Real Techniques: trial and tell

It’s been about three weeks now since I went from using my hands to using Real Techniques brushes for my foundation, amongst other things.
And a curious girlfriend of mine nicknamed Bon Qui Qui asked for my opinion on them, since there’s so many out there she doesn’t trust.
.. aw. :’)
So I consider it my duty! And honor! And I will bring justice!!
Anyway here’s my two cents on the core set, starter set, and stippling brush. ;D

Stippling brush ($10)

stippling brush

stipplig brush

stippling brush
Like I said, before getting these brushes I used my fingers to apply foundation most of the time.
Then the MUD flat foundation brush is lovely, and fast to work with, but it still requires too much focus of my brain (pre coffee) to get the foundation on evenly.
Working in different directions, et cetera.
One thing that’s hands down the best trait to this brush for me, is there’s no going wrong.
WHATEVER weird move you choose to do at 7 am, it’ll be fiiine.
You just stipple some product on, and then swirl it around over your face to buff the product in.
And it feels so nice!
Somehow it makes me feel very calm, I have to call myself back to not keep buffing, hehe.
I have tried one stippling brush before.
However the bristles were too long and not dense enough, it made the brush just sort of flap around over my face.
The density and fairly short bristles here just make everything a piece of cake.
It also makes the brush not suck up too much product.
The size isn’t bad, it’s small enough to go right under my eyes and big enough to work at the speed of light.
Another thing to mind is that this applies your foundation a teenie bit more sheerly.
If you like your full on coverage then maybe look into either the buffing brush, or the expert face brush.
This stippling one makes my natural skin structure shine through still.
Something else I also noticed, is my foundation staying on a lot better when using this brush (or the buffing one for that matter).
Both really get the product into your skin, as well as spread it out evenly.
For some reason that makes the foundation stay in place longer I feel..
I don’t even powder every day anymore.
(And I got me some oil.)
Then the last thing before I stop ranting: I used to dislike cream blushers, because I could never get them to apply evenly.
Well that’s in the past, this brush works wonders for that.
No really, I don’t think i’m going back to fingers, and that’s not even an exaggeration.
This one is so dense, and so fast to work with!
And that for drustore..!
I feel like if you’re wanting to invest in one of the Real Techniques brushes, this is definitely one to try!

Starter set ($18)

starter set
Okay I can be pretty fast about this one:
Base shadow brush:
Big sad face here…
I was hoping for a cruelty free dupe to the MAC 217 but no such luck..
It’s just not dense at all to my taste..
The bristles are sort of flimsy, long and sparse..
Eyeshadows that are a bit powdery lay on top of the brush and get flicked off as soon as you apply them, creating fallout..
What I do use this brush with is cream products.
I wouldn’t use my 217 to apply those because it’s natural hair and it might ruin the bristles.
Another thing this brush does work for is applying liquid highlighter to the cheekbones.
But eyeshadow application is a no for me..
Brow brush:
angled brow brush
Doesn’t make any sense, who has brows the size of a mountain?
It’s HUGE.
Besides that the bristles are too long wich makes application awkward.
I use a Catrice angled brush and it works a million times better.
Accent brush:
Now we’re talking, this is a lovely little thing.
Ever since I got the starter set, i’ve been using this for inner corner highlight, under my browbone, and smudging liner.
It’s so extremely dense, any eyeshadow would work with it.
Besides shadow though, i’ve been lining my eyes with it as well…
Yeah it seemed weird to me too when I decided to try it.
I thought what are you doing noooow… -_-‘
However it’s just soo dense, it works perfectly for a thick liner application!
Due to the thickness winging it out might be hard though.
Liner brush:
Another biiiig miss for me sadly enough! :/
It’s just so thick and not pointy!!
I was pretty dissapointed to be honest, Sam being a make up artist, you’d think she’d work at refining it more.
Or maybe i’m just really bad at applying eyeliner.
In any case, I personally really can’t work with this..
What I do like it for though, is applying cream concealer on the shadow from by eyebags.
It fits right in there.
Deluxe crease brush:
I saw Sam and Nic using this with concealer, to clean up the undereye area.
I can imagine it could work really nicely for that, if you have perfect skin.
But personally I have very little space on my inner corner and tend to get wrinkly skin there when i’m tired as well.
For that it’s just a little too dense, and too big to really spread the product out nicely.
I simply created stripes with it..
However it is a great quality brush, and I use it to contour the face with.
Things like my nose for example, or cheekbones.
Because it’s so small and dense, but dome-shaped, it applies product heavily but blends out without a lot of effort.

Core collection ($18)

core set

core set
Pointed foundation brush:
Again a little too soft for me, which makes it ‘suck’ up some of the product and sort of lay the product down on the skin, rather than working it in.
Besides that it’s just so small.. really tiny.. it would take ages to apply a full face of foundation.
It works but it’s not easy to use.
You’ll have to work at it to get an even foundation application.
Contour brush:
If you don’t have a nice blush or bronzer brush yet: you’ll love this!
Well I didn’t.
And my blusher looks so much better when I use this.
It’s just dense enough to use with liquid blushers (not quite for creams though in my opinion), and the shape makes them blend out really easily.
But I like this one for powders most, it’s just so easy!
Especially bronzers, and contours will work great with it.
Which is what it was meant for in the first place I think.
The tip applies product in a pretty pigmented manner first.
But then the shorter bristles on the side make the edges blur by itself when going back and forth, without effort.
Detailer brush:
Great for spot concealing or applying lip tars.
(Which is what I personally like to use it for.)
It works in such a precise manner because of how small it is!
Buffing brush:
Ohhh this one is niiice..
Worth the money of the entire set I think.
Just dense enough to apply both liquids, creams and powders, but still soft!
A real multitasker.
And the slightly rounded shape is perfect.
In comparison to the stippling brush, this one doesn’t suck up product either and applies evenly, but very full-on.
If you take the time to work it into the skin, your foundation will still come out looking natural but you’ll have the coverage to its full potential.
Because it’s not extremely dense though, you do have to take your time working it in. More than with the stippling brush.
Else it will sort of lay on top of your skin.
In case you’re a mineral foundation user, this brush feels like a kabuki brush, but flatter and less dense.
The flattened top will give you heavier coverage.
Mind this: this brush will take forever to dry, partly due to it being synthetic, and due to it being dense as well.
I’d really like to try the expert face brush as well to compare it to these two.

