There are many ways to apply foundation on your face, some of them completely unnecessary.

You have fingers, first of all, plus a plethora of brushes and sponges to choose from. Why anyone would blend their makeup with raw chicken breast and/or their boyfriend’s balls is beyond me.

As with most things in life, it’s impossible to say which application tool is better.

Some people swear by their Beauty Blenders, while others will take their beloved foundation brushes to the grave. That’s not even counting those who scoff at using any tool that isn’t already attached to their bodies.

The easiest way out is to say it’s entirely a matter of preference, but that’s not very accurate or efficient. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right application tool for the job, and preference is just one of them.

Suffice it to say that it’s not really a question of which one is better, but which one is better for you.

Today we focus on two of the best tools available: the foundation brush and the makeup sponge. Which one should you use? Let’s find out.

The Brush

Unlike sponges, your foundation brush won’t absorb any product so you get better coverage and less wastage. It also allows for more precise application, so there’s less bouncing and moving around of the makeup you’ve already laid down.

You can literally paint your face with a traditional paddle brush, or buff the foundation in with a flat-top kabuki. For a more “airbrushed” finish, you could use a stippling brush instead.

The application is really quick and efficient, once you get the hang of it. Makeup brushes are also easier to clean and maintain, plus they last a lot longer.

The problem with brushes is they can leave very obvious streaks on your face unless you spend a lot of time buffing and blending. This in turn will make your peach fuzz more visible, which ruins the smooth finish you’re going for.

Brushes also have a tendency to pull up flaky skin, so dry skin folks are better off sticking to sponges for foundation application.

Image from Beauty Blender

The Sponge

People have been applying makeup with sponges even before the iconic pink egg became a thing, but there’s no denying that the Beauty Blender has been a major game-changer.

Sponges are great for diffused foundation application, so you get a more natural finish. Makeup looks seamless and you don’t have to deal with annoying streaks.

They’re also a lot easier on the skin, so those who are prone to redness and sensitivity can apply makeup without causing any skin reactions.

The Beauty Blender and its ilk are designed specifically to cover multiple uses. The round base is great for bouncing foundation on the skin, for example, while the tip can be used for more precise application of concealer.

The problem with sponges is that they’re a lot more high maintenance than brushes. You have to wash them daily unless you’re looking to culture bacteria on your face. They also break down a lot faster, so you’ll have to replace them more often.

Sponges also eat up a lot of your product, so you’re using more foundation for less coverage. Even the Beauty Blender — despite its lofty claims — is guilty of this to some extent.

To sum up, let’s look at a few different scenarios and decide whether to go Team Brush or Team Sponge.

If your foundation is very liquid…

Go with the brush. Sponges will just soak the product up and leave you with nothing. (For very watery foundations like MAC Face and Body, there’s no point in using either. Just use your fingers.)

If your foundation is thick and cakey…

Use the sponge. A brush will leave obvious streaks and it’ll be very difficult to buff that foundation in. The sponge will give you a much more even and diffused finish with little to no tugging on the skin.

If your skin is very dry…

Spritz your sponge with a hydrating mist before you apply your foundation. Don’t even think about using a brush.

If you don’t have a lot of time to wash your tools…

Go with brushes. You still have to wash them (please, wash your brushes like a civilized person), but not as often as you would a sponge. They’re a lot easier to disinfect, too.

If you’re always in a rush…

It’s a wash. Some people find sponges more time-consuming because of the bouncing motion, while others think that blending and buffing with a brush can take longer. It honestly depends on which tool you’re more comfortable with, as practice makes your application faster over time.

If you have to take your makeup stuff with you…

Definitely go with the brush. You should never stick your damp sponge in a poorly ventilated container unless you’re trying to establish a bacteria colony or something.

If you want a more glowy finish…

Sponge all the way. Dampen before use to get a dewy, hydrated look.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t talk about the Silisponge…

Because that silicone nightmare is an abomination unto the Lord. You’re better off with the raw chicken breast.

Featured image by Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash