Sigma Love

Hello all! As always, I apologise for my looooooooong delay in blogging. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired, and didn’t have much time to take snaps of products, so blogging fell to the side. I am still committed to this blog however, so to my tens of readers: never fear!

This past weekend I popped into Parramatta Westfield. I really rate this as a shopping centre, it has a tonne of shops and they generally have a good variety of stock. I went to another centre recently and although they had a lot of my favourite stores, it felt like they had a grand total stocktake of about 5 products. Boo.

Anyways, imagine my surprise when I spotted a Sigma Brushes Pop Up Store! A friend had told me about this, but I wasn’t really interested enough to go just to check out these brushes. I’ve looked at them online quite a bit given their popularity and reasonable prices, but like most of my online purchases, I’ve never progressed past the “Add to Cart” stage. So a Pop Up Store was perfect – I could touch and feel them, and see if they really were worth the gamble.

Now, at the time I thought it was actually Sigma who had organised the Pop Up, because there was literally no other branding or signs to be seen. I discovered upon purchase that it was actually run by Redefining Beauty, an online reseller of Sigma Brushes. Adore Beauty has also started stocking Sigma.

I ended up buying 3 brushes – the P86, the 3DHD Kabuki Brush and the E25 – for a total of $81. Considering my last brush purchased was the M.A.C. 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush for exactly $81, three brushes seem like a good deal! These brushes were so good that they warranted this blog post, in fact. I really wanted to post about them before the Pop Up Store closes (it’s open until this Saturday). So… my verdict.

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The E25 Blending Brush ($20)

I’ll start with the most underwhelming of the brushes – I’m a realist, I’m not going to lie and say they were all amazing to feel better about the $81 I spent. The E25 is essentially a slightly smaller competitor to the M.A.C. 217 blending brush. At $20 it’s cheaper than the $37 M.A.C. version, but is it the same? Not at all. Spend the extra $17 for the 217! Of course, you might be like me and just want every brush under the sun – in which case, if you want an extra blender, go for this. It’s pretty nice, but it’s just not the same.

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The P86 Precision Tapered ($27)

This was pretty bloody exciting to use and I don’t think the photo does it justice. This little beauty is like a sophisticated under-eye concealer brush – rather than just being flat and even-length hairs, it has a range of lengths to create angles – perfect to get close to the eye! I love using the Beauty Blender sponge for my under-eyes but this brush is like a combo of fingers and a sponge – dream!

Sigma 3D Kabuki Brush
3DHD Kabuki Brush ($34)

Ugh, how is this only on Page 3 of the Redefining Beauty website when brushes are sorted by popularity?! This is such a unique brush and good value for $34. It’s like… a sophisticated version of the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. Don’t you love that when a brush has uneven hairs, I consider it sophisticated?  But seriously, this brush is great fun. I don’t think it will completely replace my obsessive use of the RT Buffing Brush, but it has decreased my distrust of Kabuki brushes.

So, if you’re in the market for some brushes and don’t want to pay crazy M.A.C. prices, check these out. As always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

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So you want to start a brush collection? (Just for fun)

As the title suggests, these are all your bonus brushes. This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are plenty of fun brushes you can add. These are more the brushes I recommend if you’ve got some extra coin, want to build your technique, or even better, someone wants to gift you some brushes (?!).

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Lipstick/Concealer Brush
The one pictured above is from The Body Shop range, and is marketed as a concealer and lip brush (and I do use it interchangeably). Perfect to really pack a lip product into your lips, and great to tidy up lip edges with a bit of foundation/concealer. I personally use my flat foundation brush to apply concealer (a tip I got from a MUA a few years ago), so now this brush is primarily used for any deep lip colours I may apply.
RRP: $14.95

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Lash Brush
Pictured above is the MAC 204 Lash Brush, which is really for illustration purposes; I don’t personally own the MAC version. Now this is used to tidy up brow hairs, and comb all the hairs into place. I have occasionally used it to tidy up any clumpy mascara, but this is extremely rare (I’m more inclined to use a tissue to clean up any clumps). Instead, I use this daily to get my brows into order. I don’t have unruly brows, but I have a few hairs that don’t like to stick with the pack – I can’t really notice them, but I can really notice the difference when I use this to brush through the hairs. Plenty of eyebrow pencils come with this included (Chanel does one with it included), but none of the eyebrow kits I use have ever included it. I have the Manicare Artiste Lash Brush (I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was <$15), which is a great dupe. As long as the brush is firm and strong, it will last. Plenty of companies have brushes they market as “Lash & Eyebrow Combs”, but they lie – this is a much better option; I personally find the combs useless.
RRP: $18.00 (for the MAC 204 Lash Brush)

