March 03, 2014

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush | Review


I've been looking for a portable brush for powder, because it's more cost-effective than velour puffs, and a blush brush more precise than the Real Techniques blush brush. So when I saw that Real Techniques released this retractable kabuki for $10, I had to get it. It is now one of my favorite brushes. Although it has one setback, it's still friggin' fabulous.

Read on for a thorough review or skip to the bottom for a list of pros and cons.


In case you didn't know how retractable brushes closed, I guess

Packaging: This brush sports the same signature aluminum body as its counterparts, so its quite vulnerable to scratches, and even more-so since it's meant for travel. Mine already has prominent scratches, and I've only had it for a little over two weeks. The cap is appropriately secure, and is a transparent fluorescent orange-pink, which looks kinda toyish but whatever. When closed, it is about 12.3 cm (5 7/8 in) tall, so about a third shorter than the Real Techniques blush brush. The inner closure mechanism is great for maintaining the shape of the brush (though Real Techniques brushes don't really have issues with their brushes losing shape anyway). 

The bad aspect about this brush is that it has this smell of what I'd imagine a concoction of gasoline and melted plastic and glue would produce, though milder. It still hasn't gone away after 3 washes, and now it has that smell with a mask of shampoo, shampoo that can't cover it up, just like how Febreze can't dispel the odors of your rancid furniture.

bottom left: Real Techniques powder, blush, and kabuki brushes

Brush-head design: The incredibly soft synthetic taklon bristles are shaped into a mid-sized, dense, angled kabuki style shape. It's denser than the Real Techniques blush and powder brushes, similar in size to the blush brush, but half the size of the powder brush.

Use: The design of the brush makes it ideal for powder products, specifically setting powder, blush, and bronzer. It applies setting powder very evenly and smoothly, so it doesn't make powder look cakey like a velour puff can. At the same time, its density ensures that the powder is being pressed into the skin as opposed to being merely dusted upon the skin.

For blush, it is much more precise than the Real Techniques blush brush since it is denser. Its density also makes blending easy, but it also tends to pick up more product. For more pigmented blushes, I have to lightly tap the brush into the blush, then swirl my brush onto my hand to evenly distribute the small amount of product. 

For bronzer, this works for more meticulous bronzing or even contouring. The inner closure can be slid up and down to modify the width and density of the brush, so you could do that to place your contour, and then fully open the brush to blend. 


The design makes this brush quite versatile for powder products, and, in combination with its retractability, is perfect for travel. Due to its density, I'm assuming that this brush could also work for foundation application. The density of the brush, however, results in a longer drying time after being washed. Its angled shape makes it highly maneuverable around the face. The design is A+ (hm, heh).

Pros:
  • Affordable ($10)
  • Travel-friendly/portable
  • Super soft bristles
  • Versatile use due to density and shape (powder, blush, bronzer, possibly foundation?)

Cons: 
  • Horrid smell :(
  • Aluminum body is easily scratched

Available at Ulta and the Real Techniques website.
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Song of the Post: St. Vincent - Prince Johnny


Just listen to her self-titled in general, because dang.

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