Sigma Makeup Brushes: What do you want to know?

Sigma Makeup Brushes:  What do you want to know?

After Temptalia readers awarded Sigma Makeup Brushes not one, but two awards (Best New Product of 2009 and Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009), it was pretty clear that I needed to try these out myself. Sigma Makeup recently sent me some of their brushes to try out, which is something I will be doing over the next few weeks and will do an extensive comparison between them and MAC, including comparison photos.

I’d like to use this post as a way for you to let me know your questions about these brushes in the comments. This way, I can read through them, think about them as I test out the brushes, and then I can do my best to address those questions in the reviews. So, ask away! 🙂

Included in this post are just some preliminary photos I took a few minutes ago of Sigma’s Professional Brushes Complete Kit + Brush Roll ($89.00), just for fun!

See more photos…


We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.

My number one question on these brushes is: “Do they shed” I’ve found that even some pricey MAC brushes shed. There’s nothing worse than having black hair shedding all over my pale complexion and getting stuck in my liquid foundation.

Hello there. I just wanted to throw in my opinion if you don’t mind. I ordered these a while back and really like them. They are very good quality and I haven’t had any shed. I like them just as well as the few MAC brushes that I own. 🙂

I’ve had that issue with various brushes and various brush brands, and I find that if I rub my face in order to try to get the brush hair off I just wind up smudging my foundation, so I go for it with tweezers. I know that doesn’t fix the problem of the shedding brush, but it’s a quick fix. 🙂

How do they compare to MAC brushes of the same number? Like is the quality of the handle, hair, shedding, etc. similar to MAC brushes, worse, better, etc.? I guess it shouldn’t be exactly the same considering the price differences, but as long as its not WAY off, I might get some of their eye brushes.

Thanks in advance for your review!

Ohh… I have definatly wanted to try these! My biggest concern with atleast the facial brushes would be if any of the fibers from the brushes are left behind and get stuck on the face, especially when applying liquid foundation… lol frustrating!

ive heard many good things about these brushes, but i think ill stick with my MAC 🙂 the whole “ss###” and copying MAC is sort of a turn off

I completely agree– the blatant knock off is a big turn off to me too. To me that just shows a company that lacks originality, and borders on copyright issues. No thanks! I will also stick with my MAC brushes!

I don’t care if they’re not MAC as long as it’s the same quality for cheaper prices and it is! I’m not a big brand person. I just like what works..

Im so exited for this review! I need some good quality brushes and I am loving the price on these!

One thing I would like to know is how well do they work for blending?

i only have 2 which is the ss224 and ss239 and i LOVE them. i would love to have the whole set but i already have enough MAC brushes that i don’t really need the full line of sigma brushes. i would love to try the ss217 though.

I have heard a lot of great things about these brushes and want to try them so bad. But I will after I save up enough money after I purchase the new Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows from Urban Decay!

I want to know how the weight of the brush compares. Many inexpensive brushes just don’t “feel” right, if that makes sense. I think when a brush is designed well, aside from the brush aspects like product pickup, they have a weightier handle to balance the fullness of the hair and ferrule.

Also, as inconsequential as this sounds, how do you think they are esthetically? I hate the look of cheap brushes, that may not matter to some, but I like the whole makeup experience to be a visual and design delight. ( I hate the sigma logo, it just looks cheap to me) Could we see pics of the brushes up close?

These are my foremost questions, for I know your review will be adept and thorough as always.

Other than the obvious ‘how do they compare’, I would also like to know what you think of them outside of comparison to MAC, if they do stand alone as good brushes to invest in.

Also, I would like to know if you’d recommend getting the standard brush roll they come with or would another be better?

I agree, Shu Uemura makes excellent brushes, even better than MAC. Unfortunately they are more expensive and have a smaller selection (especially for eye brushes).

