Beauty & Balance

Beautyblender Gave Its Iconic Makeup Sponge an Eco-Friendly Makeover

In 2021, beauty brands can't — or, at the very least, shouldn't — release a new beauty product without considering the sustainability factor. While plenty of brands create a new product then reverse-engineer the formula with eco-friendly ingredients, Beautyblender is out here with a new product developed specifically because of its environmental benefits. Green-beauty lovers, meet Bio Pure, the new, sustainable version of the iconic teardrop-shaped makeup sponge, launching on February 1.

The newest sponge is designed to look and feel exactly like its predecessors with one distinction:  up to 60 percent of its foam body is made up of the would-be waste products of sugarcane. The swap to what the team is calling "BioPlush" foam means that the manufacturing process is lower in CO2 emissions and less water waste. 

"We've been able to technologically advance the production and creation of sponge material, so it's more Earth-friendly," says Beautyblender founder and makeup artist Rea Ann Silva. Plus, according to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, sugarcane is "a fabulous sustainable material for cosmetic use." The sugarcane fibers "make great biopolymers," she says. (In fact, you may already be familiar with sugarcane-derived products. Biossance's moisturizing Squalane Oil is made entirely of sugarcane.)

Silva's always been aware of her brand's environmental shortfalls when it comes to makeup sponge reduction. "I'm a makeup artist; I'm not a scientist," Silva continues. "My foaming manufacturers have long known what my goals are. This is something I was asking if they could do very early on, and there just wasn't the technology for it. Recently, they surprised me with this concept, and I was like 'Are you kidding me?!' I was so excited." 

It can feel hard to remember a time when makeup sponges weren't reusable, which is due in part to Silva. When the company was founded in 2003, it helped introduce the concept of a non-disposable sponge, a problem Silva set out to solve after noticing the number of makeup sponges she went through as a makeup artist on the TV series Girlfriends. Bio Pure is intended to be used for three to six months, with frequent washings (ideally, after every use) along the way, just like the original.

The sponge's packaging is also getting an environmentally friendly makeover. The plastic "canister" that houses each Beautyblender is newly created with recycled resin, a formula that the brand intends to eventually transition to use for all its products. "In utilizing a renewable resource we've lessened our CO2 emissions as well as our dependency on fossil fuels," says Rio Morigi, Beautyblender's product development coordinator. "We are so proud to have reached this milestone." 

Indoors and in natural lighting, I swatched the same foundation with the Beautyblender original (lower) and Bio Pure (upper). As you can see, that beloved full-coverage finish has stayed nearly identical. 

According to Silva, Bio Pure "feels and performs exactly like the original Beautyblender. You'll get the same lifespan, the same feel, the same hydrophilic response to water, everything." I put that claim to the test with a Beautyblender Original, Bio Pure, and the brand's Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation.

Both in how the makeup sponges feel, and how they deposit foundation, the two sponges are virtually identical. I'd go so far as to suggest a Pepsi Challenge for these two, except the sponges will be much harder to differentiate than the tastes of Coke versus Pepsi. The Bio Pure might be a smidge bouncier in the hand, which is a good thing in my book, and something I only noticed because I was obsessively comparing the two. 

Just like the original, you'll run the Bio Pure under water, squeeze out the excess, and use the dampened sponge to dab (not swipe) on makeup. Bio Pure deposits makeup just as seamlessly as the original, and with the reduced environmental impact, I'd go so far as to say there is no reason to not opt for this sponge in favor of the original.

Full foundation application with Bio Pure.

Silva's dream, she says, is to switch all Beautyblender production over to the sustainable foam in the next few years — but how quickly that happens is up to us, the customers. "It's very hard to pull old material out of the market and replace it with new material. It's a whole process," she says candidly. "But the faster Bio Pure becomes popular, the easier it is for me to make that change. The customers' response to this is going to be the fuel that speeds it all up." 

To cast your vote, shop the sponge for $20, starting February 1, online at both beautyblender.com and sephora.com.

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