Beauty Sponges // Are they green or clean?

28 August 2016

Beauty sponges, they may not be the latest must-have beauty accessory, but never the less they are one that are still going strong, years after the initial hype. No beauty blogger or guru is seen without one, whether it's a genuine Beauty Blender or a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge or one of the many brands that now have their own sponge with a name touting it to be the most flawless application tool.

I was a bit late to the game with this one, after all, I spent years using those little cheese wedge shaped sponges from the moment I discovered the power of foundation at the age of 15, and what difference where these sponges to those old ones? Well I can openly admit I'm a convert and love my sponge, but there is always something on my mind...are they toxic free and are they eco?

I was pondering this when I bought my latest trio of mini sponges, I stood staring at the shelf chockablock full of sponges in every shape, size and colour. Some declaring bamboo and charcoal infusions, some with faces, some with handles and some with none. But what I was noticing was some boasted 'latex free', some boasted they were made with latex and some said 'eco' or 'biodegradable'. I realised that despite packaging claims, I didn't know what any of that really means in terms of which really were more green/clean or toxic free, or eco. So, I've done some digging and while hoping to have answers, I've actually ended up with more questions!

 Latex or non-latex? 

Firstly, latex-free are obviously designed for those who have latex allergy, so depending on whether or not you are allergic to latex or not is obviously going to be the deciding factor on whether this is ok on your skin/ in your body or not. After all an allergy to something means that that component is toxic to you. So non-latex must be cleaner/ toxic free right? Maybe not. What are non-latex sponges made from? Some packages clearly state plastic, some brands including some of my favourite green brands, simply list the material as 'synthetic' or 'foam' and some non natural brands describe it as 'ultra-luxe material ' - what the flaming F does that mean?! We all know the rules about plastic 4, 5, 1 and 2, all the rest aren't good for you! But I don't see any plastic id numbers on the sponges, so how are we supposed to know?

For me, another main problem is that depending on the brand, both sponges made from latex and those that are latex-free have an 'eco' claim on them.  The brand So Eco have the description: 'Eco-friendly – made from latex' and 'Biodegradable' for their sponge. So does this mean non-latex ones are not eco friendly and non-biodegradable? Are the non-latex synthetic/plastic ones recyclable? Are the plastic ones made from recycled plastic? Again with the lack of plastic numbers I simply don't know, there just isn't the info out there for me to find out.

Oh and another thing, is the latex that is used the real natural latex rubber substance from plants or is it the synthetic man made latex created by doing weird science stuff with other weird materials such as styrofoam? If it is natural latex rubber then what process has it gone through to create the sponge- I'm imagining there's going to be a fair few chemicals and byproducts involved.
Is latex in either form recyclable? So many unanswered questions!

 Colour dyes 

As you can see all my sponges are bright colours and unless it actually is pure latex rubber which can  be naturally white (also yellow or brown), I assume that the white one has either been dyed bright white or bleached in someway to get it such a crisp white colour. My question is, are these dyes safe? What dyes are used, synthetic or natural plant dyes?
During my research I noticed that the Beauty Blender brand have a 'Pure Sponge' described as '...without any dye, making it perfect for delicate skin...Hypo-allergenic and free from fragrance, latex and pigment...positively angelic!' So I guess that indicates that the dyes/pigments (why two types of terminology?) used are typically not that great for your skin then...again, there is little to no research or information on this area!


The only consistent eco aspect that I seemed to find was about the packaging. All of the natural or eco brands were more than clear on their packaging and websites about how the boxes are made from recycled and recyclable card. The windows from biodegradable corn starch, glue used is solvent free water based adhesive and vegetable dyes in the printing. Even the handles of brushes including the Foam applicator from EcoTools is made from responsibly sourced bamboo and the ferrules from recycled metal, bristles are cruelty free and vegan, pushes are created from unbleached cotton. I find it amazing how there is so much information about almost every aspect other than the sponges. So frustrating.

I have actually written to a few brands both, natural/eco companies and traditional brands/companies alike to ask them a few questions about their sponges. It will be interesting to see if any answer, and if they do what they say...

Do you guys have any more info that you know about these sponges? Or any questions of your own?


  1. This is such an interesting post! I own the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge but one of my friends actually got an allergic reaction using it and had bumps all over her skin and she couldn't figure out why but then thought it must have been a latex reaction - I think with a lot of beauty products nowadays, they try and beat around the bush, use different names for things to kind of 'get away' with a lot more as they need to mass market! xx

  2. I'm most keen to know whether there are sponges that are made from organic materials or biodegradible.


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