The Best Morphe Brushes: Our Picks
Aside from having one of the most fantastic names in the game (seriously—“Morphe”—what a great name for a cosmetics brand!), there's a lot to like in the Morphe line of brushes.
Some are better than others, though, and we’ve selected the ones that we think deserve the title of “best Morphe brushes.” We’ll discussed both single brushes and sets, so hopefully there will be something for everyone. Let’s dive in:
The Products We Review
Morphe offers a wide, wide range of products, and their brush line is pretty extensive. Here are some of our favorites, and the ones we’ll be discussing/reviewing below:
Our Reviews of the Best Morphe Brushes
OK! Finally. Our picks:
The Morphe Deluxe Pointed Blender Brush (M500)
If you’re only interested in picking up a few individual brushes, we think the Deluxe Pointed Blender Brush M500 is a great option for most powder products. It’s primarily intended for the application of bronzers and highlighters, but we’ve found it to be quite versatile.
It’s designed with a tapered end to fit into the natural contours of the face with ease, and with its long, yielding bristles, it can offer a diffuse and light application of color. Those long bristles can be extremely useful for makeup beginners and pros alike, because it can make working with very pigmented complexion products much easier and can keep you from having to blend things out as much. Unfortunately, these soft bristles also require a bit of maintenance, since aggressive washing could cause them to become frayed.
Beauty trends have been moving away from very matte, heavily-set complexions, and we see a lot more people prefer that their skin have a more dewy finish. That said, the need to set makeup with powder in order to increase has not gone away—and because this brush was designed to offer light coverage, we think it’d be great for setting foundation lightly while ensuring the skin retains some natural sheen.
The Morphe Deluxe Pointed Powder Brush (M527)
The Morphe Deluxe Pointed Powder Brush (M527) is one of our favorite picks for highlighting powders, and it can be a fantastic pick for bronzers (among others). It's designed to deliver a lot of color—something that not all larger brushes can do—and hold a lot of product. That's one of the most important jobs of a brush this size, and with its finely-yet-still-broad surface area, it can contain a good deal of material.
Our only issue with the Deluxe Pointed brush is that it's been known to shed a little bit. That can be a bit disappointing if it happens, and it can be mildly irritating to retrieve bristles off your skin, no matter how soft they are. That’s something that tends to happen with larger brushes, though—but nevertheless, something to keep in mind!
All in all, though, this is one of our go-to Morphe brushes, because it's great for blending, and with the right application, it can be capable of providing a lot of color.
The Morphe Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush (M433)
The Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush is a small brush made of natural fibers, and has medium firmness with a slightly flared top. It looks pretty simple, but this model is, in our humble opinion, one of Morphe’s standout eyeshadow brushes, because it can have multiple uses.
One of the primary purposes of a brush like the Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush is to blend eyeshadows—and that's probably how most cosmetics lovers would use it. As a blending brush, we believe it's firm enough to give a very thorough blending but soft enough to not irritate the eye area. However, because it is somewhat firm and is designed to maintain its shape during use, we think it could also work well for actually depositing color in the crease of eye—and it can serve as a two-in-one brush, to first deposit the color, and then blend it out. If you're aiming for a softer look, and you've skillful enough, you might be able to get away with this as your only eyeshadow brush.
(Keep in mind, though—while the size of this brush could be just right for most people’s crease, if you have very little space between your eyes and eyebrows it might be too large—in which case it could still work for blending out all-over shadows.)
Lastly, because of its size and level of firmness, we think it could also work for contouring the nose with powder—small, but versatile!
Morphe X JACLYN HILL: The Eye Master Collection
In our opinion, the Eye Master Collection is Morphe’s best offering of eye makeup brushes. It was designed in collaboration with YouTuber Jaclyn Hill to include a selection of eight brushes that can be used for a range of full eye makeup looks, and the set includes a combination of synthetic and natural brushes in different sizes for different purposes, that we find to be soft to the touch and durable.
If you’re the kind of makeup wearer who likes to pack on layers of different eyeshadows and then blend and blend away, then you may appreciate the four different blending brushes in this set: each one has a different size and a different level of firmness to suit the various steps and sections of the eye, and while the only thing we wish this set included was a slim eyeliner brush or an angled brush for both liner and brows, those aren't really hard to come by!
These brushes were designed with a very precise aesthetic that features white handles and monogrammed silver ferrules, as well as a matching silver carrying case—this could fit in beautifully on a minimalist white counter, but if you're a professional, you may worry a little bit about staining the handles. All in all, though, we consider this to be the best set of Morphe brushes for eyeshadow-aholics. Gorgeous.
