skin

Lottie finds that many people incorrectly “swipe or drag their blenders while applying foundation.” Instead, press slightly when bouncing so that you’re effectively blending, but not too hard that you’ll pull up your makeup. “When using a Beautyblender, you should bounce it onto the skin — otherwise, you’re literally wiping it off while applying,” Lottie says.

Flip It & Use Both Sides

You know that teardrop shape of the Beautyblender? It’s no accident, as it was created to give different levels of coverage. “For full coverage, I use a dampened blender’s end (the widest part) to apply foundation,” says Lottie. “If I want a more sheer coverage, I use the side and roll and bounce onto the skin.”

“Beautyblenders are great for a soft, diffused foundation application,” makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown tells TZR. But there are instances when you apply a bit too much product on your first dab and have a heavy splotch of product on the sponge. “Don’t use the same side to blend it out. You’ll be adding even more product,” she says. “Flip the sponge, buff, and thin out the product with the clean side, then continue on.”

Use It On More Than Just Foundation

For a lit-from-within look, Brown loves using heavily-pigmented cream blushes and highlighters after foundation. But to truly and realistically blend creamy formulas, she grabs her blender. “Lightly go back over the cream product with leftover foundation on the Beautyblender,” she says. “Adding a bit of foundation over the product believably melts it into skin, and it will seem as though the color and glow are very natural flushes and glow.”

Your Beautyblender is synonymous with wetness: damp applicator, liquid foundations, cream formulas. But surprisingly, your makeup sponge or Beautyblender is actually fantastic for powder formula makeup, too. It particularly excels at keeping concealer in place with a process known as “baking,” where you set makeup with a healthy dose of translucent powder.

Dab concealer under your eyes, blend with your Beautyblender, and then it’s magic time: Apply a generous amount of translucent powder over the concealer with a damp Beautyblender. Let it sit for 10 minutes while the heat of your face sets the product, then sweep away excess powder with a fluffy brush. Your under-eyes should now look impossibly rested and last all day long.

Don’t Forget Skin Care, Too

If you’re only grabbing your sponge when it comes time to do your makeup, you’re underutilizing it. “I like to use my Beautyblender for all steps of skin,” Lottie says. “I will use it for skin care, foundation, sometimes powder, and also cream blush and contours.”

Mind blowing, right? Skin care prep with your Bb, particularly with serums and lotions, is a quick way to apply products without over-application. “My favorite way to use a Beautyblender is actually to apply skin care products,” Silva reveals. “It presses everything in nicely and distributes serums evenly.”

Air Dry It Every Time

“Beautyblenders expand when they soak up water," Brown explains. "And because they soak up water, wash often and a lot — and air dry them thoroughly. Mildew and bacteria breed in trapped moisture and can be reactivated when you rewet it to use.”

Traveling? Lottie says never to put a damp or wet Beautyblender in an airtight makeup bag, unless it’s mesh or has air circulation to allow the sponge to dry fully.

Common Beautyblender Mistakes

Never Using It Dry

The general Beautyblender rule is to use it wet, but there is one exception to note. You actually can also use your Bb dry — just cautiously and with purpose.

“Dry sponges are wonderful for blending and diffusing color,” makeup artist Molly R. Stern tells TZR. “I love to soften, contour, and blush using a dry sponge. It’s also great for buffing out foundation around the edges of the face to help soften any line of demarcation.” However, blending concealer, foundation, or any other makeup? Definitely wet it first.

Not Using It To Remove Product Buildup

These blenders are brilliant for application and removing excess product, too. Take a damp sponge and dab around any problem areas, like underneath the eyes or around the nose, to diffuse any excess creasing or product buildup.

Overlooking The OG Option

Beautyblenders are shelfie clickbait, but Brown is a big fan of the humble wedge sponge. “The hard edge is perfect for taking concealer right up to the lash line or diffusing lash line shadow,” she says. She’s also a fan of utilizing them to blend nose and cheek contour creams. “They’re magic erasers for any shadow mistakes on lids and do wonders to press powder down heavily for shine maintenance,” Brown says.

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