March 9, 2016

Beauty Confession: I Ditch My Eyeshadow Brushes For This Cheap Tool

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beauty confession

Beauty confession time! So I have like a lot of makeup brushes. I’ve splurged on some expensive ones but I also tend to collect a lot of them from sets, kits, Holiday limited edition, etc…etc…

You know when the Holidays come around every single brand and their mom is releasing some cute or super elegant brush set that becomes a want so hard I begin to sweat until I have it in my greedy hands. Don’t sit there acting like you don’t know what I mean, we’ve all been there! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

But I ditch all my best eyeshadow brushes for this cheap tool!


I buy bulk eyeshadow applicators on Ebay to use for not only swatching makeup but also to apply eyeshadow. Granted, I use my regular brushes to blend but when I’m packing color on my lids I always reach for a cheap as chips eyeshadow applicator.


Because 1, they work great packing color on. I mean even the crummiest, most sheer eyeshadow can be applied intensely with these! And 2, most important, they minimize fall out in a major way!

So yeah, I’m likely living in 1979 here but sponge eyeshadow applicators are my best friend.

Grab one or two from Sephora one day (Sephora has them located on the end caps so you can test eyeshadow in store) and try them out for yourself.

Bet you’ll thank me!

Got a beauty confession you want to share?

Confessional is open!


I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Jackie

    I’m with you. I have a short-handled brush that I think I got at Walgreens, maybe ecotools, but I’ve always loved & bought the packages of sponge-tips, usually the ones that are wide on one end & a slim tip on the other!!

    • Isabella Muse

      Those things are awesome! The ones at Sephora are damn good too! Nice long handle!

      • Diana L Clark

        Thanks for the heads up! I have used the short ones for years, and would wsah them and reuse! The longer handle is great

  • Upsydaisy

    I’m with you on this one 😀 I even do blending with those, although I need only to soften the edges of the wash of eyeshadow that I apply. I usually love the ones that come with the eyeshadows (when they do).

    • Isabella Muse

      They don’t quote work to blend for me but they do pack on color nicely 😀

  • Claire L

    I agree, they’re really good for when you want an intense application. Sometimes a brush is just too wishy-washy to use, ha! I know lots of MUA’s hate them but so what, I’m not one, I’m an amateur lol!

    • Isabella Muse

      Me too! Totally consider myself an amateur and they work for me ha 😀

  • Kimmwc03

    I have a couple that I’ve gotten in cheap brush sets years ago. They are really helpful!

  • TwirlyGirly

    THANK YOU for this!

    Sponge-tip applicators are the BEST for packing on eyeshadow – they also hold the product better, enabling you to get it from the pan/jar to your lid without as much fallout.

    I suspect the whole “sponge-tip applicators are for NOVICES – you must use a BRUSH to apply eyeshadows” thing was started by some brush company wanting to expand their customer base to the consumer market. In other words, it was based on the brush companies making more money, not due to brushes being better at doing the job.

    We’ve been brainwashed to think sponge applicators work poorly, but they don’t (although I agree a brush is often needed for blending). I’ve often wondered how many people know most beauty bloggers do use sponge-tip applicators for their swatches (which I’ll bet is the reason why far too many wonder why they don’t get the same color payoff when they buy the product and apply it to their own lids with a brush).

    All hail the lowly sponge-tip applicator!

    • Isabella Muse

      lol Twirlygirly interesting theory and likely true 😀 I, for one, am a worshipper at the sponge tip applicator alter 😀

  • Sandy Smith

    I could not agree more! They apply color much nicer and YES on reducing fallout! I hate washing makeup brushes, takes so long!

  • Katie

    This post makes me so happy! I was using the sponge applicators until about a year ago when I got really into Colourpop eyeshadows and just use my fingers now (the way they suggest you apply it and I feel like I’m finger painting :D). I always felt like I was doing something wrong when using a brush because my shadow would go everywhere! I never had any fallout issues with the sponge tipped applicators. They are also great for the Colourpop shadows if you don’t want to use your fingers. I still try to use my brushes now and then, but I also buy the $1 or $2 packs of sponge tipped ones from ELF 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      Katie, I use ’em with colourpop too! 🙂 It’s actually a good way to pack color on because those colourpop shadows are damn soft 😀 I agree, it really does feel like I’m doing something wrong when I use a regular eyeshadow brush as I get fall out everywhereeeeeee!

  • Carrie

    I might have to give these a go again. Do you re-use them, or just throw them away after you’re done?

    • Katie

      If it’s the same color, I reuse them. I know they’re cheap but I still don’t want to waste them. I definitely make sure both sides/all sides if it’s double ended are used 🙂

      • Isabella Muse

        I’ve been having a few eyelid issues lately (dryness) so I end up tossing them after use! Don’t wanna spread anything around but def fine to reuse!

