Should You Use Oval Brushes Or Sponges For Makeup?

When it comes to successful makeup application, the tools we use are just as important as the products we choose. But with so many options from brushes to fingers to sponges, how do you know which is the best? In the search to find the best way to beat the face, I tried oval brushes versus a sponge to apply makeup. More specifically, I pitted the innovative Artis Brushes against the cult-favorite beautyblender. And let me tell you, it was one hell of a showdown.

In case you're unfamiliar with either, Artis Brushes look like hairbrushes but for your face. Their sizes and shapes may seem a little odd at first, but they're made with with the beauty junkie in mind. That is, they will help facilitate self-application so you can more easily apply your products evenly and blend them beautifully. On the other hand, the beautyblender is like the ultimate makeup sponge. Its unique shape and design make it multipurpose, so it can seamlessly blend any product. But how would each tool fare when it came to applying an entire face routine consisting of primer, foundation, concealer, highlighter, and blush? Here's what happened when I tried applying my makeup with both the Artis brushes and the beautyblender.

Artis Brush Set, $165, Net-A-Porter; Beauty Blender, $20, Amazon


When I don't use my fingers to smooth on primer, I use a blending brush. So the Artis Oval 10 Brush did exactly what I needed. It quickly blended in my primer so I could move on to the next.

Artis Oval 10 Brush, $75, Net-A-Porter

The beautyblender, however, proved a little more difficult. Perhaps it was because I used a thicker, stick-form primer, but the bouncing motions I normally use with the beautyblender didn't work as well to smooth this product out. Instead, I had to drag the beautyblender around my face, which honestly just felt a little odd.

PS: This is how you should be using a beautyblender.

Beautyblender Original Makeup Sponge, $20, Amazon


You guys. This brush is so freakin' soft. So not only did it feel amazing on my skin, but of course it also blended in my foundation like a dream.

I also tried this brush with a powder foundation. And while the results were equally amazing, it's worth noting that this particular brush size is slightly too large to evenly pick up product from a standard powder compact.

But honestly, the beautyblender also blends in foundation like a dream. While I wouldn't use a beautyblender with powder foundation, I must admit it's too tough to decide which tool I would reach for over the other when it comes to liquid or cream foundations.


I don't tend to use too much concealer, so I switched to a smaller brush, the Circle 1, to blend in concealer under my eyes and around my nose. While this was the perfect size for detailing around my nose, I did find this brush to be slightly too small for under the eyes. Regardless of the size though, I have to say that I'm not the biggest fan of using brushes in general for under the eye. The skin in this area is just so delicate, that sweeping and rubbing motions kind of freak me out. I much prefer tapping motions to blend in concealer.

Bliss Undercover Secret Full Coverage Concealer, $25, Amazon; Elite Mirror Circle 1 Brush, $35, Net-A-Porter

Which brings me to the beautyblender. I felt as though this sponge allowed me to better blend in the concealer underneath my eyes. And with zero tugging.


Turning to the Oval 4 for cheek products, I actually really enjoyed applying powder highlighter with this brush. However, cream highlighter (shown) required a bit more work to build up.

Elite Mirror Oval 4 Brush, $45, Net-A-Porter

Because these brushes don't absorb much product, but rather allow you to lay down as much product as you pick up, I was a little shocked at first when I started applying the cream blush. I thought I had put waay too much on. However, a little blending quickly remedied that situation and I was pleased with the flush I was left with.

Likewise, the beautyblender didn't do the best job of applying cream highlighter. I ended up swiping it on with my finger and then blending it out instead.

And because the beautyblender, unlike the Artis Brushes, does absorb some product, it allowed me to be slightly more confident applying blush. I didn't have to worry if I would be able to blend it out, because it applied such a soft wash of color. Instead, I had to dip back into the product a couple of times to build up my blush to my desired intensity.

Final Thoughts

After trying these tools out with a variety of products, I have to say, both have their hits and misses depending on what you're looking for. When it comes to applying a cream or liquid foundation, you really can't go wrong with either the beautyblender or the Artis Oval 10. Both blend quickly and amazingly for a flawless finish. But depending on your other preferences, here's what I would recommend:

If you prefer being able to apply powder products just as easily as liquid or cream products, the Artis Brushes are where it's at. The design and shapes of these brushes make it easy to use the same brush for cream blush one day and a powder highlight the next.

If you prefer needing fewer tools or something more travel friendly though, go for the beautyblender. This little sponge can basically apply all of your makeup on its own. Think of all the space you'll save when the same tool can cover foundation, concealer, and cheek color.

And speaking of cheek color, if you prefer to just lay down your color and then blend it out, the Artis Brushes will help make sure no color gets left behind. But if you can be a little heavy handed, or prefer a sheer wash of color, the beautyblender will help keep you from going overboard.

Of course, either way you go, your makeup application will be on point.

You can shop Artis Brushes online at and beautyblender online at or in-stores at Sephora.

Check them out:

Artis Brush Set, $285, Amazon

Beauty Blender, $25, Amazon

Images: Miki Hayes (10)