Sunday, 2 February 2014

Zoeva #227 Soft definer Brush and dupes including MAC 217, Sigma E25 and Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

Zoeva #227

Today I'm starting a series of posts on my new favourite brand of brushes, Zoeva. 
Zoeva is a German brand that manufactures superb quality brushes at a fraction of MAC or Sigma brushes and distributes them all over Europe. I didn't buy my brushes directly from them, but from a Polish retailer which manages to keep the prices low. 

Within the Zoeva range you can find brushes that are unique on the market, but also dupes of other popular brands that everyone loves and uses. Today, I'd like to start my series with a brush that is a dupe of the most popular blending brush in make-up history, MAC 217.

Zoeva #227

Zoeva #227/ Soft Definer, like all Zoeva brushes, comes in a black zip-up pouch that can be used for transport later on.
This is a fluffy and flattened eye brush that is made of natural, probably goat hair, bleached bristles, that are soft, yet sturdy. The black and slightly glittery handle is rather short and bears the company logo, slogan and the number and name of the brush.
This brush can be used for countless purposes like concealer, setting powder, cheekbone highlighter, contour and whatever else you can think of, but primarily this is an eye brush. #227 is a real multitasker in the eye  brush world. Due to its rounded, fluffy shape, this brush can be used to apply eyeshadows for a sheer wash of colour, to build up colour in the crease or to blend everything out.
If you're just building your make-up kit, this is one of two eyeshadow brushes that you need to start with: a flat eyeshadow brush and something like  Zoeva #227.

l to r: Zoeva #227, Sigma E25, MAC #217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Maestro #497 
I've managed to find 4 other brushes in my own collection that are so similar to Zoeva #227 that they can undoubtedly can be called dupes. I'm going to compare all five of them and answer the question which one to pick.  
The brushes are (in the picture above): Zoeva #227, Sigma E25, MAC #217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush and Maestro #497 no.12 (Polish brand).

l to r: Maestro #497, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, MAC #217, Sigma E25, Zoeva #227

I must say that Zoeva, Sigma and MAC are almost identical. The same shape, the same bristles, the some length of handles. The differences lie in the handles. Sigma has a holographic logo, Zoeva is slightly glittery and MAC is matte. If I didn't look at the handles, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them . It actually happened to me a couple of times that I grabbed one of them without looking at the brand and used it being absolutely certain it was the other one.
The shape of such brushes very much depends on what detergent you use to wash these and how carefully you reshape them before drying, nonetheless I must say that MAC and Zoeva retain their shapes best, while in Sigma I constantly notice stray hairs poking here and there. This doesn't affect the performance, but makes the brush look rugged and it's not nice.

l to r: Maestro #497, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, MAC #217, Sigma E25, Zoeva #227
The other two are very close dupes, yet not identical. 
The Real Techniques one is exactly the same size and shape, but the bristles are made of synthetic, taklon fibres of different colours and the handle is made of purple metal with rubberised bottom. 
The fact that it's made of taklon means that apart from all the uses of these brushes I'd mentioned earlier, it'll also do a great job applying all sorts of cream products. 
What's more it's cruelty free and much easier to wash and reshape than all for other brushes that are featured in this post.
Zoeva also has a synthetic version of their #227, called #227v, which I believe might be an exact dupe of the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush.

And finally, Maestro #497 no.12 is is still within the same vein, but slightly bigger and fluffier than the other four, and it's also less rounded at the top. The bristles are less densely packed, which means this brush is better at blending out the edges, but not as food for any kind of targeted application. Maestro brushes are more or less within the same price range as Zoeva, but their big advantage is that each style comes in a variety of sizes you can choose from. I suspect size 10 could be a closer dupe of Zoeva #227.

l to r: Zoeva #227, Sigma E25, MAC #217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Maestro #497

So which one to get?
I'd say, if you're vegan or vegetarian or tend to buy cruelty free products, the choice seems obvious. 
If you're looking for a brush that would do a great job applying and blending powder products I'd go for Zoeva or MAC. These two are absolutely identical, so it's a matter of your budget, brand preferences, brand availability rather than difference in quality or performance. 

 Disclaimer: I bought the product myself for my personal use and I am not affiliated with any company. I am not paid to do this review and everything I said here is my genuine opinion.

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