OK so I know that I said that the MAC 130 was my holy grail brush for liquid and cream foundation a few posts back but I have to take it back now that I've found this flat top kabuki from Sigma. It is pure awesomeness in brush form (not to over sell it or anything). I love this brush so much and I think that love will last past the honeymoon stage of new productitis.
It's like the older, more developed sister of the MAC 130. Don't get me wrong, I still love the 130 but I now use it very differently and utilise it for concealing large areas rather than for liquid foundation. The main reason for this is mainly to do with size. Just take a look at the comparison pictures below:
The Sigma brush is on the top and the MAC 130 is on the bottom .
In the two pictures above the MAC 130 is on the left and the Sigma one is on the right. On a side note, I've noticed that the outside hairs on the MAC 130 never seem to really lie with the rest of the brush regardless of how I dry it which is very annoying! It looks very used and abused already and I've only had it for a few weeks!
The Sigma brush is obviously bigger and denser than the MAC 130 which makes foundation application and blending a no-brainer that can be accomplished flawlessly in very little time. I found that I had to really work to blend foundation in with the 130 just because of it's size and because it had less hairs so even though it got the job done, it wasn't a quick process. This wasn't really a problem with foundations such as the MAC Studio Sculpt or the MAC Mineralize SPF cream foundation which stay quite wet and allow blending time but it was a major problem with matte foundations such as my NARS Sheer Matte.
The NARS Sheer Matte has to be blended in very quickly as it is a true matte product so it dries quite fast and because I didn't have enough time to blend it out properly I was ending up with patches of foundation that looked quite cakey. If this was a different foundation like the Studio Fix fluid I would just spritz it with water and keep blending but I've found that the NARS Sheer Matte really does not like water once it dries and it becomes this white chalky mess when you try to apply some on it. Using the Sigma brush means that I now cover a lot more surface area on my face and can blend this foundation out before it dries and the finish is beautiful! Airbrushing eat your heart out!
This brush is every thing I hoped the MAC and Sigma 187 was going to be for liquid foundation but failed to be. Here are some comparison pictures with the Sigma SS187:
The Flat top kabuki is on the left in these pictures above and the SS 187 is on the right.
Even though the Sigma flat top kabuki is quite a bit smaller than the SS 187, because the fibres are more densely packed and there's more of them, it allows for better control and better blended results.
You can see how much the SS187 splays out when you put pressure on it which means that it tends to layer rather than really sheer out the product like the flat top kabuki.
Here is a shot showing how the brushes perform when used for stippling. These swatches were both made with one touch of the brush on my skin after dipping into the foundation.
The splotch of foundation on the left is what the stipple pattern looks like from the SS 187 and the one on the right shows the stipple pattern of the flat top kabuki. You can clearly see that the coverage the flat top kabuki offers is already so much more even and covers more than the SS 187 does.
So I hope that you can see the difference in application that will result by using this brush over a duo fibre brush such as the MAC 187 or the Sigma SS 187. I don't think it really matters what brand you buy because it's more about the type of brush you get but any flat top kabuki that is dense like the Sigma one will probably work wonderfully. I'm reccomending this one because it's the only one I've used plus I only picked it up for like $25 AU once you factor in shipping. The brush is sold individually on the Sigma makeup site (http://www.sigmamakeup.com/) and is named the SS197. The brush itself has 'Sigma Flat Top Kabuki' and the number F80 written on the handle as I believe that Sigma is now converting to a labelling system that is different to MAC's.
All I can say is that this brush is awesome so far but I did only get it a few days ago so I don't truly know how it performs yet. I found that it didn't smell when I washed it and there wasn't any bleeding and I've washed it about 4 times so far. It did shed a few hairs the first time but I haven't noticed much shedding since then but I'll update if there are any changes in the quality of this brush. I should also note that this brush looks like a duo fibre brush but is purely synthetic and the tips of the brush have simply been dyed to look like a duo fibre.