Sigma as a brand essentially got famous by riding on MAC’s coattails: replicating their brushes and doing it at a third of the price. I’m not necessarily saying that that’s a bad thing. From what I’ve tried, MAC brushes are lovely, but they are undoubtedly super expensive (thus why I own two of them). Sigma brushes, on the other hand, are much more affordable, and I have an entire set that I use daily.
Because of the exorbitant price of MAC brushes, Sigma carved out a niche for themselves in the market by doing dupes of MAC brushes for much, much cheaper. There are blogs and blog posts out there dedicated to telling (and showing) you which Sigma brushes are the equivalents of MAC brushes.
One brush that has always interested me is the MAC 217. It’s the stuff of legend, and you can use it for virtually anything. However, when I saw the price, I shied away and picked up a Sigma E25. It’s touted as the same brush: same general shape and size, same goathair bristles. In fact, they look nearly identical.
A closer look proves that they’re really not.
The Sigma E25, shown here on the right, is fluffier. The bristles are fairly flexible and fanned out, and the brush in general is slightly larger. The handle is a smidge longer and slimmer, which I like. All of this results in a more diffused application of crease colour, which is nice for creating subtle looks or if you want to apply and blend in one shot. It’s also nice if you have larger eyes or more lid-space to work with. It costs $13 CAD.
The MAC 217, on the left, is much more compact. The bristles are stiffer and packed in densely, and the brush as a whole is smaller with a thicker, shorter handle. This means it’s going to pick up (and apply) more product in one go. It’ll also give you a much more precise application of colour. It’s good for if you have smaller eyes and less lid space. It’ll also set you back $28.50, but I used my HBC Points to save some money on it.
Overall, they’re both great brushes, but they’re by no means dupes of one another; they work similarly with very subtle differences. If you’re really into makeup or have a professional kit, I’d say you could justify owning both, and I have multiples of the E25. However, if you’re just getting started, only one is necessary because they both do similar jobs.