I can’t possibly overemphasize the importance of using good tools to apply your makeup – the right brushes can make or break a look. You also need to avoid using very different colors on the same brush without washing in between, because they’ll blend together (usually into an unfortunate shade of brown). So, not only do you need good brushes, but you need a number of them.
MAC makes some of the best brushes out there; they’re hand made, high quality, and will last forever if you take good care of them. Unfortunately they’re also mighty expensive, so I usually buy them at my CCO or find a cheaper alternative.
Pretty recently Sigma Makeup released a line of brushes based off of the MAC ones, even going so far as to use the same numbering system. I’ve been really interested in them, but didn’t want to purchase an entire set. Then All Cosmetics Wholesale (one of my favorite discount beauty sites) started buying the sets and selling brushes individually – cha ching! I bought three of the brushes that I think are hardest to dupe, and fortunately I have the MAC version of two of them for comparison.
Here’s the MAC 165 tapered cheek and highlighter brush. It was limited edition with the Dsquared collection and retails for $34.00. The tapered shape makes it great for highlighter, blush, or contouring, and it blends like a dream. Below it is the Sigma SS165, which I bought for $18.99 on ACW. They’re extremely similar, but I wouldn’t call them dupes – more like sisters. Obviously the handles are somewhat different: MAC’s is a bit longer and thinner. That doesn’t bother me at all though.
MAC’s version flares more and tapers to a more defined point; this is extremely important if you plan to use the brush for contouring. The bristles are also much softer on the MAC 165. I’ve also noticed a bit of shedding with the Sigma SS165 that I never had with my MAC brush.
I’m pretty torn about this purchase. I’m happy to have another tapered brush, but honestly the savings wasn’t that great considering I got my MAC 165 for $24.00 at the CCO. I would be happy to save the $5.00 if it meant getting a dupe, but the quality of the SS165 is just a hair short of where I want it to be.