It's no secret that I've had something of a...chequered history with Morphe. And in this post we're going to talk about all of that! Cult Beauty very kindly sent me over a few products to celebrate the relaunch of the brand on their site and I decided to pick up a few more things myself that looked interesting and go into this with a clean slate and an open mind. But, how did I get on...?
Ok, so the 'tea' on Morphe is that they launched back in 2008 and their products were rumoured to be mostly 'white-labelled' (i.e. not formulas or products exclusive to them, but branded as 'Morphe', so the exact same thing might be available cheaper through another retailer). They've also had a very lucrative affiliate marketing scheme for some time, meaning that a lot of influencers would push their unwitting followers and viewers to use their codes so they'd get a nice kick-back from the brand. This year, however, Morphe has kind of gone legit... They've upgraded their logo and packaging so it looks and feels more expensive, they're releasing original products, they've invested in new formulas and they're now available via the likes of Ulta in the US and Cult Beauty in the UK - their retail store empire is even expanding to shopping centres in London and Birmingham!
I'd been deliberating for a while whether to give them another shot and the buzz over Morphe coming back to Cult Beauty in its apparently new and improved form is what nudged me to finally try some of their latest products. Today, I want to give my full and honest opinions on how I feel about these products and how they compare to my previous experiences with the brand.
39A Dare to Create Artistry Eyeshadow Palette* | £34 | First up, we have a product I wouldn't have picked up myself! That's purely because I just don't like these huge palettes and I'm glad most brands are now moving away from them... But I was interested in seeing how I felt about their formula. I've tried a couple of the 35 palettes before and I bought them because a lot of the big beauty gurus were acting like these were THE BEST EYESHADOWS EVERRRR and I naively assumed this had to be the truth. What they actually were (for me, anyway) could more accurately be described as 'decent for the price' but they had a lot of shade repetition and didn't wear so well on me. As a side note: this palette does have shade names on a film insert - I haven't typed them all out as I think I'd have lost the will to live, which I hope you can understand!
Overall the 39A has a really nice colour selection - you get a decent array of transition colours (conveniently in larger pan sizes as you'll get through them fasted, but you could also use these for the face) and there are some neutrals, blues, greens and purples. Despite it having versatility, the tones selected give this a warm, rich-toned feeling as opposed to it being confused and disjointed. I find these pretty easy to work with overall - the shimmers generally have a smooth, almost foiled look on the lids and - besides the very dark shades (which felt dry to me) - the mattes blend out without being chalky (though they do tend to muddy together a bit on me!) However I do still find longevity to be an issue - the muddying gets worse throughout the day and they do crease and fade on me after the 5 hour mark. My overall thoughts are that's decent for the price per pan, but do you really want 39 eyeshadows that perform 'ok' when you could take that money (or a marginal amount more) and get a smaller palette with better shadows from Zoeva, Huda Beauty, Too Faced or Charlotte Tilbury? I still don't think I'm sold on their standard eyeshadow formula, but I know so many people love the Jaclyn Hill version that was specially created for her palette.
8W Warm Master Blush Palette* | £20 | Ok, so this palette kind of rocked my world! I'm really excited that I found a product in their range I can rave about; I love the colours and the formula has really performed for me. This shade selection is pretty much perfect for me - though the very light pink matte probably isn't something I'd reach for, other than to mix in with other shades if I want to tone them down a little. However I love the warm reds, browns, corals and pinks in here.
I use the lighter shimmery pink as a highlight and the deeper, more coral-toned shimmer to top off my blusher (they're smooth and not at all chunky). The mattes, on the whole have a lovely, creamy formula that blends like a dream with minimal effort - the red (as I'd expect, due to the pigments used to achieve this colour) needs a little more work, but is still wearable. The longevity is really impressive - I wore one of these more nude / tanned shades on one of those 6am-10pm days and it still looked pigmented and non-patchy when I got home! Overall, I'm into this palette and recommend checking it out if these colours speak to you (they do also have a cool pinky-purple version).
Continuous Setting Mist* | £15 | I actually really like this setting mist! It definitely gives the finest mist of any setting spray I've ever tried. I really like the healthy, fresh look it gives my makeup. I didn't really notice a huge difference in how my makeup lasted, so to me it's more of a finishing spray that gives your makeup that seamless look and gets rid of any powderyness.
