***Preface: I purchased these brushes with my own money. This is not a sponsored post.***
Although I had heard A LOT about Sigma Makeup Brushes through youtube, I hesitated to purchase the original brush kit. I did purchase the revised SS 187 when Encore Makeup published his video about it, but otherwise, I owned no other Sigma brushes. I was simply sick of hearing about the company, and wanted to spend my money elsewhere. However, when I received an email about the Professional Premium Brush Kit, I was intrigued....
At $149, it is considerably more expensive than the first full brush kit offered by Sigma Makeup; however, there are more face brushes in this set. Compared to what one would spend for similar brushes individually, this is a very good value for money. Shipping will vary by location (I.e. Domestic v. International). I paid $7 for shipping, and no sales tax (which is awesome- I live in California and would have had to pay an extra $14 otherwise!).
15 Brushes are included in the set, along with a brush roll. If divided equally, the price for each item is $9.31.
I ordered this set on Monday, February 22nd and it arrived on Wednesday, February 24th. I was impressed that it shipped so quickly (to California). The box the kit shipped in was black with a Sigma sticker on it. I appreciated the care taken in packaging the contents.
When I opened the box, I observed everything packaged nicely in a black gauze bag. Instructions for care and a brochure detailing each brush were included. Unexpectedly, I smelled an extremely strong, artificial and rubber/ glue- like odor. Initially I believed the smell originated from the brush roll, but after removing the brushes from it, I determined it was coming from the brushes themselves (probably due to the glue used in the manufacturing process). The odor has significantly decreased after several washings, but is important to consider. I was surprised by this since no other gurus that I have seen have mentioned this detail...
The included brush roll is the exact same version as compared to the one sold with Sigma's Complete Brush Kit (and also available individually on the site). I noted that some of the brushes fit very tightly into their slots (in particular, the SS 227 and the SS 165) and were difficult to remove and replace in the roll. Contrary to comments made by others (Tiffany D and the like), I found the brush roll to have a very cheap feel. It didn't feel like imitation leather, but more like a thin rubber. The brush roll is not an item I would use, since I already own a brush belt that I prefer to Sigma's brush roll. I would have preferred the option to order this kit without the roll.All brushes were nicely packaged in plastic for protection. As I removed the brushes from the roll, I immediately noticed that the plastic sleeves were labeled "Made in P.R.C." (People's Republic of China). Given background information provided by several gurus (including Tiffany D) about the Sigma brand, I believed the brushes were made in the United States. In fact, the brushes are designed in the U.S., manufactured in China, and then distributed by Sigma (based in the U.S.). Whether or not this poses an issue is for you to decide, but I think it is important to clarify this point. I was previously under the impression Sigma products were made in the U.S.A. since "U.S.A." is stamped on each brush handle (Why not omit "U.S.A" to avoid confusion?).
The information included with the kit is great, especially for beginners who may not know how to care for or use the brushes. One criticism I have for the brochure is that there are inconsistencies in the descriptions of the brushes. Some descriptions include the materials the brush is comprised of (I.e. "natural bristles" vs. "synthetic bristles") while others do not. I think this is something Sigma should consider revisiting. Consistency is important (Something we'll revisit when inspecting the quality of the brushes)!
...Onto brush specs and review details!
SS 134 LARGE POWDER BRUSH
Intended Use: Setting Powder and Bronzer application. Brush Length: approx 6 3/4". Brush Weight: 43.3 grams. Shed Factor: Not bad. Only a few bristles shed here and there prior to washing, and a few after. Dye Bleeding Factor: Not bad. Very little dye extracted during washing. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9. Pros: Very Soft, very dense and lush feeling. Cons: Becomes extremely fluffy after washing and loses its "paddle shape". Over time it takes on the shape of a fluffy powder brush. Final Impression: I do like this brush, and am hoping that drying the brush in a brush guard will help to condense the bristles so they do not become so fluffy as they dry.
SS 129 POWDER/ BLUSH BRUSH
Intended Use: Blush and powder application. Brush Length: approx 7 1/2". Brush Weight: 21.8 grams. Shed Factor: No noticeable amount of bristles shed. Dye Bleeding Factor: No noticeable bleeding while washing. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 7.5. The bristles aren't quite as baby fine as some of the others. Pros: Good, basic blush brush- a "can't go wrong" standby. Cons: Might be a little large for some people. Could be softer. Final Impression: Not my favorite blush brush in the world, but definitely not bad.
