I bought a collection of Sigma brushes a couple of months ago, and that gave me the chance to get a sense both of quite a few individual brushes and Sigma brushes in general. I’m reviewing them in two posts, one focusing on the face brushes (powder, foundation, blush, etc.) and the second one focusing on the eye makeup brushes (read it here).
Sigma and their brushes
Before I review each individual brush, I’ve got a few general notes about Sigma. When I research a product, I read other reviews first to get a sense of what’s supposed to be good or bad about it. What I found about Sigma was interesting.
- Most affiliates say overwhelmingly positive things about them, but do occasionally find faults here and there.
- Customer reviews (on Sigma, MakeupAlley, etc.) are also overwhelmingly happy with these brushes. The faults some customers found find involved brushes losing shape, shedding, smelling funny or rinsing out dye.
- Many customers who got a brush they didn’t like requested replacement brushes from Sigma, and Sigma appeared to be pretty generous about sending them out.
This led me to think Sigma brushes probably really were pretty great on the whole, and when one wasn’t, the company was good about replacing them for free. And testing them proved this true: the brushes are awesome (some better than others, of course), but occasionally you can get a dud, and if you do, Sigma replaces them at no charge, quickly and graciously. And just so you know where I’m coming from, I own three Mac brushes, and two of them shed quite a lot and always have, and I own a couple dozen Elf brushes and feel about half of them perform wonderfully. The standard Sigma brushes have a far better success rate for me than Mac, and the Sigmax line in particularly is just terrific – I plan on buying more from both lines, but mainly the Sigmax, which I hope they’ll expand.
F-80 Flat Top Kabuki
Sigma’s F-80 Flat-top Kabuki brush is one of their greatest hits. Many people love it for getting an airbrushed look with foundation. It features the Sigmax duo-fibers, which are soft, strong and densely packed.
This brush has a terrific springiness that enables it to buff foundation into the skin flawlessly. This is definitely one of my favorite brushes for applying foundation, but it’s also awesome as a buffing brush for color products – for example, I like to apply bronzer, blush and highlight a little bit heavily, and then buff them in with this brush so they fade a little and blend in to look really natural. This brush does the best job of buffing I’ve ever seen, whether you use it for foundation or color products. With foundation brushes, one of the concerns is always whether the brush absorbs “too much” product. This is relative – it depends what foundation you use, how you use the brush and how often you clean it. I can say this one absorbs less than the similarly awesome Elf Studio Powder Brush.
F50 duo fiber
Before the F80 came along, lots of people were raving about the F50, a flat topped duo fiber brush by Sigma. This one does not have the Sigmax fibers, but like the other regular Sigma brushes, these bristles are nicely soft. This brush is less dense than the F80, but it’s still firm and springy.
I find the F50 is good for applying foundation if you want light to medium coverage, and the F82 is better if you need more coverage (as I do). Because it distributes product lightly, I’ve used the F-50 to apply both cream and powder blush, sometimes one right after the other since I like to layer them. It allows for more light handed application than a lot of blush brushes I’ve used. The only problem is that it would be too big for some cheeks – fortunately, Sigma makes a smaller version of this brush which is perfect for blush. This brush also works very well as a powder brush or bronzing brush.
F30 Powder Brush
The F30 has one major downfall, and I’ve seen other reviewers who said the same thing: it sheds. Not always, and not a huge amount, but it does have an annoying tendency to drop a few fibers on your airbrush-finished face that you have to swipe off with another brush. This is one of the two brushes Sigma replaced when I emailed them about it, but the replacement shed, too.
That said, the shedding hasn’t stopped me from using the brush. It’s very soft and fluffy, and just dense enough to get the lightest possible application of powder that will set your makeup, dull your shine or whatever it is you’re wanting the powder to do. There may be some equally great powder brush that doesn’t shed, but I haven’t found it yet and I will probably just keep using this one until I do. It’s that good, that it overcomes the shedding issues and makes me keep right on using it daily.
F60 Foundation brush
The F60 foundation brush is a traditional flat paddle foundation brush. It’s extremely soft and pliable, yet perfectly firm.
This isn’t the type of brush I like to use for foundation, but this is one of the best of its type I’ve ever tried. I’ve used this one for applying highlight – while it seems like a brush this dense would really pack on the highlight in a bad way, the firmness of the bristles actually allows me to spread a tiny bit of highlight (powder or liquid) over a relatively big area for a really natural look. I think I’m actually going to try using it with foundation again, though, because someone did my makeup at a department store counter recently using a brush like this, and I really liked how she did it.
F70 Concealer brush
The F70 concealer brush is a flat paddle brush, like a smaller version of the F60 foundation brush. It’s smaller than the Bare Escentuals concealer brush I used to use. It’s also a lot more flexible and soft (though overall it’s firm).
The end result is a great application of concealer, particularly under the eyes. It packs the concealer on in a way that somehow keeps it from settling into lines so much – there are concealers I’d given up wearing that I can wear again now with this brush. It’s like this brush applies exactly the right pressure.
F40 Contour brush
The F40 is an angled contour brush for applying contouring products or blush. This is the other brush I had Sigma replace – the first had lost its shape before it arrived, and washing didn’t help. The replacement has held its shape very well.
The F40 is good: it’s soft enough to be comfortable and dense/springy enough for a good application. I feel like there are better brushes out there (Sephora makes a good one). One I’m particularly interested in is Sigma’s F84, which is one of the Sigmax line. I wish this one was even more soft and dense, and have a feeling the F84 will be that. I consider this one of the more mediocre Sigma brushes, but I still find it good enough for daily use. I apply bronzer with it, and I’ve also used it for highlight and blush application. It does a nice job of distributing powder highlight, and it’s adequate on blush but, again, I have a couple of brushes I prefer for blush.
Buy @ Sigma.