I get a lot of questions about makeup brush recommendations, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have a makeup brush showdown! Makeup brushes are fairly common in households these days. Beauty lovers have come a long way from the stiff face makeup brushes included in blushes and bronzers. We now have so many options to choose from. But how do we know if we’re getting a good deal? What makes great face makeup brushes? Should you buy the expensive one, or shoot for a drugstore equivalent? Today I compare a few popular high end face makeup brushes with drugstore options to help you decide which to invest in.
Note: This post was originally posted March 31, 2015 but has been completely revamped! 🙂
I have tried many makeup application apparatuses. Sponges. Fingers. Brushes. Air Brush. You name it, I’ve tried it. Overall, my absolute favorite way of applying most makeup is with a makeup brush. And I’m picky. Very picky.
I need a makeup brush that holds up well. I need a makeup brush that is soft. I need a makeup brush that is tapered or blunt, just-so in all the right places. And I need makeup brush variety!
On top of all of those demands, I want a makeup brush that won’t break the bank. But, can I make sure that all of my demands are met while staying on budget? Let’s find out, shall we?
In this post, I’ll be examining face makeup brushes. Clearly, eye brushes are an entire different species. In this post, I’ll be comparing my Sigma Beauty makeup brushes to my Real Techniques makeup brushes. Sigma = high end. Real Techniques = drug store. Capeesh?
Both brushes are soft and pick up product well. They both have withstood plenty of washings, so I know they both hold up. Both feel nice in the hand. So what sets these apart? How the apply product to the face.
I really love how tapered the Real Techniques lPowder Brush is. The tapering allows me to pinpoint the places that I really want to cover with powder, and go light on the areas where I don’t. Precision, even with a large powder brush. The Sigma version is nice in its own right, but I prefer the Real Techniques and I think you will, too. Save yourself $23 and pick up the Real Techniques Powder brush and leave the Sigma Brush in your online shopping cart.
I love a good blush brush. I think I’m probably the most picky about blush brushes, too. Ironically, these brushes are fairly different styles of blush brushes, but I’ll bring in another brand that’s almost identical to the Sigma Beauty brush to compare like-styles. But for now, let’s compare the Sigma Beauty F10 ($24) and the Real Techniques Multi Task Brush (out of the Travel Essentials brush kit – $17.99 for 3 brushes).
Clearly the shape is a bit different for these two brushes. I prefer the taper and dome shape of the Real Techniques brush over the smaller Sigma Beauty brush. As before, both of these brushes are well made, but the shape of the Real Techniques brush is just so much better. It makes blending blush much easier. I end up with patches of bright blush next to not so bright blush with the Sigma brush. I still use it, but I opt to use it for highlighting. The smaller size and straighter cut make it ideal for putting champagne shimmer right on top of the cheek bones.
The Sigma F10 is most like my E.L.F. Blush Brush… which I actually prefer more than the sigma brush. I could argue that it’s not as well made, but the taper is perfect… and I’ve had this exact e.l.f. brush for close to five years and it has held up as well as any high end brushes I have.
Tapered Blush Brushes
Sometimes, blush looks better applied with a less dense brush. When I have a super pigmented blush, I like to reach for my Sigma Tapered Face F25 ($33) or Real Techniques Blush Brush ($8.99). These two brushes are similar in shape and bristle orientation/length. The one subtle difference is the point on the Sigma version. I’ve found that application wise, however, there isn’t much of a difference at all.
Both brushes perform pretty much the same way. Both hold up well for washings, and they each feel great in your hand. The Real Techniques brush has a super hand tapered handle that allows you to set it on its end, which the Sigma version does not have. Over all, you’re doing well to have either brush… but the Real Techniques blush brush is much less expensive.
Duo Fiber Brushes
I love a good duo fiber brush for cream or liquid products. Specifically for cream or liquid blushes & highlights. The Sigma Beauty F15 Duo Fiber Brush ($27) and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush ($9.99) are both good candidates for cream and liquid blushes and highlights. Clearly, they aren’t exactly the same. One is a stippling brush (e.l.f.) and one is a plain duo fiber blush brush, but I use them for the same purpose… liquid and cream blush and highlight application.
However, the Sigma F15 is terrible for blending. Awful, really. It should hold up well for cream and liquid, and yet… it collapses under pressure. I reach for the Real Techniques brush every time I need to blend a cream or powder into my cheeks. What a waste of $27!
Flat Top Kabuki Brushes
Years and years ago when I was brand new to makeup, I wore Mary Kay mineral foundation. At the time, makeup brushes weren’t used by many women day-to-day, but the Mary Kay lady assured me that the Bare Minerals foundation must be applied with a brush, so I bought the flat top kabuki. I’m not sure exactly how much it cost me, but if memory serves me correctly it was over $20. I recently purchased the Wet N Wild Flat Top brush for $2.69 at Walgreens (!!!).
The Wet N Wild brush is hands down better than the expensive Mary Kay flat top kabuki. It’s softer, it blends like a dream… and it has a normal length handle. I was actually so impressed by this brush that I ordered every single brush in the line.
After reading this, none of you should be surprised to know that as far as face makeup brushes go, I’ll stick with the drug store alternative. Sigma Beauty and other high end companies put out a lot of great makeup brushes, but for the cost, they really just don’t give me much (if anything) more than their drugstore counterparts. But what about eye makeup brushes?? That debate, my friend, we will save for another day.
What do you think? Are you a high end or drug store makeup brush user? What brands do you like?