The Difference Between Wet & Dry Makeup Sponges

By Emily Jarvis

There are as many foundation application techniques as there are makeup artists, and all of this information is a lot for beauty consumers to wade through. The complexities of applying foundation vary based by skin type, foundation and the desired look. Some women swear by sponges, but the question then becomes whether they are best used wet or dry. It is a matter of preference, so try both methods.

Clean sponges after every application to kill bacteria and prevent breakouts.

Advantages of Sponges

Sponges, whether they are used wet or dry, can make a difference in makeup application. When used correctly, sponges spread foundation evenly and are useful for correcting mistakes. Fingers transfer oil to the face, which can cause breakouts, but clean sponges can keep skin clear. The corners of wedge sponges allow makeup to get into tight spots, including the corner of the eye and sides of the nose. The new generation of sponges hitting the market is ergonomic, designed to perfectly fit the contours of the face. Sponges can also be used to apply cream blush and concealer.

Wet Sponges

Wetting the sponge serves several purposes. The moisture dilutes the foundation slightly, making it easier to apply and creating a sheer finish. A sheer, natural finish is great for summer. A damp sponge helps people with dry, flaky skin apply a smoother layer of foundation. A damp sponge also makes it easy to even out creases and streaks once the makeup is applied. Dampening the sponge can also prevent it from soaking up excess foundation.

Dry Sponges

Using a dry sponge allows for fuller coverage because the foundation is not diluted. People with blemishes or shininess may prefer to use a dry sponge for a flawless finish. A dry sponge can also be used to apply cream blush or concealer without taking off the foundation underneath, as a wet sponge might. When the foundation from a wet sponge sets, it can reveal streaks and creases that weren't visible before. Dry sponges show the finished result immediately.

Wet Application

To apply foundation with a wet sponge, dampen it with water and wring it out completely. Excess water will run and ruin the finish of the makeup. Dab some foundation onto the sponge and stipple it onto the skin. This stippling, or dabbing, technique provides even coverage without streaks. Once the face is covered, use a dry sponge or tissue to blot the face and remove excess foundation.

Dry Application

To apply foundation with a dry sponge, dab foundation onto the sponge. Roll the sponge from side to side on the face rather than dragging it, which can cause streaks and uneven application. Finish by blotting with a tissue to remove excess foundation and smooth the finish. A dry sponge can also be used to cover blemishes, even if a wet sponge is used to apply foundation. Dip the dry sponge in a bit of foundation and stipple it directly onto the spot. Blend the foundation gently with the sponge. This will give fuller spot coverage on an otherwise sheer face.