Kabuki Crazy!

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Yes, that’s right, another brush haul. Ok, I’ll be real – I’m on a bit of a bender at the moment because I’m trying to build up a kit (at least that’s my excuse…!)

For literally months now, I have been umming and arring on Sigma’s site, trying to work out what brushes I really needed. Yes, the premium kits look amazing (how’s that Extravaganza one? Crazy!) but I knew I’d be doubling up on brushes I already owned. Just the other week Sigma had a 20% off promotion, which was like the universe telling me “This is your time, Rosie!” So I pounced :P

I settled on one of their Synthetic Kabuki kits, the one with 4 large brushes. I knew I didn’t own any brushes like these, so thought it was the best option. Even with shipping and the 20% off code, these brushes were still loads cheaper than ones I’d find in the drugstore (Australian prices, the bane of my existence).

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The brushes came with a leaflet detailing the other brushes Sigma has to offer, and a thank you card for ‘keeping the world beautiful’ (ugh, so lame and cliché!). It also came with a small gift, which was a sample of Sigma’s Spa Glove, a rubberised, silicone glove that is supposed to make washing your brushes a pleasure.

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Sure, it looks like a good idea, but this ‘gift’ is a thin, pancake-like bit of rubber, and can’t be worn…I don’t know about you, but I can’t envision myself holding this flimsy thing whilst washing my brushes. A nice novelty, but that’s about it.

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The set comes with four of the Kabuki brushes, including the tapered, angled, flat and round kabukis (is kabukis the plural for kabuki? It looks funny to me :P). I’m yet to use these, but I can already tell they’re going to be a blessing to my makeup routine. I’m always on the hunt for ways to apply my makeup faster and more efficiently. The soft texture and density of the bristles means they’ll be great with both liquid/cream and powder products. Versatility – I like it!

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They’re well made, there’s no doubt about it. The ferrule is engraved with their name, and the handles embellished with holographic lettering, which is pretty groovy. The wood is laquered and shiny, which is a nice change from my other, more matte brush handles.

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“It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!” – 10 points if know what movie that’s from :P

That about wraps this short haul up. I’m definitely glad I bought this set, and am super excited to see what these little puppies can do.

Have any of you tried Sigma brushes? What are your thoughts on them?

Thanks for reading everybody, have an awesome Monday!

Rosie xx

Brush Haul: Bdellium Tools

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So I know I’ve been a bit MIA lately…but I’m back! Let’s dive right in.

The other day I made an order on Iherb.com, an online shop mainly for natural products, that also happens to sell a few brands of brushes and makeup. I’ve ordered Real Techniques brushes and Physician’s Formula makeup from them before, so I know they’re a trusted site. I made an order on either Thursday or Friday (I’m not sure), but the brushes arrived yesterday, which is pretty dang fast if you ask me!

For a while now, I’ve been on the hunt for new brushes. Not because I necessarily need more, but I just felt that I wanted to expand my collection, and venture beyond the brands I already own. Before this week, I was a devoted Mac and Real Techniques brush user. Though Mac brushes are superb and make applying my makeup feel more glamorous, if you will, I just cannot justify spending north of $30 per brush (and that’s for the smaller ones!). I love my Real Techniques ones though. I own almost all of their face brushes, none of which have shed (unlike some brands, I’m looking at you Mac) and really do a fantastic job, considering how affordable they are.

I’d heard great things about Sigma brushes, having watched countless reviews and tutorials in which these have been featured. For a while now, I’ve mulled over different sets and individual brushes, trying to work out what would best suit my needs, what is most budget-friendly etc etc. Unfortunately, no matter close I came to making a decision, I’d always end up backing out as their shipping is exorbitant – ain’t nobody got time for that.

I can’t exactly remember how, but I somehow stumbled across the name Bdellium Tools, perhaps on a blog or somewhere on YouTube. I was immediately intrigued – I mean how the hell do you say that!? Dealium? Dellium? B-Dellium? I just had to know! So, I did my research, and found out a few things. Firstly, it’s pronounced ‘Dellium’ (the ‘b’ is silent), and Bdellium Tools is a brand that make a whole range of brushes, divided into several ‘classes’. I was drawn to the Studio line (I ended up going with the 24 piece set from this range), because of its yellow handles, not going to lie! Apparently, this is the consumer grade, second to the Maestro collection, which are aimed at more professional use. This brush set cost about $150AUD all up, plus a little extra for another 2 brushes I bought that were not part of the set. I know you’re thinking ‘Woah! That’s a heck of a lot to spend on brushes!’ Yes, I know. But if you think about it, each brush averages out to be $6.25 – that is pretty impressive! Considering drugstore, crappy quality brushes will set you back at least that, reaching up to the $20 and $30 mark, I had no problem paying under $10 for each of these brushes.

Now, whenever I have to make an online purchase, particularly of something that I have no prior experience of testing/swatching/seeing/holding myself, I am incredibly scrupulous, and will spend a good amount of time researching the brand and its products I’m interested in buying. With Bdellium Tools, it seems that not much content is readily available on the net (i.e. reviews, articles). This puzzled me, as this brand is featured at IMATS shows, and I figured there would be loads of content online, right? Though I knew I was taking a risk in buying this brush set, I’m so glad I did. Let me tell you why.

