As a fan of the sisters Pixiwoo, I was thrilled to hear that Sam (Samantha Chapman) was releasing a line of brushes. I was also very happy to hear she was doing it in a collaboration with Paris Presents, the company behind the excellent EcoTools brushes, Ms. Makeup brushes, and the Wal-Mart “blue packaging” line.
Sam’s brush line, Real Techniques, delivered on my expectations. The prices are quite reasonable (especially with a coupon and/or a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale — Real Techniques is sold exclusively by Ulta), and the brush bristles are very soft (taklon bristles, which means they’re also cruelty-free). The handles are aluminum, and the back end of the handles are flat (so you can stand them up if you need to switch brushes mid-application). The sets are packaged in carrying cases with a velcro closure, and by shortening the nylon strap, you can fold the case backwards into a brush stand. The only trouble I had was wrestling the rubberized end of the brush handles past the elastic.
Sam also made a series of tutorial videos specifically for the Real Techniques site. Some just introduce the brushes, some are step-by-step guides for a specific look, but they’re very nice for giving you a clearer view of the size and shape of the brushes, in case you don’t have an Ulta nearby. (So far I’ve only seen the Travel Essentials set in my local Ulta… I assume the other pieces of the collection have yet to arrive.)
The line includes:
- powder brush, $9.99
- angled foundation brush, $7.99
- shading brush (I would call this a small eyeshadow laydown brush), $5.99
- lash and brow groomer, $5.99
- blush brush, $8.99
- stippling brush (which looks like MAC’s short, dense skunk brush, the 130), $9.99
- angled kabuki brush, $9.99
Then there are the sets:
- Core Collection (aka face brushes), $15.99. The brushes in this set are not sold individually. The set includes a “contour brush” (which in pictures, looks sort of like a MAC 165 highlighting brush), a pointed foundation brush (which seems a bit small), a “detailer” brush (for concealer; doubles as a lip brush), and a buffing brush.
- Starter Set (aka eye brushes), $15.99. This set contains a “base shadow brush” (from the videos, it looks like this brush might have a slightly different shape from the individual “shading brush,” but they’d serve the same purpose), a deluxe crease brush (for crease and/or blending), accent brush (a small eyeshadow laydown brush ideal for adding some drama to your outer V), “pixel point” eyeliner brush, and angled brow brush.
- Travel Essentials, $15.99. This set includes the essential foundation brush (which, from the videos, looks like it could be slightly wider than the pointed foundation brush in the Core Collection), a domed shadow brush (which looks similar to the “base shadow brush” from the Starter Set and individual “shading brush”), and a “multi-task” brush for blush, bronzer, and powder (which looks wider, more rounded than the individually sold, somewhat egg-shaped blush brush).
Are these brushes must-haves? I won’t be throwing away any of my current brushes, but Real Techniques seems like a good way to fill in gaps in your brush collection. A nice foundation or powder brush can be pricey, so I always appreciate a solid drugstore option. I am looking forward to finally seeing the whole collection face-to-face… the Core Collection looks pretty tempting online.