I need to replicate this pattern (the distorted white, pink and red circles spirals) I have tried a few ways but wasn't satisfied. I am using Photoshop currently, but I could also do it in Illustrator if it's better.
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This looks like it's done in illustrator.
A custom art brush created from circles applied on a circular path with a width profile (thing to thick to thin) added which was then adjusted with the Width Tool.
That's basically it from my point of view, you just need a lot of tweaking to achieve the same effect.