I recently bought the Real Technique's 'Core Collection' set after pining over it for a long time. Designed by the Samantha Chapman, one half of the Pixiwoo sisters, Real Techniuques brushes are very popular among bloggers & youtubers, everybody and their cat seems to use them. I'm not actually a big fan of the Pixiwoo sisters, I watch their video's occasionally but they aren't my favourite.
The Core Collection is a set of four brushes: a buffing brush, pointed foundation brush contour brush and a detailer brush. I use the foundation brush every day along with the buffing brush to blend it. I also use the buffing brush for powder. I was really keen to buy this set because I really wanted the contour brush, but I haven't actually found a good use for it. I began using it with a cream highlighter, it worked well with Benefit's High Beam, but I've started using No7's skin illuminator (which I will review soon) and that applies patchy with the brush. Currently I use it to set concealer under my eyes, which works well because it is super soft and won't more any of the concealer you have on. I don't really understand the inclusion of the 'detailer brush' it's just an average flat shadow brush, you could use it for concealing spots but I rarely get spots so I don't often use this.
I have had my Models Own 5 piece brush set for a long time now, it contains: a powder brush, shading brush, lip brush angled brush and a blending brush. I did use the powder brush for my powder until I bought the Real Techniques brushes, now I use it to contour. I use the shading and blending brushes for applying eye shadow, although I don't actually use the blending brush to blend, I think it's too small for that but really good at applying shadow. The angled brush is really great for applying gel or powder eye liner. As I rarely use a lip brush to apply lip stick, I use the lip brush to shade my eyebrows with shadow.
I like the Real Techniques brushes; the contour and buffing brushes are really soft but the hairs on the foundation brush are a little more coarse than they could be. The Models Own brushes are also really very soft, the powder brush feels lovely on skin. One con of the Models Own brushes that I have found is that they have deteriorated over time. The powder brush is still in good shape but the eye brushes aren't as good as new after cleaning anymore, especially the angled brush which has had probably a years worth of gel liner through it's bristles.
At just £10 I don't mind that my Models Own brushes are past their best, and might buy the set again and donate my tired brushes to my sister, it's a really good starter kit. The Real Techniques retail in the UK for £22 which is pricey considering that they are just $18 in America. I do like them but I don't love them, they don't live up to the hype. I think I probably will buy more Real Techniques brushes in the future but I won't buy the 'Starter Kit' that I was planning to buy.