ELF Makeup Review

Today we’re talking all about budget makeup in this ELF makeup review. Wondered if a $2 lip liner can be any good? Keep reading to find out. 

Last week I taught a handful of teenage girls about makeup (the hardest part being there were 12-year-olds and 17-year-olds and I wish I could have taught separate groups). After they completed the “blind makeup challenge” on each other which was quite entertaining (you know, where you sit behind your victim and pretend to be their arms while applying makeup to their face?). 

Before the class/activity I asked friends on Instagram what they wish they would have known earlier when it came to makeup and it sounded like some things are pretty universal and I wanted to share a few answers.
  • I loved Jessica’s goal of having makeup “look natural but nice these days, rather than trying to cover up every flaw I think I have.”
  • Kylie and Sam both agreed that they wish they’d learned that less is more when it comes to eyeliner (me too guys, me too).
  • Andy reminded me that one technique doesn’t work for everyone, and she wished she would have figured that out earlier (when it comes to contouring, eye shadow, and lining its important to consider your coloring and face shape).
In preparation, I also picked up a slew of E.L.F. products at Walmart only because they were the cheapest I could find (I would have told you N.Y.C. or Covergirl would be the cheapest brands and E.L.F. was more than half the price much of the time!). A few items went unopened at our evening of makeup and a few others I picked up for myself because I was just intrigued at how inexpensive they were. I’ve been trying them out over the last week (on the few days I’ve actually put on makeup) and here’s what I thought:

ELF Makeup Review

First Impression:

The packaging is sleek and beautiful. There isn’t any of the fanfare or obnoxious branding and it really looks like something you’d spend about seven times the price on at Sephora.

ELF Eye Products:

The eyeshadow palettes are fine, nothing spectacular, but they go on true to color and last well (especially when using a primer – disclosure: I wasn’t using the elf primer although they have one). I wasn’t super excited but I don’t get super excited about eye shadow because I wear the same neutral colors whenever I actually put on eye makeup (varying between Bare Minerals palettes I have in browns+creams and whatever palette comes with the Clinique free gift). I would definitely consider these though if I were looking for a bolder look for a big night out and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on colors I wasn’t going to wear often afterwards.

When it comes to eyeliner I just couldn’t do it. I do think its neat how the sharpener is a part of the lip but I felt like I was killing my eyes and went straight back to the silky smooth application of my Bare Minerals liner. 

ELF Brushes Review:

I’m comparing these to the Bare Minerals brushes I’ve been using for six years now (not the same exact brushes, but I’ve been using the same brand of brushes exclusively since I bought them for the first time the summer before college) and they hold up pretty well. They aren’t as good, but they are also significantly cheaper. I would still say it is worth investing in a BM starter kit and getting the main brushes, but for smaller specialty ones (like angled brushes for eyeshadow + such), I would try these (you can get this whole set for $12!). 
ELF Blush Review:

I’ve been trying the standard $2 blush in “shy” and the All Over Colorstick in “pink lemonade.” I love the idea of the colorstick – something that works for blush + lip color and have found myself putting it on kinda like chapstick (it is hydrating) just because I like the way it smells. It is great for applying a little bit of color when you’re not putting on a full face (I like it better than powder when I’m not wearing foundation) and next time I’m in a drugstore I’ll see what other colors they have and pick up one or two. 

ELF Bronzer Review:

When it comes to bronzers I’ve only been using the ELF Studio Bronzer (on the left). I’ve tried it for contouring and while I like how easy it is to use the pressed powder (I’ve been contouring with a loose powder bronzer from Bare Minerals and I will always love BM but I’m a little tired of all the loose powders these days), it doesn’t seem to be as vibrant. Initially I thought this was a bad thing, but I do like how easy it is to build color with and how I never have to worry about putting on too much the first time. Overall, I’ll keep using it and would buy it again (especially for a vacation or something when I HATE having loose powder around #somessy).

And that’s it – just a few sub $5 products I’ve been trying. After reading your recommendations on instagram though I’m excited to try their brow kit and while I’m not too adventurous with things like concealer and foundation, I’m planning on trying a few of their matte lip colors in the near future because at $2, why not? I’m now wondering why I didn’t discover this brand way back in the day? I like it better than most drugstore beauty brands I’ve tried and the price + packaging are much better.

Any favorite budget beauty buys I should try next?

ELF Makeup FAQ: 

Is ELF Makeup good?

ELF Makeup is known for offering affordable options that are often praised for their quality. While some products may work better than others, many customers have found ELF Makeup to be a reliable and cost-effective choice. You won’t find better quality makeup at a lower price point. 

What does ELF Makeup stand for?

ELF stands for “Eyes Lips Face.” The brand’s name represents its focus on creating products for the eyes, lips, and face, covering a wide range of makeup essentials.

Is ELF a good makeup brand?

ELF Makeup has gained popularity for its affordable prices and decent quality. Many users find their products to be satisfactory, especially considering the price point. I have been impressed with all of the products I have tried. 

Is ELF makeup clean?

ELF has a line of makeup called “Clean Beauty,” which is formulated without potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, or sulfates. However, not all ELF Makeup products fall under the “Clean Beauty” category, so it’s essential to check product labels or descriptions to identify which ones meet your clean beauty criteria.

Where to buy ELF Makeup?

ELF Makeup is widely available and can be purchased from various sources. You can find their products on the official ELF website, as well as in major beauty retailers, drugstores, and some department stores. Additionally, online marketplaces and beauty specialty stores may also carry ELF Makeup.

Is ELF Makeup cruelty-free?

Yes, ELF Makeup is cruelty-free. The brand does not test its products on animals. ELF is also certified by PETA, indicating its commitment to being cruelty-free.

Is ELF clean makeup?

ELF has a line of makeup called “Clean Beauty,” which focuses on products formulated without potentially harmful ingredients. However, not all ELF Makeup products fall under this category. It’s important to check the product descriptions or labels to identify which ones are considered “clean” according to your personal preferences.

Who created ELF Makeup?

ELF Makeup was created by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba. They founded the brand in 2004 with the aim of offering affordable and high-quality cosmetics to the market.

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One Comment

  1. I really love makeup posts these days because there is so much out there and soooo easy to get caught up in hype or sales people and end up spending lots of money. …only to regret the makeup later. I remember when bare minerals powder foundation came out and was so popular. I bought the entire kit. Kind of pricy but what I hated was the mess. The powder residue was everywhere and it added too much texture to my skin making it look cakey and unnatural. Next came bare minerals liquid foundation, which is less messy and seems to be more popular. I am learning less makeup is better. Not a ton of eyeshadow or eyeliner, but rather a touch of mascara and some a bit of blush on the eye lids and cheeks. I use cindy Joseph boom products called the broomstick, and it comes in one universal color for all skin tones. Its awesome stuff! She says to ignore eye shadow and apply the broomstick on the eye lids in lieu of eyeshadow. It looks so much better and natural, as well as on lips and cheeks. One color stick, very versatile for entire face and lips. Anyway, great post, very helpful.