This is going to be a very long picture heavy post; you’ve been warned as I’m reviewing the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit. I have been dying to try some Sigma makeup brushes for the longest time now, ever since I began watching YouTube video’s three years ago. All of the ‘big’ YouTuber’s use Sigma brushes in their tutorials, and the results are undoubtedly fantastic. Sigma brushes weren’t readily accessible here in the UK, unless you fancied an heft customs charge so I decided on the full set of Real Techniques brushes instead.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to loving the Real Techniques face brushes, as I really love them however I feel that the Real Techniques Eye Brushes leave a lot to be desired. You only have to watch the Pixiwoo video’s and see the Chapman sisters use the face brushes in all of their tutorials, but never use the eye brushes for eye makeup – only for applying concealer.
For eye makeup they use MAC, Louise Young or Sigma brushes. Beauty Chamber stock a massive selection of Sigma products (140 to be exact), including all of the Sigma brush sets. The brush set I’ve been lusting after, and now own is the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit £99.95* which contains five different face brushes and seven different eye brushes.
This set does not have synthetic bristles, but there is a cruelty-free ‘Bunny’ Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit for those who prefer synthetic bristles on their brushes but I love my Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit.
Each of the 12 brushes in the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit come individually wrapped to protect the bristles. The brushes have long, weighty, wooden, black handles with ‘Sigma’ and the brushes name engraved with holographic writing. The natural bristles are held securely by a strong, solid, metal ferrule with Sigma engraved into it for authenticity.
These are my very first Sigma brushes, and I am so incredibly impressed by how amazingly good quality they all are.. they feel so solid and superior compared to the Real Techniques brushes. I really like how the brushes’ handles differ in thickness depending on the size of the brush’s bristles.. with the tiny Eyeliner E05 brush being very slim, and the huge Large powder F30 brush being pretty chunky. Generally speaking, the thinner the brush’s handle is, dictates how delicately the brush can be used.
Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit – The Eye Brushes
The Sigma Eyeliner E05 Brush (RRP £8.95) is the smallest, thinnest brush from the set. The bristles are protected thanks to a clear plastic tube to ensure the bristles are kept as a precise point. Normally eyeliner brushes feel quite stiff and waxy, but these bristles are so soft and flexible which is perfect for lining the eye.
This is the best eyeliner brush I’ve used, it can be used directly on the point for a very thin precise line, or I like to use it on its side which creates a thicker line quicker than the point. As well as applying gel liner with this brush, it works really well in a dark powder eyeshadow, to smudge along the lashline or to pack black shadow over the top of the gel liner to prolong longevity.
The Sigma Pencil E30 Brush (RRP £8.95) is densely packed with quite stiff bristles that packs shadow along the bottom lashline precisely. I love using the E30 to smudge my pencil eyeliner along my lashline and waterline, as it blends the liner between each lash really well.
I have seen makeup artists on YouTube use the E30 to do a cut crease, which I keep practising as I think it looks amazing and really dramatic so I’m thrilled it was included within the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit. The densely packed bristles allow for detailed crease work, and even for applying an highlighter shade to the inner corner. I have also found that this is the PERFECT brush for applying and blending a little bit of concealer along the outline of brows for an extra precise defined brow, as well as lifting the brows.
The Sigma Tapered Blending E40 Brush (RRP £10.50) is my favourite eye brush from the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit, it’s a little beauty. The bristles are ever so soft, without being too densely packed allowing for a lot of movement when blending the crease. I love how the long the bristles are, as they make blending so easy when doing ‘windscreen wiper’ motions.
The brush has a lovely round tip which helps the bristles to not overblend the shadow, and manages to make all harsh lines disappear completely. I think this could be my favourite eyeshadow brush of all time, it makes such a difference to my eye makeup with little effort. I’ve also loved using this brush to subtly contour the sides of nose as it adds definition, without looking noticeable.
The Sigma Eye Shading E55 Brush (RRP £9.50) has shorter, more densely packed bristles than the E40 brush. Again the bristles are beautifully soft like the E40. Sigma describe the E55 as a shading brush, but for me I use this brush to really back on my base shadow all over my eyelid so it’s a very useful brush within the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit.
