Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge vs AliExpress Dupe

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


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.

Made in China. Fabriqué en Chine. Hecho en China. Hergestalt in China. Prodotto in Cina. Fabricado na China. Validade Indeterminada…

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.

I wasn’t the only one who saw boobs. My SO walked by and asked me what kind of blogging I was doing… 😳

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.

Well, at least now I can tell them apart easily. 🙄

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.  >:D

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?

92 thoughts on “Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge vs AliExpress Dupe

  1. Wow! The RT one looks horrible, I can’t believe that happened after just about 6 uses. Definitely unacceptable! I have a really cheap dupe of the Beauty Blender (I think I purchased it for US$2 give or take) and it’s still in-tact, just like the Ali Express one that you have there. Of course, it doesn’t perform as well as the original, but I can live with it. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah for $2 it’s not big deal. I think these sponges probably cost $0.05 to produce – they’re making enough money off us! I’m probably not going to be using that RT one for much longer.

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  2. OMG, that RT sponge is plain cr@p! I can’t use regular make-up sponges or any of those blender sponges because they’re all made of latex which I’m allergic to. I only use Boots’ own brand latex-free make-up wedges. They’re £4 for a pack of 16 sponges, so they’re 8 times as expensive as the regular latex wedges and sponges (normal latex ones are £1 for 30+ sponges or wedges). However, I’ve been using the same 4 make-up wedges for 17 months now, and none of those sponges even has a hint of a tear. When they’re completely dry you wouldn’t know the difference between a new wedge and a 17 months old wedge. I’m not treating those make-up wedges gently – I wash them with anti-bacterial hand wash (yeah, the bubble gum hand wash), and I squeeze and twist them dozens of times every time I clean them. And I clean them before and after I use them… what I wanted to say is… maybe it’s just the material? Maybe latex really is cr@p? What do I know… anyhoo, have you ever tried a latex-free beauty blender? If you find one for a good price, give it a try! Judging by how well my latex-free make-up wedges are holding up, the pack of 16 could last me for 6 years! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh latex allergy sucks.
      My friend uses disposable cosmetic wedges which she says lasts longer than one might expect.
      Hmm I think it’s specific to the way RT’s sponges are made. I’ve had other non-Beauty Blender branded sponges and they’ve lasted way longer. I don’t think it’s due to latex vs non-latex. I’ll keep trying out various types of these sponges out of curiosity. Plus, I really like the rounded egg shape.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. See, I know nothing about latex! 🙂

        It makes perfect sense that the RT sponge sucks because of how it’s made.

        I so understand why you like to try out different sponges – all those colours and shapes… they’re like lipsticks and eyeshadows… they’re playthings!

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  3. I had the same with my RT sponge. I cleaned it once and it completely ruined it. I also feel the shape isn’t pointy enough and that causes it to wipe away foundation in my nose area when blending out my concealer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad people are confirming my experience with the RT sponge! That thing is not built for longevity, that’s for sure. The shape is so odd and doesn’t serve the function of what I want from a blender.

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        1. I will get back to you once I get the name. I saw it on a YouTuble video where she compare the Korean one with beauty blender. She said it is $2 or $5 I forgot. I remember we can buy it from Gmarket. By the way, it has so many differnt shape and color options.

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    1. I’ve had that H&M sponge for more than a year now and it has NO tears and performs so well. My only issue with it is that it’s white and will eventually get stained, but I use the Daiso sponge cleaner which cleans it up like new (NOTE: if you go to Asia, stock up on that! It’s the BEST thing to wash makeup sponges! And it’s only $1 there… )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. WTF! I can’t believe the RT sponge developed a hole after only using it twice. For that price, that is completely not okay. Especially when it sounds like some other bloggers have had the same issue.
    Crazy how similar the two look though – the only difference that jumped out at me right from the get-go was the difference in texture of the sponge, but you’re right, the colour is a little different when you compare closely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess the only good thing out of this experience is knowing that I’m not crazy and that my first RT sponge wasn’t an anomaly. They all are like this!
      Don’t know why but I love testing out dupes. I wouldn’t necessarily try actual makeup items from sketchy Chinese vendors but I’m totally game for brushes and sponges since most of the branded items are made in China anyway. I need to score some more ultra cheap dupes online and report back!

