- The new Leia Ultraflesh Blender is going viral on social media.
- This product is being touted as the first sustainable, hygienic makeup applicator.
- One editor put it to the test and was impressed with the results.
I’ve tested some pretty weird beauty products in my day, but testing a makeup applicator that looks like a mix between an alien’s penis and a ball sack might just take the cake. The product in question is the Leia Ultraflesh Blender ($50, originally $59).
Invented by celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson, the product has taken social media by storm for its extremely . . . provocative shape and appearance. You have to admit, even the name makes it sound like a sex toy. Still, when I saw beauty influencers like Mikayla Nogueira singing the tool’s praises, I knew I had to give it a try.
At $50, the cost seemed a bit pricey for a product applicator, but according to the brand, one Leia can replace 12 disposable beauty sponges. The Leia promises to be nonabsorbent, hypoallergenic, easy to clean, and sustainable. After watching a few how-to videos, I learned that this applicator isn’t just for makeup — it can also be used to apply skin-care products (the feel of the Leia pressing into your skin is meant to mimic skin-on-skin contact).
I typically use makeup brushes to apply my products and a beauty sponge to blend everything out. When I used the Leia for the first time, one thing I noticed was the texture. It didn’t feel anything like a sponge or brush; in fact, it felt a tiny bit sticky. It actually reminded me of the sticky-hand toys from the ’90s that I used to throw on glass windows as a kid. I noticed when playing around with it that fuzz and hair seemed to almost migrate to the applicator, and I hoped I wouldn’t have any issues when actually doing my makeup.
I started off the test with foundation, dotting the makeup on the areas of my face that needed coverage. The Leia has a smooth side and a textured side, and per the brand’s instructions, I used the textured side of the Leia to tap the makeup into my skin. (Pro tip: only use about 50 percent of the product you would normally use. Since the Leia isn’t absorbing the makeup, there’s a lot more left over to blend out on your skin.)
I applied concealer to my face using my fingertips and then used a gentle tapping motion with the textured side of the Leia to blend everything out. To apply contour, I used the smooth side of the Leia to stamp my contour product along my cheekbones. From there, I used the textured side to blend everything out. I also used the Leia to apply my cream bronzer, but since the rest of my products were powder-based, I opted for my regular brushes and sponge when it came time to apply those.
I noticed, when applying my makeup with the Leia, that a tiny bit of product really did go a long way. Similar to when I tried applying my makeup with a jade roller, the Leia’s nonabsorbent quality meant that all the product remained on my face. It gave my foundation an almost airbrushed look.
Once I was finished applying my makeup, all I had to do to clean the Leia was massage it with a small amount of face wash under running water. The product buildup came off quickly and easily — no crazy scrubbing required. After, I stored the Leia in the convenient ventilated case it came with — a feature I really appreciate. (I’ve often wondered what to do with a clean beauty sponge I’m taking with me on the go, since I don’t want to store it in my dirty makeup bag.) The Leia made the cleaning and storing processes completely easy and carefree.
When it comes to the Leia’s pros, I love that this applicator is hygienic and sustainable. Even after I wash a makeup sponge, there are times when I feel like it isn’t truly clean. After washing the Leia with cleanser, I could physically see that it was completely free of any makeup. I also love that I don’t have to apply as much product when I use it. The Leia didn’t absorb any makeup, and I didn’t need to get it wet to use it, so a tiny amount went a long way. Plus, it truly did give my skin a smooth look that I haven’t really been able to achieve with beauty sponges or brushes.
I did find concealer to be the most difficult thing to apply with the Leia, mostly because it felt a little too big and wobbly for a precise application to my delicate under-eye area. I also had a difficult time with the contour — again, I felt like I couldn’t be as precise as I normally am with a brush or beauty sponge. I also found the texture of the Leia itself to be a little tricky — it would stick to and pull on my hair if I got too close to my hairline when applying makeup, and I also felt that it was kind of a magnet for fuzz and tiny pieces of fluff.
Overall, this product will most likely replace my beauty sponges, but it won’t replace my makeup brushes entirely. It’s a great tool for achieving a smooth base for makeup, but it definitely can’t do everything my other makeup tools can. The product is currently sold out, but you can preorder a Leia on the brand’s website.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Renee Rodriguez