Review: Sigma Travel Brush Set – not as good as others say

The best way to get back to normal is… to post like normal!

This is a review for the Sigma Travel Brush set (Naughty in Black).  This review will be very pic heavy since I will be showing comparisons with the MAC brushes which I own.

Note: Sigma has a very aggressive affiliate program.  I am not affiliated or sponsored by Sigma, and this product was bought by me with my own money.

Price: $49, plus shipping

Brushes in this set: Large powder brush (F30), Large Angle Contour brush (F40), Foundation brush (F60), Eye Shading brush (E55), Concealer brush (F70), Tapered Blending brush (E40), Pencil brush (E30).
This set comes with a Travel Size F50 and E25, as well as the black brush roll in the picture.

I bought this travel set entirely to have a brush roll for travel.  I really didn’t expect much from the brushes themselves, but based on the reviews online, I thought I’d give them a try.

Now here is a brush by brush comparison!

Large Powder Brush – F30 vs EDM Round Top Kabuki

The EDM brush is on the left, F30 on the right in both pictures.
(My EDM brush is stained, sorry!)

What Sigma says it does: Very dense with a rounded top. Ideal to apply powder products on face and body. Natural bristles
MAC dupe: MAC 150

Comparison: I’ve compared it to the EDM Round Top Kabuki because I do not own the MAC 150.  The EDM brush head is denser and more compact than the F30.  It is also softer , and applies powder more evenly. .  As you can see in the picture, the hairs on the F30 are not all in place.  The F30 is also prickly.

Verdict: EDM RTK is MUCH better.  I cannot stand the prickly feel of the F30!

Large Angled Contour – F40 vs MAC 168
MAC 168 on the right, F40 on the left in the above picture
F40 on the left, MAC 168 on the right in the above picture.  The pilling you see on the F40 is explained below.

What Sigma says it does: The angled shape makes this brush ideal to apply blush or contour shades. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 168
Comparison: The F40 brush is much larger and less dense than the 168.  The 168 is more compact, denser, and it seems that the brush hairs have been cut with more precision.  My biggest peeve with the F40 is that it sheds constantly. Every time I use it, I’ll get hairs on my face, even after a few washings.
The other major peeve I have with this brush is that it keeps pilling.  The white pieces of fluff that you see in the above picture keep appearing, and I think it is the glue at the base of the brush, since I can detect this pilling even deep within the brush hairs.

Verdict: MAC 168, for sure.  I use the F40 for travel only because I don’t have another blush brush for travel.

Foundation – F60

What Sigma says it does: Can be used to apply liquid or cream foundation. It is also recommended to apply moisturizers and conceal large areas. Synthetic bristles.
MAC dupe: 190
Thoughts: When I wrote this review, I did not own another flat foundation brush to compare it with.  This is a really stiff brush and the brush hairs hurt.  I did not like this brush.  I did try out the MAC 190 at the counter.  The MAC brush was much softer and gentler on the skin.

Verdict: stay away from this brush!

Eye Shading – E55 vs Sigma full size E55 & MAC 237
From left: Full sized E55, travel E55, MAC 239

What Sigma says it does: Soft and dense with a rounded finish. Can be used to apply pressed or loose eye shadows and pigments. Ideal to build intense color on the eyelid. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 237
Comparison: I have a separate review on the full size E55.  These are definitely not exact dupes.  The MAC 237 is smaller and thinner, and has longer bristles.  Both E55s are thicker and have rounded tips.  The travel size E55 is thicker than the full size E55.  Both are OK for packing on eyeshadows, but the MAC 237 is better for getting into the inner corner.  Both E55s pill, like the F40 above.  The E55 has more in common with the Elf eye shading brush (including that it pills), and the Elf brush is $1.

Verdict: good enough for packing on eyeshadow, but the full size MAC 237 fits into the brush roll, so I might put it in instead.

Tapered Blending – E40
MAC224 on the left, E40 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Rounded and tapered top. Specially designed to apply and blend color on the crease. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 224
Comparison: Let’s take a look at the bristles.

MAC 224 on the left, E40 on the right

The E40 has longer, looser bristles.  To me, this makes it harder to blend.  It is also a bit prickly.  I honestly don’t get much use out of my MAC224 either, since I prefer to blend with my MAC 217.

Verdict: MAC 224

Pencil – E30
E30 on the left, MAC219 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Precise application of color on the crease, outer corner, and upper and lower lash line. Also ideal to smudge out pencil liner. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 219
Comparison: The bristles on these brushes are significantly different.

E30 on the left, MAC 219 on the right.
The MAC brush is somehow made so that the brush naturally tapers towards the tip. In comparison, the E30’s bristles are obviously cut to a point.  The shorter hairs on the edges of the E30 irritate my eyelid and sometimes get into my eye.

Verdict: MAC 219

Concealer – F70

What Sigma says it does: The rounded, tampered, flat shape makes this brush ideal to conceal the under eye area. It is also recommended for a precise application in small areas. Synthetic bristles.
MAC Dupe: MAC 194 (which I don’t own)
Thoughts: This is a decent brush. I thought it was a little stiff, but it does a good job at patting on concealer.  I wouldn’t use it to blend concealer, though.

Sigma Makeup offers a free travel size F50 brush with this kit!

 F50 – Duo Fibre

F50 on the left, MAC 187 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Specially designed to generate an ‘airbrushed’ finish when used to apply liquid foundation. It can also be used to apply blush, highlight shades and loose pigments. Blend of synthetic and natural bristles.
MAC Dupe: MAC 187
Comparison: The MAC brush is larger and more sturdy.  I find that the Sigma brush is less dense and a bit more floppy, making it harder to apply foundation.
Verdict: MAC 187

I have done a review of the E35 Tapered Blending Brush here.  At the time, I was happy with my purchase.  However, now, I find that the E35 is thinner and harder to blend with than the MAC 217. 