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  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t use the flat side of the RT sponge!! I have absolutely no use for the flat edge…and it seems too awkward (to me) to start tapping my face with that side!

    Ha, mine was falling apart too but in my case, I did accidentally dig my nails into it so I just assumed it was my problem. Speaking of which, I haven’t had that problem with the H&M sponges. They’re as good as brand new still!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear the H&M sponge is holding up! I did wonder if I dug my nails in when blending but I’m so careful. Plus, I treat all my sponges the same way and the RT one is much more fragile. I’d understand if it was dirt cheap but it’s more expensive than a lot of the sponges out there.
      The flat side of the RT sponge is completely useless to me – it is always pristine when I go to wash the sponge. I did attempt to tap my face with it and all I got were edge marks on my face where I bounced it.

      Like

  6. Great comparison between the 2 sponges. That flat side only came in handy for me by holding the sponge up when it dried after I cleaned it. Speaking of the latter, I thought I wasn’t handling it properly because it developed small tears after only using it twice. Nope, just not great quality material, which is sad because their brushes are good. I got a sponge from Ulta (http://www.ulta.com/super-blender-sponge?productId=xlsImpprod14571025) to replace it, and it’s lasted at least 5 uses without a scratch. Interesting. I also bought sponges from EcoTools that I still have yet to use, so I’ll have to see how they compare to RT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sucks that so many people experienced the poor quality of the RT sponges. It’s weird that all I hear are rave reviews for it though!
      I have a few RT brushes and they’re good quality but some of the shapes are kind of odd.
      Oh that Ulta sponge looks great! I get sad every time someone mentions Ulta though – why don’t they love us?
      I’ve heard very good things about the EcoTools sponge – haven’t seen it here yet. I hope you’ll like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had the same problems with the RT one. I soaked up way too much product and fell apart on me (and I wash my sponges the sane way you do).

    Lately I’ve been really liking the pink sponge from L’Oreal. If has a flat bottom but it’s rounded on the edges. And you know I like the Japonesque one too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again, I can’t believe so many people found the RT sponge to fall apart! I’ve heard some people claim there are different batch qualities.

      Oh really, you like the L’Oreal one? You use that one dry, right?
      I’ve been on the hunt for the Japonesques one around here – sometimes that brand shows up at Winners / TJMaxx.

      Like

    1. Haha I know, that picture made me chuckle. It wasn’t intentional… or WAS IT?!!
      You stop raiding the teen department LOL. Those teens need clothes too, you know! 😉
      The Quo sponge is one of my favourites! It was my top choice until I started trying more – now I think maybe I like the H&M one is a little bit better because of how squishy it is!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SQUISHHHHHHHH like the videos on ig – remember ? xxxxx stashy i think it was intentional xxxx LOL
        xxxx
        you are my teen dream cheese queen xo
        QUO rocks and u know it looks like a GIANT BOOB – lol with a little nip on top …….
        LOL
        xxxxxx
        #squishyhugggsbecauseiknowyoulovethem

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great comparison! I bought a two pack of the RT sponges last year and one of them tore SUPER quick, and the other one lasted FOREVER, so strange! I’ve been using the Quo sponge lately though, it’s just so much easier to find (the RT one is ALWAYS sold out here) and… you just can’t beat the price. I’d love to try the H&M one but the closest H&M to me is 6 hours away and across the border 😢 I’ll have to remember to look for it when I go to the States in July!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So strange about the difference between the 2 in the same pack! I guess I just have bad luck that both RT sponges I’ve tried were duds. I’m done trying them now!
      You know I’m a big fan of the Quo sponge! But I’ve noticed the price of that is increasing – it used to be only $5 but I’ve seen it selling for as high as $10 (different Shoppers have different prices, I’ve noticed!)
      Oh man, I always forget how far you are from a lot of stores. I hope you get a chance to try the H&M sponge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I managed to get a Quo sponge for $6 a few weeks ago, it wasn’t on the shelf but it was ringing up at the til on sale! Bonus!

