I’ve recently had a bit of a sort out with my makeup brushes, some of them really should have gone a couple of years ago probably but I kept using them anyway. To replace the ones I got rid of I found a couple of sets of Real Techniques makeup brushes on the TK Maxx website, one of them is this Eyelining Set, which it says is a collectors edition but I’m not sure what makes it any different as it seems to be the exact set sold in Boots and other Real Techniques stockists. I think it must be old stock as, although it was available on other sites when I ordered it, it’s not online in any of their normal stockists that I know of.
This set has four brushes in it, each has a different job to create the perfect eyeliner whether it’s a precision line or a smudger brush. It also comes with a small silver pouch which is just long enough for the brushes, I would guess this is designed to be used when you’re travelling but I’ll go into this a bit more later in the review. Most places this seems to have an RRP of either £21.99 or £19.99 though I’m not sure why it varies. It’s still available on TK Maxx for £14.99 along with other Real Techniques brushes. If you want any of their brushes it’s worth checking on there or your local TK Maxx if they have a decent beauty section as you get the discount but TK Maxx doesn’t sell fakes. I didn’t realise fake Real Techniques brushes was a thing until recently but it’s definitely worth sticking with a reputable buyer if you want them.
If you’re not aware of Real Techniques as a brand, they’re all synthetic and cruelty free brushes and have a range of different brush types that have colour coordinated handles depending on what part of your face they’re designed for. They are designed by YouTubers Pixiwoo, Sam and Nic, who do tutorials and other beauty related content on their YouTube channel. I’ve been subscribed to them for a while and like their videos but I don’t tend to go for many YouTuber products. These are just great quality and I’d recommend them as a brand even without that link.
The outer packaging for this is pretty nice, it’s a fairly standard clear plastic that shows off the brushes and pouch nicely and sticks with the brand image. It does protect everything well so it will survive the post, mine did despite the cardboard box everything was posted in having a hole and being a bit squashed.
The back of the box has a little description of each brush as well as what they are meant to be used for. There’s also a few ideas on how to do your eyeliner at the bottom with some simple graphics, though it doesn’t give instructions they could be good inspiration if you’re not sure where to start. It does say you can go on their website, realtechniques.com, which does have information on how to achieve different looks but it’s a case of using the search button and either having a specific idea of a look you want or be prepared to scroll through a lot of articles. Maybe I’m missing something and there’s an easier way but it’s worth the searching if you want instructions on looks as it actually mentions which brushes do what in quite a few of them.
The brushes themselves feel really nice on your skin and to hold. They are the same style and size as the standard Real Techniques eye brushes, with the purple ferrule that shows they are specifically for use for your eyes, at least as a guide. They are very shiny though, they really didn’t photograph well to show the words, which does make it hard to read the names of the brushes. It’s a bit annoying but I think these particular brushes are fairly easy to tell their jobs, it would probably be harder on some of their others if they’re similar shapes or styles.
I do really like the length of these brush handles and the fact they have the matte end which has a more grippy texture so you don’t find your brushes sliding in your grip even with the really shiny and long ferrule. They’re a nice thickness to hold and easily control and are very light. They do have a slightly thinner handle which means the loops in travel bags and rolls you get might be slightly too big. My Eco Tools one I’ve used for years can fit two or three in each of the loops otherwise they just slip out.
I’ve had a bit of a play around with these brushes to see how they work best with some different products types. I do tend to do most of my ‘eyeliner’ with dark eye shadows as I like the effect and find it a lot easier, especially under my bottom lashes. I mainly bought these brushes as I thought they’d make it a lot easier to do this and the lines themselves would be more precise.
Precision Liner Brush – does what it says, it’s a firm brush that does get a surprisingly thin line and is very precise. It’s a very soft brush which doesn’t drag your skin and you can apply quite a bit of pressure, not that you really want or need to, without any discomfort. It does also work well, as a tip in their site says, for neatening up edges if you dip it in makeup remover.
Smudge Brush – really soft and dense. It feels a lot like a shorter version of their eyeshadow shading brush and can pack a lot of colour on more precisely if you want to use it for eyeshadow. It does smudge out evenly, is easy to use and very soft.
Eyeliner Brush – An angled brush, though it’s thicker than the other two angled Liner brushes I have it’s also firmer so you can hold it at an angle and get a pretty precise line. Also works well for under the bottom lashes without getting too much on your lashes themselves and for a winged look, keeps a pretty straight line.
Pointed Liner Brush – A more rounded brush shape than the precision brush, it’s flatter and works well to apply precise eyeshadow as well. Works well for a cat eye but I found it less precise than the precision one.
The brushes are all good, firm and easy to use and I haven’t noticed any shedding or any bristles sticking out at odd angles. They feel good quality, like the other Real Techniques brushes I have, and work well with cream products as well as powder, wet or dry. I haven’t tried it with a liquid liner as I don’t own one that isn’t in pen form but I can see it working well for that and would probably give an even more precise edge.
The pouch in this set is pretty much a free bonus that’s a bit useless, to me anyway. In theory it’s a nice idea; a pouch for your brushes when you travel or to store them and protect them. In practice, however, I found that the brushes do get stuck in there and there’s a bit of digging around to get them out as there’s a seem that sits almost exactly where the brushes end and they get caught on it. Add in the fact that, unless you wash your brushes every use, there will be leftover product that ends up making a mess and transferring onto everything inside I can see this getting very dirty very fast and leaving the brushes inside dirty looking too. It does feel like it would wipe clean on the outside and is a nice, slightly matte, silver colour with a woven look finish and the top flap does stay closed well so I think I’d trust it to keep things safe when travelling, it just seems an awkward shape and size for these brushes and hard to get them out. I might use it for hair accessories or jewellery maybe, I won’t be getting rid of it straight away.
Overall I’m very happy with this set and think it’s worth getting if you like using eyeliners or eyeshadow as liners and want a precise line. These brushes hold the product well, are soft enough to feel nice on your eyes but firm enough to not spread out the second there’s any pressure on your skin. They’re also comfortable to hold and the handle length is long enough to fit in your hand without being so long it’s hard to travel with, I have some brushes that do not want to fit in my travel bag and poke out of the ends.
If you haven’t tried Real Techniques before I think they’re worth checking out, especially if they’re on offer, and TK Maxx at the moment seem to have a large amount of their brushes online. I think they may be having a revamp or discontinuing some of their products, there are definitely new sets appearing, so if you like the look of this set then I’d get it as soon as possible as with TK Maxx it’s a case of when the stock is gone it’s extremely rare for it to be restocked.