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RIP to a Fallen Makeup Hero

Dramatic title? Perhaps but this product deserves it and more after being such a reliable tool this past year and a half. I’m talking about the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki whose praises I’ve sung on many occasions (check out my initial review here and a comparison with the Sigma F82 here).

It is the best brush/applicator I have ever tried or owned for foundation application but unfortunately this amazing brush that once used to look like this…

Now looks like this…

It’s not even a flat top anymore, it’s an angled brush! I fully admit that its unfortunate state is due to my bad handling because I used and abused this brush so much and I was never careful when I washed it so the end result is a brush that is literally falling apart.

I only ever treat my synthetic face brushes like this since it’s so hard to get emollient products out of synthetic hairs but I promise to change my ways. Hopefully this is a lesson for all of you who treat your brushes in the same way so that you don’t end up with the same result.
I fully plan on repurchasing this brush and even plan on getting a backup but losing my Holy Grail brush got me wondering, what’s your Holy Grail brush? Let me know below 🙂

Holy Grail Status confirmed: Sigma F82 and F80 brushes

I was reading Ren’s post (Makeup by Ren Ren) on the new Sigmax range of brushes by Sigma and realised that I completely forgot to do a post on the F82 brush I purchased a few months ago. I already did a post back in May last year on the F80 brush which you can find by clicking the link. The Sigma F82 is very similar to the F80 except that the F80 is flat top kabuki and the F82 is a round top kabuki. I warn you that this is going to be a rave review so prepare yourself 😉

The brushes look dirty in this next picture but they’re actually clean. The fibres just tend to stain. They still work great though!

As you can see, the F82 is slightly smaller than the F80 in diameter and the length of the fibres is also slightly shorter. They’re both synthetic brushes made with what Sigma calls ‘Synthetic Sigmax HD filament’. I don’t know what that is but I can’t believe how soft the fibres on this brush are. They’re even softer than alot of my natural haired brushes and they don’t eat up product the way natural hairs can. The F82 is an extremely dense brush and I mean super dense! I already thought that the F80 was a dense brush but this one is more tightly packed and chubbier than the F80 as you can tell by the next two pictures.

The density of this brush means it’s perfect for cream foundation. I’ve started wearing the Dermablend Cover Creme foundation and this brush blends it out so nicely that it looks really natural and not at all cakey. I could still use my Sigma F80 to blend out the cream foundation but I’ve found that it doesn’t blend as well or as quickly as the F82 so I’ve pretty much only been using the F82 for the last few months.

I tried to show the difference in the application of both brushes but it’s hard to capture but hopefully you can see the difference. In the picture below I applied all three swatches heavily with my finger and for the last two swatches I used each brush and swiped the foundation twice using minimal pressure. The swatch blended with the F82 is already very blended and that’s just with two little swipes so imagine what you can do with the rest of your face!

From Bitten by the Beauty Bug

I know that it probably sounds like I’m advocating the Sigma F82 brush over the F80 brush but I really love both brushes. If I had to recommend one brush to start with it would definitely be the F80 because I think it’s more versatile. It can work well with creams with a little more time and it is amazing with liquid foundations. The F82 is awesome if you exclusively use heavy coverage liquid foundations like the MAC Studio Fix Fluid or if you use cream foundations. I don’t really like it for lighter coverage liquid foundations though because its density means that it sheers the product out too much.

Both these brushes also perform really well with concealer when you apply it using a patting motion on to your skin. I prefer the F80 for my liquid concealers such as my MAC select cover up but the F82 works much better with cream concealers such as the MAC Studio Finish Concealer. Sigma also recommend these brushes for powder application and maybe they work well if you use powder foundation but for setting makeup with powder these aren’t very good. I prefer to use a natural haired fluffy brush like the MAC 138 brush to get a light application of powder.

Either way I don’t think you can go wrong regardless of which brush you purchase and if you’re a big makeup person then definitely go for both! They’re $16 each which is a great price or you can buy a set with these two brushes and the angled synthetic kabuki for $42.They’re a bit of a pain to clean and dry because of how dense they are and they always stay kind of stained. They usually take me about a day to dry properly which is why it’s handy having both because you can use one while the other one’s drying.

This isn’t meant to be a ‘Sigma are so great’ post because I’ve actually found a lot of their other brushes to be sub-par at best but this synthetic range is phenomenal and definitely worth the money. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Holy Grail Status: Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush (F80/SS197)

OK so I know that I said that the MAC 130 was my holy grail brush for liquid and cream foundation a few posts back but I have to take it back now that I’ve found this flat top kabuki from Sigma. It is pure awesomeness in brush form (not to over sell it or anything). I love this brush so much and I think that love will last past the honeymoon stage of new productitis.

