People who favor vegan makeup brushes have been recommending and praising Real Techniques brushes since they came out last year. The line, designed by makeup artist and YouTube personality Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo, and manufactured by the Eco-Tools people, is 100% cruelty-free and doesn't use any animal-derived products.
I never got to test the previously released Real Techniques brushes. My Ulta is perpetually sold out (seriously, you can tell where the Real Technique display area is from afar because it's an empty space in the makeup tool section). Also, the two brushes I really wanted to try (the buffing brush and the deluxe crease brush) are parts of different brush sets and that annoys me to no end. While the price of the sets is appealingly low ($18 each), I just hate having unnecessarily stuff shoved into my space. I hope Sam and Real Technique will release more individual brushes.
The Expert Face Brush is a small but thick and plump foundation brush (you can see it in the photo next to the small and precise Setting Brush that will be reviewed soon). It has a short and firm head that applies and buffs foundation very nicely. The talkon bristles are as soft as expected (softer than Sephora Airbrush range but have a firmer grasp than Sephora #55) and will especially appeal for those who share my dislike of floppy foundation brushes. I find that it works especially well with thin formulas of liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers, while thicker ones can streak if not buffed within an inch of their (and mine) lives.
Here's Sam's tutorial for using her Expert Face brush:
Now, I still prefer natural goat hair brushes to apply foundation and think I get a better application and finish with them, but for a synthetic brush Real Techniques Expert Face is a great one and I've been reaching for it often for blending small areas.
Bottom Line: lovely to have, essential if you're vegan.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($9) is available from Ulta, in store (in theory) and online. The brush was sent to me for consideration by the company's PR.