They included a complimentary extra brush which looked like this:
The Kit contains an assortment of 15 brushes which come in a handy black brush roll. The roll has a magnetic lock to make sure the pieces stay in place.
Here's what you get when you open the roll (they actually all come with brush guards, in this pic I had already taken them off):
And here are the brushes in detail:
|Left to right: F20 Large Powder, F25 Tapered Face, F10 Powder/Blush, F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush, F35 Tapered Highlighter, F65 Large Concealer|
|Left to right: E50 Large Fluff, F75 Concealer, E35 Tapered Blending, E45 Small Tapered Blending, E25 Blending, E20 Short Shader, E15 Flat Definer, E10 Small Eye Liner|
Sigma is a company known for producing brushes that often look like copies of the MAC ones. They have recently changed the naming system, but until a while ago their products carried the same codes of MAC brushes. I wouldn't say that they are trying to copy MAC because there is a substantial difference in quality between the two brands, if you've ever owned any random MAC brush you know that! Also, they have some pieces that I've never seen in the MAC range, like the F65 (correct me if I'm wrong).
Rather, I think that they offer an affordable alternative to higher-end brushes, without sacrificing too much on the quality. Their prices are significanlty lower (we're talking US$30 for a MAC 227 vs $9 for a Sigma E50), but in my opinion they also target a different clientele.
Let's have a closer look at each piece first:
BRUSH KIT BREAKDOWN
- F20 Large Powder (MAC 134): good multi-purpose face brush. I use it for all-over dustings of powder and to blend bronzer/highlighter/cheek colour together.
- F25 Tapered Face (MAC 138): good for powder, but even more for bronzer and blush, given the tapered and very pointy shape. I don't reach for this one very often as I don't find it stiff enough for precise blending.
- F10 Powder/Blush (MAC 129): I use it mainly for very pigmented blushes, since it picks up just the right amount so I don't go overboard on the cheeks. Again, it's soft, not very stiff, but it does the job nicely. It sheds a bit.
- F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush (MAC 131): I wouldn't have included both this one and the F10 in the same kit, honestly. This is still ok for light dustings of powder, but I wouldn't say it's an essential piece.
- F35 Tapered Highlighter (MAC 165): this is a great brush, in theory! I love the pointy shape, it's basically a mini version of the F25 and it's made for application of highlighter on the cheekbones and sharp-cut contour work. However, this brush sadly does not hold its shape and as you can see, it's bent. The picture above was taken at the moment of unboxing and I have washed it 3 or 4 times since, and it NEVER retained the tapered shape, even when I used a specific brush guard for it. Huge disappointment and likely the worst of the bunch.
- F65 Large Concealer (no MAC equivalent): this is GREAT exactly for what it was meant to be: (undereye) concealer. It picks up creamy concealer beautifully and distributes it evenly and without streaks. No shedding whatsoever.
- E50 Large Fluff (MAC 227): I don't own the MAC one, but I certainly like the shape and functionality. Great for all-over applications of eyeshadow, browbone highlight, and even cheekbone highlight. I'm pretty sure that the MAC one is stiffer (read more precise) but this one works just fine. A big no-no is that it sheds like hell though, even during use, and it's a pain to remove all those black hairs from the client's face.
- F75 Concealer (MAC 195): a really sturdy brush made of synthetic bristles, it's amazing for concealer and creamy eye products.
- E35 Tapered Blending (MAC 222): it's a great blending brush, however I do find I have to let it dry in a brush guard after washing, otherwise the bristles will all splay out and lose the original long and slim shape. I also LOVE this brush for buffing concealer under the eyes or on problem areas to cover redness/spots etc.
- E45 Small Tapered Blending (MAC 226): this one works beautifully for placing colour in the crease AND blending, it's definitely one of my favourite ones. Have to do the same brush guard thing though, because it won't retain the pointy shape. Also, it bleeds black dye after I've washed it.
- E25 Blending (MAC 217): I own the iconic 217 so I can really speak about the differences between these two. The MAC one is a brush I would NEVER go without. If I ever had to choose one single brush for eyeshadow application it would be this one, and the Sigma version is an excellent dupe! No shedding, great for placing colour on the lid, in the crease, for pro blending, etc. The only gripe I have is that the MAC one is soft AND firm, which allows for maximum control and precision. The Sigma one is very soft but not as firm and sturdy. Having said that, it's an excellent brush.
- E20 Short Shader (no MAC equivalent, afaik): I find only one use for this brush, that is smudging eyeliner or eyeshadow on the upper/bottom lashline. It's good for the purpose and quite precise.
- E15 Flat Definer (MAC 212): I would prefer this synthetic one to be less fat than it actually is, but it still serves the purpose of neatly placing gel liner on the upper/lower waterline. Occasionally I also use it for smudging on the lashline. Soft and sturdy.
- E10 Small Eye Liner (MAC 210): in my opinion this is not as pointy as it should be for actual precision. It's still a good, no-fuss eyeliner brush though.
I just realized I forgot to include the Lip L05 Brush in the pictures! Sorry about that. It's a regular lip brush with a silver cap, and there's not much to say about it except that it works just fine.
Is it worth the money? The Sigma Premium Brush Kit is a good-value-for-money brush set, and it definitely carries some gems in it. I believe you can't find another 15-piece and good-quality set for the equivalent of €100* (we're talking around €7 per brush here).
*On a general note: you should always buy from the US website even if you're based in Europe, as it allowed me to save as much as €50 on my total purchase! And do check for coupons online, I had 10% discount with just a little research.
Who is this Kit for? I'd say it would be perfect for someone who falls between the categories of "complete beginner" and "professional make-up artist". If you own a few MAC brushes you will feel the slight but noticeable difference in quality. I believe that this difference would not affect the overall finished application of products as such, but rather it would have an influence on the ease of use, the control you have when placing the colour, and the overall durability of the pieces.
Are the brushes soft? The brushes in the kit are all exceptionally soft, except for those of a certain shape/material that is not meant to be the softest like the E20. I wash mine with Johnson's Baby Shampoo and I find it keeps them clean and soft. They are definitely very pleasant to feel against your face/eyes.
My top picks: F20, F65, F75, E35, E45, E25 (in general, the eye brushes are MUCH better than the face ones!)
You can skip: F25, F35, E10
I would have liked to see included: An angled eyebrow/eyeliner brush like the MAC 266, a regular foundation brush like the MAC 190, and an eyeshadow laydown brush like the MAC 239 (I'm just using MAC brushes as a reference for shapes here).
What I did like about it: Value for money, some excellent eye brushes, good customer service on the website.
What I didn't like about it: I don't like how Sigma tries to push their customers to become affiliates and "make money" with them. I purchased the brush kit myself, but it's widely known that many bloggers and YouTubers are paid by Sigma to push positive reviews about their products. In my opinion, this doesn't speak for honesty towards their customers and can be misleading for some people.
I hope this was helpful, please share your experience with Sigma in the comments below!