It’s like the older, more developed sister of the MAC 130. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the 130 but I now use it very differently and utilise it for concealing large areas rather than for liquid foundation. The main reason for this is mainly to do with size. Just take a look at the comparison pictures below:

The Sigma brush is on the top and the MAC 130 is on the bottom .

In the two pictures above the MAC 130 is on the left and the Sigma one is on the right. On a side note, I’ve noticed that the outside hairs on the MAC 130 never seem to really lie with the rest of the brush regardless of how I dry it which is very annoying! It looks very used and abused already and I’ve only had it for a few weeks!

The Sigma brush is obviously bigger and denser than the MAC 130 which makes foundation application and blending a no-brainer that can be accomplished flawlessly in very little time. I found that I had to really work to blend foundation in with the 130 just because of it’s size and because it had less hairs so even though it got the job done, it wasn’t a quick process. This wasn’t really a problem with foundations such as the MAC Studio Sculpt or the MAC Mineralize SPF cream foundation which stay quite wet and allow blending time but it was a major problem with matte foundations such as my NARS Sheer Matte.

The NARS Sheer Matte has to be blended in very quickly as it is a true matte product so it dries quite fast and because I didn’t have enough time to blend it out properly I was ending up with patches of foundation that looked quite cakey. If this was a different foundation like the Studio Fix fluid I would just spritz it with water and keep blending but I’ve found that the NARS Sheer Matte really does not like water once it dries and it becomes this white chalky mess when you try to apply some on it. Using the Sigma brush means that I now cover a lot more surface area on my face and can blend this foundation out before it dries and the finish is beautiful! Airbrushing eat your heart out!

This brush is every thing I hoped the MAC and Sigma 187 was going to be for liquid foundation but failed to be. Here are some comparison pictures with the Sigma SS187:

The Flat top kabuki is on the left in these pictures above and the SS 187 is on the right.
Even though the Sigma flat top kabuki is quite a bit smaller than the SS 187, because the fibres are more densely packed and there’s more of them, it allows for better control and better blended results.

You can see how much the SS187 splays out when you put pressure on it which means that it tends to layer rather than really sheer out the product like the flat top kabuki.

Here is a shot showing how the brushes perform when used for stippling. These swatches were both made with one touch of the brush on my skin after dipping into the foundation.

The splotch of foundation on the left is what the stipple pattern looks like from the SS 187 and the one on the right shows the stipple pattern of the flat top kabuki. You can clearly see that the coverage the flat top kabuki offers is already so much more even and covers more than the SS 187 does.

So I hope that you can see the difference in application that will result by using this brush over a duo fibre brush such as the MAC 187 or the Sigma SS 187. I don’t think it really matters what brand you buy because it’s more about the type of brush you get but any flat top kabuki that is dense like the Sigma one will probably work wonderfully. I’m reccomending this one because it’s the only one I’ve used plus I only picked it up for like $25 AU once you factor in shipping. The brush is sold individually on the Sigma makeup site ( and is named the SS197. The brush itself has ‘Sigma Flat Top Kabuki’ and the number F80 written on the handle as I believe that Sigma is now converting to a labelling system that is different to MAC’s.

All I can say is that this brush is awesome so far but I did only get it a few days ago so I don’t truly know how it performs yet. I found that it didn’t smell when I washed it and there wasn’t any bleeding and I’ve washed it about 4 times so far. It did shed a few hairs the first time but I haven’t noticed much shedding since then but I’ll update if there are any changes in the quality of this brush. I should also note that this brush looks like a duo fibre brush but is purely synthetic and the tips of the brush have simply been dyed to look like a duo fibre.

Duo Fibre Frenzy!

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with duo fibre brushes lately and I just can’t get enough! I’d been eyeing the MAC 187 for ages but I just couldn’t justify spending $80+ on a brush that I hadn’t even used yet. I ended up getting the Sigma SS 187 about 2 months ago and after using it for a while I decided that I really wanted to get the MAC 187. That’s right about the time I stumbled on to which sells authentic MAC (and other brand) products for about the same price as US retail which is half the Australian prices. This site also sells individual Sigma brushes which is so great because there were a few brushes I wanted from the premium brush kit but couldn’t buy individually online.

