Real Techniques Collector’s Edition Eyelining Set review

real techniques eyelining set review eyeliner
It is no secret that Real Techniques is one of my favorite brands of makeup brushes, so when the new 2016 collection came out at the beginning of the year (and a  sneaky 20% off helped) I picked up three of their new products. In the coming posts I’ll be reviewing them and comparing them with the existing makeup brushes from Real Techniques. The first one I want to show you is the Real Techniques Collector’s Edition Eyelining Set.  Curious to see if it is worth the money and how the brushes in this set compare to the other brushes from my collection? Then read on.
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New brushes at the drugstore

I have been hiding at home writing my thesis and as soon as I resurface I find that one of my favorite super affordable drugstrore brands released a full new range of makeup brushes. I am talking about the Essence Make Me Pretty Limited Edition. A full collection of 9 bright colored brushes, a brush cleanser and a brush holder. I couldn’t pass the opportunity and picked up 6 brushes and the brush holder and want to share my first impressions with you, in case you still want to pick them up.

On the occasional adventure when I have to do someone else’s makeup, I have really been missing a good brush holder, since I usually have to bring my own plastic cups to put the brushes in. I am so happy to have found one at the drugstore without having to order expensive ones online. The Essence Make Me Pretty Brush Holder is PVC-covered cardboard in a bright teal color that is just adorable! It feels sturdy and fits at least 12 small brushes, maybe a bit less if you add the thicker face ones. It was just what I needed and for just 4.60€ you cannot really go wrong.

Let’s talk about the brushes. They are all made from synthetic bristles and at first impression feel very soft, well cut and well balanced. They don’t feel “cheap” but also nothing special. As a comparison, I would say they are definitely under the quality of Zoeva brushes but on the same level as E.l.f. ones. They come in the cutest packaging, with bright colors and inspirational quotes on the envelopes they come in.
First let’s look at the smaller brushes. I picked up the Precise eyeshadow brush is a very pointy and stiff brush. I was expecting it to be fluffy once out of the packaging but it retains the very pointy shape. I was quite puzzled by how to use it, since the bristles are too long for a pencil brush, but I finally decide to use it to try a cut crease for the first time and it worked quite nicely to keep the crease clean and precise. I have more experimenting to do, but it is a thumbs up for me. The one I was the most excited about was the Eyeshadow Blender Brush, which has flat and short britles and looks so much like the Zoeva Smudger brush that I’ve been eyeing lately. This is perfect to smudge and blend liner and shadows under the eye, thanks to the right stiffness of the bristles. Best one of the collection. Finally I got the Lip Brush, because one can never have enough lip brushes, especially in this season of dark vampy lips (and my obsession with them). The precisely cut bristles make it great to contour the lips. I have nothing bad to say about it, it’s a very valid purchase.

There are three face brushes in the collection, all catered to powder products. The Powder and Highlighter Brush is a big fluffy brush with a flat profile and fanned out bristles. It is perfect to pick up a small amount of powder and cover quickly the large areas of the face. For highlighter I find it slightly too big for my (non existent) cheekbones and I will keep using my Real Techniques fan brush or setting brush. The beautiful mint/turquoise brush is the Bronzer Brush. This is a round dense brush that is way to stiff to apply bronzer in my opinion. It reminds me a bit of the Real Techniques Buffing brush, so I am waiting to try it with a cream product. Now the one I am most excited about is the Blush Brush, with its slanted cut and dense bristles, I found it perfect to apply and blend my contour

There are a few other bits that I didn’t pick up (yet?) which include the Multi use eyeshadow brush, a multi-brush type of contraption that reminded me too much of some markers I had as a kid (?), the Eyebrow Comb, with spoolie and plastic comb )which I´m not a fan of’, the Concealer Brush and the Liquid Brush Cleanser, which I´ll take a closer look to in my next trip to Kruidvat.

I find the brushes to be the same quality as the ones from the permanent collection, of which I am quite fond. In fact I have at least Essence 7 eye brushes in my daily stash. All the brushes range in price from 1.90 to 3.50€, with the brush holder being the most expensive item at 4.60€. I definitely recommend checking this limited edition out if you’re in the market for some affordable makeup brushes, because there are some gems in the collection, especially the Eyeshadow Blender, Lip and Blush brushes. They are available at your local drugstore that carries Essence, which is Kruidvat in The Netherlands.

Have you spotted this new limited edition from Essence? Which brushes strike you the most?
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Brush Cleansing Tips and Essentials

makeup brush cleansing cleanser tree drying
A weekend of parties and dinners comes with a whole lot of makeup brushes to clean so while I was busy scrubbing I thought I would share my brush cleansing tips and essentials. To be honest with you, cleaning brushes is an activity I despise and do not look forward to, as I think most lazy people with an extensive brush collection, as I am. However, it is of the utmost importance to take care of your brushes and clean them regularly. They are in contact with your face and can be breeding ground for bacteria that eventually can cause clogging of pores or even pink eye. Not pretty. So clean our brushes we must.
A photo posted by Alice’s Madness (@alicemadness87) on

Now there are two ways I like to clean my brushes: spot and deep cleansing. Spot cleansing is a quicker way to disinfect and clean the brushes using an alcohol based cleanser. My cleanser of choice is the HEMA Brush Cleanser, which I decant in a little spray bottle for convenience. This is the only affordable brush cleanser I found that does its job and has a pleasant smell. Whatever cleanser you choose to use, you should spot clean your brushes at least every week, even though I do it additionally every time I do a more dramatic smokey look, to have my eye brushed clean for the next day’s makeup. This type of cleanse however doesn’t get all the cream products out of the brushes and  for that once a month I give them a deeper cleanse, sort of a shampoo. This involves getting under the tap with warm water and a specific product (I use the E.l.f. Brush Shampoo) or baby shampoo, and swirl the brushes on a brush egg or on your hand until the water runs clean. This takes a good chunk of time and a Sunday evening job for me, but this really gets the brushes clean and taken care of.