The Morphe 6-Piece Deluxe Contour Brush Set (690)
If you're not looking for an extensive brush kit but you still want a range of brushes to work with, we like the Morphe 6-Piece Deluxe Contour Brush Set. We consider it a great "fundamentals" pick, and it features three full-sized brushes (one broad, one pointed, and one on a slant) to work on the larger areas of the face, and three miniatures for detail work for harder-to-reach areas. With Morphe's soft-yet-firm bristle style, it's designed for sensitive skin (although, always remember—even if your brush is designed for sensitive skin, you'll still need to consider hypo-allergenic makeup with it).
It would be nice if this set came with a longer-bristled brush that can contain a great deal of product (and again, that's one of the reasons we like the Morphe Deluxe Pointed Powder Brush!), but for a condensed package, this ticks all our other boxes for an on-go-the set. It exists in that sweet spot between single brushes and extensive collections, and that makes it a great option for spaces where you may not have a lot of room—your desk at work, a travel bag, whatever.
The Morphe 12-Piece Black and White Travel Set
The 12-Piece Black and White Travel Set is our pick for the best Morphe brushes set for beginners. This set is made to include all of the brushes that are essential to a full makeup application, with a variety of sizes, firmness levels, and bristle materials, and those features can make it a great option if you're new to brush-work. Professionals might want to stay away from the white handles, but casual users could easily love the black and white color scheme as well as the matching carrying case.
The brushes themselves feature everything we look for in a beginner’s set: they're soft to the touch, and were designed with a sturdy feel. We consider the brush selection itself to be very nearly perfect (although some may find the amount of eye blending brushes in the set a little excessive). On our end, we would have liked to see the set include a flat-topped buffing brush for foundation instead of a flat one, but that's a personal preference.
All in all, though, these are small criticisms and they're a little nitpicky, because we believe these to be great options for new makeup lovers—they're versatile and solid and can be used for a very wide range of makeup looks.
The Morphe 18-PIECE VEGAN Variety Makeup BRUSH SET
Have you heard the phrase, "Less is more?" Well, we think of the Morphe 18-Piece Vegan Variety Makeup Brush Set, the phrase that comes to mind is "More is more." This set is designed to be a full and extremely comprehensive set of brushes for the face, eyes, and lips, in a foldable carrying case that we think is useful for ever professional makeup artists. This gets our vote for best Morphe brushes in the “Complete Set” category.
The brushes in this set are entirely vegan, which has benefits beyond ethics: synthetic fibers can be used to apply both creams and powders, which means these brushes could be used with a wider range of products than a set with brushes that are just made from natural fibers.
The range of brushes here is quite wide, with multiple potential options for each product category or part of the face. The feature that really pushes these brushes over to professional territory for us is the fact that Morphe didn’t bother to label or categorize them too stringently. The brushes themselves are easy to differentiate by size and firmness level, but the shapes and purposes themselves were ambiguous. This could make things a little tougher for beginners, but advanced beginners, intermediates, and pros may appreciate how non-prescriptive it is.
This is a very large set, so it may include more brushes than most of our readers need, but for heavy makeup users and those who like to get creative we think it could be an excellent choice.
The BESTOPE Makeup Brushes 18-Piece Brush Set
We're big fans of Morphe, but if you're looking for an alternative, we'd suggest the BESTOPE Makeup Brushes 18-Piece Brush Set. It features the entire range of brushes you'd need for application, designed to apply/blend/integrate concealer, powder, highlighter, and so on, and the synthetic bristles are designed to be soft while also being resilient. That's a nice combo for brush bristles, and all we could hope for, really!
We like, too, that the set includes a flat brush—those aren't always included in brush sets, and they're a great (and yet also kind of tricky) tool for delivering color to the skin. After mastering the powder brush and the blush brush, the flat brush can be a nice challenge, and may take some figuring out.
The Bestope may not be the brush set that you grow old with, but it can be a great alternative to some of the super high-end brush sets that Morphe is known for. If you are new to makeup—or if you're looking for a gift for someone you know and love who's just getting into makeup—we think this is a great option. If that person has his/her heart set on a Morphe kit, then Morphe is what they want and this isn't it—but if you're buying for someone wanting a solid set of brushes for every task, this is one we'd recommend.
How to Select a Brush: What You Should Look For
Makeup brushes can be a tool that you use for many years, so you want to choose ones that will hold up and that you will be happy to use for a while.