Whenever I use this brush to apply my shadow, as it packs a lot on, I’ve found that it makes my eyeshadow last a lot longer than it would with another brush. Plus the dense bristles mean that there is next to no fallout, making it the ideal brush to apply loose eyeshadows and pigments. You could potentially apply your whole eyeshadow look with this one brush as it does well at blending too.
The Sigma Large Shader E60 Brush (RRP £9.95) is a longer, less dense version of the previous E55 brush. Initially I struggled to find a use for this as the E55 is sufficient for packing shadow onto the lid.
However I’ve found that the E60 is perfect for applying cream eyeshadows such as MAC Paint Pots and Maybelline Color Tattoo’s as it blends them slightly, by pressing the brush against the lid repeatedly instead of swiping the brush across the lid.
By pressing the cream shadows, it helps them to adhere to the lid.. equally it works a treat at applying a thin layer of primer too. The bristles of this brush aren’t as soft as the other eye brushes, but they’re still soft nonetheless.
The Sigma Small Angle E65 Brush (RRP £8.95) really is small and has become my eyebrow brush. The small angled bristles work perfectly at brushing small strokes of shadow through my brows to add definition whilst looking natural. The sharp edge of the bristles is really good at getting a defined line along the base of my brows, and arch. The E65 can also be used to apply gel liner or shadow along the lashline as it’s so thin, firm and precise.
When I want to wear winged gel eyeliner, this is the brush I use as it does it so effortlessly in one sweep. I’ve also found that the brush works well at applying concealer along the brow bone for highlighting. Any eyeliner novices could pick this brush up, and get a perfect, clean sweep of gel liner.. it’s just so easy to use.
The Sigma Medium Angled Shading E70 Brush (RRP £8.95) is a longer, less dense, slightly angled version of the E55. After applying my main lid colour with the E55, I then use the E70 to add a darker crease colour to work through the crease. The angle helps to blend the colours together ready for the E40 to blend them even further for a diffused crease.
I love using this brush when I’m using just one shade of shadow, as it blends the shadow well across the lid but also manages to blend the shadow into the crease.It just gives so much dimension that it looks like I’ve used multiple colours.. perfect for when you don’t want to put a lot of effort into your eye makeup, or you’re in a rush.
I have loved using this E70 with my Soap & Glory Glow All Out luminising powder, to add a subtle, but beautiful highlight alone my browbone, the tops of my cheek bones, bridge of my nose and cupids bow. Such a lovely soft, fluffy brush which feels so nice against the lid.
The Face Brushes
The Sigma Large Powder F30 Brush (RRP £16.50) is such a massive brush, both handle wise and bristles. I thought the Real Techniques Powder Brush was big, but this is a lot bigger.. it almost fills my palm. The brush can be used on both the face and body which explains the size.
As well as applying powder, this brush would be ideal for applying bronzer all over the face and decolletage The bristles are really soft, and the bristles have a rounded end which helps the brush not to pick up too much powder.
I can apply powder all over my face within about 5 seconds flat, it’s amazing. I’ve washed the brush once so far and I didn’t experience any shedding whatsoever which really surprised me with a brush of this size, and bristle type.. no dreaded black hairs left on my face after application. I love this brush and it’s a great addition to the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit.
The Sigma Large Angled Contour F40 Brush (RRP £13.95) is one of the Sigma brushes I’ve been dying to try so I’m thrilled it’s included within the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit as it’s described as being the perfect but easy contouring brush. I was really surprised by how soft the bristles are, as they look like they’re quite stiff goat hair but they’re so silky and beautiful.
The F40 works amazingly with both cream and powder bronzers, by positioning the angled brush against the contour of the cheek, and buffing along the cheekbones. The fluffiness of the F40 helps to blend the product completely leaving no noticeably harsh lines, only natural shading. The harshness of the contour can be altered by using more product, and blending less but I’m not a massive fan of majorly chiselled cheekbones on me.
Some may find the bristles to be too soft if they like the harsh chiselled look and prefer a stiffer bristled brush, but for me it’s absolutely perfect. Even though it’s called the ‘large’ Angled Contour Brush, I don’t think it is large.. especially when you compare it to the Large Powder Brush. The F40 also works well at applying powder blushes on the top of cheekbones after using it to contour.
