Real Techniques brushes wash so easily - they always retain their softness, their fibres and retain their original shape too. I have owned my first for probably around a year now and I have never experienced any shedding, they don't decrease in quality and I'd definitely say that if looked after then the brushes will be as good in quality as they were when you first purchased them. I have recommended these to friends and bought them for people as presents too - a testament to how great they are! There are some guidelines given on the packaging and generally yellow handles for base, pink for colour and purple for eyes but again use to what suits you best.
Here are my brushes in order that they are pictured (minus the contour brush - oops)
Powder Brush: I dislike short little kabuki style brushes for powder and love love love this giant, very oversized brush. It picks up just the right amount of product and distributes it evenly so it doesn't leave you looking too chalky. It's so soft too, like my boyfriend stroked his face with this for an hour straight soft!
Blush Brush: Although I initially was using this for blush, which it does do a lovely job of applying, I have also been reaching this to contour or add bronzer just because it's so big yet very tapered it does a good job of applying colour to the hollows of the cheeks as it's a lot thinner and pointier towards the end. You can use a bigger area of the brush like the sides to apply bronzer to the high points of the face for an all over bronzed look. It is nice for blush and the use it's intended for but I've recently been finding it a little big and am looking for something a little smaller for my rather small face!
Stippling Brush: I've never found a consistent use for this product. I don't like it for applying my base and when dipped in some blushes it can be harsh and pick up too much product and make the blush go a little powdery. I've tried using this for contour though and it is lovely for that, it's great for creamy products too like cream blush or highlighter. It's another multi-functional brush.
Buffing Brush: This comes in multi pack with three other brushes for £21.99 however I love this brush so much I have been known to repurchase the whole pack just for the Buffing Brush. It's amazing for creating the perfect base and works so well at buffing in your foundation for a flawless finish. The brush is densely packed with synthetic fibre and is so so soft that it's nice to use and because of the generous sizing of it applying foundation couldn't be any quicker/easier. I only use this or my Expert Face Brush for foundation - that's how good it is.
Expert Face Brush: This brush is sold individually and I believe it is about £9.99. As I said, this is the only other brush I use for foundation. It's slightly smaller and more tapered and oval shaped so is perfect for getting into smaller areas. This also gives a really flawless finish as the fibres are so densely packed, I really love this brush.
Contour Brush (not pictured): At the time of me writing this my little contour brush was on holiday in my friends makeup bag, she picked it up by accident after a getting ready session! This brush has so many uses it's such a good one to have. I really like this brush for buffing in concealer, it's the perfect size for blending concealer under the eyes and works well at buffing in product around the nose as it's slightly tapered which helps it get into all the different parts of your skin. You can also use this for actual contouring, I have another that is used with a contour shade in the hollows of the cheeks to add structure, on my temples and down the sides of my nose to help it appear a touch thinner. I also (yes three uses!) have used this to apply a powder highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones, brow bone and anywhere else that needs highlighting. This brush is so multi-functional which is why I like it so much.
For anyone wondering whether to invest in Real Techniques I say yes! They're purse friendly and of excellent quality - so good that I've just ordered myself the Setting brush and the Travel Essentials pack (I'm hoping that the multi-task brush in that pack will become my go-to brush for blusher) Real Techniques are also launching a new range available in May - these are duo fibre brushes and I can't wait to get my hands on these either. I'm going to pop up a post of the eye brushes soon and will more than likely do a post on the ones I have just bought! You can buy Real Techniques from Boots and Amazon in the UK.