l-r: M527, M439, E4, M501
I'll just cut right to the chase. After using these for over a month and a couple of washes, here are my general impressions:
- Worse quality than Real Techniques, Zoeva and Sigma, materials/manufacturing feel cheaper
- Brushes shed more than I'm used to (both natural and synthetic hair)
- Goat hair brushes that I thought had all white bristles have lots of black hairs in them
- Elite Collection (brushes beginning with 'E', like the E4) are better quality than normal line
- Sable hair feels plasticy and a little scratchy, goat hair is admittedly pretty soft
- Functionally, they by and large do the job
- Not the best value for your money given the high shipping cost from US to Australia (about $23 for 4 brushes, goes up with weight), but some brushes may be worth considering buying if on sale and/or if you live in America.
I've also included comparisons with other brushes in my collection and some comments about each individual brush.
Top to bottom: Morphe M527, Wayne Goss Brush 00
I was most excited about the M527 Deluxe Pointed Powder because a) it's rumoured to be a dupe for the MAC 135 Large Flat Powder Brush, popularised by Desi Perkins as she frequently uses it to apply MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Give Me Sun! b) it's made of goat hair and I'm partial to a white goat hair brush. When this came, believe it or not, I spent like an hour trying to remove all the odd black hairs with tweezers. Definitely not recommended (or smart), but I couldn't help it from an aesthetic point of view.
The closest thing I have to the M527 is the Wayne Goss Brush 00, though they're basically nothing alike except for the fact both could be categorised as powder brushes and are made of goat hair. Clearly, there's also no comparison in terms of quality, which you'd expect given the Wayne Goss retails for $85 USD and the Morphe $15.99 USD. The M527 is okay for a diffused touch of bronzer over a relatively large surface area, but when do I ever need to do that, really? I could also see this working for a feathery application of powder all over the face. Quality wise, it's not up to scratch for me to enjoy having it in my collection (same could be said for all 4 brushes). It is at least nicely soft, so I'll give it that.
Top to bottom: Morphe M439, Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Sigma F82
l-r: Sigma F82, Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Morphe M439
The Morphe M439 Deluxe Buffer was sold to me as the ultimate foundation buffing brush. Um, not really. I don't find it any better than the Real Techniques Buffing Brush or Sigma F82 Round Top Kabuki function-wise, and it's inferior quality-wise. I see so many errant black hairs sticking out from the top of the brush, a problem I've never experienced with Real Techniques or Sigma. It also shed alarmingly after I washed it for the first time (we're talking the ability to pull out entire clusters of hairs). On the plus side, shape-wise, it's bigger than both the Real Techniques and Sigma. It's also a little fluffier than the more condensed, tightly packed F82 and has a more domed shape than the flatter Buffing Brush, but these differences aren't huge, and don't make up for the differences in quality. Still, it doesn't hurt to have an extra buffing brush since they're such a staple.
Top to bottom: Morphe E4, Models Prefer Mystique Angled Blush Brush, Zoeva 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek
l-r: Zoeva 127, Models Prefer Mystique Angled Blush Brush, Morphe E4
Now the E4 Angled Contour I'm pretty happy with. The appearance, cut and feel of the bristles is definitely better than the other three brushes I bought, which was intentional on Morphe's part since the brush is part of their higher priced Elite Collection. The brush to me is reminiscent of IT Cosmetics (I feel like the E41 Round Deluxe Powder would be very comparable to the IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush #225) or Sephora Pro line.
While I do have a couple other angled blush brushes, I don't have a purely synthetic version. I like that the E4 has more body and density than the floppier Zoeva 127 or Models Prefer Angled Blush Brush, and therefore you can pat/tap the product onto the cheeks rather than having to apply and blend in circular motions. The result is less patchy and more even colour application that melds into the skin. I'm happy with the size and shape of the E4, which is a big ask when one has a large, flat face like me.
It's funny how the brushes we doubt the most from the outset turn out to be the winners. I was very much on the fence about whether I needed the E4 given I had two other angled blush brushes, but luckily Jaclyn Hill's OTT pitch in her Favourite Morphe Brushes video pushed me over the edge ("This is the most perfect blush brush in the world. I wish I made it myself. It's SO good. I just feel like it was meant for me. It is all my dreams come true in a blush brush. I never think I'm going to use another blush brush again. I have no desire to try one.")
Top to bottom: Morphe M501, Burberry No.09 Socket Line Brush, Models Prefer MPA104 Airbrush Concealer, Real Techniques Setting Brush
l-r: Real Techniques Setting Brush, Models Prefer Airbrush Concealer, Burberry No.09, Morphe M501
I was expecting highlighter brush perfection with the M501 Pro Pointed Blender, but it didn't wow me. It's not that soft, the shape isn't that ideal, and the bristles could do a better job. I feel like it's a bit too splayed out for a precise, controlled application on the tops of cheekbones or down the bridge of the nose. The bristles pick up a lot of product but don't necessarily apply the product in a concentrated enough manner. It's fine for super pigmented highlighters and a quick, somewhat sloppy blending job, but I find there are better options. The Models Prefer Airbrush Concealer makes more direct contact with the skin's surface and really blends product flawlessly, while not spreading it out over too large an area. The Burberry No.09 brush is like a smaller, superior version of the M501. The Real Techniques Setting Brush has a flat, tapered shape that lets you place the product exactly where you want it, but the soft, synthetic bristles make blending easy and foolproof. I almost feel like the M501's true calling is actually as a precise contouring brush than for highlighter.