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Style > Beauty

College Beauty Awards: Brushes, Sponges & More of Our Fave Beauty Tools

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Just like with any other form of technology, beauty tool innovations are getting faster and smarter. There are devices that mimic facials and procedures you’d pay big bucks for, and sponges that airbrush your skin in seconds. Some help achieve a gorgeous, glowing complexion, and some provide much-needed TLC. The truth is that it’s a pricey category, and it can be difficult to navigate at first because there’s so much in it

However, our hot take is that brushes, tweezers and other gadgets are secretly the most fun because they introduce a new standard of excellence in your beauty routine. So, if you don’t know the first thing about beauty tools, this is a great place to start because we’re kind of geeking out on them! Next time you shop, you can zoom right in on these award-winning must-haves and know that fellow students are totally hooked.

Oil Absorbing Facial Blotting Sheets

Clean & Clear, target.com, $7; shop now

Where are all our shiny friends at? Keep a pack of these in your purse to blot away oil buildup without smudging your makeup. Our community loves them both for sweaty days on campus and nights out when you need a touchup. 

Facial Soft Cut Cotton

MUJI, amazon.com, $7; shop now

You’d think that cotton pads would all feel about the same, but MUJI cotton is on an entirely other level. It’s soft. Like, soft in a really delicate and gentle way. Cotton is always multipurpose, but our favorite way to use this is with micellar water and toner to cleanse skin. 

The Makeup Mitty

Take My Face Off, takemyfaceoff.com, $39; shop now

No matter how much you love a good cotton square, there’s no better feeling than making a sustainable choice that benefits the planet. Instead of using disposable products and wipes, you can apply your cleanser directly to this reusable mitty which cuts down on waste and is super gentle for your skin. 

Skinvigorate Sonic Skincare System

Mary Kay, marykay.com, $75; shop now

Cleansing brushes give you a deep clean in a way that your hands and wash cloth just can’t compete with. Right now, we’re all loving this device for the gentle oscilation and thorough cleaning that leaves skin feeling fresh. 

Jade Facial Roller

Herbivore, sephora.com, $30; shop now

Facial rollers look fancy, but it’s fair to wonder what they even accomplish. Essentially a jade roller is used for a relaxing facial massage, which also supports lymphatic drainage (just a complicated way to say “detoxing”). This one from Herbivore made our list because it’s a great intro tool and sturdy enough to hold up in the refrigerator — gliding the chilled jade over your skin feels oh-so refreshing. 

Eyelash Curler

Shiseido, ulta.com, $22; shop now

While an eyelash curler feels like an everyday makeup essential, this one just adds a little something special. It’s a fan favorite among college women because it’s applies evenly without pinching. Also, you only need to purchase this once because it will literally last through all your college years.  

Slant Tweezers

Tweezerman, ulta.com, $23; shop now

We don’t even care if this is an obvious winner because it’s the best pair of tweezers in the universe with no chance of slowing down any time soon. Grab one of these for your cosmetic bag to pluck rogue hairs and maintain precise shaping. 

Miracle Complexion Sponge

Real Techniques, ulta.com, $6; shop now

This sponge is simple, yet so functional. The different angles make it easy to blend and contour every inch of your face. Whatever Real Techniques is selling, we’re buying. 

Brush 12 Dual-Ended Firm Angled Brush

Anastasia Beverly Hills, ulta.com, $18; shop now

When applying brow product, an angled flat brush is non-negotiable to get the precise definition that makes a good brow day. The added bonus? We can’t get enough of the spoolie end that helps comb and deposit pigment evenly. 

Flat-Top Foundation Brush

Sonia Kashuk, target.com, $9; shop now

This brush receives unanimous high ratings for base makeup application. The bristles are extra soft, it blends to an airbrushed finish. It even comes with a little cap that protects the brush from getting dirty.

M439 Deluxe Buffer Brush

Morphe, ulta.com, $15; shop now

Applying full-coverage foundation (in a natural-looking way) requires a brush with serious buffing power. Our go-to hardware is the Deluxe Buffer to handle high-powered circular motions and dense formulas with ease. 

Powder Brush

Real Techniques, ulta.com, $15; shop now

We don’t recommend using the same brush for liquid and powder products every day, especially if you don’t clean your brushes regularly. The best solution is to keep a brush on hand for loose powder, and this ultra-plush brush happens to be our current obsession. It’s so easy to use, no YouTube tutorial required. 

The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15

Marc Jacobs, sephora.com, $38; shop now

Nothing makes our hearts beat faster than a super soft contour brush. This one follows wherever you want to trace — cheekbones, jawline, forehead. It expertly blends in liquid and powder product, and depending on what angle you use it’s just as effective for highlight as it is for bronzer. 

PRO Mini Airbrush Sweep #53.5

Sephora Collection, sephora.com, $38; shop now

Yes, there is a full-size version of this brush, but we just couldn’t resist the mini for its added precision. It’s amazing for sweeping a delicate swatch of highlight across your cheekbone, or blending out foundation under your eyes. It also doesn’t shed which, if you’re a brush connoisseur, you know is a big deal. 

Eyeshadow Brush

E.l.f., target.com, $1; shop now

Eyeshadow can be kind of tricky, and unless you’ve got palettes galore and lots of practice, application is just fake-it-till-you-make-it. But bless this eyeshadow brush which makes it so easy to get just the right amount of pigment on your lid. The narrow tip helps you strategically shape the shadow wherever you want it to follow, with little room for failure. 

Gina was formerly the Beauty & Culture Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw content and strategy for the site's key verticals. She was also the person behind @HerCampusBeauty, and all those other glowy selfies you faved. She got her start in digital media as a Campus Correspondent at HC Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 with degrees in English and Theater. Now, Gina is an LA-based writer and editor, and you can regularly find her wearing a face mask in bed and scrolling through TikTok.