I’m definitely looking forward to your review!! A lot of people bought these and did a review but always ended with “these are GREAT and can be MAC dupes but I don’t know how they compare to MAC because I don’t own any MAC brushes”. That irks me b/c clearly you can’t say they’re MAC quality if you’ve never tried MAC. In any case, pls help address the following:

– stiffness/performance of the brushes (ex: 187/224/219 brush..many dupes but not the same because the tip end up too soft)

-smell..I think some mentioned these might smell funky before/after wash

-shedding factor



No, they are justing make it easier to people to buy their brushes. For examples if you want say,a 188 brush,and dont want to pay the MAC price for it, its super easy to find a sigma dupe, the SS188!

i like sigma brushes and they are of great quality but they are ripping off MAC numbers. I hate that they lack the originality to come up with their own numbers, all the brushes that are dupes of mac also have the same dupe number, I wish they would have come up with their own number system

i’d like to know more about the SS187 and the SS168, since they are the 2 MAC brushes i dont have. i have a MAC 187se and it did shed at first but its basically great and i would like to try the SS187

Do you think these are high quality brushes?
do you think they are nice enough quality that they would last
a life time like MAC? & Do you think they could sell at a counter
at Macys or something? (what I mean is are they good enough
quality to be at a department store)

I got mine from the Sigma website – they ship to Canada & I got free shipping when I bought the set Christine has. But I don’t know of an actual physical location.

Oh wow, how do you get a free shipping? On their page, it’s written the shipping is $14 for international. That’s expensive!

i have the face set of the sigma brushes and i love them. especially the 187. I would say they are just as good as my mac ones,I reach for them equally when i do my makeup 🙂

I can’t wait to read your review. I want to expand my kit, and have been looking to Sigma brushes 🙂

I do take your reviews to heart, lol, your opinion is that important to me! lol

Do MAC brushes fit in the brush roll??
I have some MAC and some Sigma and I’d like to get the Sigma brush roll but only if they fit the MAC brushes too so I can keep them all together…


Kate =)

I have over 100 brushes and love them all (almost all). But I guess the best thing would be a guide that tells you what is the best type of brush for every job. IE best for powder foundation, liquid foundation, cream foundation, cream blush, powder blush, cream eyeshadows, over all lid shadows, crease, large crease, contour, highlighting, bronzing, over all powder, lip, eyelining, oh my I could go on forever.

this guide attached looks like a good idea. I see a lot of guides online for mac brushes, but it is nice to know a generic brush type guide. I tend to have more crown brushes than anything. But a generic brush guide would be what I would love to see, maybe a series of articles on it and brush care.

I literally just ordered these brushes last night. So much hype and its a good deal. I’d probably like to know more about what you think each brush is useful for. I mean we already know they’re supposed to be modeled after mac brushes, but sometimes even if the brush is slightly different it can be better used as something else.

I specifically am wondering about the ss224. Personally, i’ve had troubles with the 224 in the past, so I’m curious to see how this compares; better, worse, equal? Possibly some recommendations for a good, moderately priced blending brush if the Sigma version doesn’t stack up?

Are there any brushes you think they overlooked in including in the kit? I know they sell some brushes individually that they don’t include in the complete kit. So a perspective on that would be cool.

Also, if you notice any differences in the maintenance for these brushes. That would be nifty to know.

How thin a line will ss266 do, in comparison to MAC, and how dense s266 is, also in comparison (I love me some VERY fine lining and waterlining, so this is a concern for me)?

How dense are the white bristles ss187, in comparison to MAC?

And if you got ss182, how good is it? That’s a question I’d like to know the answer to for all the brushes, since they’re often only compared to MAC. I’d like to know how they perform without those comparisons too =)

And about the numbering, I believe Simone used the same numbers to associate them with its MAC counterparts, yes, but if I recall her sayings in her old blog, it was a decision made after some testers felt like having a similar number to MAC’s brushes would help with properly identifying (sp?) them, since everyone already knows about MAC’s numbering, and she wanted to have a good kick start with her attempt at selling them.

In the old days (heh) she had a website for selling make up, eletronics and such. She wanted to keep the old name in the new business, so the Sigma name and logo stayed =)

But I’m sure Simone would be better off talking about this than I am hehe

I have really been looking at this product and still debating on getting the MAC brushe regardless of the price… i know right. What i really want to know is compare since they are directly comparable to MAC..siZe… application… durabilty ( C ould i possibly have these brush for 10 years like some people do with their MAC)… NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCES. i would like comparison based of the product and not the price…. if u get what i’m saying. some gurus or blogs make judgement based on the price like if something was off about a particular brush they tried to overshadow the fact with the lower price not the product. I trustur judgment so hopefully u help with an honest review.

