Saturday, January 2, 2010

Review: Sigma Brushes

I mentioned briefly in a haul post a couple of weeks ago that I had bought the travel kit from Sigma Makeup on Black Friday because it was on sale, and my first impression was kind of "Meh". Since then I've had a go at using them a fair bit, and I've also purchased two full size brushes, so I thought it was time to give them a proper review.

Their schtick - as everyone knows by now - is to use the same numbers as the comparable MAC brushes - ie: the MAC duo fibre brush is #187, and the Sigma duo fibre brush is SS187. A lot of people say they're as good as MAC, and a lot of people say they can't compete. I don't own any MAC brushes (because I refuse to pay the inflated Australian prices for them), so I can't speak about that. I can only review them on their own merits.

Firstly, the two full size brushes, and their little brother travel sizes - SS150 (left) and SS187 (right). The SS150 sheds. A LOT. I'm told that the #150 MAC does the same, but this doesn't make it any less irritating. When I use it, I am constantly picking bits of hair off my face. Having said that, it is a very dense, beautifully soft brush and I really like the feel of it. The head on the travel size one is smaller, of course, but still a good size for swooshing powder about on one's face.

The SS187, on the other hand, hasn't shed at all (either the big one or the small one), even after several washes, so that's a plus. (UPDATE: Both of the SS187s have started to shed a little after being washed a couple of times, but not very much. I still really like them.) I also like the way it applies foundation. The smaller one is a bit more time-consuming (because it's smaller, duh), and probably a bit annoying for day to day use, but it does do what it's supposed to, so it is definitely a good one to take when travelling.

Next up are the face brushes - an angled blush brush (SS168), concealer brush (SS194) and foundation brush (SS190). The foundation brush is not technically part of the travel kit; it comes as a free gift with it. I wasn't overly impressed with the SS168 - it's not terrible, but it's not great either, and the head is a bit too small, leaving you in danger of creating "blush stripes" if you're not careful. Still, it is meant for travel, and as a smaller option rather than lugging a giant blush brush around, it's good enough.

I like the SS194 - it's a flat, dense, slightly stiff brush that is small enough to get into the corners of the eyes with your concealer or highlighter. I've been using this one quite a lot.

I have a lot of flat foundation brushes, so I really didn't need another one, but it was free, so I wasn't going to argue about that. I don't really use flat brushes for foundation anyway - I tend to use them to apply or blend concealer, or for applying masks. For large spaces, such as applying anti-redness concealer to cheeks, this is a damn good brush. It blends it all in really well. I haven't used it for foundation, but the head is quite small, so I'm not sure how good it would be - it might leave streaks.

And finally the eye brushes (which I should have had the other way around for photographing, but The Photographer is now well and truly settled on the couch chomping on Doritos and watching The Simpsons, so there's not much chance of a reshoot). Now, these impressed me. The SS224 (left) is a blending brush, with a soft, dense head and just the right length hairs to allow a good amount of blending control. The SS239 (centre) is a flat, soft rounded brush that packs on colour really well - this one is probably my favourite. And the SS219 (right) is a crease brush that does exactly what it is supposed to do.

Overall, despite my initial reservations, I would say these are pretty good brushes, and at some point I will probably buy some more of the full size ones. They're way cheaper than MAC, and they ship pretty quickly too - both of my orders arrived within a fortnight. I give them a general thumbs up.

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