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Angled Brush
This brush came in my original MAC Face Brush set (that I’ve mentioned before), and was pretty unloved for a long time. I used it very occasionally to apply some darker outer corner eyeshadow, but really, it didn’t get much attention. I still use it if I’m ever tempted to do a shadow liner, but again, this is quite rare. My daily use for this however is to apply some light colour through my brows. I use a powder brow kit from Smashbox, and this brush does almost all the work. Before I used the Smashbox pot, I used a $2 Innoxa dark brown eye shadow that I dug out of a bargain bin – and the brush still worked its magic. I love it so much for my eyebrows that it doesn’t get used for shadows anymore, but it can definitely be utilised as a fun additional brush in a kit.
RRP: $37.00 (for the MAC 263 Small Angle Brush)

So, that is it for my brush collection posts – for the time being! Thanks for reading along, and for the feedback provided (whether it be privately or publicly on this blog). I hope it has been useful for anybody considering brushes, and if anybody has any recommendations, please comment below!

So you want to start a brush collection? (Face)

Where does the week go? It’s almost Easter weekend, hooray for extra long weekends! My weekend will be spent working from home, playing with new products, and some light socialising. I hope you all have a great weekend!

So, following on from last week’s eye brush information, this is the face brush collection post. HUGE disclaimer: the MAC brush prices in this post will possibly create a deep rage within you – I own the bloody things and I was horrified when I saw the prices!

So, for foundation brushes, I have two recommendations:

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Real Techniques Buffing Brush
Now this is a cult product that I couldn’t resist buying. I’ve been a long time flat foundation brush user, so converting me was going to be hard. I picked up the Real Techniques Core Collection brush set from Priceline (20% off – $38.00), just to try out the Buffing Brush. I can tell you, that this brush lives up to the hype. It really does buff foundation into the skin beautifully, and creates a really soft finish. It requires minimal buffing effort, and makes all decent foundations work into the skin. It’s a synthetic fibre brush, which really doesn’t excite me, but it does keep the price low, and make it incredibly easy to keep clean. Unfortunately, it only comes in the Core Collection set, and can’t be bought on it’s own. The kit comes with a contour brush, a flat foundation brush and a concealer brush – none of these excited nor interested me.
RRP: $44.99

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The Body Shop Foundation Brush
Now, this has been my foundation application go-to for years. I have repurchased this twice, and still have it in my collection, despite my recent addition of the RT Buffing Brush mentioned above. Again, it’s a synthetic fibre brush, so it’s not exciting, but I do find it easy enough to clean. Synthetic fibres seem to be easier to clean for products that build-up so easily and quickly, like foundation. I’ve never had any hair shedding from this brand, and really do recommend their brush range for a decently priced brush. I’ve repurchased this brush after years of daily use, once the hairs have lost their shape. I think The Body Shop makeup and tools ranges are really underrated, and recommend checking them out if you’re in the market for a mid-range priced product.
RRP: $27.95

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MAC 109 Small Contour Brush
Now, I don’t think this is the be-all and end-all in contour brushes. I really don’t think you need the MAC version of this brush, and instead only included this product so you can see the shape and design of the brush head, because I do think it’s a useful brush to own. This allows for easy application of blush and bronzer, and helps keep product to a really defined area. I actually don’t use the MAC version of this, and instead have a lovely Lancome version which came in a beauty gift pack – win! This is a combination natural fibre brush, for those interested.
RRP: $62.00

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MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush
Now this I really do love, and use my MAC version of this daily. My first face brush hunt was for a decent face brush, as I love to apply powder, and that was my first step in skin coverage. I’ve tried Shu Uemura (had lots of hair shedding), I’ve tried The Body Shop (was a bit too uncontrolled for my liking), and then finally decided to try the Duo Fibre. I’m not going to pretend that I understand the science behind the double fibres, but whatever it is, works. The combination allows for decent buffing whilst also lightly applying powder – no cakey finish, just enough to take the shine off. There are plenty of dupes on the market – Models Prefer have a huge range of brushes, and the Artiste range available in Myer is pretty decent for it’s price point. The MAC version is a Goat & Synthetic combination fibre brush.
RRP: $85.00

I hope you found this helpful, feel free to leave a comment if you have any requests or questions, particularly regarding brushes.

So you want to start a brush collection? (Eyes)

Makeup brushes, one of my greatest beauty loves! I have to start the post with thanking my colleague for the inspiration. We were caught in the rain leaving work the other day, and she asked me in passing if there were any MAC brushes I recommended… Errr, makeup brush recommendations in the rain? This is a conversation that needs to be had in drier conditions, because it’s definitely not a quick discussion. Now, she asked about MAC brushes, so it makes sense to naturally start there, and work our way through – this will be part of a series of posts about brushes. Obviously the prices of the brushes I mention today will make most people scream, but fear not, I will eventually get to some more budget options.