    • TwirlyGirly

      I wash mine with a bit of soap and water and reuse them. I’ve found this works at least a few times, until the washing softens the glue holding the sponge onto the tip and it falls off.

      Hey – reusing stuff (even stuff that’s intended for ‘single use’) means I have more money for makeup!

  • Yen

    Haha yes! I usually use them for drugstore eyeshadows if they’re a bit dry and hard and they work wonderfully. I have a maybelline expert wear palette and use a sponge applicator to apply and soften the edges. Whenever I use a brush it picks up barely any color and I get so mad! But with the sponge I magically have color on my eyes!

  • Upsydaisy

    I’m even worse, being a semi trained makeup artist that dislikes brushes 😀

    Or it’s not that I dislike them, but they are time consuming to use etc. (talking about my own simple daily look). It’s just st not something I have capacity for with a 4 year old always at my heels, even though I kept forcing it in the beginning.

  • danadoo

    Wow, i have not used a sponge applicator in years! After reading all these pro-sponge comments, i will be heading over to ebay to give them a try again!

  • Ash

    You are not alone. I must have at least 2000 of them, as I often buy them in bulk from a regular eBay seller as well (I’m terrified he/she will stop selling them one day, theres a quality about these particular applicators that I find perfect!). Kevin Aucoin made a point about using these for eyeshadow in one of his books years ago, and I totally get it. I honestly think brushes are better for blending, or to sheer out a color. I also think the reason they get a bad rep is because they are often found in inexpensive shadow palettes, and they are mainly for short term use. But they are the absolute best for swatching, and getting the most out of any difficult eyeshadow.

    • Isabella Muse

      haha likewise! I just literally purchased 1,000 of them myself! I had to special order though because she only had the short ones in stock and I prefer the longer ones! No kidding! I did’n’t know he addressed these 😀 that’s pretty cool!

      • TwirlyGirly

        Care to share your source? I prefer the longer ones, too, and they can be difficult to find (and expensive, especially considering how few there are in the packages available in stores or online at E.L.F.)

        • Isabella Muse

          My source is actually in this post 🙂 I linked to the store I use. Her name is Tami! She has the exact same ones as Sephora uses (the long handle ones). It took her about 3 days to order the longer ones for me and I grabbed 1,000 of them for, don’t quote me, $60 bucks? She doesn’t have them listed, contact her directly and ask 🙂

          • TwirlyGirly

            Oh well DUH. Leave it to me to completely ignore that part highlighted in RED no less….LOL!

            Based on the number of comments on this post, I’m beginning to think despite most of us having a complete collection of brushes, there are still a lot of us using sponge-tip applicators in secret…behind closed doors…lest we be branded “amateurs”…

            Some of us have let the cosmetic companies, bloggers (not YOU, Miss Muse!), and YouTuber’s convince us that unless we have and use multiple brushes, we can’t possibly be applying our makeup correctly. Think of how many different types of brushes are sold just for the eyes alone.

            The truth is, unless you are doing something very detailed, using multiple colors with very specific placement, most everyday looks can be created with a sponge-tip applicator and one brush for blending.

            I say, “All hail the lowly sponge-tip applicator!”

          • Isabella Muse

            lol no worries that’s an affiliate link btw! Just a heads up! LOLLLLLLLLLLLL! haha! 🙂 Honestly, sponge tip brushes are awesome, I don’t care what anyone says 🙂 Preach it sister! Amen!

  • mirandagrosvenor

    I completely agree. For the most part, I do not like brushes. Every quad, trio, duo and single in my collection has its own sponge applicator with it. That way you don’t have to wash constantly. The ones from Cover Girl in the 3 pack last forever and have a round end and a pointed end. You can also get them at Sephora and in the Essence line at Ulta. Stay away from the store brand ones, they usually suck.

    The first I remember all this brush hype was when Maybelline put out its Natural Accents collection which was a complete MAC rip-off (but very nice). For a drugstore line to put out a blush that didn’t have a brush with it was HUGE. Many thought consumers would never go along with it and would certainly not buy separate tools. Now, of course, it happens all the time.

    • Isabella Muse

      wow that brought me back Miranda! I had blushes from that maybelline collection that I wore in high school and loved hahaha!

  • Katherine T.

    I’m with you Muse! I have oily lids that eat through everything, so packing on shadows with a sponge tip is usually the best way to make sure the shadow lasts, especially with lower quality shadows. And they are essential for baked shadows, which are usually hard, so a brush won’t pick up color. I usually pack it on with a sponge tip, then use a blush to blend and soften.