Real Techniques: Sam’s Picks - Review


Sam (Pixiwoo) Chapman has launched a set of her favourite Real Techniques make-up brushes - Sam’s Picks - and added one new exclusive to the bunch.  If like me you already have quite a few Real Techniques brushes, in this review I try to answer:

… do you need this set?

… does it add anything to the mix - and if so, what? 

… what results can you achieve with each brush? 

In a nutshell, if you like attention to detail and precision application, this set is for you.  If a quick sweep on the run is more your style, you can probably live without Sam’s Picks.  If you’re new to Real Techniques, this is a great place to start.

Here’s a closer look - and the lowdown on what I’ve been using each brush for…



*brushes in above pic are actual size*

With six brushes in total, Sam’s Picks provides a good basic collection that will perform most functions required by the average user, unlike some of her other sets which seem to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I like the box guide and printed names on handles, which are a great guide to anyone either new to make-up brushes or trying to extend their repertoire.  When it comes to beauty, rules are made to be broken - and I like to mix things up a bit.  At the end of the day, use your brushes for whatever works for you.

A Closer Look


So here we have:

Pointed foundation brush - not designed for applying a full face of foundation (it’s too small and would take all day), this is useful for applying heavier coverage only where needed.  I use it to conceal any redness around my nose and chin, then buff the product in with the setting brush.

Setting brush - great for those of us who don’t like to powder all over, this is designed to mattify or set make-up only where needed.  I’ve been using it for the Iridescent shade in my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - for precision application of highlighter on tops of cheekbones, browbones and cupid’s bow.  It also works well for buffing in liquid concealer, though I prefer it for powder.

Essential crease brush - this is the brush I was most excited to try as it’s the only new release included and exclusive to this set.  Smaller than a standard crease brush, this is almost half the width of a MAC 217 and packed a little more densely.  I think this will be a godsend for anyone who finds working with eye shadow quite tricky, or those who like to use a number of eye colours and blend carefully and precisely, without them overlapping too much.  Although it requires a little more effort that my usual 217, I like the sense of control that this brush gives and had really good results from using it for crease work.  It’s also dainty enough to smudge shadow along the lashline or blend powder over a gel liner for a softer effect.

Fine liner brush - I knew this would be the brush I’d reach for least as I rarely use gel liner. I tried it with a Clarins cake liner and found it too long and flexible for the results I wanted to achieve (I prefer a firm angled brush for this kind of work), though it did work quite well for applying a dense cream eyeshadow as liner (Makeup Atelier Crème Eyeshadow in Taupe).  Although the bristles are long, they don’t have too much give and I’d imagine this would also work with the likes of MAC Fluidline or Bobbi Brown gel liners; it really just depends on your own preference and application style.  What I’m most likely to use this for is days when I need a teeny dot of concealer for pinpoint spots or red marks - I haven’t tried this yet but think the bristles are fine and stiff enough to do the job. 


Last but by no means least, these two fat, fluffy beauties.

Buffing brush - my beloved and most used make-up brush ever, I’m thrilled to have a back up for this beauty, which I literally use every single day. Its densely packed supersoft bristles and gently domed shape make it perfect for application of liquid foundation.  The bristles don’t absorb too much product and create the most airbrushed finish of any I’ve tried. The entire set is worth the cash for this brush alone, though I really wish it was available as a single purchase. In my view, the Buffing brush is to face what the MAC 217 is to eyes and an essential in my collection.

Multi-task brush - super soft with tapered bristles and a lot more give that the buffing brush, this brush is wide at the front with slimmer sides, allowing it to perform different functions depending on how you hold it.  So far I’ve tried it with mineral foundation, loose powder, bronzer and blush.  It was a little too loose to use with my Bare Minerals loose powder mineral foundation. It did the job, but glided over larger pores and flaws rather than buffing the product into them, which I resolved by going over these areas with the setting brush.  It worked beautifully with loose powder and bronzer, even for contour when held at an angle so that the slimmer edge slotted into the hollows below my cheekbones.  While I’d normally opt for a smaller blush brush, this worked better than expected at patting blush lightly on cheekbones at an angle, then turning to the side to blend in.  The loosely packed, flexible bristles mean not too much product is lifted and quite subtle results are achieved, both plus points in my book as I always prefer to add a little more rather than undo over application.

All in all, a very welcome addition to my collection and a variety that will cover most needs for make-up brush or Real Techniques novices.

The Real Techniques Sam’s Picks Gift Set* is available on priced £29.99

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