When choosing makeup brushes, it’s important to come to the process with your own makeup application technique in mind. If you’re all about that base but tend to keep your eye makeup soft, you will want a lot of big brushes for the complexion, whereas if you love to do intricate eye makeup but nothing more than tinted moisturizer for your face, then you will want a lot of small eye makeup brushes. Before selecting the brushes you want, be sure to take a moment and consider your makeup steps one by one, and then consider what kind of brushes will be best for each of these steps, based on the following principles:
One of the most important factors of how your makeup brushes will perform is their level of firmness or softness. A comprehensive set of makeup brushes will include a whole range of firmness levels to suit different kinds of steps in the makeup routine.
The principle to remember is that softer brushes don’t apply a lot of pressure so they do less, meaning that they dispense less product and they give a very soft blend. This makes them better for applying a lighter wash of makeup, which is perfect for blush—but can also be useful for all kinds of more natural-looking makeup applications. On the other hand, if you’ve already applied your contour or crease color and want to blend it out a bit without sheering it out too much then that’s another opportunity for using a softer brush.
The principle to remember for firm brushes is that they apply more pressure, so they do more. This means that they pack on more product and offer a stronger blending effect. Because of this, we love using firmer brushes to apply saturated color to the eyelid or for packing on a level of highlighter that could be seen from… space! Or a great distance. You get the idea. When you want to really move and sheer something out, a firm blending brush will grab on to more of the product that is already on the skin. This is great for blending out and marrying the edges of dark eyeshadow, especially if you’re using a smaller brush. In general, we love a firm, small brush when we want really powerful, controlled blending. Just be aware that using a large firm brush to blend makeup applied over a lot of space can look patchy, so it might be better to use a softer brush and just spend more time blending.
Shape and Size
The next element in determining brush purpose is a little more obvious. Basically, a bigger brush will cover a lot of space while a smaller brush will cover less space. Brushes for complexion makeup are bigger while brushes for concealing blemishes or applying eyeshadow are smaller. The smallest brushes are the ones for precise detail work, like applying eye or lip liner. Surprisingly, the actual shape of the brush, like whether it is angled or fanned, is much less relevant than the amount of surface area that it covers.
In general, the hair of a high-quality makeup brushes should be soft to the touch. The bristles should feel soft against your skin when you use both tapping motions AND brushing motions. In fact, you shouldn’t be able to feel individual bristles at all—the entire brush head should feel like one soft mass. When you lightly brush or pull on the bristles, they should stay firmly in place, without shedding any fibers. Otherwise, you risk that when you finish your makeup application your face will be covered in little hairs from the brush.
Synthetic vs. Natural
Another thing worth considering when choosing brushes is the material that the fibers will be made of. In the early days of makeup brushes, most high-quality brushes were made out of animal hair, usually taken from goats, horses, sables, or other animals with soft, pliable hairs. Usually the hair was trimmed from live animals or taken as a byproduct of other industries, so certain animal hair brushes can be considered cruelty-free.
These days, many customers prefer vegan brushes, since they believe them to be more cruelty-free, so most brands are moving towards using fibers made out of a synthetic material called Taklon.
While historically, natural bristles were softer and better for picking up powder and blending, the technology has come far enough that Taklon fibers can feel just as soft on the skin, and they have the added benefit of being less porous so they are easier to sanitize and they can be used with both cream and powder products. Win/win!
Some professional makeup artists still prefer natural fiber brushes for applying powder products, saying that they feel softer and offer a better blend. Morphe manufactures brushes made of both synthetic fibers and natural fibers, so you can choose based on your beliefs and preferences.
The most important marker of a good brush is the way it is constructed, and the manufacturer’s attention to details:
- High-quality brushes are sturdy, so if you try to pull or move the ferrule it will stay in place without jiggling;
- As we already mentioned, the bristles should be soft and non-shedding;
- There should be no drops of dried glue visible near the connection of the ferrule and handle, or on the bottom of the bristles;
- The handle should be smooth to the touch and covered in an even layer of varnish or paint that doesn’t chip; and finally
- The print on the handles should look solid. Low-quality printing on the handles can sometimes be a signal that the entire brush was poorly constructed.
You may want to consider the size of the handle of your makeup brushes, and consider that:
- Heavier brushes often feel sturdier and can exert a little more pressure for blending, but they can also make your kit heavier, and that can weigh you down—especially if you travel with them;
- Lighter brushes can actually be very durable, but they will require you to use a bit more elbow grease during your makeup application;
- For personal use, shorter handles are often more convenient to hold and they are also easier to travel with; and
- Professionals should stick to longer handles since they look more professional and allow you more control.
