Stay or Stray: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge vs. Beauty Blender

Hello, lovelies! I am starting a new series called ‘Stay or Stray’, kind of like a ‘Buy or Bye’ or a ‘Hot or Not’, except this is the best phrase I could come up with. 😉 I’ll be reviewing items that have an interesting claim or possible ‘dupe’ status to see if I should Stay (I love the item and would recommend) or Stray (I wasn’t impressed and wouldn’t recommend) with this item.

So this week, I’ll be reviewing and comparing the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to the famous Beauty Blender!

My Beauty blender has revolutionized how I apply my makeup. It is the easiest, most fool-proof, most natural looking way to apply liquid foundation, and I can’t live without it! However, I can understand how the hefty twenty dollar price tag can scare some people off, so while wandering the halls of Walgreens (dangerous territory, I know ;)), I came across the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($5.99). Real Techniques is a brush brand created by British YouTubers Sam and Nic Chapman, and they have created one of the most high-quality, low-cost brush lines that I have seen! They used to be only available on their website, realtechniques.com, but now have expanded to Ulta, Walgreens, and I believe Target online. ANYWAY, I’ve wanted to try this for a while because I’ve seen lots of rave reviews, and the price was just right, so I picked it up to review!

Here’s what it looks like:

IMG_7071    IMG_7074

In comparison to the Beauty Blender, it’s a tad bigger, but not by too much. The design is quite similar to the BB, except it’s a little more oblong and has a flat edge on the bottom. It’s much less dense and softer than the BB. While the BB still has some substance and ‘weight’ to it, the RT sponge feels like it’s as light as air.

IMG_7076  Comparison when dry

IMG_7075   Comparison when soaked and squeezed dry

All three parts of the sponge have three separate claims:

IMG_7072

So, use the tip for concealer, the sides for foundation, and the flat edge to get around the tight nose and eye areas. But, if you’re not into that, in the words of Jaclyn Hill, ‘You do you, boo’. 🙂

When I use these sponges, I squeeze them under a running faucet until it’s at maximum size, then squeeze out the rest of the water and towel dry. The reason for this is that the dampness takes in any excess product that you may have put on so as to avoid cake face. Also, this adds extra moisture, which is very helpful in the winter months. So, here’s a couple pictures of my review:

IMG_7078  My right side with foundation applied with BB

IMG_7079    Left side applied foundation with RT Sponge

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I’ve gotta be honest, it is VERY hard to tell a difference between the two! The one thing I will say is that when you look up close, the concealer blended in with with the BB is just a tad bit more natural looking than the RT, at least in regards to whether or not you can ‘see’ the concealer on top of my blemishes. And again, it’s just a slight difference, but, when using the liquid foundation, I just can’t tell a difference! I think for such a discount that you get by buying a RT sponge, the quality is amazing. It’s not quite as perfect as the BB, and I’ll still continue to use my BB, but for my girls on a budget or just starting out with makeup, this is a GREAT steal!

I think I’ll STAY with this one! I would totally recommend this in place of a Beauty Blender. (but I’ll be honest, my heart will always be with my tried and true BB :))

Have any requests for upcoming posts? I’m ALWAYS open to suggestion. I hope you have a splendiferous day, be kind, and I will see you soon!

Bye, lovelies!

xo, Katie

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Must-Have Tools and Brushes!

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(And please excuse how much I need to clean these 🙂

I am a minimalist. If I don’t have to do something, I don’t do it. So naturally, my tools are minimal as well! I’m a firm believer that no matter how creamy, pigmented, or luxurious your products are, you just can’t get the perfect look without having your perfect tools of the trade. Therefore, investing in a good set of brushes is SO worth your money in the long run. Yes, it may be expensive at first, but if you’re using these products every day, the benefits far outweigh the initial cost.

ANYWAY, let’s get to my tool recommendations!