        Yeah I’m pretty far from quite a bit but our Sephora is opening in July and it looks like it will be massive! 😁

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  9. The H&M sponge is amazing! I haven’t picked up my W7 sponge once since the H&M one arrived I don’t think. Such shame to hear the RT sponge tore on you so quickly, that’s really poor. Glad you have found sponges you like and that work for you anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I do like the RT sponge but after a few uses I put mine away because I don’t think it was performing as well as an older one I had. I do actually like the shape though 😶 maybe because I like using the flat edge to blend under my eyes. Mine fall apart quickly too. It’s like they can’t handle washing.

    Ive been using my cheap Sephora sponge set http://m.sephora.com/product/P405531?icid2=skugrid&skuId=1778380 which I’ve been happy with. I think they have a few styles that have a good number of positive reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried several times to use the flat side but maybe I bounce too hard? It always left an indentation mark where the hard edge is. 😛 What’s the use of a sponge that can’t handle washing… 🙄

      Oh just the other day I was eyeing those Sephora sponges. I liked their egg shaped ones and was wondering how these would fare. Good to know they work well!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well that’s what we call false economy in the long run. Fortunately for me, I usually use make up sponge only to blend under eye concealer (and I can get away without it most days), so any cheapo sponge last me ages. Although I was tempted to buy RT lately, so you saved me a couple of pounds😚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, false savings in the long run!
      I actually mostly prefer to use just my fingers to apply and blend foundations / concealers but I do have a couple of foundations that blend better when using a sponge, so that’s when I resort to using a blending sponge.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I use the RT sponge everday and I also clean it everyday but it just gets so dirty! And I also have the feeling that all the dirt goes to one place (the tip) and it gets really gross. But I have to say, I love the sponge anyways because it applies my makeup so nicely. I’ve used several beautyblender dupes of Ali but the RT one is definitely my favorite sponge I’ve ever used. But I do think it’s to expensive to get a new one every 2 months. I’d love to try out the real beautyblender sometimes, I hope that one is even better than the RT one. Do you have any experiences with the real beautyblender? xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad the RT sponge works well for you! But replacing every 2 months seems excessive to me. I expect a sponge to last me a year – is that too much to ask? I didn’t think so… I had the Beauty Blender and that sponge lasted me 3 years! I find the texture of the Beauty Blender to be the most dry / airy out of all the sponges that I’ve tried so far. So, I think it soaks up more product compared to other sponges. The tip of the Beauty Blender does get the most dirty as well since that’s the part I use the most. But if you wash it well with a good detergent, it washes up really well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope the local brand sponge works well for you! I think it’s false savings if the RT sponge doesn’t last that long – I’m probably going to need to toss mine in less than 6 months of usage whereas my Beauty Blender lasted me 3 years!

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  13. No forgiveness at all! Bad batch means shitty or spotty quality control, especially when the product is 100% machine made. RT’s sponge shape put me off the purchase all together 😛

    I went to take a close look at the H&M collection. They’re serious. Pencils from Germany, faux lash from South Korea, foundation and eye shadow singles are from Italy (eye shadow palettes were made in China)… etc

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, crappy quality control reflects badly on a brand – it doesn’t matter if ALL their sponges are crap or 50%. As for the shape, they were going for something different than what’s out on the market – unfortunately, different doesn’t necessarily mean better.

      The H&M makeup line definitely has some gems! You’ve seen my review on their eye shadow and blushes, right?
      https://stashmatters.com/2016/12/12/hm-eye-shadows-and-blush-review/
      I mention about the Italian made singles vs Chinese made palettes! 😉

      The other items I’ve really liked from H&M is the Cashmere Haze perfume (like a Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist) and their overnight lip treatment balm!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I have read that post. I went into the stores to verify all cosmetics manufacture countries after your post wahaha I took photos too.

