Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: Review and Photos

The new Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

If you're not already familiar with Sam and Nic, the makeup artists behind the Pixiwoo YouTube channel, Two Magazine, the Real Techniques makeup brush line, and more…you're welcome! I'm about to introduce you to something wonderful. 

Sam and Nic, based in the U.K., are sisters and partners, and their makeup tutorials are some of the best online, in my opinion. They seem quite committed to helping the average person with his or her makeup in their tutorials, and to back that up, they have a line of great-quality brushes at average-person prices. No more of this trading your right arm $50 for a lone makeup brush. Their average brush is priced at about $10. Thanks, ladies!

The Miracle Complexion Sponge is a new addition to their line, meant to compete with the much more expensive Beauty Blender Sponge. I've never actually tried a Beauty Blender, so I can't compare the two products. After using the RT sponge for the last few weeks, though, I can say that if you like applying your base with a sponge, you'll probably like this product. 

Pros:

  • It's soft and feels comfortable against the skin
  • It's easy and quick to use
  • It leaves a great, natural-looking finish to your foundation—even if you're using full-coverage products (which I do almost daily)
  • The contours of the sponge make it fairly easy to get at hard-to-reach spots on the face
  • It's inexpensive—only about $10 Canadian

Cons:

  • It absorbs more product than I would like
  • It's a pain (really) to wash
  • Storage isn't the most convenient

You can use the sponge wet or damp, but I think it leaves a better finish when used damp. It also absorbs less product while damp, so that's how I prefer to use it.

You can use the sponge to to apply your base and then blend it in (the best technique I've found is a bouncing motion), but to minimize product waste, I  like to apply foundation with a brush, blend the product so that it's even on my face, and then bounce to a flawless finish with the sponge. It's also great for making sure concealer is perfectly smooth.

My favourite thing about the sponge, though, is the fact that it lets me be lazy during the week. Unlike my brushes, I can use the sponge for a week before it really needs washing. If I don't spot clean my cream-product brushes every day or two, their performance suffers. 

Here's what the product looks like:

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

Here's the other side of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. See the pock marks on the bottom there? I did a little damage the other day trying to get all the product out of the sponge. I scrubbed a little with my nails—whoops! Don't be like me.

The verdict: Overall, a decent product—especially for the price. I don't feel the need to spend triple the cash on a Beauty Blender. I don't think it will replace my favourite brushes in my foundation routine, but it's great to have around when I'm in a hurry or when my concealer brush needs washing. 

Rating: Three and a half stars out of five. I'd like it to absorb less product and be easier to wash. That could be an unreasonable expectation for a sponge, though. 

Available: Online through iherb.com and Farleyco, and also in stores such as Walmart and London Drugs for about $10 Canadian.

Have you tried the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge? What did you think? How does it compare to other foundation sponges you've tried?

Disclosure: This product was provided by PR for my consideration.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush: Review and Photos

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes (yes, I have two). 

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes (yes, I have two). 

If you're at all familiar with my blog, you know I love and adore MAC products. You also know I'm willing (mostly) to spend a lot for quality. Admittedly, MAC brushes fall into the "quality" category. But, in the words of Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog, DAYUM. They're REALLY expensive. I draw the line at giving up your firstborn spending upwards of $50 on a brush—because it just isn't necessary. Brushes like Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo prove it.

I was introduced to the foundation phenomenon that is The Stippling Brush about a year ago. MAC was selling these cute brush sets as part of their holiday collection, and I thought, "Why not?"

I fell immediately almost-in-love with the 130SE, a short duo-fibre brush. It left a finish I'd never before had the joy of knowing on my foundation.

The standard flat brushes have always left me streaky, and sponges soaked up too much product. So for the longest time, I ignorantly, blissfully used my fingers to apply foundation, not understanding that this application method let my foundation sort of just sit on top of the skin. The MAC 130SE showed me the magic of foundation that melts into the skin. It was incredible...except for one little thing. 

The brush shed.  

Every single time I used it, I was picking little black hairs off my face—even after washing more than once. 

In addition to this being annoying, I couldn't help but wonder how many days my little brush had before going bald.  

Back to the MAC store it went. Maybe it was because it was an SE brush (the cheapie brush sets are machine cut rather than hand cut like the full-sized MAC brushes)—I don't know. But I wasn't spending $50 on the full-sized version without a REALLY good reason.  

My research led me to one of these little beauties as an alternative: 

 

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes.

Real Techniques brushes are good quality—and cheap, cheap, cheap. I got my first one from iHerb.com, and in Canada, they're now available at London Drugs. Sets of three to four brushes are only $20. This brush, which comes alone, is only $11! 

This stippling brush is great—as are the other Real Techniques brushes I've tried. They have light metal handles and ferrules, the synthetic bristles are nice and soft, and—YAY!—I've experienced zero bleeding or shedding.

I stipple my foundation on with the sparser white bristles, which allows for an incredibly even application. Then, pressing a little bit harder to get at the denser black bristles, I do some blending. I find th bristles aren't quite dense enough to give me a streak-free finish, so I do some final buffing with my Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Multipurpose Brush.  Given both brushes are less than half the cost of a MAC 130, I'll take it!

Why do I have two of these stippling brushes? If you look closely, you'll see they look a little different. One is a year old. The other is brand-spanking-new. 

I thought you might like to see how they've worn. The brush on the left is the new one. The brush on the right is a year old. Note that I've used it almost daily and washed it very, very frequently—at least a few times a week, if not every day. There are some dents on the old brush from me tapping it against the sink to knock water out of it (oops), and the bristles kind of bunch together even when it's clean. Thanks to some very, very over-zealous drying (I used to tug as I squeezed to get the water out—don't be like me), the head has been superglued in a few times. 

 

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes.

Real Techniques Stippling Brushes. Left: new. Right: A year old. 

Yep, I've been hard on this brush, and it looks a little worse for wear. But it still performs really, really well. I replaced it only because I figured it was only so long before the head popped out again.  

One important note: I don't recall my first brush being quite this fluffy-looking when I bought it, but I could be misremembering. I'll keep you posted on how this one looks in a few months.

Would I repurchase? Yes, I think so—though I'm hoping a gentler touch will keep it looking lovely for longer. One MAC stippling brush will buy five of these—so I figure there's a little grace, right?

Rating: Three and a half stars out of five.

Available: In Canada, your best best for these brushes, which are about $11 each, is London Drugs. You could also try Wal-Mart. If you can't find RT brushes in store, go for iHerb.com—shipping is incredibly reasonable.

Have you tried any of the Real Techniques brushes? What did you think?

Disclosure: These products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 

 

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