Real Techniques #101 Triangle Foundation Brush ($23.99) is supposed to “revolutionize your foundation application” to give you “flawless coverage.” It is three-sided such that you can more easily maneuver underneath the eye and around the nose. The brush head is in 42 length, 25mm in width, and 13mm in thickness. It has a total length of just over 21 centimeters with an open ferrule.
In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn’t apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable. This is one of the scratchiest, most painful brushes I’ve used in years. The bristles just seem sharp and seem to stab at the skin, so you need to use it incredibly lightly and drag it across the skin in a downwards motion to minimize the bristles poking the skin. Unfortunately, that technique leaves the skin covered in visible strokes of liquid foundation–lines everywhere–and this brush is incapable of smoothing out those lines. I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable it was to use, and if you’re prone to reddening if your skin gets irritated, stay far away from this. I looked like I threw myself into a rose bush after using this.
In theory, I like the concept of a three-sided, tapered brush to get into the nooks and crannies. In practice, it didn't apply foundation well, was uncomfortable to use, and I have no idea what I could use this for, because it feels unusable.
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Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes ($15.99 to $25.99) is a new, permanent collection of synthetic brushes. There are seven brushes in all–three for eyes, four for face–and they come with either silver, rose gold, and gold-hued handles. The brush heads are primarily white that fades to color at the base. I haven’t played with these for more than a couple of days, so I don’t have too many thoughts to share, but here are some initial impressions:
Some of the shapes seem more specific, so if you prefer brushes that can be used for a variety of things, or are only building your collection, you may want to shop in person.
The #200 and #201 brushes are quite large (almost covering my entire eyelid), so they are better for looks that only consist of one or two eyeshadows.
The handles hold fingerprints easily, and they always look dirty to me as a result (smudges everywhere). The handles are also very long and taper towards the tip, and they are faceted, to prevent rolling off tables and counter tops.
I noticed some very small nicks and dents throughout the collection, and the brushes themselves could have been cut better–there were a few obvious fibers that extended past the general shape of the brush. The handles don’t feel as weighty as I would have expected, though they don’t feel so lightweight that they feel cheap, but I’ll have to play and hold them more to get a better sense of weight as well as balance.
They seem soft enough, but once I’m able to use more of them and for longer, I’ll have a better grasp on how soft, relative to the type of application, and things of that nature. I did compare the large powder brush to Make Up For Ever’s #128 (which is a go-to powder brush for me and also synthetic), and the Make Up For Ever bristles were noticeably softer–I was curious if these would be some of the softest/smoothest synthetics on the market.
I look forward to seeing how the contour brush works with cream contours (I’ve only used it with powder so far), as well as trying out the triangle foundation brush to see how it fits in the nooks and crannies of the face.
The Bold Metals Collection by Real Techniques pairs unbelievably soft bristles with striking metallic detail. Handles are weighted for optimal control and comfort. Refined artistry cuts offer high performance and mastery of any look. Let your brush do the work of perfect makeup application. Color-coded system corresponds to the key steps of makeup application: Gold = Base; ; Platinum = Eye; Rose Gold = Finish. Exclusively at ULTA
Bold Metals 301 Flat Contour Brush ($25.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 301 Flat Contour Brush has a dense, flattop head that creates shadows and highlights on targeted areas of face to play up your favorite features. Ideal for contouring and sculpting.
Bold Metals 300 Tapered Blush Brush ($23.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 300 Tapered Blush Brush has an expert-designed bristle shape which provides focused application of cheek color. Highlights and sculpts across cheeks for a seamless finish. Bristles are perfectly spaced for an air-brushed, buildable application. Easily apply color to apples of the cheeks, and blend to your personal preference.
Bold Metals 200 Oval Shadow Brush ($15.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 200 Oval Shadow Brush offers the one-sweep brush with a full, round shape for all-over eyelid application, and seamless blending of powder and cream eyeshadows. It can also be used for detailed highlighting of the brow bone.
Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush ($15.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush has densely packed, tapered bristles which helps to apply eye color into the crease for a more dimensional look. The firm tip is ideal for blending color along the lash line.
Bold Metals 202 Angled Liner Brush ($15.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 202 Angled Liner Brush has firm, slanted bristles that hug the lash line for smooth, even application of eyeliner. This tool is ideal for precision application.
Bold Metals 100 Arched Powder Brush ($25.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 100 Arched Powder Brush domed-cut, powder brush sweeps perfectly across the face for flawless application of pressed or loose powders. Bristle tips start low on the brush head to optimize product pickup, allowing you to blend flawlessly.
Bold Metals 101 Triangle Foundation Brush ($23.99)
Real Techniques Bold Metals 101 Triangle Foundation Brush was uniquely designed with 3 different sides for a flawless coverage. This never-before-seen design will revolutionize your foundation application. The largest of the three sides is ideal to cover large areas of the face. Use the cross-hatching technique to blend the product into the skin for full coverage. The 2 angled sides can be used for full coverage under eye, and for blending seamlessly around the nose. The pointed tip is an added bonus for spot coverage. Since the brush has 3 sides you can use 3 colors, and still blend flawlessly.
