I just bought a selection of PanPastel, having seen Les Darlow's demo on YouTube. I just settled for the 'landscape set' from Amazon. I was pleased to discover that included is a good range of the 'sponges' used for application. Also there are two of the plastic palette knives, together with the sponges to fit onto those. PanPastel was a bit expensive I felt, but there seems to be a deal of pastel for the money, and of course replacement is cheaper, as clearly one needs only to replace single colours as they are used. I haven't used them for a painting yet, but the way they are applied is quick, and they cover well, making skies which look as if they have been done with watercolour. As soon as my 'studio' is complete, I am going to give them a try, so watch this space.
I think you can use makeup sponges to apply them; the same as some might use to apply their eyeshadow. However I suspect that one would need soft pastels to cover large areas. I have heard of one artist using their finger to apply them, one dab at a time. Still It can't be as slow as coloured pencils. Would love to hear more about using them, before I invest.