brush cleansing tips tricks essentials tree drying washing

Independently of how you wash your brushes, it is extremely important to keep moisture and liquids away from the attachment of the bristles to avoid shedding. This is also true while the brushes are drying, and for this the best method I found is using a Brush Tree. I have recently purchased mine from Aliexpress and loved it so much that I am now waiting for my second one to come in the mail. They are small, easy to store and fit brushes of all shapes and sizes, including the thick handle Real Techniques ones. You just set the brushes to dry upside down and the shafts will be safe, the bristles will keep their shape and they will dry faster than when they’re lying on a towel. You can find them for any price from 5 to 20 euros depending on the seller. I highly recommend these.

So here are my tips and essentials to clean and bacteria free makeup brushes.
Do you have your own secret to taking care of your brushes? If so, leave a comment down below, I’d love to learn more!


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Brushology PART 2: eye makeup brushes 101 with Zoeva brushes

Here we are with part 2 of Brushology talking about eye brushes and their uses. If you missed the first part with all the face brushes, check it out here.

7. 227 Soft Definer brush: this brush has very soft natural bristles that make it the perfect blending brush for soft makeup looks.
8. 228 Crease brush: this tapered soft brush is built to be used to contour the eye and the crease.
9. 234 Smoky Shader brush: this brush has a round flat shape that is perfect to pack the eye shadow on the lid for an intense color. It can be used to achieve deep smokey looks or popping colors.
10. 231 Petit Crease brush: as the name suggests, it is a smaller tapered brush that delivers precision to add depth in the outer “V” of the eye.
11. 230 Pencil brush: this even smaller tapered brush can be used to reach all the areas of the eye, especially the lower lash line, achieving a perfectly blended smoky look
12. 317 Wing liner brush: for the perfect flick! This thin angled brush will give you the control and precision to achieve a clean line that makes any girl feel and look sexy.
13. 238 Precise Shader brush: this little guy is made for all the fine work that make a flawless eye look, perfect for detailing.
14. 321 Brow Comb: this guy will tame your brows and brush them in place. It comes with natural bristles but you can find synthetic ones as well. We all know a groomed brow is the frame to the face.
   15. 315 Fine Liner brush: with  this really small brush you can frame you eyes with a very thin line close to the lashes or intensify your look building up your eyeliner. Perfect to use with gel eyeliners or eye shadow.
And there we go, the final run through the main eye brushes.

I want to underline how important it is to have good quality brushes, and I don’t mean you should spend hundreds of euros for a set. Zoeva and Real Techniques are my favorite and will give you high quality brushes for a good price. And to make them last: take care of them! Spot clean your brushes right after use with a dedicated product and deep clean them weekly with baby shampoo or other delicate soaps to get rid of all the bacteria and at the same time moisturize the bristles to keep them soft.
Hope this was useful, and to next time!
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Brushology PART 1: face makeup brushes 101 with Zoeva brushes

Zoeva’s complete brush set

It’s Sunday and it is time for some learning! 

Since I work during the week, I use the weekend to study my beauty and makeup subjects. And here is something I would like to share with you guys. In part 1 I will explain some general thing and go through the main face brushes, in part 2 I will show you eye brushes and their use.
First things first, brushes are a very important tool for anyone who wears makeup. You can have only a few of them and already create full looks or have hundreds and never have enough. The important thing is to know what each one of them was designed for and how to use it. Many brushes also have multiple uses and can be fun to experiment with.
To start, we look at the materials of which the brushes are made of. The bristles can be synthetic or natural hair. As a general rule, we will use synthetic brushes for cream and liquid based products because they are easier to clean and will not soak up too much product. On the other hand, we will use natural hair brushes for powder based products.
For practical purposes I will show you Zoeva brushes which I love and have a great quality/price figure.
Zoeva face brushes

Starting with face brushes:

  1. 106 Powder brush: this fluffy and soft brush is ideal to apply any loose or pressed powder to give a silky finish to the skin. The bristles are vegan, which means that no animals were harmed in retrieving them.
  2. 104 Buffer brush: this is a synthetic flat head kabuki brush and is perfect to apply both liquid and mineral foundation. Buffing brushes will give you an airbrushed flawless finish, almost independently from the foundation used. I prefer to use flat head brushes to apply mineral and powder foundations.
  3. 102 Silk finish brush: another foundation brush, slightly smaller than the 104 and with a round top. I personally pick this one to apply my liquid foundations because it is dense and the round top helps to get in all the features of the face (around the nose,..).
  4. 110 Face Shape brush: this is a smaller version of the 102 brush and is prefect to contour your face precisely (hence the name). I personally use it to contour the nose area which needs precision, but use something like the 127 brush to contour the cheeks because it is easier to blend with.
  5. 142 Concealer Buffer brush: again a smaller version of the round top buffer to be used to blend concealer or corrector under the eye. The synthetic bristles are extra soft and delicate for the under-eye area.
  6. 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek brush: this blush brush has the most amazing natural bristles and the angled cut makes it perfect to apply precise powder blush, highlight or contour.
Here we go, with these 6 brushes you can achieve a flawless skin whatever your choice of product is.
Let me know what your favorite face brush is.
See you in the second part for the eye brushes!
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