After years of applying foundation with my fingertips, I was ready to give beauty tools a shot. My hands weren’t cutting it when it came to blending (and I was sick of accidentally getting concealer all over my clothes), but I also knew I wouldn’t regularly clean a makeup brush. My solution was to finally put the world’s most popular makeup sponge—the beautyblender—to the test. After a single use, I was convinced that once you learn how to use a makeup sponge to apply foundation, your life will never be the same.
It seems relatively foolproof, but there’s actually a right and a wrong way to use the porous tool. So to help you get the best foundation finish of your life, I caught up with Kelli J. Bartlett, a professional makeup artist and the Artistic Director of Glamsquad, for an incredibly simple breakdown.
The first step is wetting your sponge. You should never use a makeup sponge dry to apply foundation, especially if it’s a beautyblender, says Bartlett. She recommends squishing it under water about eight times until it’s fully saturated. Then, wring out the excess water. Not only will this give you more of a natural finish that you can build upon, but it also won’t allow the sponge to soak up excess foundation.
Next, dip the sponge (if you’re using a beautybender, dip the rounded side) into foundation. Then, gently press or roll the sponge onto your skin to provide coverage. “Bouncing or dabbing is preferred as it allows the product to melt into your skin, creating a seamless finish,” explains Barlett.
If you’re using a beautyblender, use the pointy edge to target hard-to-reach areas like around the nose. Bartlett also recommends using this side to conceal and brighten the under-eye area.
The only thing that’s annoying about using a sponge? Not unlike a brush, you should really give your sponge a quick clean after every use. You can use your brush cleanser or create a lather with your regular facial cleanser—just be sure to thoroughly rinse and squeeze until you don’t see any suds.