After reflecting on reviews I’ve done over the past year that are more budget-friendly, I definitely need to spend a little more time on cheek color in the upcoming year. Good thing I’ve already gotten a great start on that with some of the upcoming products for spring! (So stay tuned!) Here is a mix of cheek colors, face tools, and a few polishes to round-out our last top ten for budget-friendly products.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($8.99) is designed for applying and blending cream or liquid foundation. The brush head is 25mm in length, 30mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. The brush had a total length of 6 inches/15.5 centimeters. The brush is soft, dense, firm (with some give but not fluffy or springy). The edge is slightly rounded, but the most noticeable characteristic about the brush is just how dense it is. It is even denser than the Buffing Brush. I bought this brush after a few readers asked how it compared to Tom Ford’s Cream Foundation Brush, and I don’t think they’re similar in terms of shape, density, and so forth, but the end results achieved with both brushes are more comparable. I do get better and more effortless results with Tom Ford’s, as it doesn’t streak at all for me, but this brush does so occasionally. The rounded, slightly tapered edge makes it easy to buff and blend out any streaks, though, and the synthetic bristles of this brush means it works better with cream and liquid products and is easier to clean. In a blind softness test, I ran both brushes across my husband’s forearm (and I had him do the same for me) three times for each (and at random), Tom Ford always came out on top as softer, but Real Techniques is still very, very soft. I would not complain; I would not even notice, if I didn’t have Tom Ford to compare it to–the way I used this often reminded me of how I used to use MAC’s 109, and this is softer than that brush.
Real Techniques Core Collection ($17.99 for set of four brushes) includes a Buffing Brush, Contour Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, and Detailer Brush, plus a case to carry them in. For the price, you’re getting a nice amount of brushes, but as with kits, they’re not all as equally useful and ultimately whether you love and use all four regularly will depend entirely on your personal routine and brush preferences. The Buffing and Contour Brushes are both shapes that I think many would use and appreciate, while the Pointed Foundation and Detailer Brushes will be less applicable for all. I really wish you could purchase these brushes individually as well, because I could easily see getting a second Buffing Brush, or if you loved the Detailer Brush, having two or three might be nice for anyone who needs the precision.
Buffing Brush is a medium-sized, wide circular brush that widens at the end and has an ever-so-slightly domed edge. The brush head is 30mm in length, 35mm in width (at its widest point), and 30mm in thickness. In total, the brush has a length of 6 inches/15.5 centimeters. It’s a really nice, multi-tasking brush that can be used to apply foundation (though it says powder, I’ve used it with both powder, cream, and liquid, and it worked fine across all three), blend out blushes and bronzers, or to apply setting powder. It’s densely-packed with soft bristles that feel nice against the skin.
Contour Brush is a small, domed-shaped brush that’s soft, lightly fluffy, and not too dense. The brush head is 30mm in length, 18mm in width, and 18mm in thickness. The brush has a total length of 6.25 inches/15.7 centimeters. It has a good amount of spring so it blends, but it isn’t floppy, so it still retains its shape. It fits nicely into the hollow of the cheeks, so it definitely works exceptionally well for contouring (especially with cream products), but I also quite liked it for applying highlighters on the cheek bones and down the nose as well as for applying cream blushes for a more feathery application. Of the brushes in the set, this was my favorite.
Pointed Foundation Brush was surprisingly small for a flat foundation brush. The brush head is 27mm in length, 15mm in width, and 5mm in thickness. The total length of the brush is 6 inches/15.5 centimeters. It would work better for applying a liquid or cream product to the face, but then using another brush to actually blend and work it into the skin. I often use a concealer brush to dab my liquid foundation in spots on my face before blending the foundation all-over with something larger and denser, so that seemed to be a better use for this than applying foundation all-over. It was very prone to creating lines when I used it for all-over foundation application, so I still needed to go back with something else to buff out all the visible lines. I also tried using it to dab cream highlighters on the cheeks and it was decent, but it doesn’t blend or diffuse the product well enough, so again, a second brush becomes necessary–and I could have just used the second brush for both initial application and subsequent blending.
Detailer Brush is a teeny, tiny firm, flat brush with a tapered edge. The brush head is 9mm in length, 6mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. The whole brush is just under 5.5 inches/14 centimeters. If you have small eyes or deeper crevices around your nose, it might be more useful than your traditional concealer or lip brush as it is much shorter and thinner. This brush was scratchy/rough; when I would pat it underneath the eye for concealer, I could feel a few bristles “stabbing” the skin.
Every brush seemed well-balanced; they weren’t top-heavy or bottom-heavy, so I had good control and they felt good in my hands and as I used them during application. I’ve been using these brushes for several weeks (with the exception of the Expert Face Brush, which I’ve only been using for almost two weeks). I had few splayed bristles on the Buffing Brush when it arrived and haven’t quite been able to get them to re-shape perfectly, so I might trim those stray ones out. I’ve only had a few bristles shed during the first few uses with the Buffing and Expert Face Brushes (which is normal!). I haven’t had any issues cleaning or re-shaping them, and they haven’t bled dye during washes or smelled funny after drying.