What brushes that are NOT in this brush roll would you recommend getting? (Not necessarily from Sigma, any kind).

Do you think they are actually on the same level as, say, MAC brushes? Or just a cheaper (and slightly less effective) alternative?


Hola Solange! Como estas? Mi nombre es Marisol y te escribo para consultarte sobre la comrpa de pinceles Sigma. Me gustaría que me cuentes tu experiencia, cuanto tardadon en llegarte, si te lo llevaron hasta la puerta de tu casa, si llego en beunas condiciones, etc…
Yo me los quiero comprar pero tengo miedo que queden en la aduana! :S

Espero tu respuesta!

I have this kit and am really pleased with it. I didn’t buy them for MAC “knockoffs” or anything like that, I just use them in addition to my MAC brush collection. However, my SS275 brush really sheds badly, I would like to see if yours does the same. I have spoken with Sigma and they are going to replace my current brush with a new one when I get around to mailing it back!

yes! can’t wait to hear what you think of them, how they compare to MAC and your thoughts on their numbering system being the same as MACs. I personally like it. It’s like sizing IMO and makes it easier to find dupes if some of us prefer not to spend more on if it’s not necessary.

Also, I should mention that I really look forward to your reviews. I am always skeptical when people review these brushes because I know there are a LOT of makeup gurus affiliated with Sigma, or at least had the brushes sent to them for free. I know you’ll do an honest review!!!

Hi Laura,

Just to be clear (in case you missed it in the post), Sigma did send me these — though product samples do not change how I review a product nor my commitment to being honest and maintain my integrity! 🙂

The whole idea of these make me sick. It is an absolute blatant rip off of MAC brushes. MAC have worked hard for many years to produce amazing brushes, and here this brand is completely copying. The fact that this brand hasn’t even the creativity to name the brushes something different is very telling. What rubbish.

I understand your discomfort but as an owner of many MAC brushes as well as Sigma ones, I can say that Sigma is just as high a quality (if not more with *some* brushes) as MAC. Which only makes me question why the MAC ones are so expensive. Not everyone can afford MAC brushes, heck not everyone wants MAC brushes. These are a good, cheaper alternative for people who aren’t necessarily married to a brand.

For reference, I have the same set Christine received, I purchased it myself and of the 12 brushes I have 10 of the MAC counterparts. And I’m looking forward to reading Christine’s impressions of the brushes as well as maybe some uses for some of them that I hadn’t thought of!

this ‘makes you sick’? seriously lol? exactly what soly said, not everyone can afford mac brushes. its not like clothing where you wear them out to a party and everyone can tell its fake either. as long as it gets the job done, what does it matter if they’re numbered the same?

I heard one review say that the MAC 275 is larger, or wider rather, than the SS275. This is very useful to me since I have small eyes and the MAC 275 is a bit wide for me. Could you include these type of comparisons?

I have used some sigma brushes for while now, and I have some comments.

I wish all brushes were sold separately. I had ordered an eye brush kit and 2 individual face brushes. To order another kit for the other brushes I want leaves a lot of unused brushes. Makes me feel wasteful. Also, the 217 is a “bonus” brush and not a brush that you can actually order.

In the long run, it is very cheap. You can order all the brushes for little cost in comparison. But I like to have several of the brushes I use often, and this is pretty impossible with Sigma.

If you have no brushes, or only poor quality brushes, then Sigma is for you. It would make an excellent gift for someone new to makeup. But for myself, until they sell more brushes individually then I am done shopping there, I will spend my money on Mac.

The customer service is good, and the quality is good.

I’d just like to know if there are any dupes of MAC brushes. And how they compare to other drugstore brands, such as Coastal Scents and Sonia Kashuk. Thanks Christine!

Oh excellent! I have similar questions to those above:
– shed factor?
– which MAC brushes would you replace with Sigma?
– do these brushes live up to the type? is it worth it?
– are they handmade too?

