Secret Weapon – Sigma Brush Cleansing Mat

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat

Can I just say whoever came up with this is a genius. So, so clever, and one of those why didn’t anyone think of this before items? It’s a palm-sized mat of corrugated rubber that you use when you wash your brushes, and it’s a life-changer (well it is if you wash about 500 brushes a week. You know who you are!)

Being a makeup artist, you get to clean brushes. A lot. As in, after every single job. We all have different ways to do it – using soaps or special alcohol cleansers, drying on radiators or in the sun, hanging off the edge of tables and using special organic shampoo or conditioner when you want to give them a bit of extra love. No matter how you do it, it always has to be done, and done well, since dirty brushes are a health hazard, make you want to gag, and as the French say, c’est pas possible.

So anything that makes your brush-washing life easier is PRETTY damn exciting let me tell you, and in hundreds of years of brush washing, nothing has come along to make it easier, apart from armies of assistants.

Basically you whack the Sigma mat in the bottom of the sink, wet your dirty brush and tromp your dirty brush down on it. Give it a 2 second wiggle and it’s clean. I’m not kidding. It leaves your brushes softer, cleaner and speeds up the process by I would say conservatively, about 30%. When you have 200 brushes to wash after a 14 hour day, they are precious seconds that could be spent sleeping! And you can use your usual shampoo or soap concoction on your brushes as normal. The mat has 7 different texture areas on it to get the dirt out of every brush, from synthetic to natural fibres, from big brushes to your tiniest detail or liner brushes.

And if you’re assisting right now and brush washing pretty much IS your life, you need to buy one of these before you finish this post. You can thank me later…

PS Holy crap! It costs $32 which is an awful lot for a piece of rubber. However if you valued out the time you save by shortening your brush washing time, it would quickly pay for itself. Just think of it as a yoga mat for your brushes.

Also strangely the only one I can find online is a large mat, whereas the one I have is a mini and is perfect for cleaning all my brushes. Let me know in the comments please if you find a link to where you can get the mini!

Sigma Spa® Brush Cleaning Mat

In My Makeup Kit: Sigma Foundation Brush

Sigma Brush

Sorry for the quiet time y’all – I’ve been sunning myself on holidays! Now I’m back and have spent the last few days sorting out my kit and the makeup Vault (which was an out of control mess) and ready to get back into it.

Onto the Big News: I have a new brush. There, I said it. She’s a beauty as well and is already proving a winner (and a life-saver) on shoots. It’s the Sigma Flat Kabuki –F80 brush.

Let me preface this by saying I haven’t had a new brush in a few years now. I have plenty of backups at home if I lose one on a shoot (which does sometimes happen, and the worst are the shows. I want my brushes strapped to me with individual alarms during the shows since in all the chaos it’s easy for ‘things to happen’ to them. Including light-fingered individuals, but let’s not talk about them shall we?) and I thought my brush-acquiring days were pretty much over. But I got a chance recently to try some Sigma brushes as they are now available in Australia online, through the Aussie beauty site

I’d heard a lot about Sigma brushes before – makeup artist friends raving, etc, but I had yet to try them. First off, they are super, super soft (which we love), and the range is very extensive. I was really happy to have the Flat Kabuki the other day on a shoot as the brief was very pale, 80’s foundation. This is not a look I bust out every day and strong foundation has to be handled carefully so it still looks real, and not like you’ve put pancake batter on the face. The Kabuki brush was absolutely perfect for buffing the foundation once it was applied, and gave a lovely, even finish.

It’s not like any other brush I own as it’s a very densely packed brush with a flat head, that allows you to swirl and buff the base into the skin without leaving streaks, even when you’re piling that foundation on like you’re doing a Kardashian wedding.  And it’s synthetic, an extra bonus for those who like their brushes cruelty-free.

PS  – Please don’t buy brushes off eBay. I know it can seem like a great way to get a bunch of brushes SO MUCH CHEAPER, but you have no idea where those brushes have come from. And I can tell you right now that the cheap fur trade around the world relies heavily on cat and dog fur. So if you don’t want to apply your blusher with Fido or Fluffy, buy your brushes through the reputable brands and sites.

Sigma brushes are now available locally in Australia through



In My Makeup Kit: Cosmetica by Manicare Concealer brush

This bad boy has been floating around in my brush roll for awhile, but it was only this weekend that I realized how genius it really is. It’s superseded all my other concealer brushes. Laura Mercier? Out the door. Make Up Forever? Too unwieldy. MAC? Relegated.

