After seeing Elf's small stipple brush from the studio line on EmilyNoel83's Beauty Broadcast Youtube channel all the time, I had to give it a spin. Stipple brushes feature bristles of two lengths - the longer hairs feather product onto your skin and the shorter, more dense, hairs buff and blend. The Elf studio line comes with black handles and ferrules, while the standard Elf Essential line comes with white handles and silver ferrules. Most of the Elf Studio brushes are $3 while the essential line is $1. I picked mine up at Target almost a year ago for $3, but my Target has recently raised the price to an oddly specific $3.04.
The Elf small stipple brush is small and has a round un pinched ferrule, which makes it perfect for cream blush and highlighter. The head of the brush flares out slightly from the ferrule with use, like the shape of a typical lampshade. The shape of the brush was not flared when it was purchased, but I don't find that the splaying has taken away from the functionality. The Elf website doesn't state the origin of the bristles on this brush specifically, but many of the other brushes in the studio line are synthetic Taklon and this feels similar. I don't find the hairs to be rough or scratchy, but they aren't luxuriously soft. I have owned this brush for almost a year and have experienced no issue with shedding.
I really can't complain about the functionality or price of this brush, but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. The ferrule of my brush was extremely loose when I bought it and fell off the handle with one washing. I super glued the ferrule back onto the handle, but you can see in the pictures below that I did not glue it on perfectly straight. You can also see in the pictures that the black layer of bristles was cut very poorly and are shorter on one side.
I am happy I purchased this brush because it works for my collection. I don't own many cream cheek products, but when I want to use them this gets the job done. I have found the Elf studio brush line to be good for beginners, those on a budget, or for a very specific task. The line is not professional quality, consistent in quality, or luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but the products do perform just fine. This one is a C+ in my book.