At the moment the duo fibre brushes I have are the MAC 187, Sigma SS 187, Sigma SS 188, MAC 130 and Sigma SS 131. I also ordered the Sigma SS 197 which is a flat top kabuki brush which I thought was a duo fibre brush but is actually just a full synthetic brush that is made to look like a duo fibre brush. For those who don’t know, the reason that these brushes are referred to as duo fibre is because they are literally made of two fibres with the black fibres being a natural hair such as goat hair and the white fibres being synthetic. I haven’t received the SS 197 yet but I’ll do a post on it once I receive it.

So I took some pictures of all the duo fibre brushes I have and I’m just going to talk a bit about them and what I’ve found them to be good at.

Firstly here are both of the 187 brushes. The SS 187 is on the left and the MAC 187 is on the right.

In this second picture the SS 187 is on the top and the MAC 187 is on the bottom.

So my first thoughts on these brushes is that the difference in them seems to be quite negligible and I don’t particularly like one over the other. Actually that’s not true because after testing them both out and trying density tests, softness tests and application tests, I have to say that the Sigma SS 187 is probably my favourite. The reason for this is that the Sigma brush is more dense than the MAC brush. When you look at the picture above you can see that the white bristles are probably equally dense but when you look at the first picture you can see that there are a lot more black bristles on the Sigma brush. However, like I said initially, the difference is not that big but I guess if I were to use this type of brush for foundation application I would use the Sigma brush. Personally I actually don’t like either for liquid foundation application but love them for my face powder application. I usually set my liquid foundation with a dusting of Studio Fix powder but I feel like the powder shows up too cakey when applied with my MAC 150 brush but with either the SS 187 or the MAC 187 the application is perfect. It deposits the right amount of product to set my foundation.

The next brushes I’m going to talk about is the Sigma SS 188 and the MAC 130. Here are some comparison pictures. Each of the 2 pictures below shows (from top to bottom) the SS 187, SS 188 and the MAC 130.

I decided to get the SS 188 brush because I found the SS 187 and the MAC 187 to be too big for pigmented blush application so I wanted something smaller. The SS 188 is great for blush! It’s the right size to apply blush on to the apples of your cheeks and along your cheekbone. I know some people love the 188 for liquid foundation application but I didn’t find it to be dense enough to achieve that ‘air brushed’ look everyone raves about. It’s great for blushes though and it works wonderfully with my NARS Exhibit A blush which is so pigmented and can easily end up looking crazy on the cheeks without a light hand.

My new HG brush for liquid foundation is definitely the MAC 130 brush! It’s so great! I know people were a bit upset by the size of this brush and thought it was too small but I think that the size is what makes it more effective. It’s really small, tightly packed, dense and has short bristles which means that it actually blends out foundation so well and definitely gives that ‘air brush’ look or somthing close to it. The size also means that it can get into all those areas that the other brushes can’t like the side’s of your nose and around the tear duct. Because of how dense it is, it’s the first brush I’ve used that blends out my Studio Sculpt enough that it actually looks like I’m not wearing foundation. This is definitely the brush to go to for those thicker consistency foundations. I can see why it was released with the MAC Mineralize SPF cream foundation because with other brushes this foundation would either go on too sheer or too thick. Love, love, LOVE!

The last brush that I bought was the Sigma SS 131 and it’s supposed to be a dupe of the MAC 131 which I couldn’t find anywhere which is why I went with the Sigma version. The MAC 131 was released with the Color Craft collection and was made to be used with Mineralize Skin Finishes and it’s supposed to allow you to apply very shimmery products like the MSF’s more subtly. Here are some pictures showing a comparison with the SS 188. The SS 131 is on the right in both of the pictures below. Sorry that both brushes are dirty but I just used them!

So as you can see the SS 131 is a lot flatter and narrower and has a shape which is a mix between a traditional foundation brush like the 190 and a highlighter/contour blush such as the 109. I’ve been using this brush with my MAC Iridescent loose bronzer in golden bronze and I really like the result. This bronzer is so shimmery that it can easily look too over done during the day but by using this brush the look is definitely a lot more subtle. It’s also the perfect shape and size to sweep the bronzer along your cheek bone.

That’s my thoughts on the duo fibre brushes. If I had to choose just one brush for it’s versatility I would probably choose the 188 just because it’s small enough to do blush application but can also be used for foundation (though I prefer the 130) and can also be used for application of face powder. Hope this is helpful to someone out there!