The Sigma Duo Fibre F50 Brush (RRP £16.50) is one of my favourites in the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit as I’m a huge duo-fiber brush fan. I reviewed the Real Techniques Duo Fiber brushes (here) and was pretty impressed with them.. until trying this one, that is. This is so much better than the RT’s duo fiber brushes put together! The bristles are a little more dense, a lot softer and better quality on the F50.
This brush is so versatile and can be used to apply cream, powder and liquid products to the face. The white bristles apply the product whereas the black bristles are what blends the product into the skin to give an amazingly airbrushed effect with no harsh lines, or unsightly ‘tide marks’. Somehow it manages to give a full coverage of foundation, with the appearance of a light sheer coverage.
With skin as pale as mine, it’s so easy to go over the top with products like bronzer, foundation and blush so duo-fiber brushes are incredible at helping you take a ‘less is more’ approach. The soft wispy white bristles pick up such a small amount of product at a time, making it my best friend when applying bronzer.
As well as working well at applying and blending products, it also works a charm as a stippling brush for cream blushes too, especially the Stila Color Convertible’s, by stippling the colour onto the cheeks until you’re happy with the finish.
This is the Sigma Foundation F60 Brush (RRP £12.50) is the last face brush within the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit. I really struggle to apply foundation with these ‘paddle’ like brushes, as it just appears to wipe foundation across my face rather than blend it into my face like other brushes.
However I have found two really good uses for the brush! Firstly, it’s fantastic at applying face primer all over the face especially around the nose, chin and eyes as it’s slightly tapered. It gives a much more even coverage of primer which ultimately improves how easily the foundation applies over the top. The second use I’ve discovered for the brush is to use it a touch-up brush..
I apply my foundation normally with the F50 brush all over my face, however unfortunately my dry patches on my cheeks look very visible. I apply foundation to the tapered part of the F60 and then press the brush flatly across my dry patches to build up good, even coverage, and flatten down my dry patches to somewhat ‘mask’ them – it makes such a difference to them. Especially if I use the brush to apply primer first, and then apply foundation over the dry patches as it helps the foundation adhere to my skin so much better.
The very last brush of the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit, the Sigma Concealer F70 Brush (RRP £8.95). This is essentially a teeny version of the F60 brush, so works perfectly at placing and blending concealer around the eyes, nose, chin and brow bone.
The tapered bristles allow for precise application which is great to conceal under-eye circles, or to trace the outline of the lips with a little foundation after applying lipstick for the most perfect, clean lines. I use this F70 with my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, by dabbing the wand onto the brush and then patting the brush flatly against my under eye area until it’s fully blended.
By patting the brush gently, it prevents the concealer from looking cakey or creasing… I find that it lasts a lot longer too, when applied like this. For blemishes and breakouts, I apply exactly the same method. It does take a while to get the hang of using the brush like this, but once you have it takes minimal time and effort for a really fantastic finish. Again this brush would work well at using the remnants of concealer on the bristles to blend along the outline of the brows for extra definition, as well as disguising any stray hairs awaiting a good plucking.
Wow that is without a doubt my longest, most detailed blog post to date.. and the most exciting one I’ve written too. If you managed to hang on throughout the post, I commend you – thank you. You should be able to tell I absolutely LOVE this Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit – Oh my god it’s good!
There is not one brush within the kit that I resent being there which is rare, as with brush kits there’s always one you don’t really have a use for. The bristles are all beautifully soft, with no shedding (thus far), they wash easily with the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove (review) and they make my makeup look amazingly professional which is pretty good considering how cack handed I can be! I think £99.95 is such a reasonable price for a brush kit of this quality, when the brushes are worth £134.15 if bought separately.
Even if you didn’t want to shell out for the Sigma Essential 12 Piece Brush Kit set, you can buy all of the brushes within the set individually from Beauty Chamber so you could buy the ones you really love the look of. I absolutely love this kit, and Sigma brushes are the best brushes I’ve ever tried above Real Techniques, Crown Brushes, Nanshy and Stila. I’ve definitely got the love for Sigma now, and I need the Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Kit next.