I ordered the AliExpress dupe to the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge back in January last year, and it only cost me $0.70. 😀 But in order for me to truly compare how it looks and feels against the real thing… I had to get the real thing:
The price for the Real Techniques sponge ranges from $7.69 online from the RT store to $11.99 from Rexall (drugstore). I bought mine for $9.99 off NailPolishCanada.com
EDIT: Check out the follow up post here (exceptional customer service!)
A bit of a history my experience with the Real Techniques sponge; I briefly mentioned it in my Beauty Blender Battle, that I did own it once upon a time. But I didn’t love it because of the shape and how quickly the sponge fell apart. I was willing to give it a try again because it’s possible that I got a bad batch, and I know that lots of people prefer it over the Beauty Blender.
The RT Sponge is made in China so it’s possible that I could get a reasonable dupe from AliExpress – I mean… things fall off trucks, right? 😉
Once I took the RT sponge out of the package, I couldn’t tell it apart from the AliExpress one, at first.
Which is which?
Then I started to see the minute differences:
In certain light, the AliExpress one is slightly more yellow in colour and RT is more coral.
RT on the left, AliExpress on the right – all photos of the 2 sponges in this post are in that order.
The texture of the RT is is more textured and has more porous holes whereas the AliExpress is smoother.
Shape- and size- wise, they’re identical when dry:
However, when wet, I was really surprised how large the AliExpress one expanded compared to the RT:
As for performance, I found the AliExpress to be just ok – it’s not as bouncy as the RT and has a more rubbery texture. I was worried that it would pull foundation off my skin when blending but it didn’t do that. I found it gave a more sheer finish compared to the RT.
The performance of the RT was great – very airy and bouncy. I found it excelled at blending out my concealer using the pointed end. However, I am still not a huge fan of its shape – I have absolutely no use for the flat side of the sponge. The whole idea of the egg shape with the Beauty Blender is to eliminate harsh edges when bouncing the sponge. With this shape, I end up primarily using the rounded sides of the sponge so I always have to hold it on an odd angle.
But, the worse part of the trial? The damn RT sponge started to tear just after using it TWICE! I’m not kidding, look at it:
This is completely unacceptable! I treat all of my sponges the same – I wear dish washing gloves when I wash them so I don’t dig my nails into them.
There are also pit marks all over – see how the RT looks on the left compared to the AliExpress one on the right. The AliExpress sponge has no tears at all. I’ve used these sponges about 6 times each now and the holes in the RT sponge are getting deeper. My other sponges last way longer than this. So it wasn’t a fluke that my other RT also fell apart like this. What the heck, RT.
So I’d likely not repurchase either of these sponges. The AliExpress sponge is just an ok dupe to the RT, but the underlying issue I have with this sponge shape is the key reason I’d not buy another. And the poor quality of the sponge material prevents me from wasting more money on the real Real Techniques sponge!
Here’s what the Real Techniques and the AliExpress version look like next to the Beauty Blender and the H&M Precision Makeup Sponge. Out of the 4, my favourite is the H&M one – it has a great squishy texture and nice egg shape – and it only costs $5! (hence why I named it one of my favourite discoveries of 2016!) And, say what you will about the Beauty Blender, but that sucker lasted me 3 years, I only recently retired it due to the holes that it was developing.
Are you a fan of the Real Techniques sponge? Besides the Beauty Blender, which sponge do you recommend?