I've used a lot of brushes from a variety of different brands, at different price points. Real Techniques are now a favorite of mine for a few reasons. These brushes are foolproof. It's almost as if they were designed specifically for those of us who don't know how to hold them properly or tend to use too much product, making it impossible to end up with the dreaded "heavy base face". They are also extremely affordable! I paid $15.00 for the Stippling Brush, which you can see in the photo attached.
The Stippling Brush is a great tool for applying and blending lightweight foundations or BB creams. *Right now I'm using Marcelle's BB Cream in Light-Medium because I find it helps to moisturize my skin and even out my skin tone. I've paid $35.00+ for other brushes that I never use because they don't deliver, I can't figure out how to use them or they take forever and demand too much effort.
An example of this would be MAC's 188 Small Duo Fiber Face Brush. It seemed amazing when I purchased it but wasn't firm enough and left streaks in my foundation no matter how I manipulated the brush. I am willing to invest time and money in order to look great but I refuse to spend forty minutes trying to apply a foundation.
I love how easy the brushes are to clean and they don't seem to shed very often, if at all. They're ultra soft, hand-cut and I've been able to achieve precise/even results in a speedy fashion, which (to me) makes them priceless.
I have (formal) make-up training and I like a tool that's going to work with me and for me. This is a brand that does that. If you're still struggling they also have how-to YouTube videos that explain how to achieve different looks. www.youtube.com/user/realtechniques.
Sam & Nic Chapman coined the terms fabulous, flawless face and perfect finish and they nailed it. These brushes catch (and correct) what your eye may not. What you get, is what they've promised. I'm literally ready to throw out 90 percent of my previous brush collection... luxury brands and all.