To sum it up

That’s that!
So to me there’s some misses to be found in these kits, as well as some amazing additions.
Then again for the price, you really can’t go wrong.
All of them are synthetic and soft, none of them stabs my skin.
The dual fiber system (brown-white) in all of these makes for that typical softbox finish.
Besides that all of them can technically be used with both liquids, creams and powders.
And in every kit there’s one brush at least that’s worth the price.
The starter set is my least favorite out of them all.
It’s handy, yeah..
But definitely not a must-have.. it won’t do miracles for your make up I feel.
I’d be happy enough with my trusty drugstore crease and flat eyeshadow brushes.
The stippling brush though, that’s another story.
It’s at the top of the page because it’s the first thing I thought of and hands down my favorite!
I know there’s enough reviews of these out there already but I hope this was of some use to someone hehe! :D
Do you have any of these?
If so what’s your favorite or which ones do you dislike?
Please let me know, i’m really curious!!


About LifeOfBun

I'm a student from Belgium, but raised in Holland. My life evolves around animals, games, traveling, make-up, and COLOR. I seek for cruelty free awesomeness & alternatives to my favorite things each day. ^_^

Posted on January 31, 2013, in Box o' appearance, Cosmetics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. I have some brushes I bought probably 15 years ago from a body shop home party I love them sadly now age and the fact the puppy got hold of them and chewed the wooden handles mean I need replacements but am struggling to find any I like as much

  2. Thanks so much for this. I’ve been considering getting some of the Real Techniques brushes (the stippling brush and the buffing brush, specifically) and your review has given me a push to make the purchase.

  3. This is the best review I’ve read on these. I agree 100%! The starter set was a big bummer except for the small buffer, I do use this for concealer and love it. The stippling is wonderful! And it is totally fun and relaxing to use, haha. Exceptional brushes for the price and in general. Also, I don’t know if you use Sigma bc they aren’t ALL cruelty free, but they do have a Vegan Brush similar to a MAC 217,
    Still want to pick up the core collection!
    Thanks for the great review :-)

    • That’s a giant compliment, thanks so much. And i’ve great things about that 217 dupe, I do think it’s synthetic, or at least that they have a synthetic version as well. Have you tried it?
      Sigma is so hard to get over here sadly enough, it’s annoying living in a pea-sized country sometimes.

      • I did try it! And yes it’s synthetic, I try to buy synthetic brushes. It is very close, I have to say.. Not as good but a very good dupe. Too bad it’s a pain to get :-(
        I meat the compliment very much :-)

      • Hmmm then I need to find a way to get me some… because I know you’re not easy on your judgement with smooth make up application. :)

  4. So in depth! I have been dying to try!! Thank you for sharing! xo

  5. No I don’t have any of these but you
    have added a great posting here, and
    so very informative too :)

    Thank you for accepting my invite :)

  6. Hey, can you tell me what are your favourite brands of cruelty-free brushes? Without any “real goat hair” and stuff, only synthetical fibers? I really need to buy a couple of new ones but whenever I look I see those from animals :(

  7. This is a great post, I never know what brushes to use (except blush, eyeshadow and foundation brushes) so this really helps! Would you say that using a foundation brush is much better than just your hands?

    • It’s all up to what you like in the end!
      But it can be just as fast as hands, and I did visibly notice an improvement in the way my skin looks after foundation.
      The stippling brush just makes my skin look like skin, but a million times healthier.
      My blackspots have gotten less as well, I wonder if that’s because i’m not touching my face anymore.. But I don’t know that for sure.
      Do you use foundation brushes?

      • Thanks, great advice! I had used a foundation brush but the bristles would all clump together, so I stopped because it didn’t apply foundation very well.

      • Ohh I had that too with my first foundation brush haha! :D and it was too small as well.
        Brushes were so hyped, then I tried it and I was like “..but ..why do I need to spend money on that then when my hands are a million times easier…?”
        Confusion all around.

  8. I really love all of this – the info is definately helpful. Thanks for sharing :-D

  9. I always appreciate your spin on products! Your reviews are important to me! :)

  10. I think with a cheap or bad brush you can’t be successful – Thanks for showing me your new brush-set ;o)

    • Agreed! Bad brushes make things a million times harder! Although price-wise (I forgot to add the prices, thanks for reminding me :D) these are so good for the quality you get!

  11. I’ve been eyeballing brushes to purchase, I also have always used my fingers, but now I’m hearing a lot of people that were always die hard brush users are going back to fingers. Argh, I’m pretty well confused now! Maybe I’ll try some brushes and then be a mutt who uses some brush, some fingers :)

  12. Such a hard task for you! Well done.

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