Translucent Eyelid Primer* | £10 | I prime my eyelids every single day and on the rare occasions I've forgotten to for whatever reason; I've noticed the difference! You only need to squeeze out the tiniest little bit of product with this - as with most eye primers, over-applying this can cause creasing, which is obviously not what you want. This definitely helped my eyeshadows show more vibrantly when I tested doing the same eye look with one lid primed using this and the other bare. I also felt my eyeshadows lasted just as long and were as crease-proof as with my usual primer. Would I switch to this from my Urban Decay primer based on a £7.50 saving? We'll have to see how long this tube lasts me...
Lipgloss in Freestyle* | £9 | I won't linger on this because I don't like lipgloss. I tried to put this on but had to wipe it off! It's a cool brown-nude colour with fairly decent pigmentation.
High Impact Highlighter in Extra* | £14 | This was a standout product for me! The formula of this highlighter reminds me a lot of the Anastasia Glow Kits - it's just so smooth and gives an intense, dewy look without a single fleck of glitter. This is a pretty universal peachy gold colour and I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the market for a blinding highlighter that won't break the bank.
Brontour in Vlogger | £12 | This is a product I was definitely interested in trying because I like the concept of a split pan bronzer with a sheeny side (it's nothing visibly shimmery or anything like that) and a matte side. Vlogger is pretty spot-on for my skin tone and the shimmery side is a little warmer, whereas the matte is cooler and can be used as a bit of a contour. I really love the more sheeny side - it's very natural and works well on a day-to-day basis. The matte side is fine, but it does take a bit of work to blend in properly. I wouldn't say the texture is dry, it just isn't as smooth and seamless as I'd like (though maybe I'm being unfair given the low price of this product compared to most bronzers in my collection). However it doesn't fade unevenly throughout the day, which is good!
Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush (M433)* & Pro Firm Blending Crease Brush (M441)* | £7 each | Ok, so I needed to split the brushes into three groups here and first up we have the two fluffy blending brushes. Personally, I do not like these brushes; I took them out of the wrapping and they seemed less soft than the eyeshadow brushes I've used, washed and loved from Zoeva and Sigma for over three years. They even shed after just a couple of uses! I just don't find these white-bristle brushes from Morphe to wash well and my opinion hasn't changed from my first encounters with the brand. They're ok in that they sort-of do the job, but the two brands I've mentioned aren't that much more expensive and I think they're in a different league entirely when it comes to quality. In fact, the only range from Morphe I really recommend is their Elite line (these all have 'Elite' in the name, so you can't miss them!) The M433 is a classic blending brush and the M441 is more tapered for the crease.
Under Eye Bullet Brush (M536)* | £9 | This next brush is in the category of 'not for me, but could be for you'. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with this product and the quality seems decent to me, however this kind of tapered, dense brush isn't really something I use. I like a damp sponge with my concealer, but that's just personal preference!
Pro Firm Shadow Brush (M124) | £4.50 | The last category is 'you can't really get it wrong'! I just really needed a firm, synthetic eyeshadow brush for when I want to use a cream or foiled formula or spritz a bit of setting mist onto an eyeshadow to wet it and increase the intensity of the pigment and this does the job for me. It's nice and small so you can be pretty precise with the placement too.
Just as a bit of a closing statement on this: some of these products are great, in my opinion, but others; not so much... I think the backlash against the 'Morphe pushers' on YouTube kind of had a lot of us thinking Morphe products must be rubbish in general and that they're just being forced down our throat for the sake of commission. On the flipside, so many people (me included!) bought products after those influencers raved about how amazing the quality of the brushes and eyeshadows were, thinking they were going to be amazing. As always; the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Be a smart consumer and (although we shouldn't have to!) just really consider whose opinions you trust in the beauty world and what people's motives are for what they're saying. Particularly given recent drama in the beauty community...
Have you tried Morphe? How do you feel about the brand and their products?
Disclosure - products marked * were sent to me for consideration however all opinions remain my own.
Read more posts from this series here!