Jan 26, 2015

The One Thing to Consider Before Using a Make-Up Sponge

Make up sponges have grown vastly popular in the past few years. Ever since the advent of the Beauty Blender, the market have since been flooded with a variety of sponges. From the high-end, we have companies like Dior and Shu Umera boasting the latest high-tech sponges that probably costs way more than what a sponge should ever cost. Whereas on the other spectrum we have knock-offs that only sells for a couple of dollars on eBay.

They are popular for good reasons. The first and most important reason: it leaves your foundation looking airbrushed and seamless. No more nasty cakey make-up!

That being said, I must admit that  have never jumped on board with the whole Make-Up Sponge hype. 

Shocking, I know. 

Let me explain why:

Despite it's easy application and flawless finish it leaves on your skin, I greatly question the hygiene level of constantly having a damp make-up sponge. No, this isn't about foundation residue left on your sponge, this is about bacteria and mould!

Sponges, unlike the old-school brushes, simply takes too long to dry. The emphasis here is no longer the method of cleaning, but the method of drying. Why? It's simple. The longer the sponge stays damp, the greater the chances of it attracting bacteria and mould!

Some ladies I know aren't too bothered with that fact because they are assured of its cleanliness as long as it is physically clean of foundation residues and what not. As with anything in life:

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there.

Here's some proof:

"The warm, damp and porous nature of kitchen sponges make them an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. In these conditions one bacterium can multiply to more than four million in just eight hours.
This can make them up to 200 times more infested than a lavatory. A study by the University of Arizona found that most sponges in kitchens hold large numbers of bacteria including E.coli and salmonella." - source

Granted, we're not talking about kitchen sponges here. Though the idea is the same - make-up sponges can be indeed warm, damp and they are in fact porous. Yes, even with the best cleaning solutions or microwaving it.

Additionally, the egg-shaped or spherical nature of the sponge further aggravates the drying time. Especially in the core of the sponge. So while it may be dry to touch, the centre of the sponge may still be damp enough to harbour unwanted bacteria.

Not convinced?

Ever found some black specks on your make-up sponge? Those are mould! It happened to me on the second day that I've bought one. Despite how new it was, I couldn't bear the thought of having mould come in contact with my skin. With great reluctance, I threw it out and never looked backed since.

Take heart, not all is lost!

There is one way where you can have the similar flawless finish of a make-up sponge all whilst maintaining tip-top hygiene standards for your face.

It's none other than: Disposable Wedge sponges

I'm not talking about any disposable make-up sponges, but the ones that look like a wedge. Sure, for those who have had the Beauty Blender and fallen in love with the soft bouncy texture of the sponge, this is hardly a close substitute. I'm just going to say it: It's not the most fancy nor is it the most appealing sponge you have ever seen. What it is though, the closest hygienic substitute there is to date.

There is a method I use to mimic the bouncing action of the Beauty Blender too.

How I do it:

1. Taking the two ends of the dampened wedge, pinch it together until you get an almost spherical shape on the other end

2. Just like a normal make up sponge, bounce the sponge on a up and down motion until your foundation is blended seamlessly

3. Dispose used sponge after

That's as simple as it gets! I get a 12-piece pack for SGD $2 at Daiso, but I found a 100 piece pack on eBay for USD 6.99 with free shipping here. Though once again, I stress that this is by no means a good substitute for the good ol' Beauty Blender. Rather, the closest alternative that is clean and hygienic.

 I understand that this post is not for everyone, nor will the majority agree with this post. If you've been using a make-up sponge for a long duration now, and have not broken out then then you probably have a great immunity against such things. (Lucky)  I'm just not one of the people whose skin can tolerate such things.

Despite it all, I hope you'd tell me your experiences with make-up sponges and if you've had experienced something similiar. Don't forget to share it on Google+, Twitter and Facebook if you've found this useful!

P.S I have been unable to reply to your comments directly, but I still do reply to all comments. Do check back from time to time to see them, or click 'Notify Me' on the comment box below.

Have a great day ahead!



  1. After I clean my make up sponge I always put it in the microwave. That works pretty well and there aren't any bacteria left :)


  2. Hey Lisa!

    I have heard that method of cleaning and it does sound tempting! Some, like Tati aka Glamlifeguru, also swears by microwaving it before washing the sponge too. I'm still quite hesitant of repurchasing another though, especially after hearing about some cases where parts of the sponge melted while microwaving it in a water bowl. Did that happen to you before?


  3. I always wash it and than microwave it. It really works and the sponge is still intact! I wouldn't microwave it on really high temperature and I check it every 2 - 3 minutes.


  4. I see, I'll definitely keep that in mind! I do feel more assured hearing from your experience though. Thank you Lisa :)