Sponge Wars: Beauty Blender Dupes Below PHP500

10/12/2015 04:12:00 PM


Nowadays, makeup sponges are considered a necessity in every makeup junkie's loot. This tool gained so much popularity due to the inception of the most coveted sponge of all, the Holy Grail of all makeup sponges: the Beauty Blender. This product is so remarkable that a lot of companies desperately tried to reproduce a similar item.

I believe anyone reading this will agree that as of the moment, there is nothing that can beat the amazing Beauty Blender. However, I can't deny the fact that there are cheaper alternatives out in the market. If you are in the Philippines, this post will provide details of sponge options that are below Php500.


Other notable items that may not be locally available are the Cynthia Rowley Precision Blending Sponge, and the BH Cosmetics Studio Pro Beauty Blending Sponge. I highly recommend trying them as well. And if you're wondering why the Too Cool for School Marshmallow Puff is not included in this article, that's because it retails for Php650. If you would like to see a review on it please type "Marshmallow Review" in the comments.

A few things to remember on sponge usage:
1. With daily use and given proper care, life of a sponge (in general) should last about 5-6 months.
2. Long nails will puncture/cut any sponge.
3. Always clean a sponge (regardless of the brand) after each use.
4. Use damp to get best results.


Here are the contenders (clockwise in order) : Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, Bonni Beauty Sponge, Caiqian Sponge, BYS Blending Sponge, and Moonkini Sponge. Review and testing is based on Beauty Blender standards thus, all comments and findings about each product's performance are in comparison to a Beauty Blender.

Note: This is not a sponsored review. All items were purchased using my own money. All sponges were brand new at the start of testing and were used on myself only.


Score/Result scale:
1. High
2. Above Average
3. Average
4. Below Average
5. Low

Toughness scale:
1. Very Tough
2. Slightly Tough
3. Easy
4. Slightly Easy
5. Very Easy

Makeup used:
1. Dollface Cream Corrector and Concealer Palette - applied using a brush, blending using sponge
2. Max Factor FaceFinity Liquid Foundation - 1 pump to a mixing plate, applied and blended using sponge on top of the concealer

Cleaning agents used (mixture):
1. Joy Antibac
2. Johnson's Baby Bath Milk

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge



Retailing between Php400 to Php500 depending on where you'd order it, this remains at the top of my list. It is by far the best dupe for the Beauty Blender in my opinion. I wouldn't go into detail as there's already an abundance of reviews on this item. Google search should help you find out more information about this product if you're not familiar.


To my horror, the new sponge doesn't seem to have the same quality and texture compared to my earlier purchase. I've heard a lot of similar stories. Pictured on the right is my older RT sponge. If you have the same problem do comment if there's a noticeable difference in makeup application.

BYS Blending Sponge



Dry (Beauty Blender on the left)

Wet (Beauty Blender on the right)


Price: Php299
Purchased from: Watsons
Colors Available: 1
Packaging: Soft plastic box can be reused as desired. I did like the plastic bed it came with (2nd picture) and have decided to keep that instead
Latex feel: Above average, doesn't indicate if sponge is latex-free
Bounciness: Below average, feels full, has tendencies to deform for a few seconds when wet
Growth (when wet): High, grew double the size
Product pick up: Below average, doesn't absorb too much makeup
Product application/blending: Average, gives a sheer finish, covers area faster during foundation application because of bigger base
Cleaning: High, very easy to remove makeup deposit, slightly tough when squeezing water out
Staining: Low
Drying: Average
Stress test: Above average, showed minimal cuts after first wash

Bonni Beauty Sponge


Dry (Beauty Blender on the left)

Wet (Beauty Blender on the left)


Old Packaging Image courtesy of @agoraboutique Instagram

Old Packaging

Old Packaging

New Packaging

Price: Php270 per piece, Php500 for 2 pcs (special offer)
Purchased from: Instagram seller @agoraboutique
Colors Available: 1
Packaging: Plastic zip lock bag, can be reused as desired
Latex feel: Average, doesn't indicate if sponge is latex-free
Bounciness: Above average, feels less full
Growth (when wet): High, grew double the size
Product pick up: Average, may absorb liquids a little more
Product application/blending: Above average, gives a sheer finish
Cleaning: Above average, easy to remove makeup deposit, slightly easy to squeeze out water
Staining: Above Average
Drying: Average
Stress test: Below Average, showed minimal cuts after several washes

Caiqian Sponge


Dry (Beauty Blender on the left)

Wet (Beauty Blender on the left)


Price: Php140
Purchased from: Instagram seller @allthingsgirly.ph
Colors Available: a few, cannot chose color upon purchase
Packaging: Hard reusable plastic container similar to cotton buds container, best packaging in my opinion
Latex feel: High, doesn't indicate if sponge is latex-free
Bounciness: Below average, feels very full
Growth (when wet): High, grew double the size
Product pick up: Above average, absorbs liquids more
Product application/blending: Below average, patchy effect, has tendencies of dragging makeup, slightly tough when using under the eyes because of the shape
Cleaning: Below average, slightly tough to remove makeup deposit, very tough when squeezing water out
Staining: High
Drying: Below average
Stress test:  High, showed a lot of cuts after first wash

Moonkini Sponge


Dry (Beauty Blender on the left)

Wet (Beauty Blender on the right)


Price: Php150
Purchased from: Facebook seller Le Boutique PH
Colors Available: Several, cannot chose color upon purchase
Packaging: Flimsy plastic box, can be reused as desired
Latex feel: Above average, doesn't indicate if sponge is latex-free
Bounciness: Below average, feels a little full
Growth (when wet): Low, minimal to no almost no growth at all
Product pick up: Average to Above average, may seem to absorb a lot (liquids) but transfers adequate amount of product
Product application/blending: Average, gives translucent finish
Cleaning: Above average, easy to remove makeup deposit, slightly tough when squeezing water out
Staining: Above average
Drying: Above average
Stress test: High, doesn't have any cuts to date

FINAL VERDICT

Remember, results may vary depending on the makeup product used and skin condition. My rating doesn't affect the possibility of repurchasing because a particular sponge may have fallen short on one area but may have performed on another area. I actually found a particular use for each item.

Bottom line is, they are all usable. Your skill on makeup application will determine which sponge will work best for you. Here's my ranking in order:

1. Bonni Beauty Sponge
2. BYS Blending Sponge
3. Moonkini Sponge
4. Caiqian Sponge

Do you have knowledge of other sponges priced below Php500? Let me know and I'll be glad to include them here!

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