Sunday, 10 July 2011

Review: Real Techniques Stippling Brush

On the subject of stippling brushes I am notoriously hard to please. A small parade of brushes have passed in and out of my displeased possession: the infamous MAC 187, homage to disappointment (on 3 separate occasions of owning it), the bijoux-sized MAC 130, so small I actually got bored applying foundation, and then most recently, the E.L.F. Studio Stippling Brush, the copycat that never was. And then there was the Real Techniques brush designed by Samantha Chapman and made by the people who make Eco Tools.

I'm not really sure why I was drawn to buying it after that weak litany of stippling brush-related failures, but £10 or so and a couple of days later, and a package from was delivered to me by the cheery postman.

I'll be blunt on the design: I really don't like it and if I saw it in Boots with no prior knowledge of its quality, I'd probably pass it by and leave it for the more teenage consumer. I am past the stage of thinking pink or any other bright colour is a 'cute' addition and the Hello Kitty thing passed me by anyway. The aesthetic of this brush is a personal thing however, which doesn't change my opinion of the overall quality or experience using it.

The brush comprises of an aluminium all-in-one ferrule and handle with a rubberised base. It has been designed to stand up by itself; I guess that'd be useful somewhere. I imagine the majority of us store our brushes in some kind of pot/jar/thing/whatever, so the feature, at least for me, is pretty redundant. The aluminium handle, however, makes the brush lightweight without the flimsiness of the E.L.F. Stippling Brush impostor, and it feels well-made and durable.

The bristles are short, synthetic and densely-packed on this brush; I'm reminded of a MAC 130 duo-fibre brush, but a little bigger and less boring to use. The bristles are sufficiently soft and good quality with no shedding or dye leaking to speak of, however this is not a review based on a long-term usage so I will update as I see necessary. Where I've always found stippling brushes really floppy and useless and was fed up of continually poking myself in the eye with the errant 187 bristles, the bristles here are stiff enough to stipple or buff without any splaying - it almost feels like they're bouncy!

The first time I used this I got a flawless effect on the skin by using the stippling method, but I also used a lot more product than usual. It worked really well with my Estée Lauder Doublewear and my MAC Pro Longwear, both more difficult foundations to work with. It performed well with cream blush products too, but I wouldn't recommend it for powdering your whole face unless it's brush laundry day as it's simply not effective enough - why send a little brush to do the work of a big brush?

Overall, I'm really pleased with this brush and the way it performed: it cost me a reasonable £10.99 and is good quality. It is well-made and sturdy, and has withstood very regular washings, and quite a few of them. The size of the brush made it big enough for quick foundation application, but still small enough to fit around the contours of the face. I don't like the price increase for the UK market and it isn't the best brush I've ever used. Do I like it? Yes. Is it reasonably-priced? Yes. Do I think there's just a teeny bit of hype surrounding this product? Definitely, and that's something to bear in mind.


  1. This brush looks lovely!

  2. Sounds superb! I think I'll be going for this one as I currently own a Sigma Stippling brush which is decent but not perfect.

    I have tried a blush brush from Real Techniques and that's pretty awesome too :) I feel that the fat end of the brush which allows it to stand, makes it hard to store with the other brushes in the jar.

  3. lol - unless its brush laundry day - very funny. I'm drawn to these brushes because I love Pixiwoo but haven't bought any yet cus I don't like the look - i'm fickle that way. I love your hard hitting review.

    Lots of Love Natalie

  4. I would buy the orange set of face brushes, if it was ever in stock at Ulta.

  5. I definitely want to give this brush as well as her others a try!

  6. I would be reluctant to buy them purely for the fact they are over twice the price in the UK, I think that's pretty disgusting.
    The elf flat top powder brush is really good if you haven't tried it.

  7. loved this review toots, very well thought out - good to hear your positive/negative thoughts as well ... and I didn't know this was the people behind ecotools either.

    a x
    Girl in the City Glasgow

  8. I'm not going to lie, I went out specifically to buy these a day or two after they came out. I've never owned any nicer brushes to compare these to, but I do love them especially because they are so affordable here in the states.

  9. I've been thinking of purchasing some of the brushes (along with this one) in Samantha's line. Thanks for this post though as you've made me slightly more aware and conscious and made me re-consider or should I say prolong my decision.

  10. I haven't ever owned a stippling brush, I have always managed without one but I would rather like one (even if it's just because I like the word stippling!)

    I was eyeing up the ELF one but might give this a go instead. I just hate hyped products, don't get me wrong I adore the Chapman sisters but it's so easy for things like this to be over hyped and then lead to disappointment!

    Rebecca xx

  11. Really nice to read a refreshingly honest review Cami - although that's a given with you :)

  12. I've read a lot about these...and your review also makes it look quite promising to me. I am planning to get this beauty now!! :)


  13. sounds interesting! Hope it's not going to lose some hairs after you wash it a couple of days..

  14. @Yami It's a pretty good brush, though I do have to admit it is surrounded by hype.

    @Get Gawjus! I think the fact that I'm extra fussy about stippling brushes made me very discerning/critical in this review. I do think it is a great brush though, but there is a lot of hype surrounding it which skews things a little.

    @Natalie Thank you for your comment - glad you enjoyed my over-analytical review :)

    @Rebecca I was curious about those too - I'd quite like to try one of the sets :)

  15. @ambernicolee I'd quite like to try a couple of others to see how they measure up to this one in quality :)

    @Victoria I have indeed tried the ELF Powder Brush and it's absolutely fantastic! One of my holy grail brushes :)

    @girlinthecity thanks lovely :) Glad you enjoyed! x

    @jewytart I think affordability is a very big factor - these do come out a bit more mid-priced in the UK, but they're an affordable brush range which is good quality, and a lot of people trust the integrity of Samantha Chapman to not market a crap product :)

  16. @denimdistraction I hope I didn't cast them too negatively! I do like the product but I've become extremely conscious that I've not used the brush as much as I would've thought.

    @Rebecca Exactly - I left my review for 3 weeks after receiving my purchase as I wanted to be extra sure my initial OMG BEST BRUSH EVER reaction was right... And it did fade so I could look at it more objectively x

    @Laura I'm nothing if not extremely honest and critical ;)

    @calicoaster I hope you liked the brush in the end! :)

    @Valérie I washed it very frequently in the 3 week period before writing this review and it held up extremely well :)

  17. I am definitely picky when it comes to brushes too. And I am really looking for an all-in-one brush and loads of brands came into my mind- Sigma, MAC, EcoTools, etc. But your review here made my mind up to get this--- I am so purchasing this and thanks for writing about it. Detailed and precise, I am so following your blog! xoxo.

  18. i have this brush :):) I use it for foundation application, contouring and as a blusher it is a pretty versatile brush. There are better brushes to buy but for only £10.99 it is such good value for money!


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