Thursday, February 11, 2016

Morphe Brushes: Worth the Hype?

At the end of last year, after seeing Jaclyn Hill's Favourite Morphe Brushes video, I finally caved and put in an order for four Morphe brushes: the M527 (Deluxe Pointed Powder, goat hair), M439 (Deluxe Buffer, synthetic), E4 (Angled Contour, synthetic) and M501 (Pro Pointed Blender, sable). I paid $44.17 USD for the brushes (after a 15% discount), but shipping was $16 USD, bringing the total to $60.17 USD ($84.85). At over $21 per brush on average, they're not even that cheap, but I genuinely was curious to experience them just in case they lived up to the hype.

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.


  1. I have always been curious about the Morphe brushes as they are all over Youtube and the hype. I was so tempted to subscribe to their monthly brushes but thought how many brushes I really need. Thanks for the detailed reviews of these. I think I will stick to my Sigma and Real Techniques ones.

  2. What a shame most of these brushes didn't live up to the hype! Now it makes me doubt the reliability of big YTbers even more as I initially thought Morphe brushes were "amazing" and gush worthy. Obviously not! Thanks for your review!

    Wendy xx

  3. Thank you for this thorough review! You just saved me a lot of money. I literally planned to order some from beauty bay as I have heard a lot of rave reviews. Now that you mentioned some of them are worse in quality compare to Real Techniques or Zoeva, I'd rather stay with those two brands. I recently hauled few brushes from Zoeva and they're excellent for the price.
    Tbh, I find Jaclyn Hill to be almost always OTT with some products which is rather sketchy considering she cooperated with some of the brands raved by her.

  4. I'm sorry most of these didn't work! I have, and love Morphe brushes! But I have to agree that the Elite brushes are the best out of all of them!

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

  5. I don't think I'll be giving these a go anytime soon. xx

  6. I think the biggest selling feature for Morphe is the affordability, which doesn't exist if you don't live in the States, so I haven't fallen for the hype and bought any. I can buy Real Techniques brushes easily and they are amazing. Thanks for the honest review!


  7. thank you for your honest review! I've been thinking to try them out. after reading this, well, they can wait

  8. I can't believe you didn't enjoy these especially when loads of people absolutely love them! Hate the fact that you said they shed, that's my worst nightmare!
    Charlotte //

    1. I have never had any shed and I own many. I feel it was more about the shipping cost which I understand how frustrating that is and in that case, you may as well pay for the higher end but then again that ould cost 100$ per brush..

  9. I have to say I find the ones I have a little hit and miss too - I'm definitely up for trying the angled contour/blush brush though! xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  10. I'm glad I saw this post!
    I don't know, I've seen people raving a lot about the brand but...nothing calls me. For instances, I'm pretty happy with my Zoeva Brushes in the first place ( still wishing for the day they decide to launch individual brushes with the Rose Gold design) and I've been more curious about Sephora's Pro Line than anything else. I don't know...they just don't call for me.

    It's like their palettes. The shades are gorgeous but...they are way to big for my taste.
    From all I saw here, the only one I would get would be E4...but Sephora has a similar brush that I can get at any counter with their usual discount.
    I think I'll probably pass on Morphe Brushes...

    Take care*

  11. I'll admit I'm a little relieved that you're saying these don't live up to the hype - I've filled a cart full of brushes on the Morphe website many times only to be deterred by the shipping cost. The Elite range does really intrigue me, however.

    Ash / The Beauty Collection

  12. Wow, you weren't kidding, shipping was so expensive! Shame you had problems with shedding, I've washed all my Morphe brushes a few times now and I only had problems with shedding on my goat hair fan brush.
    I actually picked up the MAC 135 while I was in the States and I absolutely LOVE it. Honestly, I don't think it compares to the M527 at all! While the shape looks similar, the MAC 135 is much thicker if you look at them from side on.
    I quite like the few Morphe brushes I picked up, especially the E3 and M510. I tried to pick up brushes I didn't already have similar brushes to. I have to say, none of the face brushes really appealed to me in the store.

    chloé⎪ status.chlo

  13. I've been curious about that brand and too bad it wang really worthwhile. I have the same with ordering from else where because the shipping hurts me too.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

  14. The Morphe M439 looks gorgeous but I would rather go for the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, for sure. Great post!

    Chaste & Beautiful

  15. Very interesting! I have heard mixed reviews of these brushes before so I think I should probably stick to Zoeva :)

    Christina ♥

  16. Very helpful post. Sorry to hear you were disappointed by these - it's a shame as I think Morphe is a fantastic brand. Their eyeshadow palettes are amazing!

    I really don't think you can go wrong with Real Techniques - they're the best makeup brushes, in my opinion! x

    Under Blue Lights

  17. Great review. The Elite line from Morphe brushes is worth purchasing, especially the face brushes they are heaven. I do agree the cost of shipping is a bit high, but if you order a bundle it's worth it. Zoeva is my go to eye brushes , bought two eye sets and recently individuals. Wouldnt recommend Morphebrushes eye line.

  18. Concise review. I have about 30 MAC brushes and recently, I have been tempted to try the Morphe brand. Your review has, now, cleared that temptation from my thoughts. Thank you. Lovely read.


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