Overall verdict:

You can see that I wasn’t too happy with these brushes.  I bought this solely for the brush roll, so I was happy with that.  However, I won’t be bringing the majority of these brushes with me when I travel.  Most of my MAC eye brushes fit into the roll, so I’d rather bring those.  The Sigma travel face brushes are really not good quality, so I’ll be bringing other brushes.

I see a lot of very positive reviews of these on youtube, so this may work for you. For me, my Ecotools travel brush set (a gift from a friend, but it is also much cheaper) was much better quality and worked much better for me.

xoxo, K

24 Thoughts on “Review: Sigma Travel Brush Set – not as good as others say

  1. Great review! Thanks for doing it. I was kind of thinking of buying this at one time but as of yet haven’t done so. I bought a mini set of MAC brushes a couple of years ago and was quite disappointed. Those shed like crazy. The MAC SA told me that the mini sizes are definitely not same quality as full size.

  2. Coffretgorge on March 16, 2011 at 16:01 said:

    thank you for the review Kay! and for the inspiration to blog again :) i want to get some MAC brushes now! i cant wait. :)

  3. jeweledthumb on March 16, 2011 at 19:37 said:

    Thanks for the great review. I think Sigma is trying to distance themselves from calling their brushes MAC dupes. Probably a good thing as many of them aren’t exact dupes. I bought a set myself which I’m testing out. The one thing that has bothered me so far is the smell of the brushes/roll. It put me off and I stuck them under my bed till I could give them a good washing! I’m surprised no one mentions the odor.

  4. Mona on March 17, 2011 at 01:59 said:

    I’m so glad that I didn’t get sucked into the hype!

  5. sarah on March 17, 2011 at 04:11 said:

    WHEW, thank goodness i didn’t get one of these! haha your reviews are so thorough (: and glad that you’re posting back to normal

    <3 you!

  6. Thanks for the honest review!! When your an affiliate of a product its like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    So many girls are giving these brushes 5,000 star reviews >_<
    Xoxo

  7. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:23 said:

    Thank you for the Ecotools set! As I wrote before, that set is much better quality, and it is much cheaper!

    As you can see, I have a bunch of full sized MAC brushes. The MAC brushes are made by a Japanese company and are hand crafted. The ones in travel sets are machine made, but I’m not sure who makes them. Net, there is no way the two are the same quality.

  8. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:23 said:

    Start with the 217!

  9. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:24 said:

    I’ve noticed that they are trying to distance themselves from MAC. I don’t think they are good brushes at all, though.

  10. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:24 said:

    I would have thought they would send you a set!

  11. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:28 said:

    Thank you for the sweet comment!! I miss chatting with you!!

  12. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 05:28 said:

    Thanks! I thought I’d be the lonely nay-sayer!

  13. Hm, I have a different Sigma brush set and I joined their affiliate program, because while I think some brushes are bad, some are really nice! I honestly don’t like the big powder brush – it bleeds when I wash it everytime, looses hair, is just a uhhhhh… pain. But still I use it. I love some other brishes from them though! Like the soft blush brush or the foundation brush or the eyeshadow blending brush.
    I think with Sigma you need to choose your brushes wisely and you will be very satisfied, that’s why I put up their banned on my blog :)

  14. cosmeddicted on March 17, 2011 at 19:47 said:

    Glad to hear that they worked for you!

  15. Mymakeupreviews on March 18, 2011 at 12:40 said:

    i was sent a set before and i liked most of the brushes but eventually i didn’t enjoy them as much as i first got the set. i don’t have MAC to compare so I am gald you did. great review. we need people like you to write honest stuff.

  16. I’m really surprised you didn’t like the set since I hear so many positive reviews on them, but thank you so much for the comparison review! I don’t own any Sigma or MAC brushes but I was contemplating getting a set of Sigma brushes in the near future – now I’m not so sure..

  17. oh i was looking forward for this one, thanks for the review :)
    do check out my blog too: http://shycheeeks.blogspot.com/
    Hope you follow back :)

  18. cosmeddicted on March 20, 2011 at 08:02 said:

    Thank you so much! I really want to see unbiased reviews, too!

  19. cosmeddicted on March 20, 2011 at 08:03 said:

    I heard some of the full sized ones are good. The Sigma ones aren’t such a good deal to me, though, since I have to pay for international shipping. I would prefer to try out MAC brushes in the store, than take my chances on Sigma brushes!

  20. cosmeddicted on March 20, 2011 at 08:04 said:

    Thanks for commenting!

  21. Blissfullyke on March 20, 2011 at 13:01 said:

    this is such a helpful post! i was thinking about getting the duo fiber sigma brush but interesting points you brought up might make me think twice :) please check out my makeup blog too when you get a chance, i would really appreciate it :)

    ke
    blissfullyke.blogspot.com

  22. cosmeddicted on March 21, 2011 at 21:19 said:

    Thanks for the comment! I honestly think there are better duo fiber brushes out there. Maybe Sigma’s full sized one is better, but I don’t know!

  23. Justine (Productrater) on March 31, 2011 at 05:24 said:

    The sigma travel kit brushes have much smaller heads than the full size brushes, I did comparisons on my blog about this too.

  24. cosmeddicted on April 3, 2011 at 17:16 said:

    Thanks!! I wish I understood why people like Sigma brushes so much!

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