Note: All of the Sigma brushes mentioned are from the Essential Kit, $160, http://www.sigmabeauty.com

Face:

  •  Beauty Blender, $19.95, sephora.com: This is HANDS DOWN my favorite way to apply foundation/concealer. I tried using stippling brushes, but in my experience, it just took too long to achieve that “airbrushed” look (like, girl’s got no time for that!). I also tried using buffing brushes (e.g., the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush), but I could still tell that there was foundation sitting on my skin. Then, I joined the cult following of this sponge, and my life has been forever changed! Yes, it may seem a little crazy to spend twenty dollars on a sponge, but in the cosmetic industry, you really get what you pay for. Not only is it the easiest way to apply liquid/cream bases, but it is the best way to create the most natural, flawless-looking canvas for a perfect face! Just squeeze the Beauty Blender under water and dab your liquid across your face, and you are good to go!
  • Powder puffs (for pressed powders), $1 4-pack, http://www.eyeslipsface.com: Setting your liquid/cream foundation with powder is absolutely essential for a couple reason. First of all, it extends the wear of your makeup and how long it stays beautiful, and it also stops your liquids (especially your under eye concealer) from creasing throughout the day. Lastly, for us oily girls out there, it keeps us matte and shine-free all day. Therefore, if you’re a pressed powder kind of gal (e.g., Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder), using a powder puff instead of a brush is ideal because you can control how much powder you put on specific areas of the face. Dry skin girls may not need to use powder as much, but for those who need oil control, applying pressed powder with a puff to the T-zone is just enough to keep dat shine away. 🙂
  • Sigma F30 Large Powder (for loose powders), $28, http://www.sigmabeauty.com: If you’re a fan of using loose powders (e.g., Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder, MY FAVE!), using a brush is a better idea because it’s a lot easier to control than a puff. All you do is dip a brush into the powder, tap the excess off of the side, and apply to where you need it.
  • Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour, $22, http://www.sigmabeauty.com: I love this brush because you can use it for so many different products! You can use it to contour, but I’ll be honest, I don’t like the way it looks on me and I can never figure it out, but I’m sure this brush works great for contouring if that’s your thing! What I use this brush for is applying blush with the fat side, then turning it over and using the tip to apply highlighter to the tops of the cheekbones. This is the SOFTEST brush out of the entire Essential Kit, so bonus. 🙂
  • Fingers, free, God: If you’re on a super tight budget, in a rush, or just incredibly lazy like I am, using the tools God gave you are still a very reliable way to apply liquid! Just make sure they’re clean first. Don’t wanna spread dat bacteria. 🙂

Eyes

  • Sigma E55 Eye Shading, $14, http://www.sigmabeauty.com: You NEED this brush for any eye look. I repeat: you NEED this brush for ANY eye look. Step aside from the Q-tips and foam applicators that come with many palettes. This is the perfect way to apply your eyeshadow to your lid for the most basic to the most intense looks. Nuff said.
  • Sigma E30 Pencil, $14, http://www.sigmabeauty.com: If you’re in the mood to step it up from a one-shadow look, applying darker colors to the crease with this brush is exactly how you accomplish that. Doing this adds definition to the eye and more beautiful colors to any eye look.
  • Sigma E40 Tapered Blending, $16, http://www.sigmabeauty.com: This is your gateway to the most professional-looking eye looks you’ve ever seen. Sure, you can slap some color on your lid and put a darker color in the crease, but it just won’t look polished. Blending out these colors will make for a more seamless transition from lid to crease to brow bone. This is your best friend, and will be for the rest of your life. Just buy it!

So, there you go! These are the absolute minimum brushes I would need for a full face of makeup! Brushes are an investment, but they’re also a surefire way to achieve that perfect look you crave. There are so many brush lines out there, some more expensive than others, but a great drugstore brush line is Real Techniques, which is sold in Ulta and Walgreen’s. Also, e.l.f. has a great brush line with INSANELY cheap brushes! And, of course, I recommend the Sigma Essential Brush kit. It really has all of the essentials, and it’s middle ground as far as price goes. If you have any questions or other recommendations, feel free to leave a comment down below! Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful rest of your day!