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, there are still a few things you didn’t know about your dear, beloved Beautyblender. It’s been around since 2007, but the tool is still perhaps the most misused, confused, and yet underused tool in your kit. Below, read all about the Beautyblender mistakes — and hacks — that the pros have learned throughout the years.
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Cleaning It Enough
“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 course though. If you’re cleaning your sponge daily, you’ll be able to hold onto it for months — ideally two to three — without much trouble. For Lottie, she washes her personal sponges every two to three days — and her makeup kit sponges are washed and dried completely after every use. Speaking of washing...
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Washing It Properly
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’s 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.
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Drying It Properly
“Beautyblenders expand when they soak up water," makeup artist Tasha Reiko 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 put a damp or wet blender in an air-tight makeup bag, unless it’s mesh or has air circulation to allow the sponge to dry fully.
Beautyblender Mistake: Using It Dry
“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. Why? Well, the Beautyblender is hydrophilic, meaning it’s designed to actually 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, but not wastefully absorb all your fancy products. But there is one exception to note...
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Using It Dry
You can also use your Bb dry — cautiously and with purpose. “Dry sponges are wonderful for blending and diffusing color,” makeup artist Molly R. Stern says. “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.” Blending concealer, foundation, or any other makeup? Wet it first.
Beautyblender Mistake: Only Using It For Foundation
If you’re only grabbing your sponge when it comes time to blend your foundation, you’re underutilizing it. “I like to use my Beautyblender for all steps of skin,” Lottie says. “I will use it for skincare, foundation, sometimes powder, and also cream blush and contours.”
Mind blowing, right? And yep, skincare 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 skincare products,” Silva reveals. “It presses everything in nicely and distributes serums evenly.”
Beautyblender Mistake: Dragging It Across Your Face
“People swipe or drag their blenders while applying foundation,” says Lottie. “When using a Beautyblender, you should bounce it onto the skin otherwise you’re literally wiping it off while applying.” Press slightly when bouncing so that you’re effectively blending, but not too hard that you’ll pull up your makeup.
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Flipping It
“Beautyblenders are great for a soft diffused foundation application,” says Brown. 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.”
Beautyblender Mistake: 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.
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Using It “Dirty”
For a truly 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.”
Lottie also swears by this seamless tip. After her skincare, foundation, concealer, and blush are done, she grabs her Beautyblender. “I will turn the sponge over and use the foundation side to blend any edges or hard lines of blush and contour,” she says.
Beautyblender Mistake: Not Using The Right Side
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.”
Beautyblender Mistake: 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,” she says.
Beautyblender Mistake: Only Using It On Liquid Foundation
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 eyes, blend with your Beautyblender, 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.