Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dupe or No Dupe? BornPrettyStore Waterdrop Shape Beauty Blender Regular & Mini*

I love my original Beautyblender. I really do. But you know, it feels absolutely ridiculous to spend $20 on a frikkin' make-up sponge you have to replace regularly. I mean, it's just a sponge, as soft and squishy as it may be. So I've been looking for some decent dupes for a while now, and while I enjoyed using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (reviewed here), with frequent usage it started falling apart on me much faster then the original BB.
So when the BornPrettyStore contacted me to see if I'd be interested in any of their new products, I spotted this cute 'Waterdrop Shape Beauty Blender Expansion with Water Liquid Cream Foundation Sponge'* ($2.19 each, you'll be getting a random color) and thought - heck, why not. Because if it really turns out to be a good dupe... It's precisely $17.76 cheaper than the real deal. That's a BIG DIFFERENCE. The adorable mini version ('Mini Beauty Blender Double In Size When Damp')* is for some reason more expensive than the big guy, but still not exactly a splurge at $2.32 each. Both BornPrettyStore sponges were securely packed, shipped out to me by air mail and delivered very quickly - no problems whatsoever on that account.
I'll try to do my best now to make this comparison review as easy as possible to digest. As you can see in the photo above, the BornPretty Waterdrop Blender is both similar size and shape to the original pink BB (sorry, mine's a bit stained at the bottom) - the end is a bit more pointy and it's more egg-shaped than conical, but that's about it. In the photo below, you can see how much the sponge expands when dampened with water; the first photo on the left shows a dry Beautyblender and a damp BornPretty Blender, the photo on the right shows both sponges when damp. I'd say they both expand to about the same size. The BornPrettyStore Blender is made in China; the Beautyblender is made in the USA. Both leak dye when washed with soap.
Now, the biggest structural difference between the original bb and the potential dupe is the actual material. I've tried to show it in the close-up shot, but the surface of the original pink Beautyblender is more porous, while the dupe is more uniform. There is also a significant and observable difference in the softness of these two sponges: the original is more squishy and bouncy both when dry and wet, while the BornPrettyStore Blender is firmer and more resilient when pressed (the mini is made out of the same material). This results in a different application experience - you can lightly press and stipple the original onto the skin, while the 'dupe' needs stronger pressure for the same effect, which is simply not as pleasant or quick. The end result is about the same in both cases; but in all honestly, I prefer the softness of the Beautyblender.
I think that while the quest a couple years ago for all the companies trying to dupe the original Beautyblender was to find a similar sponge material that expanded when wet, now when that has been mastered, it's more about the actual softness/ texture of the sponge. The RealTechniques sponge turned too soft and floppy with regular use for my tastes. This BornPrettyStore dupe is a bit too firm. Obviously, these are quite minute differences, so I say if you're on a budget or just want to try out a make-up sponge for the first time, the less expensive options are still fabulous; but for me personally, so far I like the original best of all (darn you, expensive tastes!).

Do you use make-up sponges to apply your foundation? Have you tried any of the 'dupes', and if so, which one is your all-time favorite?

Disclaimer:  Items marked with an asterix (*) are press samples I received from the BornPrettyStore for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!


  1. I used to use regular drugstore sponges, but then got a Beauty Blender on a whim (the white one), which also came with a little drying case and a solid soap. It was an epiphany on several fronts! #1, that soap is my go to soap for washing brushes AND the sponge. It is very effective and gentle! #2, for specific foundations (for example, my Tom Ford stick), it gives the BEST, most skin-like finish ever.

    While the price is on the high side, I find that even with regular use, the BB holds up for a long time. My original BB lasted over 2 years. I recently purchased a new one to replace the old one and hope it will also last well.

  2. Thanks for the review Monika. I don't know if you/any reader knows the BB sponge dupe that Sephora has a while back -- it is also the type that expands while wet etc. but it is made in Japan. I wonder if this BornPretty is more similar to that: from your description; the surface is more "dense" and not as bouncy/supple. Have you tried the BornPretty with thicker foundation (like stick or cream) v.s. liquid?

    I haven't use my BB lately but I really also like the RT sponge since it has the same application finish as BB (just fed up that it is never in-stock at my local Ulta). In my experience, my BB actually falls apart after a few months of use, but maybe because I wash it every single time or maybe with the wrong kind of soap (The Sephora gal told me that the BB soap "preserve" the sponge but I don't believe such claim after reading the soap's ingredients & comparing it with a regular bar soap). RT sponge got torn apart by the Tod, so I never know how long lasting it actually is compared to BB intact.

    1. So I just typed up an entire long comment, just to have Blogger erase it all when I hit publish *grrrr* Anyway, I was saying that I haven't tried the Sephora sponge, but I heard that the Sephora dupe of the BB sponge soap is just as good as the original, but cheaper. Although like you, I'm questioning whether the sponge soap is any different from regular soap, so I'm resisting a purchase. We shall see how long my BB lasts - I know these things are not meant to last forever, which is why it makes me mad to spend $20 every time you need a new one!

  3. i always am excited to read these beautyblender comparison posts. I haven't tried any beautyblender alternatives, but i really do love my beautyblender. It seems that most people think the beautyblender is better, and I'm inclined to save my extra $ and not try out the alternatives, lol!

  4. The beautyblender I have is holding up really well and so far has lasted three times longer than the RT sponge which I'll never look at again. In terms of durability, the shu lightbulb sponge is possibly even sturdier but it's much denser and doesn't have the same texture as the bb. Performance-wise they all seem very similar if not the same, so my money will always go to the one that can keep the longest and be ergonomically pleasing.