Finally, the look definitely matters! Makeup brushes come in a wide range of colors and finishes, even including some playful options designed to look like mermaid tails or magic wands. In general, makeup artists may want to stick to brushes with black handles and silver ferrules, since that is the “unofficial official” design for professional brushes. If it’s for your own use or you don’t mind breaking unofficial rules, choose whatever brushes you think look nice!
Tips on How to Use Brushes
Whether you are a total newbie or a seasoned pro, we have some tips that will elevate your makeup brush use:
- One issue we’ve noticed especially with people new to applying makeup is that they don’t take into account the shape of their brushes when using them. You want to make the most out of the shape of your brush, which means using the widest side when wanting to cover a lot of space or using a thin tip when wanting to create a fine line;
- The other thing to keep in mind is the firmness of your brush—you don’t want to use a super fluffy brush to pack on eyeshadow, for example, and you don’t want to use an overly firm brush when blending out your eyeshadow transition shade;
- When loading up your brush with product, be careful not to stab it into the pan—this can wreck both your bristles and your makeup! Instead, use a flowy brushing motion with the same level of delicacy you would utilize when actually applying the product to your skin; and finally
The most important basic principle of makeup application, though, is knowing when to tap, and when to brush:
- When you need to dispense a lot of makeup, like when you want to cover a blemish with concealer or to pack on eyeshadow, opt for a tapping or stippling motion;
- When you’d like to do delicate, controlled blending, use a smaller brush and utilize small, circular brushing motions; and lastly
- When you need to blend out and diffuse something you’ve already applied, opt for wide circular or back-and-forth brushing motions.
How to Take Care of Your Brushes
Before we wrap up, we should share with you some “best practices” when it comes to taking care of your gear. Even the best makeup brushes won’t hold up if you don’t care for them properly, but brushes from a brand like Morphe require even more careful maintenance. By following some of these practices you can keep your brushes soft and durable:
Storing Your Makeup Brushes
- Keep your brushes in a safe space where pets and children can’t get ahold of them;
- Make sure you’re keeping them in a dry and clean area, so they won’t start harboring bacteria;
- Your regular makeup bag might seem like a great spot, but you actually don’t want any residue or spilled makeup accidentally ending up on your brushes;
- If you travel a lot, a dedicated bag for your brushes is the way to go, especially if it has slots for each brush; and
- Having brushes sit upright in a cup is a great option for those who do their makeup at home—just put them in a high cupboard when they’re not in use to keep them away from curious, destructive forces.
How to Sanitize Brushes
- Because makeup brushes come into contact with the face, it’s important to keep them sanitized. This is especially true for makeup artists working with different clients;
- Personal brushes should be sanitized after every few uses or at least once a week;
- Professional makeup artists should sanitize their brushes after every makeup application;
- You can use a 99% alcohol spray to sanitize synthetic brushes since their bristles are usually quite resistant to drying out;
- For natural hair brushes, it’s better to use a dedicated brush cleaning spray that also contains some nourishing and moisturizing ingredients that will keep the bristles soft;
- To sanitize, spray your brushes with your sanitizing spray of choice, and then wipe them off on a paper towel until they stop leaving behind streaks of makeup;
- You might prefer to spray the towel, instead, and then wipe the brushes over it; and
- Lay them flat over a clean towel to allow them to dry.
Makeup Brush Deep Clean
- Deep cleaning is important for removing any makeup residue that got deep into the bristles, and it’s also a chance to condition the brushes;
- Makeup brushes should be deep cleaned between once a month to every few months, depending on how often they are used;
- The best product for deep cleaning natural brushes is a gentle shampoo, while synthetic brushes can be cleaned with nearly any kind of soap or cleanser;
- The process of cleaning brushes is very similar to shampooing your own hair in the shower. Simply dampen the head of your brush, massage it with shampoo until you’ve worked out all of the makeup buried deep within, and then rinse it clean;
- You can also use a silicone brush-cleaning aid, which will speed up the cleaning process;
- Be careful not to let any water get into the ferrule (the metal section that connects the bristles to the handle), or you can disrupt the glue that keeps your brush together as well as cause bacteria to grow in the base of the brush;
- Once you’re done, gently squeeze out any water from the head of your brush with a soft towel, shape the bristles with your hand so they stay tightly packed, and then lay the brush flat to dry; and finally
- Brushes will usually dry after a few hours or up to a day at the longest.
Wrapping Up Our Morphe Discussion
Hopefully there’s enough information here to help you find what you’re looking for—and after that, to use it and take care of it! Thank you for reading, and enjoy your next look!