        I haven’t see that fragrance. I’ll look around. Well, unless we don’t have it in France as usual 😦

        Like

  14. I’m still in love with my AOA sponge!! As soon as I experienced the AOA sponge, I threw my RT sponge out. My RT sponge (like yours) had rips and tears from regular use and my AOA sponge is still going strong! Plus, since the AOA sponge isn’t as porous as the RT, it doesn’t absorb as much of my foundation. It cleans like a dream, whereas the RT sponge always broke down when I cleaned it. The AOA sponge also gives much a better finish than the RT sponge. I don’t think I can ever go back!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can you believe that I haven’t opened the AOA Sponge yet?! I wanted to photograph them against comparable sponges and haven’t found the time when ALL my sponges were in a clean / dry state. Ugh, your comment is prompting me to get them photographed PRONTO! I can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. i just got the real techniques sponge from walmart and i have the same problem too! It teared after two or three uses ! i was really disappointed !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, I can’t believe all these comments about the crappiness of the RT sponge. What gives! I hope someone from RT sees all these quality issues and improve their product!

      Like

  16. Wow, that is terrible from the RT! I have one but it’s still in box. My bb is holding up well (I use it maybe 1x a week) so I haven’t bothered, yet. Ugh.

    The AE doesn’t sound very good, either.

    I’m looking forward to trying the Quo one you and Rachael like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Quo one has such a nice squishy quality to it – it’s more full-bodied compared to the airy feel of the BB. I do think the BB does a nice job but the Quo soaks up less product for me.
      I hope your RT doesn’t rip apart after a few uses – I’ve heard SOME people have had good luck with it. Fingers crossed!

      Like

  17. My Beauty Blender has definitely lasted! One thing I noticed though. When I apply my foundation (specially MAC Studio Fix) with the BB, it doesn’t wear as long as when I apply with my fingers. I’m thinking because with my fingers, I use more product. But I’m not sure. I just realized this about 2 weeks ago and I was stumped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting observation about the longevity of your foundation when applied with BB vs fingers! It is possible that the BB sheers out the product more so the foundation wears away faster since it’s a thinner layer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so, yes. I think less product is used and it’s a thinner application so the wear time is a bit shorter. I love the finish though! But I don’t want to look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at 3pm either. That’s such a problem for me at the office. My nose and chin will turn red and I’m just like … OMG…

        Liked by 1 person

  18. My RT one just teared! Sigh… I think I’ll be trying out the H&M one next. If you say its good, I’d agree!
    AND THANK YOU! People rave about the flat surface on the RT but I really really don’t get it! It just leaves edge lines on the face! I never use that side of the sponge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, sorry to hear your RT teared too. The flat side is so useless…
      Yes, I can vouch for the H&M one – I’ve been using it regularly for at least 9 months now. That thing is still going strong, no tears, no holes! It has a little bit of staining but what do you expect from a WHITE sponge.

      Like

  19. I have the RT one and I’m not a fan of it either – I find it absorbs a lot of my foundation. I can’t believe you’ve had two now that have ripped on you – I’ve had mine for over a year and it’s still in really good shape – and I’m not gentle when I clean them. The only one that has every ripped on me was the Quo Sponge but I didn’t care cuz I hated it. 😛

    My favourite is always going to be the Beauty Blender. I wish I didn’t love it as much as I do but I just find it doesn’t absorb my foundation and applies my makeup flawlessly with very little effort. Plus it cleans up easier too – I could never get the stains out of my RT sponge.

    How does that H&M sponge compare to the Quo Sponge – you used to really like that one right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad your RT sponge hasn’t ripped! I guess it’s the luck of the draw. I heard a few others say theirs lasted them too.

      Haha I remember you mentioning that you hated the Quo. I think if you love the Beauty Blender texture, then Quo isn’t going to be comparable. I find the Beauty Blender to absorb a lot of my foundation. I’d say the H&M sponge is quite similar to the Quo – they are both more on the rubbery, bouncy side vs the Beauty Blender which is more airy / holey. So you should probably stay away from the H&M one! 😛

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  20. Its a shame you didn’t get on with the RT sponge its a holy grail for me i use the flat side! Mine lasts ages before tearing too. Its funny what works for different people! Great comparison post! I need to try the h and m sponge x

    Liked by 1 person

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