The retractable mechanism is a real let down. The brush is only really good for applying clear powder. It's too big for bronzer, you end up with big brown cheeks and its too soft to buff or blend!! The lid broke really easily too so the brushes keep getting caught ...:-(
I actually use this as a foundation brush because it gives a flawless, blended finish.
I use long wear foundation (color stay, 3-1 outlast) and have had a really hard time finding a brush that will make the foundation look like my skin, not stuff sitting on my skin. The texture is similar to the stippling brush but there are many more bristles that are closer together but not so dense that the brush is too stiff and inflexible. The bristles are soft.I put the little foundation dots on my skin and gently stipple/blend. It does seem to take a little longer to blend than with other brushes I used but the results are well worth it. My foundation lasts longer-even through 16 hours of a work day and the break down around my nose and mouth isn't nearly as bad as it was with other brushes. I also don't use as much foundation to get the coverage I need.
The only part I don't care for is the packaging. The retractable part is just okay-its easy to hold and the cap goes on alright. I would rather it be a traditional brush handle though.
Real techniques haven't failed to meet my expectations again. Great product to carry around in your handbag (although is on the heavy side). The hairs are soft and is it in the shape of the stippling brush but smoothly applies bronzer and blush on the go!
In comparison, this brush is a larger version of the real techniques pink stippling brush, with the same hair density-to-brush size ratio. They are equally 'firm' when you push the brush against your face. The brush washes well, no hairs came out at all, but the brush did take a long long time to dry, as do most larger brushes.
Warning: you may want to chuck out your stippling brush, blush brush, bronzer brush and highlighter brush in favour of this brush alone :P. As long as I give a few dry swishes on my hand or a towel in between products, I can do most of my face with this brush alone! This would be perfect for people who want to travel light or want to save money with a multitasking brush.
Use with foundation:
I bought this brush to make my foundation routine faster as I find the pink brush a little slow due to its size, and now use the pink brush for blush. The bronzer brush really does halve my liquid foundation application time and also allows for flexibility in coverage due to its adjustable head. When retracting the brush, you pull up the inner protective tube and then you push it down, along with the brush, with the clear lid. The protective tube can be pulled up the brush head as much or as little as you like and stays in place where you leave it. If I pull it up so that half the black hairs are covered by the tube, I get something about the size of the original stippling brush, but with more density. I use the brush like this for initial spreading of foundation on my face and further layering of foundation on places where I need more coverage later on. Also this helps me get around the eye and nose area. With the brush fully open I then buff in the foundation quickly. The increased speed of application makes this brush perfect for foundations that are hard to blend due to quick drying formulas. I recommended liquid foundations to be used with this brush, not powder or cream formulars.
Use with bronzer/ blush/ highlighter:
This brush, when fully open, picks up a perfect amount of bronzer and distributes it really nicely over the cheeks and forehead ect. With the inner protective tube pulled up to cover half of the black hairs I get a denser version of the pink stippling brush without the bristle 'splay'. This creates an all together more precise, quicker and nicer application of blush. If I pull up the inner tube till only just a bit more than the white of the bristles show, I get a super dense, fab sized highlighter applicator. It picks up highlighter beautifully and evenly, and deposits it well on the face. Once I've added these face products, I can go back in with the brush open and, after a few cleaning swipes on my hand/ towel, I can blend everything together even more for a natural look. Works best with face powder products (blush, bronzer, highlighter), but not with setting powders/ powder foundations.
This brush is well worth the money and since buying it I haven't reached for my other bronzing/ blush/ highlight/ stippling brushes. Once the brush gets in need of a wash I'm sure it won't be as easy to switch between powder and liquid products while still keeping a good blend, but if you are a regular brush-washer then this is the only brush you need :) .