Two weeks, two brushes: Synthetic cheek brush comparison – Sephora vs. Real Techniques
If you’ve read this blog during 2017, you know about my quest to find a good, multitasking highlighter/contouring/blush brush. When I set out, MAC’s 168 was my favourite for highlighters, real techniques domed blush brush quickly became my fave for powder blushers, and well, I don’t contour all that much anyways… Shifty eyes.
Anyways. I always wanted to try a Sephora bush, and when Sephora came to Germany, I pounced. And because I had just gotten the rt sculpting blush (I honestly can’t remember why), it seemed to be a good idea to compare those two. Have I just found the best synthetic cheek brushes?!
As always, first a word about my brush philosophy – I think there’re a lot of good mid-range (as I consider both brands) brands out there, and they make generally good brushes. The question is always: Can you find products and application techniques that make the brush work for you? And that I’m trying to find out in the following post.
Real techniques sculpting brush
From their website: Our sculpting brush features a flat, wide head specifically designed to help create defined contours. Add depth and definition to any look. Ideal for liquid or cream contour products. Buy here.
With cream and liquid products
This short and stubby brush head made me immediately grab some cream products to try it out with. The brush is very firm, which leads to a kind of a dab and blend routine, but this it did very well. Careful though – for me, it was hard to gouge how much product would be absorbed by the dense bristles, and I ended up with some interesting stripes on my face during the initial try-out. After that, it’s a brush that works well with blush, bronzer/contour and highlingting products. It performed exceptionally with ColourPop SuperShock blushes and highlighters, picking up the product easily and blending it well without disturbing my foundation.
With liquid products, it did better than the Multitasker. Maybe the reason for this was the smaller brush head, but it was also easier to pick up product. My issue with the Multitasker was that it picked up too much liquid (due to the longer bristles, I guess), but this one fared better in that department. Easy to apply, easy to blend.
With powder products
Because generally, this brush worked best with light stamping/patting motions while applying products, powders aren’t the best choice for it. The dense bristles make it harder to blend products softly without disturbing your base. It kind of worked (for blush blending I had to go in with another brush), but it’s not the best choice. Especially for highlighters, it’s difficult: I like to apply highlighters with brushes with longer bristles to swipe gently over the high planes of my face, and this doesn’t work with rt’s brush. But then, it’s not marketed for that, anyway, so it’s not really the brush’s fault. It’s an excellent brush, though, for products that are very firm pressed and that other brushes have trouble with to pick up.
Sephora Multitasker blush brush 54
From their website: A domed blush brush for achieving a flawless, airbrushed finish. This blush brush was designed with domed bristles to effortlessly sweep along the cheek bone for precise application. The synthetic bristles effortlessly pick up both cream and powder formulas, and move gently over the complexion for beautiful blending. Buy here.
With powder products
Who would have thought? This little beauty lives up to its ‘multitasker’ name! It’s slightly longer bristles mean that they splay out easily when you apply a bit of pressure. Therefore, you can easily apply, and also blend products. You can easily apply products like contouring powders precisely where you want them to be. It fits perfectly in that hollow under your cheekbone, thus making application a breeze. It gives you a lot of control if you want something to apply sheerly or not.
A word to the wise, though: Be careful for those extra shiny highlighters. You’ll be seen from space (I rather use a fan brush for those).
I was really surprised how well this one applied blush, though: It’s very easy to both follow your cheekbone, and then blend away.
With cream and liquids
While this performs a bit differently with its longer bristles than its stubby friend from rt, the Multitasker stays true to its name. It performs well with cream products of all kinds, be it be the bouncy kind of ColourPop’s Super Shock products, or creamier ones like MAC’s Casual Colour blushes. Due to the longer bristles, though, it’s harder to pick up colour from more solid products (ColourPop) and very easy with ones that are very creamy or nearly liquid like my Cushion Bronzer from L’Oreal. Due to the longer bristles, at the same time, it’s very easy to blend those products gently. The bristles didn’t seem to absorb much product, and were easy to spot clean after use. I liked that I could apply and blend products without any pressure and without disturbing my base.
I rarely use liquid cheek products, so that could be the reason why I found it difficult to apply them (especially blush) with the Multitasker. It picked up too much product initially. Blending, though, was easy.
Tl, dr – the best synthetic cheek brushes?
The Sephora lives up to its name – it truly is a multitasking brush that performs great applying and blending powder and cream products. I didn’t like it that much for liquid formulas. The real techniques Sculpting Brush is great for liquids, though, and will be my first choice for ColourPop’s ‘bouncy’ textures like their SuperShock face products. Apart from being designed for contouring, it performs well with blush and highlight.