Monday, April 15, 2013

Sigma Brushes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We've all seen the blog posts.  The YouTube videos.  The pictures on Instagram.  Sigma brushes are everywhere.  A company has gone from being a virtual unknown to a cosmetic powerhouse in a matter of months.  Even I have posted praise for their brushes!  And they are good... but are they worthy of the hype as of late?

One honest [virtually unknown] beauty blogger's opinion ahead...

We've all seen it.  The sudden onslaught of endorsements for Sigma.  Two years ago, most "beauty gurus" on YouTube were talking about Mac 217s, Eco-Tools face brushes, saving money with ELF brushes, and the excitement around Samantha Chapman's line.  Nowadays, it seems like they're all using the same brand... Sigma.

I admit it - I have two jars full of Sigma brushes.  And I use them.  And like them.  But I have been biting my tongue for too long on the marketing tactics taken by the company.  Their approach is basically this: Send free goodies to beauty bloggers/vloggers, offer commission, and sit back and let word of mouth rake in the business. While this is pretty intelligent on their part, it requires some critical thinking of the consumer.  It's important to take some of these endorsements with a grain of salt - there are some pretty strong incentives to promote these brushes that can lead to dishonest reviews and unhappy customers.

That said, many of them are truly good products.  I myself am an affiliate (however, I am not using affiliate links here).  All brushes and accessories mentioned here were purchased by me, for me, and are in my bathroom.  I've used them all for several months at the very least, most over a year.  These opinions are 100% honest.

The Good

Sigma's Sigmax collection is, in one word, amazing.  (Review of the F80 here.)  Densely-packed synthetic bristles, these four brushes are amazing for flawless foundation application.  One is a flat-top kabuki, one is a rounded kabuki, one is an angled kabuki, and the last is a dome-shaped brush.  I really truly recommend the three kabuki brushes.  They apply foundation so smoothly and flawlessly, hold up despite repeated use and frequent washing, and stay soft and comfortable to use.  Links (non-affiliate): F80 | F82 | F84

Another fantastic product (and believe me, I hate gimmicky products) was actually a surprise to me.  I took a chance and tried out Sigma's Dry N Shape to help my brushes dry overnight. With the more densely packed brushes, I was finding that they weren't drying overnight all the way after a good thorough shampooing.  I actually LOVE this thing.  I have a review on it here.

The Bad
The F40!  This is a terrible blush brush - it splays, which makes it hard to pick up product, and even harder to get precise application.  I've tried everything to reshape it... it splays, it sheds, it's completely useless.  I have better luck with a cheap-o brush from Target.

The F30 large powder brush has caused me more heartache than any other makeup brush or product.  It bleeds and sheds every. single. use.  I contacted Sigma to complain, and to their credit, they did send me a replacement right away.  And guess what?  The replacement brush did the exact same thing!  I have a similar brush from MAC... no problems.  I am now using a similar brush from Sedona Lace... no problems.  The fault, indeed, lies with the Sigma brush.  And of course, no beauty YouTubers speak of this problem, but I know others are experiencing it too.  They've told me.

The Ugly
I've mentioned this already, but I want to emphasize this again - watch out who you listen to! Many affiliates truly love their Sigma brushes (I am one of them), but do keep in mind that beauty bloggers and vloggers are getting commissions from those links they give you.  Keep in mind that many of them receive the items for free.  Many of them.  To the point that it's really annoying how they all get freebies.  Like whole collections.  Then they post their pictures and rave reviews, and you buy it.  And guess what?  Those girls get paid every time one of you buys something they received for free.

This doesn't mean that those reviews aren't always dishonest... many beauty bloggers are very honest.  However, it does mean that you need to read with a critical eye, ask questions, and keep in mind that not all reviews are truthful and some reviews may be different if the full purchase price was actually paid.  Let's face it - the same product at 10 dollars would get a lot more praise from me than at 50 dollars!