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Naturally, the first thing I notice when I open a shipment of goodies, is the packaging. I had already seen what the 24 piece set’s box looked like, having Google imaged it to death. The brush set came in a relatively cheap cardboard box, but in all honesty, who gives a toss about that (not me, anyway). I quickly opened it up to find that the brush roll and the brushes were packaged separately. I expelled a huge sigh of relief – if the brushes had come mashed into the brush roll, there may have been some damage or squishing of the brush hairs, which would have made me a sad panda.

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I was expecting the brush roll to be some crappy, thin, manufacture-smelling piece of plastic. Though it is made of leatherette, this brush roll seems surprisingly sturdy. I did test slotting each of the brushes inside, and it rolls up somewhat like a jam roll, in a cylindrical shape.

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The interior of the brush roll is made of that scratchy, plasticy material. I think this is useful considering its flexibility and water-resistant texture.

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The 24 piece brush set comes with, yep, you guessed it, 24 brushes. These brushes are treated with an anti-bacterial agent, which sounds pretty cool, but doesn’t amaze me. The box advises against washing these with alcohol based cleaners to make the agent last longer, but I’d rather use my usual cleaner to ensure I’m really killing that bacteria. The agent is said to wear off after a while anyway, and I can’t seeing it making that much of a difference, at least for me.

In addition to buying the 24 piece set, I did purchase 2 extra brushes separately, having heard rave reviews from a couple of Bdellium fans. One of these is the #985S Duet Fiber Powder (pictured above), and the #787S Duet Fiber Large Tapered Blending, which is apparently awesome for under eye concealer (pictured below).

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These brushes are all pictured after being washed with baby shampoo (Johnson’s, oh yeah!). I’m not going to lie, some of the brushes did shed a little. I read that this seems to be relatively common with the first wash. I really don’t mind that much, considering Mac brushes still shed when washing them, even after owning them for months. The brushes that shed tended to be those made of natural hair, and are predominantly face brushes.

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I really did try to separate each brush and show its label, but some of them just wouldn’t stay in their spots and insisted on rolling around all over the place!

What really drew me to this brush set was the variety of brushes that were included. A few of these I had never seen carried in any other brush lines, such as the #769S Angled Contour and the infamous #957S Precision Kabuki. I liked that they included both standard and funky brushes in the one set, rather than just trying to fill up each 24 brush slots with ‘meh’ brushes.

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Here is a close-up detail of the #948S Foundation brush. What you’ll notice is the seamless transition between the ferrule (the metal part that binds the bristles of the brush, and connects to the yellow handle). I even tried to pull and wiggle the ferrule, to see if it would come loose, as has been my experience with cheap brushes. This ferrule would not budge! To me, this is definitely a sign of well manufactured brushes. There’s nothing more disconcerting than being right in the middle of blending your eyeshadow or buffing in your foundation, to find the top of your brush slip off the handle and topple to the ground!

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From what I’d seen during my research, their #957S Precision Kabuki is one of their best-selling brushes. I used this brush this morning to buff in my liquid foundation, and it did an incredible job. It is dense, yet surprisingly flexible, so you don’t have to try to drag it across your skin. The bristles spread out enough to ease application, but don’t leave you with that streaky look that you might get with something like a stippling brush.

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The bristles of this one are SUPER dense, I mean look at that! I have the Elf Powder Brush which I’ve used on occasion for foundation application, but the bristles are nowhere near as dense as the #957S (not to mention Elf’s crappy, lightweight handle and ferrule that constantly comes loose).

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The handles have a satin finish, so they’re more like Sigma handles, rather than more matte brushes, such as Mac ones. They are painted with 7 (I think) layers of golden yellow paint, how sleek! Another thing I noticed is the weight of these brushes. They are incredibly comfortable to hold, and they are probably on the heavier side as brushes go. To me, this is a major plus; in my opinion, there is a fairly consistent correlation between cheap and lightweight brushes (Real Techniques is an exception to this rule, mind you!). I like being able to feel the weight of the brush in my hand, and to know that I’ll have that little bit of extra control when using them.

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Just to give you an idea of the drying shape of the brushes, here are a couple of the eye ones. I love how the #710S Eye Liner brush (left) kept its pointed shape, even after a good scrubbing. The same goes for the #714S Flat Eye Definer (right), which remains stiff and tightly packed after a wash – I can see this brush being great for filling in brows!

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This here is the #942S Slanted Contour brush, which has a slightly smaller head to its Mac and Sigma counterparts. I thought this was clever, since it’s hard to get a ‘believable’ contour line with such a big brush head.

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Here is an indication of the weight of one of the powder brushes. As you can see, the handle is almost exactly as heavy as the ferrule and brush head. This ain’t cheap stuff guys, let me tell you.

This haul managed to turn into an essay very, very quickly! My apologies and congratulations if you’ve made it this far :P If you can’t already tell, I am pretty darn stoked to start using this brush set. Considering they tick the boxes of both being affordable and good quality, I can see I’ll get a lot of use out of these.

I might think about doing a post on my thoughts on the brushes a little later on, after I’ve given them a thorough workout!

Thanks for reading everyone, hope you’re having a lovely day!

Rosie xx