It's difficult to review eye brushes and recommend the "best" one because some work better than others, depending on your eye shape and lid space. So hopefully, these pictures will help you figure out the one that's most suitable for you!
Sigma Synthetic Eye Brushes
The E52 Soft Focus Shader ($16), E59 Wide Shader ($16) and E54 Medium Sweeper ($14) are all made of synthetic material and work best with liquid/cream-based products. They feel very similar to the type of bristles that the E44 has and all feel very soft. I use them to apply my cream bases, including Urban Decay's Primer Potion and MAC paint pots because I find that they help glide on product more evenly and smoothly. Also, they are thick and wide enough to blend the product as well. The E59 will be the perfect size for most eye shapes. The E52 works well for those who have more lid space to work with and those who want to cover the entire lid quickly with one swipe, while the E54 is for those who have small lid space to work with and those who prefer more precision. (The E52 and E54 measure 6.7 inches in total length, while the E59 is a smidgen shorter.)
(Note: Sigma says you can use these brushes for cream or powder products. However, I personally find natural bristles to be superior than synthetic bristles when working with powder products because natural hair packs on and distributes them more evenly. In the same token, synthetic bristles are more superior than natural hair when working with liquid/cream products. For those who are looking for animal-hair free brushes, these are an alternative.)
Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Shadow #30 ($22, formerly known as the PRO Smoky Shadow #30): I recently reviewed 16 brushes from Sephora's line and couldn't include the #30 in the post because it was out of stock. I notice that with alot of their other brushes too. They sell like hot cakes and are always out of stock! Anyways, the bristles are made of the same synthetic material as the #28 Pro Cream Shadow brush and feel just as soft. Both are great for applying cream products and softening the edges. The main difference is that the #30 is wider at the base and firmer, while the #28 fluffs out and has more flexibility. For those who prefer more control, the #30 is more suitable. I also love both for spot concealing when used in a tapping motion. They just do all the work for me and blend the product effortlessly without tugging my skin. (The #30 is a little shorter than 7 inches, while the #28 is a little longer than 7 inches in total length.)
Dolce & Gabbana Blending Brush ($33): I decided to buy more brushes from their line after I fell in love with their Big Blending brush ($33), which is made with a blend of goat and pony hair. The "regular" D&G Blending brush is smaller and resembles the MAC 217 ($25). Both are made using goat hairs and feel soft, but the MAC 217 and D&G Big Blending brush feel softer. Also, the MAC 217 is slightly denser than the D&G Blending brush, but I find them to perform the same. They both work well for blending light, transition colors and adding a soft wash of color all over the lids. (For those who have smaller eye space or those who prefer more control when blending, you can check out my previous post, which includes brushes that are smaller, shorter and denser.) As for maintenance, the D&G one is easier to wash due to its dark-haired bristles. I also appreciate the pointed handle as it makes it easier to place in my brush holder. (The D&G Blending brush is a little longer than 7 inches, while the MAC 217 is about 6.5 inches in total length.)
Dolce & Gabbana Eyeshading Brush ($33): This is similar to the MAC 239 ($25). Both are made of natural goat hairs, but the MAC one feels softer and is slightly thicker, though still considered to be thin and not thick enough for blending. Both pack on powder products really well with maximum intensity. Their size also makes them ideal for those with smaller lid space and for those who are looking for a more precise application. (The D&G Eyeshading brush is a little less than 7 inches, while the MAC 239 is about 6.5 inches in total length.)
Dior Professional Finish Medium Eyeshadow Brush ($34, also known as the Backstage Medium Eyeshadow #21): This one is made with natural bristles and feel just as soft as the D&G Eyeshading brush. It's not too flimsy for packing on color to the lids, but also not too firm where it would tug the skin. Even though it's bigger than the MAC 239 and the D&G one, the Dior version still offers great control and can cover the entire lid quicker. (The Dior Eyeshadow brush is about 6.25 inches in total length.)
Dolce & Gabbana Pencil Brush ($27): This is made with a blend of goat and pony hairs and feel just as soft as the Eyeshading brush. It has a sharp point, so it offers excellent precision and is great for contouring the outer v to create dimension. It would be also great for smudging and applying color to the lower lash line if it didn't feel prickly. When I run my fingers through the bristles, they feel soft. So, it may not be the brush and just that my eyes are sensitive? (The D&G Pencil brush is a little less than 7 inches in total length.)
The Inglot 80HP ($18) is made with a blend of ox and pony hair and feels just as soft as the D&G Pencil brush. The Inglot version is not as pointed, but it's firmer. Those with smaller eye space to work with will find the D&G version to provide more precision since it has a sharp point. Regardless, I use both interchangeably. (The Inglot 80HP brush is about 6.5 inches in total length.)
Dior Professional Finish Smudging Brush ($38, also known as the Backstage Smudging #23): This one is made with natural bristles and feels just as soft as the D&G Pencil brush. Unfortunately, it also feels prickly when I use it on my lower lash line. However, it's great for defining the crease and applying dark colors to the outer corner of the eyes. Also, I find that both the Dior Smudging and Eyeshadow brush have the shortest, thinnest and lightest handle out of all the brushes that I mention in this post, which makes them ideal for travel. (The Dior Smudging brush is about 6 inches in total length.)
The Japonesque Professional Eye Shadow Crease brush ($18.50) is made with natural bristles and feels softer than the D&G Pencil brush, Inglot 80HP and Dior Smudging brush. It also has the longest brush head, and thus, has more give, but it's still excellent for defining the crease, adding color to the outer corner of the eye & highlighting the inner tear duct. It also works well for precise blending, including on the outer v and lower lash line. (The Japonesque brush measures a little longer than 6.75 inches in total length.)
Note: The Dolce & Gabbana Blending, Eyeshading and Pencil brush are available at Nordstrom. The Dior Professional Finish Medium Eyeshadow and Smudging brush are available at Nordstrom and Sephora. The Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Shadow #30 is sold exclusively on their online store. The Sigma E52, E59 and E54 are available at Nordstrom.
Hope these comparison posts are helpful! ^_^
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