SS131 DUO FIBRE POWDER BRUSH
Intended Use: Blush and powder application, application of cream and liquid products. Brush Length: approx 7 1/2". Brush Weight: 23 grams. Shed Factor: A few bristles shed prior to washing. Dye Bleeding Factor: Noticeable bleeding during washing. In addition, black dye leaches into the white synthetic bristles as the brush dries and tints them a grayish color. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9. Pros: Unique brush, may help to deposit highly pigmented products with less intensity. Cons: Dye leaching into white bristles. Final Impression: I like this brush, and hope that the dye leaching will discontinue over time.
SS 138 TAPERED FACE BRUSH
Intended Use: Powder application. Brush Length: approx 8". Brush Weight: 35.7 grams. Shed Factor: LOTS of shedding. Countless bristles shed and even a clump of about 4 bristles came out of the brush prior to washing. This brush shed more than any other I have owned in any price range. Dye Bleeding Factor: Bleeding was a bit more noticeable with this brush, but was not bad. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9. Pros: Very soft, pleasant to use for powder application. Cons: Brush head is very fluffy, and like the SS 134, this brush almost turns into a standard powder brush after washing. The domed and pointed shape lose definition when the brush head is pressed into the face. Lots of bristles shed. Final Impression: I like the brush, and am hopeful that the use of a brush guard during drying will help to condense the bristles so they are not so fluffy. I am disappointed that the brush head does not retain it's pointy shape when brushed across the face.
SS 165 TAPERED HILIGHTER BRUSH
Intended Use: Hilight, contour application. Brush Length: approx. 7". Brush Weight: 15.3 grams. Shed Factor: Not bad. A few bristles broke off, but did not shed from the base of the brush. Dye Bleeding Factor: No noticeable bleeding of dye. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 8. Pros: Brush retains its pointed shape even after washing. Works tremendously well for contouring. Cons: The tapering around the brush is not completely symmetrical. There are some "Frizzy" and slightly scratchy bristles that stick out of the brush. Final Impression: I like this brush, but wish it was a bit softer and tapered more precisely. This is another example of inconsistency in the bristles. While the similarly shaped, but larger SS 138 bristles are extremely soft and baby fine in texture, there are definitely some bristles in this brush that are on the scratchier side.
SS 192 LARGE CONCEALER BRUSH
Intended Use: Concealer, cream products application. Brush Length: approx 6 3/4". Brush Weight: 16.5 grams. Shed Factor: No bristles shed. Dye Bleeding Factor: No dye bled. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9 (although synthetic bristles are inherently slick and are often soft). Pros: Large brush head can conceal larger areas quickly. Cream products wash out more easily than they do when used with natural bristled brushes. Cons: None. Final Impression: This is a good basic brush. It doesn't particularly stand out in the set, but it performs very well.
SS 195 CONCEALER BRUSH
Intended Use: Application of concealer and other cream products such as eye bases. Brush Length: approx. 7". Brush Weight: 8.2 grams. Shed Factor: No bristles shed. Dye Bleeding Factor: N/A. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 7.5. Pros: Tapered and slightly pointed brush tip allow you to get into all crevices around the eye area. Since the brush is extremely thin, it doesn't absorb too much product. Does not cake on liquid or cream concealers, and allows for building of products if necessary. Cons: Can feel slightly pokey. Tapering, again, is imperfect. I can see jagged cuts on this brush. Final Impression: I really like this brush. I wish it was a little less pokey, but it not so bad that it would prevent my use of the brush.
SS 210 SMALL EYE LINER BRUSH
Intended Use: Creme and liquid eye liner application. Brush Length: approx 6 1/4". Brush Weight: 4.8 grams. Shed Factor: No bristles shed. Dye Bleeding Factor: No bleeding occurred. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 8. Pros: Very thin, allows for precise application of eye liner. The brush handle is is a good size in terms of diameter- it fits really well in the hand. Cons: I wanted this to be an arced liner brush. Arced liner brushes are simply easier to use and are more precise. Final Impression: Great brush. Does what it is intended to.
SS 212 FLAT DEFINER BRUSH
Intended Use: Eye liner application, smudging, eye liner setting with powder. Brush Length: approx. 6 1/4". Brush Weight: 6.1 grams. Shed Factor: No shedding occurred. Dye Bleeding Factor: N/A. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 7.5. Pros: Dense but very thin. Wide enough to cover a good amount of real estate, but not so wide that it doesn't contour to the curves of the eye. Cons: A little bit stiff, but I really can't complain here. Final Impression: Awesome brush.
