Using sponges to apply makeup isn't a concept that's new by any means, but there's been an upswing in the number of specialized sponges on the market thanks in part to the popularity of the Beautyblender sponge. Dream Blender is Maybelline's take on the trend, and it comes with claims that it's a "must-have tool for flawless makeup application." While that's overstating things a bit, it does have enough worthy traits that it comes just shy of earning our highest rating.
What sets the Dream Blender sponge apart from most other makeup application sponges is that it comes attached to a handle. The handle is relatively short, but in this case that's a good thing; it allows for more control when it comes to applying makeup. The sponge itself is egg-shaped, rounded at the end attached to the handle and tapering to a point at the opposite end.
As far as the texture goes, this is on the firmer side of sponges, and is far less pliable than the Beautyblender. Maybelline advises dampening the sponge first to apply makeup, and we found that this does make the texture a bit softer (which makes for easier application).
When it comes to applying makeup, this isn't a sponge that you can use quite like the Beautyblender. With that sponge, you can use the rounded end to "bounce" your foundation on for a seamless look. Since the rounded end on the Dream Blender is attached to the handle, you can't do that. Where it excels is in spreading makeup across the face.
Using the sides of the Dream Blender, it's easy to sweep liquid, cream, and gel foundations across large areas for quick coverage. The result is a smooth look that, while not perfectly blended (you'll likely still need to use your fingers to soften some edges), is still natural-looking and soft. The pointed tip also works great for applying foundation in smaller areas like the corners of the eyes or on the sides of the nose.
When it comes to washing this foundation sponge it's a snap; you can clean it easily with your favorite brush cleanser and water, and it retains its shape through washing and drying. Plus, we have to mention it's a beauty bargain!
Though it doesn't quite match the Beautyblender beat for beat, Maybelline's Dream Blender is a good foundation sponge—one that's easy to find and afford. If you see it the next time you're in your drugstore's makeup aisle, it's certainly worth a look!
Maybelline New York At-A-Glance
Strengths: At least one excellent product (if not several) in almost every category; many excellent foundations; superior mascaras; inexpensive makeup brushes; some terrific concealers, powders, blush, and lip color options.
Weaknesses: Lips balms tend to be a letdown; a few of the Great Lash mascaras are surprisingly average compared to other Maybelline formulas.
Maybelline is one of the best-known and most recognized mass-market makeup lines in the world—it's available in 90 countries. Throughout its long history, which began in 1915 when T. L. Wilson founded the company and named it after his sister, Mabel, and Vaseline (which he combined with coal dust to concoct a mascara for her), the company has prided itself on bringing innovative products to the marketplace. L'Oreal purchased the company in early 1996, and that's when things really started coming together for the Maybelline brand.
Specializing in a large selection of lipsticks, nail polishes, and mascaras, there is a lot to love from this drugstore brand. Many of their foundations are exceptional, and their powders, several mascaras, pencils, matte-finish concealers, and Superstay Lipcolor collection impressed us by offering a high degree of quality for their inexpensive price point.
Maybelline's latest urban image is a positive step, as many of their latest launches have been innovative without resorting to "been-there, done-that" gimmicks. Smart shoppers will note the similarities of a few of Maybelline’s formulas to products from high-end brands that are also owned by parent company L’Oreal. That just goes to show conscientious shopping can really save you money—without sacrificing quality or performance.
For more information about Maybelline New York, call (800) 944-0730 or visit their interactive Web site at www.maybelline.com.
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