Why have I fallen in love with it in such a big way? It’s the perfect size for applying undereye concealer as it is just the right size to fit in that hollow under the eye where those dark shadows breed and play. It’s made of nylon, which as a synthetic is just right for moving concealer to where you want it to go, and not smearing it everywhere.

Cosmetica is a genius Australian brush line available from the chemist – the chemist I tell you! – and it has a full range of brushes, I think 23 in all. These brushes I could comfortably take and do the European shows with, the shapes are so good and the line so comprehensive. Most are natural hair although some are synthetic, and the best part is the price – at least half what you’d pay at MAC, three quarters less than you’d pay for other prestige lines such as NARS, Laura Mercier or Shu Uemura. So especially for people looking to build a decent set of makeup brushes without forking out thousands, these are the perfect way to do that. (I’m always amazed by the number of private clients who will show me Vogue and say why can’t I do that? When I ask about their brushes and they show me 5 fingers and a manky cotton bud, I can tell them right now, It’s Not Gonna Happen. Not until you get some decent brushes!)

And these are decent, they are more than decent. The other thing I love about them is they have brushes that are hard to find everywhere else. The spooly brush to comb through brows? Even MAC goes out of stock on this, and do you know how much the Cosmetica one is? $3. That’s less than a latte.

They do the equivalent of MAC’s duofibre blending 188 brush, for $17.95, which you’d need to have been living with a swami in the wilds of Tibet to not know is the best blending brush ever. AND (this is the big one) they do an eye blending brush (called Rounded Blending Brush) that is almost the same as the MAC 217. But less than half the price.

I’m sorry for my overseas readers as you can’t get this range online, but if you ask nicely in your best Australian accent, a friend in Oz may send them to you. To help you with your Aussie accent, here’s a video of Kath and Kim – if you don’t speak like that, we can’t understand you.

Available at Priceline, Big W and selected chemists in Australia.



In My Makeup Kit: Benefit Powder Eyeshadow Brush

Benefit Powder Eyeshadow Brush

I never blog about my brushes, (not because I don’t love them, because I do – the same way I love macaroons, vintage Brooke Shields and moon bears, which is to say A LOT) but because blogging about them is like blogging about my own arms – they are so much a part of me that it almost seems silly to talk about them.

However when I come across something new that I haven’t seen before, I feel honour bound to tell you all. This is my new dude in my extensive brush collection – it’s Benefit’s Powder Shadow brush from their new range of brushes. This brush is noteworthy as it’s great for laying down shadow. Sounds boring, I hear you ask? Well a good lay down brush is surprisingly hard to find these days, as you want one that is dense and soft, where the bristles aren’t too long (as then it blends instead of laying down product). MAC do a few, Laura Mercier does a good one and I have a bunch left over from makeup college, but of late I have been very short of a good lay down brush. The Benefit brush is very soft as they’re made of real hair, yet the bristles are just the right length to do the job, and as a double extra added bonus, it’s slanted, so if you wish to buff in a liner it’s perfect for that. It’s also quite genius as a crease brush too, so it can do double-duty in your makeup bag.

The new line of Benefit brushes is reasonably priced (which is nice as brushes can be very expensive), and I’m quite keen to try some more of them on for size. Because, as with vintage Brooke Shields, so it is with makeup brushes – you can never have enough.

Here’s Brooke in Louis Malle’s 1978 classic, Pretty Baby so you can see what I mean – the Benefit Powder Eyeshadow brush you’ll have to get on your own.


The Mole Patrol – Five Top Faves

Chanel - Le VernisMAC lipstickChanel Vendetta nail polish
Superstar manicurist Sophy Robson put me on to this one, and it is indeed a winner. Deep, shimmering sparkles in a purple black base are making me dream of cold winter nights. Chanel does it again!

Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow in Galaxy
Just this side of gunmetal, it’s lovely on it’s own tucked at the lash line with a black pencil, or as a base for winter’s opulent shades of grey – the new take on the smoky eye.

Revlon brushes
What a revelation these are! Perfect sizes, great for blending and super soft bristles. Usually I’m not a drugstore makeup girl, but these brushes leave some of their much pricier counterparts in the shade. The foundation brush is excellent, as are the blush and powder brushes.

MAC lipstick in Underworld
Proper old skool 90’s red brown, the color of the season. Just this side of brick red – so wrong, it’s right!

Chantecaille Flower Infused Cleansing Milk
Gentle, aromatic, flower infused and a perfect transition for your skin into the cooler months.