I bang on about the Beauty Blender as my preferred method of applying foundation. However, I've been asked a number of times how it stacks up to the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge which is a damn sight cheaper and easier to get our hands on in Ireland. So, when I was in Boots a couple of weeks ago, I threw one into my basket and have been trialling it against the original. For reference, we can order the Beauty Blender brand from Cult Beauty.
From the outset, you can see that there is a size and shape discrepancy between the two sponges. The Real Techniques is much smaller and has a squared-off edge while the Beauty Blender is larger and rounder.
Real Techniques say that the flat edge is for the contours of the face i.e. around the nose, the pointed end is for precision work and the rounder edges for covering large areas. This, in my opinion is, the first issue with the RT sponge. The sawed off shape makes it harder to grip than the Beauty Blender - remember, we are using these damp as prescribed, and the flat side is about as useful for the small contours of the face as the pointed tip is for pinpointing blemishes. In other words, not at all.
But, that doesn't really matter if the RT sponge gives the same flawless, airbrushed finish to foundations that the more expensive Beauty Blender does. You don't have to use it as they say after all. Unfortunately, it doesn't measure up in this regard and there are two reasons why.
In the main, the sponge is more porous than the Beauty Blender which means it sucks up huge amounts of foundation i.e. you use more than necessary. No one likes waste. Secondly, and probably most crucially to the finish the sponge gives, it retains far too much water. When you saturate and then squeeze out the Beauty Blender, it swells to almost double its size but, ends up almost completely dry. The Real Techniques sponge, however, sucks up water as it does foundation and you can feel that water mixing with your foundation, making it much harder to blend and set.
While the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is probably a quarter of the price of the Beauty Blender, you aren't actually getting a good deal. Your makeup won't look as flawless, which is the ultimate aim of this method of application and you will use a lot more foundation than necessary, thus negating the money saved by purchasing the cheaper version. So, from my perspective, I'm sticking with the original.