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I bought this as a standalone item because I already owned many of the brushes in the Complete kit, after just one Sigma order; and I didn't want to spend $150 on the Premium Pro kit, which had more brushes that I didn't have...but I wasn't interested in dropping that much money in one shot unless I had used the products for longer. So...I just ended up buying the roll by itself.
Right off the bat, I will give you this advice: if you want to try out some Sigma brushes, make sure to try ones that are not in their Complete or Premium kit. That way, if you decide that, yes, you do love these brushes and want to buy either of those kits (which are a good way to get the brushes and bags and save some money over buying everything singly), you're not stuck in the same spot that I was, which was: "...but I already own five of those brushes!! I can't justify the purchase of more brush-backups, that's just silly!!" Though now I'm kind of wavering on that. ANYHOO. Back to this review.
The material is synthetic, so people who don't want to buy leather goods won't have a problem with its construction. It's not stiff, like you might expect synthetics to be: it's very supple, and soft to the touch. It does have enough...whatever...to it that when I hold up the brush roll with no brushes in it, it doesn't just flollop about like a boneless cat. That's good that it holds its shape, since that provides some additional protection to the brushes when they're in there travelling. There's a slight grain on the roll, so it *looks* and to an extent feels like upper-midrange-quality leather. The slight grain also probably helps keep it from sliding out of your grip too easily. The roll is available in pink or black. (Personally I think it would be kind of cool if they had them also available in navy, purple, and also silver.) Because it's synthetic material, most spills can be easily wiped off. I have no idea how it would fare if you spilled nail polish on it...I guess you would call that "ad hoc personalization."
The roll folds in three sections, so nothing's going to fall out one end. When it's closed up, the brush roll is just a tiny bit smaller than two paperback books set side-by-side. The closure-straps wrap around to the back side of the roll, and the clasp is held in place with magnets. On the one hand, it doesn't seem all that sturdy a closure - I'd worry about it coming undone in transit. On the other hand...if there was something like a snap or buckle closure, opening and closing that would put a lot more strain on the roll and eventually cause tearing. This magnet-business will take a LOT longer to cause any wear and tear on the roll, or the straps, or even the closure itself.
The ends of the straps are inserted beneath the outer layer of the brush roll, then stitched to the brush roll twice: once where it slides underneath, and once about 1/8" further down the straps. I can feel that there's about 1/4" of the strap-material beneath the outer layer of the brush roll, so that's in there quite solidly. It's less easy for me to close the brush roll if I have all of my Sigma brushes, my BE handy buki, and my BE buki in there (broader handles on those last two); but that's one of the tradeoffs of using that type of closure: you don't want it to routinely be so loose that it catches on things.
The roll holds twelve brushes in individual pouches - though if you have several brushes with larger handles, not all of them will fit. The pockets on the right work best for Sigma's eye brushes, which generally have thinner handles. This roll also holds three more brushes (including a buki brush, with its generally-thick base) in three pockets on the outermost flap. These three brushes don't have a cover protecting the bristles, like the "main" body of the brush roll does - so whatever brushes you carry in those pouches, you may want to use a brush guard.
Overall, if you're looking for a good brush roll and like the way this one looks, I'd say go ahead and try it out. If you're thinking of getting Sigma's Complete kit or Premium Professional kit, that includes the brush roll...so no need to have two of them. Also, apparently, if you want the pink brush roll, you can *only* get it with the Complete or Premium Professional kits. As of December 11, only the black brush roll is available for individual sale.
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