I would love to know:
-if the Sigma brushes feel delight against the skin (as some brushes are just plain scratchy)
-which brushes to purchase from Sigma, which to skip and get MAC (or another brand), and which brushes in the roll might not get much use at all
-how well/easily brushes wash up and retain their shape after drying


I’d like to know all from how they shed to how they behave when putting them to work. And at the end of the day (I truely beleive you’ll make a thoroughly job testing and reviewing) I would like to know if they’re worth buying for ones like me, that can’t afford the more pricy brushes.

I love my sigma brushes. They are SO soft, resilient, work well. I’ve washed them several times and they’re still nice. No shedding except on the big powder brush. For some reason, this one still sheds despite being washed 5+ times and it STILL leaks out blackish dye when i clean it. I use it the most out of all the brushes, but it’s kind of annoying.

I love sigma brushes, Ive got the eye set, and they are amazing! A lot less costly than the MAC ones, but at least just as good. My bf got them for me as a christmas present, he heard me raving about them quite some time ago, and he remembered ^^ So that makes them even more special! ^^

Anyways, I love them, and Im thinking of getting one of the travel sets too, so its good there are some other than just eyebrushes for you to review. ^^


I’ve only heard good things about Sigma brushes, but I wish someone would start a debate on what people think about them copying MAC.
I mean, we don’t want to buy fake MAC from eBay, do we?
I know that it makes it easier for some costumers that Sigma named their brushes the same as the MAC ones, but I personally think it’s tacky that they did that.
Sigma is making a lot of money selling something that MAC actually designed.
I have nothing against cheaper brands, as long as they are unique in some way and don’t just copy others.

Are the mac brushes selling on e-bay fake.any tips to spot the fake ones. The mac pro 120 eyeshadow palette on sale on e-bay, any comments on those.

My sister got these and it was noticeable that the brushes lost their quality pretty soon; losing hairs, losing their shine etc. I’m curious what the quality of your brushes will be after some weeks of use?

I ordered a set of these about 8 months ago. I have all the comparable brushes in mac. I absolutely love these brushes. I don’t consider them a replacement for the equivalent mac brushes..more a supplement. Eg: the SS224 is more like the Mac 217 so I tend to use it more for accurate blending rather then a soft blend like I would mac 224. SS219 is better for crease work rather then under the eye as it is softer and slightly fluffier then the mac 219. They are all amazing brushes. They shed a little (particularly the ss150) but no more then mac brushes. I am selling a second set I got for xmas so if anyone is interested in a full set minus the brush roll then I will sell for £40. (I am in the UK) Email me if you are interested. [email protected]

My biggest thing is that MAC has CRUELTY FREE brushes? What are these? Are they cruelty free? Are they just made some place in china from some animal that might of been hurt in order for us to apply makeup? I SUPPOST cruelty free products which is why, I would always purchase from a company that is approved to be Cruelty Free!

I was litterally asking questions and watching Enkore videos about this very brand of brushes last night! Pretty much all of the questions I would want to ask have been covered by other posters. I cant wait to read your review and I know it will be honest, concise and will be a big factor in my decision.

I have a few mac and sigma brushes, and I love them both! Do you love these as much as your mac ones? any brushes I should skip? Sigma brushes are slightly different, but in a good way, imo! If I have the ss219, so I need the mac 219? Because they might serve different purposes?

I have lots of questions and have read lots and lots of reviews, but I just wanted to say that if Christine approves of them I will definitely be plopping down the money for the brushes she likes. I can’t wait to read the verdict.

I love my MAC’s brushes and I bought this kit 6 months ago. It’s good product, it’s cheaper but I prefer MAC for using every day(239 for example). I take this kit when I travel, it’s convenient.

I’d also like to a see a comparison pic (if it’s not too much trouble) of a mac 190 and the ss190.
The 190 foundation brush is a mac brush that i’ve wanted for a while but withheld splurging on. I just wanna see size comparison, etc.

I’m sooo glad you are doing this!!! I remember I asked you a long time ago on youtube for a review of this brushes, and it is finally here! Thanks!

I’d like info on the ss187 vs MAC 187 as well, please. Specifically, if the white fibers are as dense on the Sigma as on the MAC and if it works as well as the MAC brush. (I know that Sigma revised the SS187 to add more white fibers.) Thanks!

