Review: Real Techniques makeup brushes

Once upon a time, when I was a small Megan, I applied my makeup thusly: foundation with fingers, blush with the teensy brush that came in the compact, mascara via mascara wand, chapstick straight from tube.  Obvious problems there – primary of which is that if I went out in that much makeup now, people would think I had consumption.  But aside from the fact that apparently I am fading like a flower, what the hell is with that teensy brush they give you? My cheeks are quite a generous portion of my face, while that brush was doll-size.

My search for a better tool than these stubby fingers has eventually led me to this point – trialling
makeup brushes I heard about on Youtube.  Real Techniques (by Samantha Chapman) came to my attention because I watch makeup tutorials by Sam, and her sister Nic, on their Youtube channel pixiwoo.  I then went on a jaunt to Sydney last year and came across the brushes in Priceline.  In my insanity, I bought one.  I knew you couldn”t get them in New Zealand, yet I only bought one *shakes head in disappointment with self”s inability to make good decisions*.

Well, I think I can sum up this review by saying: I now own 11.


These brushes are extraordinarily good.  They’re all synthetic, which is nice for our vegetarian and vegan buddies, with aluminium handles.  The base of the handles is flat, which means you can stand the brushes up.  I find this super handy when I am at the gym and don”t want to lie my brushes on the benches and then rub them all over my face.

I have not experienced any shedding with these brushes and they re-shape perfectly after washing.  They haven”t stained and they dry very quickly.  I absolutely love the expert face brush and the buffing brush for applying foundation, and the detailer brush, base shadow brush, and deluxe crease brush are perfect for every kind of eyeshadow application I need to do.  The bristles are beautifully soft and dense and the handles are just the right length and balance in my hand (even with the heavier rubberised bases).

They are also incredibly price-competitive.  I have the following (prices in USD):

  • the blush brush: $9
  • the expert face brush: $9
  • the core collection set* (detailer brush, pointed foundation brush, buffing brush, contour brush): $18
  • the starter set for eyes (base shadow brush, deluxe crease brush, accent brush, pixel-point eyeliner brush, brow brush): $18

That means I have spent approximately $NZ65 on 11 brushes, or a little less than $6 per brush.  I also spent $15 on shipping, so let”s say $80. Let”s compare that to the brushes that I consider are similar in terms of accessibility – the Manicare brushes available at Farmers.  If you had $80 to spend on those brushes you could buy:

  • the foundation brush: $26.99
  • the angled blush brush: $22.49
  • the powder brush: $27.99

…and you”d have $2.50 in change. You”d also have three brushes which, in my opinion, just are not as good as the Real Techniques brushes (and I do own a couple of the Manicare brushes, purchased before I discovered Real Techniques and my powder brush STILL sheds after three years!).

Seriously, I cannot emphasise enough how great my experience with these brushes has been.  If you have been considering buying some entry-level makeup brushes but thought MAC was too expensive (because you guys, you can spend hundreds on brushes if you go top of the line**) then I strongly recommend buying just one set of these and seeing how you like them.  I”m already planning my next little order…

You can purchase the Real Techniques brushes at:  You can also check out the Real Techniques website (link above) for tutorials and detailed information about the brushes and sets.

*The sets also come with handy brush cases that turn into a stand.

**please note: definitely not implying MAC brushes are top of the line.  If you want a nice sense of what brushes can cost, look up the Tom Ford, Suqqu and Hakuhodo brushes. Yikes!

5 Comments  to  Review: Real Techniques makeup brushes

  1. Steph says:

    I second the recommendation! I actually bought one in a shop in New Zealand: I was in a Life Pharmacy store (in Dunedin) looking for a brush and they were selling quite a few different Real Techniques brushes. I got a foundation brush, and like it a lot, but it was maybe a year or so ago and I don’t know if they still stock them there or not, and I have no idea if they would carry them in other Life Pharmacy branches in other cities.

  2. Kim says:

    I saw them last week in Life Pharmacy. But thanks heaps for the review. I have been sooo close to buying them off iherb! I think I need to bite the bullet and do it

  3. Megan says:

    *runs to Life Pharmacy with credit card*

    SO EXCITED! Thanks ladies! I did check the stockist list on the RT website but didn’t see Life Pharmacy on there. Weird.

  4. Vicky Hoang says:

    i love RT brushes! very detailed post about these brushes..

    My Blog: Caught in a Daze.

  5. Cesy says:

    Went to the Life Pharmacy in Courtney Place, they certainly didn’t have them there, did find them in a small shop in Greytown called Belle Rouge, she’s only a one-woman outfit so they were pricey but sometimes it’s nice to support people who bring awesome make up and tools into NZ!