A couple of months ago, I was sent several brushes from KIM Professional Makeup to try out. They're a line of handmade brushes under Rekab, a 100-year-old brush manufacturer.
Weird thing is, I'm liking them for what they're not meant to do :-/ I'll explain after the jump.
And because I've decided to hijack my own post, I'll be commenting on some of the very-much-raved-about Sigma Brushes.
Warning: Lengthy post. Feel free to pick what you want to read.
KIM F251 Stippling Brush, $39
"A large round brush designed specifically for application of wet make-up. The white synthetic and soft hair combination allows for maximum color and liquid retention."
For a foundation brush, it's pretty big compared to the MAC187. The bristles are very fine and soft but they're not as dense and resilient as I would like them to be.
I initially used it as a foundation brush with liquid foundation and the outcome is not bad. However, it takes far too long to apply my foundation whether by stippling or buffing compared to using any other foundation brushes such as a paddle brush or flat-top brush.
So instead, I use the F251 as a powder brush and it's fantastic! For setting makeup, it applies just the right amount of loose powder or compact powder. I'm never afraid to over powder with this brush and I don't get cakey blotches or excess. It's also great to buff on a light coverage of powder foundation. The fine bristles deposit the powder very evenly and gently without budging any base makeup that I may have applied before hand.
KIM E131, $10 & KIM L311, $9
"[E131] A flat angular brush, perfect for precise lines and detailed work. Emphasizing lining and shaping of the eyes and the eyebrows."
"[L311] A flat, tipped brush, for precise lining of the lip contour and for perfect application of lip cream and gloss."
Admittedly, I was a tad disappointed when I received a flat-angled brush and a lip brush, neither of which I use much for my daily makeup. Nonetheless, I gave them a go and again, found that I liked them but not for what they were meant to do.
The E131 was not stiff enough to use as an eyebrow brush and a little too wide for precision eye-lining. Though I do use it for applying gel or powder liner, it's for when I want that smudgy effect or to darken between the lashes. Since they bristles were non-prickly, the don't irritate my eyes when I get the brush really close to the lash line and it creates soft, natural lines.
I almost never use a lip brush unless I plan to shape my lips, which I hardly do. It took me awhile to figure out what I was going to use the L311 for and I finally tried using it to apply eyeshadow on my lower lashline -- a step that I usually won't miss when I'm applying eyeshadow. I was using this tiny Crown Brush for the longest time and while it got the job done beautifully, the bristles were rather stiff and pricked my skin when I attempted to blend. This brush, on the other hand, had smooth bristles that felt very comfortable on the more delicate skin near my lower lashline. The shape is great for a tight and precise application and blends pretty well too.
All in all, I'm very happy with these brushes and they're the few that I use practically every day. The face brushes are rather pricey but the eye brushes are alright. Regardless, they are very good quality, well-made brushes.
The company ships internationally for $10 but I don't see Malaysia on the list of countries they serve *shrugs*
Mini Review on Sigma Brushes
If you're a blog-reader or YouTube-watcher, you'd be no stranger to Sigma brushes. They were very highly recommended by many many popular YouTube Gurus and beauty bloggers. Judging from how they've developed since they first launched, I believe they are doing quite well. After all, their main selling point is that they offer MAC lookalike brushes at a fraction of the price. Heck, they'd even named their brushes with MAC brush codes earlier on but have since changed their coding.
I was very excited when I first found out about Sigma but back then, they only sold the brushes in sets and shipping was a hassle. My excitement died down a little and I finally decided to order the Premium Brush Kit. However, I only kept the brushes that I was interested in and sold off the other brushes, including the brush roll.
The one thing I must comment is that the brushes were very well-packed and the shipping was insanely fast! From the US to Malaysia only took 6 days! Including weekends! Also, their customer service was efficient because they sent me 2 of the same brushes with 1 brush missing from the kit. They promptly sent the missing one at no extra cost.
Anyway, I've used the brushes for quite sometime and here's what I have to say:
F35 Tapered Highlighter, $16 [MAC165 dupe]
I like the tapered head for shading with bronzer and it blends well. The bristles are soft and have good resilience. I don't shade much though.
F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush, $16 [MAC131 dupe]
When used with the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, I got a lot of shimmer and not a lot of color. With a blush, it picks up quite a bit of product but doesn't deposit or blend well. Just lots of peachy dust. Soft, though.
E45 Small Tapered Blending, $9 [MAC226 dupe]
It felt very odd blending with this brush and I simply couldn't get the hang of it. Don't really know what to say about this brush.
E25 Blending, $9 [MAC217 dupe]
Out of the lot, I only have the actual MAC217 to compare this with and trust me, they are quite different. The MAC217 is softer, less splayed and holds its shape better. In terms of performance, the MAC217 wins by a mile.
E55 Eye Shading, $9 [MAC214 dupe]
It's an interesting brush to have but not really necessary. I was using it for smudging on eyeliner but the bristles are rather stiff and prickly so they do hurt a little. Now that I have the KIM E131, I don't even touch the E55 anymore.
One would think that "you get what you paid for". While the Sigma brushes are affordable, they're not exactly cheap. Funny thing is, I actually use some of my cheaper brushes (e.g. Ecotools, Crown, elf, Silk Naturals) a lot more than I use the Sigma ones. I'm not saying that the Sigma brushes are no good because they are alright but they're not brushes to settle for just because you can't splurge on the MAC ones. Personally, I'd prefer hunting for cheap alternatives which I'll love for years [Read my Beauty Budgeting tip on brushes].