SS 214 SHORT SHADER BRUSH
Intended Use: Precise shading and smudging. Brush Length: approx 6 1/2". Brush Weight: 7.3 grams. Shed Factor: Has shed probably about 6 bristles so far, some prior to washing, and some after while being used. Dye Bleeding Factor: No bleeding occurred. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 8. Pros: Nice small size with rounded edges makes it great for smudging. Cons: Wish it was a little more dense. Surprising amount of bristles shed. Final Impression: Like this brush, but it could be improved upon (make it a little softer and just a touch more dense).
SS 217 BLENDING BRUSH
Intended Use: Eye shadow application, blending of eye shadow and cream products. Brush Length: approx 7". Brush Weight: 7.3 grams. Shed Factor: No shedding occurred. Dye Bleeding Factor: N/A Softness (Scale of 1-10): 10. Pros: Extremely soft, lays down color nicely and blends wonderfully. Cons: Can be a little difficult to clean. It is a good idea to research cleaning methods for white bristles to retain the brightness of the white goat hair. Final Impression: I absolutely love this brush. I love it more than I thought I would. It might be my favorite from the set.
SS 222 TAPERED BLENDING BRUSH
Intended Use: Blending, application of eye crease color. Brush Length: 7". Brush Weight: 7.6 grams. Shed Factor: Maybe 1 bristle? Pretty much not an issue. Dye Bleeding Factor: N/A. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 8.5 Pros: Great blending brush that works well even on small eyes. Lays down crease color precisely. Cons: The tip of the brush can feel a little pokey, but I expect that this will improve over time as the brush is used. Final Impression: I really like this brush, but not as much as the SS217!
SS 226 SMALL TAPERED BLENDING BRUSH
Intended Use: Application and blending of crease color. Brush Length: approx 7". Brush Weight: 6.6 grams. Shed Factor: Maybe 1 or 2 hairs? Not really a big issue. Dye Bleeding Factor: Not noticeable. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 8. Pros: Works well to apply color and blend in the crease. Retains its shape after washing. Cons: Tapering is not symmetrical around the diameter of the brush head. There are also a few bristles that are on the scratchier side, as occurred with the SS 165. Final Impression: I like this brush, but wish a little more care was taken in the manufacturing process to ensure that the brush head was symmetrical. Overall, I don't think this effects the performance of the brush.
SS 227 LARGE FLUFF BRUSH
Intended Use: Eye shadow application. Brush Length: approx 6 1/2" Brush Weight: 17.3 grams. Shed Factor: Shed about 6-8 bristles prior to washing and while being used. Dye Bleeding Factor: Not noticeable. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9 Pros: Covers large area, feels soft and is comfortable to use. Cons: Shedding of bristles, although I expect this to improve over time. Final Impression: This is a good brush. For me, it is not a must have, but is a nice supplement to my collection.
SS 316 LIP BRUSH
Intended Use: Application of lipstick and lip gloss. Brush Length: approx 4" when closed, 7" when open. Brush Weight: 8.2 grams. Shed Factor: No shedding occurred. Dye Bleeding Factor: N/A. Softness (Scale of 1-10): 9. Pros: Very sleek looking, and the brush head is protected by the cover. Cons: Poor design. The cover scrapes the brush handle as it is slid on and off, damaging the black finish finish. The shape of the brush head is a bit small and rounded for my taste. Final Impression: This could be a good brush, but the design needs to be improved.
More pictures... Because we love pictures!
I am really happy with the set after using it for just over a month. Although there were some brushes I probably wouldn't have purchased on their own, I think I will still use every brush in the set. I was so pleased with this set that I went ahead and purchased the original complete set after the fact, which I am still testing out.
I wouldn't rely solely on these brushes if I were a makeup artist, but I think that for personal use they are just fine and will likely last for years. I think that like the original complete set, some will probably prefer certain MAC brushes, and some will prefer certain Sigma brushes. Be on the lookout for my comparison of the Sigma SS 165 to the MAC 165, as I think this review will detail some important differences between the brushes, as far as quality is concerned. Bottom Line: If you're curious about these brushes, I'd recommend trying them. But keep in mind that Sigma does not accept returns, only exchanges, for defective products. So if you end up disappointed, you're stuck with the brushes!