Ohh, I want those brushes so badly! But what exactly does SS stands for? I searched on the internet, but I couldn’t find it! (SS150 as example)

Hi Christine! It’s quite a month you posted this but still no reviews about the Sigma brushes.. I’m waiting anxiously for your opinion and comparisons since I’d really like to buy them but I would appreciate to know what you think about them before deciding.

Hi Valerie,

Unfortunately, the review process can be quite lengthy — particularly when there are so many photos and comparisons to make. I’m working on it, though!

Thank you so much for your kind reply, Christine! I’ll wait patiently for your review, I promise!

P.s.: I’m a huge fan of you and love your site, my compliments and please forgive my poor english since I’m Italian…

Hi Christine! I am very happy that you got this brush set. I’m really skeptical to buy these brushes because the reviews of these brushes are always on the extreme ends of the spectrum. People either like them, or they loathe them. I don’t really trust reviews of some gurus that I used to trust before on youtube, because I feel like they are not giving their most honest review; judging from the reviews of those who doesn’t like them (the brushes). I feel like it’s too good to be true. I know I can trust your review since your recommendations has never failed me, even once, when I try them. I am patiently waiting for your review for these brushes before I proceed on buying these. What I want to know are:
1. Do they feel soft or scratchy?
2. Are their ferrules’ tight enough or are they loose?
3. Do they shed a lot after a couple of washes?
4. Do they start to bleed a lot after a couple of washes?
5. How do you think the quality of these brushes will withstand time? (i.e. do you think they will have loose ferrule’s after a couple of washes? do you think they will still be intact after a couple of washes?) Most of the negative reviews I found about them usually targets this area. They say that they are only good for a couple of weeks and then they start to fall apart.

Thanks for asking us questions of what we want to see in your review. This really helps a lot! That’s why you never fail me when it coes to reviews…!

I have the same questions as “Kristine” who wrote a comment before me. I’ve been debating on getting either the full Sigma brush set or some Smashbox face and eye brushes. So far, I love Smashbox brushes and they don’t shed or bleed but it will be a lot cheaper to purchase the Sigma set and I’ll get more brushes. However, I want something that will last long. When will you review these and what do you suggest?? Smashbox or Sigma? (I’d say that most of the Smashbox brushes are as good as MAC or the good Sephora brushes.) Thanks! When will you review this set?

(Just wrote a comment but I forgot to add..) I’ve been reading on many blogs and makeupalley that several of the brushes bleed after many washings and they shed a lot. I’m scared to get them and I know you’ll be honest about the review. I question a lot of reviews (especially when they receive the products for free) but so far, all your reviews seem so honest. I really appreciate that you don’t give every product you receive for review an “A” or “B” -it shows you’re being genuine and truthful!

I want to know how the bristles differ (I heard they’re softer), since I find some of my MAC brushes to be really pokey, they seriously hurt my eyes when I point the brush straight on to my lids.
And how they differ in term of application, because I heard the Sigma owner made her brushes based on MAC brushes but with improvement to make them even better and easier to use then MAC.

**And of course, the most important one: are MAC brushes still worth it with the existence of Sigma brushes (maybe some are and some ain’t, I’d like to know which since MAC is quiet expensive).

Thank you 🙂

i agree they should be more original, but its SUCH a better deal than MACs, my mac brushes aren’t even that great. I have a shade brush from walmart that works 100 times better. I do love my MAC brush i use for my eyebrows but they are ridiculously overpriced. I dont think their eyeshadows are by any means but the brushes are.. I am interested in getting these

I really dont see the big deal in the numbering system. I mean if their makeup collections were IDENTICAL to MACS or whatever then that would be too much, but if your not going to buy them just because of the numbers system, i dont get it honestly lol. If they are better quality or work just the same and cheaper, then thats better. But some people are set in their ways:)

I purchase my sigma brush set about a month ago. I have found the brushes are ok quality. I thought for the price I have paid (89 + shipping = 100) was a little steep. Besides that, the brushes shed a lot….a lot. Sometimes the brush hair would stick on my face and it gets really irritating. Personally, I would not recommmend anyone to buy it. I think ecotools brush are a lot better than that.
Sorry I have heard a lot of good reviews but I just cannot agree with what they said.

Didn’t you want to do an extensive comparison between them and MAC, including comparison photos? Can you please do the comparison in the next few weeks?

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!