My love of brushes started way before my makeup collection grew. It was before the time of YouTube tutorials and #beautybloggers, so I’m not sure where the interest came from – I just had this strong feeling that brushes would be a really key component of my love of makeup. I got my first MAC brush set for my 18th birthday from my brothers – one was travelling overseas quite close to my birthday, so that was my request. 10 years later, I can tell you I still have all the brushes, and use 4 out of the 5 – truly an investment that paid off. They were a little disappointing in that they shed more hair than I expected, but Mr. Google told me that was because they were part of the Special Edition (SE) range, and were of an inferior quality to the full-sized (and therefore full-priced) MAC brushes. I’ve never purchased another SE brush set, and instead saved my pennies for the regular product instead, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable – minimal hair shed, and noticeably softer hair. Anyways, that’s enough about how and why I love brushes.

Today, I’m going to detail 3 excellent eyeshadow brushes that I really rate, and think are worth the investment. They are ridiculous in their  cost, so if you have a friend or family member off to the US, MAC brushes are the thing to request – light and easy to bring back, extremely easy for someone to find for you, and essentially half the price of the Australian pricing.

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MAC 217 Blending Brush
This is literally my Holy Grail in eyeshadow brushes. There is really nothing else like it on the market. I’ve even tried to find other MAC brushes that might come quite close (286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush for those hardcore fans out there), and it didn’t come close. Anybody who loves (or requires, in some people’s cases) a smokey eye, this is the brush for you. If you only buy ONE brush from MAC in your lifetime – make it this one. The difference this makes to any heavy eye look cannot be compared to any other brush in a kit – it softens and really polishes off the look. I personally don’t use it a lot to apply colour (I use the 286 for that), and instead try to keep it as naked as possible, so that it can really do its best blending work with no residual colour present. It’s essentially a fluffy white brush that softens up any harsh lines or over application of shadow, but does this in the most magical way possible.
RRP: $37.00

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MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
Now this is one of the brushes that came in my beloved Special Edition collection all those years ago. It has been used with much love and enthusiasm, so much so that the top of the brush came away from the handle of the brush! Thankfully the brush hairs weren’t effected, and it can still be used – the full-sized one is on my list from the US this year. Now this is your standard eye shadow packer. I have two brushes in this same style – short, but firm and tightly packed hairs. None of this sweeping movement that you get from the 239, but just pure packing on of colour. The hairs are quite thick, so what I like to do is use one side for light shades, and one side for dark shades. Lately my go-to eyeshadow combo has been the Bourjois Cream to Powder shadow as the base, and the Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Bronze – so one very light shade, and one very dark shade, but both creamy, so needing lots of packing. One side gets used for the light Bourjois shadow, one side gets used for the darker Bad Bronze shadow – no colour transfer. This has been an everyday work look, so ain’t nobody got time to spot clean a shadow brush!
I don’t think that MAC are the only uses to do such a style of brush – I have a Lancome version that is very similar, but it definitely doesn’t have the firm packing ability that this brush has. I’ve always used this for very dark shades on the outer eyelid, and anytime I’ve used any sort of cream shadow (MAC Paint Pots, for example). So, keep your eyes peeled for a similar brush – keywords being short, thick and firm hairs. If you can’t find it anywhere, go for the MAC one.
RRP: $48.00

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219 Pencil Brush
Now, my final brush is just a little favourite of mine – it’s definitely a non-essential, but this also depends on how serious you are about eyeshadow. My favourite feature is definitely my eyes, and I enjoy trying out some different looks, and spending some time on my eye makeup. So, for someone like myself, I think this is worth it. For someone who doesn’t own a single brush, then this is definitely not necessary, and not something I recommend early on. This is another firm-hair brush – but angled like a pencil, as the name suggests. I generally use this on my inner corner, or when I’m doing a really heavy smokey eye, and want to go back towards the inner corner with some lighter shades. It’s precision is amazing – holds product beautifully, and really gets into those smaller spots. I don’t often apply eyeshadow under my bottom lash line, but if I ever do feel compelled, this is the brush for it. I’ve tried the 215 Medium Shader brush for the bottom lash line as well, but that is just too firmly packed for my liking. I have extremely sensitive eyes, so the 219 Pencil Brush has just the right amount of packing to reduce product fall, but still soft enough to use on the more sensitive parts of my eye. I haven’t even investigated any dupes from another other brands, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if there any worthy companions. To be honest, this was a USA request from a friend a few years ago, which is why I frivolously got the MAC version without looking for any cheaper options. Let me know if you’ve seen anything like it.
RRP: $45.00

All MAC products are available at MAC stores and counters (located within Myer) across Australia. They also have an online store which has free shipping for >$100.00 order (and often have >$50.00 free shipping specials).

Thanks for reading the first part of my brush collection series. I did forewarn you that the prices may make you extremely angry, but I feel minimal guilt with MAC brushes. They should last you easily over 10 years, you will start using them every time you want to apply eyeshadow, and you’ll be shocked at what a difference they can make to your final look.

Until next time, readers…

*Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a professional makeup artist – just a simple lover of products. I am merely giving my thoughts and opinions on makeup brushes for the average citizen, as a fellow average citizen.

(All photos in this post courtesy of Google Images)