Two weeks, two brushes – real techniques brush review
A new little series in which I’ll be testing two new brushes for two weeks with every product I can think of. This time, I got the real techniques stippling brush and the real techniques blush brush and tried them with a lot of different blushes, powders and foundations.
With most brushes, it’s about finding the right product for that exact brush to allow it to perform well. This is the case for nearly all well-made synthetic brushes, no matter the price point. You can find excellent cheap synthetic brushes from brands like elf and ebelin for about two dollars/ two Euros, and excellent synthetic brushes from Sephora or Hakuhodo which will cost you an arm and a leg. Why should you shell out for real technique brushes then, which fall about in the middle of the spectrum? Here’s where the ‘right brush for the right product’ thing comes in.
I bought the rt stippling and blush brush mainly to use with stubborn blushes that are a bit too hard pressed for my MAC ‘skunk’ brushes. I want brushes to pick up pigment easily, distribute it without any scratching, and blend it easily.
Test 1: rt stippling brush with a random blush
Daaaamn is that thing scratchy! *throws on brush pile and forgets it for a while*
After five months…
Oh look, rt brushes! I never tested them properly! I should wash them and try them again!
Test 2: rt blush brush with various blushes
I was a bit afraid to come back to the scratchiness of the stippling brush, so I reached for the blush brush instead. The bristles are reasonably soft (not the softest synthetic bristles I’ve ever felt, though), and pick up pigment like nothing else. Honestly, it’s magic. I tried it with different kind of blushes – MAC’s Extra Dimension blushes with their ‘tri-brid’ texture, MAC’s powder blushes, MAC’s beauty powders – everything showed up easily on my cheeks, and blending was the easiest thing ever. I then tried the coup de grace – an older, baked Chanel blush that’s both incredibly stiff and also glittery. The bristles did a great job of containing the glitter particles (they didn’t show up on my face) and picking up the pigment at the same time. I then threw everything at it in terms of hard pressed blushes – Guerlain’s Madame Rougit, for example, and no matter what blush I chose, it distributed the pigment wonderfully and made blending a breeze. I was totally in awe.
Test 3: rt blush brush with bronzer and highlighter
I’m not totally convinced. It’s not the best choice for bronzing and highlighting powders. And forget contouring, the brush head is just not precise enough. I find the brush head also a bit too large for bronzer application, but it is doable if you absolutely want to. Same with highlighter (I only tried to use it with powder products). I guess I like smaller brushes more for both highlighting and bronzing. Maybe I should look into a rt brush with the same form, but a bit smaller brush head!
Test 4: rt blush brush with setting powder and mineral/powder foundation
Hmph. You totally can use the brush for both if you want to, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For my setting powder, the Sephora x Hakuhodo Otsube brush is the one I always reach for – it’s a match made in heaven. The rt blush brush though is too firm to apply that whisper thin layer of powder I love (and what the Hakuhodo does so well) and also seems to eat loose powder. With my mineral foundation and Estée Lauder’s powder foundation it’s a similar story. It seems to eat up product, but for a powder foundation, loose or pressed, the brush isn’t firm enough to buff it into the skin. A traditional kabuki yields a much better result.
Test 5: rt stippling brush with powder and cream blushes
I’ve to admit, I was a bit afraid to test it again after my first attempt. But then, it’s actually not that bad. I got this for my stubborn old and stiff blushes that don’t give up their pigment to anything short of a broom, and in a way, that’s what I got. It’s not the best brush to apply blush with, but then, it’s not advertised as such. You can do it and the brush also manages to coax colour out of the most stubborn of blushes, but for a price. The bristles are indeed somewhat scratchy (although I think it’s gotten better with use) and also a bit sparse. What I did with it was depositing colour in a swipe across my cheeks, and then blended with the blush brush. It worked. I wouldn’t especially recommend it.
With cream blushes, it shines. I was impressed how well it deposits and blends cream blusher flawlessly. Highly recommended!
Test 6: rt stippling brush with liquid foundation
I wouldn’t have though it, but for these water-thin, highly-pigmented foundations that usually come with a glass dropper (think Armani Maestro, MAC Waterweight foundation) it’s an excellent choice. My MAC Waterweight applied flawlessly, without any streaks and the brush deposited exactly the amount of product I wanted it to. It is actually superior to the super dense brushes they’re supposed to be great with (MAC 196). Still slightly scratchy, but the result? Amazing.
I also tried it with another foundation that’s a bit thicker and maybe more of a proper foundation than the serum foundation. I used it with the famous (and totally recommended) Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation, which is not, despite the name, a serum foundation, but a traditional, rather creamy liquid foundation. Again, I was impressed. The stippling brush applied it flawlessly. It doesn’t matter at all if you stipple or rather swipe and use the brush with broader strokes, every foundation looked great on my skin.
The real techniques blush brush copes admirably with all kinds of powder blushes, from obstinate stiff to buttery smooth ones. I enjoy the shape of the brush and how it applies the product. I also love how it somehow holds onto all unwanted glitter particles, distributing only colour. The bristles, though, could be a bit softer, but then I guess you’d loose the great way it applies colour to my cheeks. It’s one of my most favourite blush brushes now.
The real techniques stippling brush is not, though, best for what I bought it for. It can be used with powder products, but it’s really great for applying foundations. Again, the bristles could be slightly softer, and I also think it would benefit from more of the white hairs that make up the top of the brush head. But nevertheless, it does a great job.
Both brushes haven’t shed or bled although I washed them multiple times. They’re available in drugstores nearly all over Europe and the US. Prices for the brushes reviewed here range between 15€/11£/10$.