For my latest makeup challenge, I decided to do a full-face (eyes lips face; elf) e.l.f. Cosmetics review. When it comes to value brands at the drugstore, e.l.f. is one of the first that comes to mind. Only a few rival its quality and prices. Most are either higher-priced or lower quality. In some cases, they’re both. One of the reasons I love e.l.f. so much is hits and misses exist with every brand. We all have different wants and needs in our makeup so it would be impossible for someone to like every product a brand launches. There is no way every single product is not only great but also perfectly suited to someone. When I have a miss with e.l.f., I never really feel as bad as I do with more expensive brands. Getting upset when you spent $4 on something that did not work out is a lot less likely than how upset you feel when you spend $60. It’s just a numbers game.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Overview
All of the e.l.f. Cosmetics products I am reviewing today are in the picture above. I managed to lose the lipliner, which is the black pencil to the right of the eyeshadow palette. It is also on the left in the picture below. Although I used it once (in the first look below), I will hold off on the review until I remember what I thought or it. Of course, I have to find it before that can happen. According to my order history, this is the e.l.f. Lip Liner & Blending Brush in Caramel.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Review
The e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Praline ($3) is nice for a matte lipstick. As someone who is dry everywhere, I typically prefer a moisturizing lipstick. This is decently moisturizing for a matte formula. It actually provides more moisture than a lot of far more expensive matte lipsticks. There are times when I really enjoy a matte look. Praline is a great neutral shade for my skin tone. As with most matte lipsticks, it does accentuate lip lines a little, but it does not highlight dry patches. Someone looking for a great matte lipstick (at any price) would probably enjoy this.
The e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Charming ($1) is probably the best $1 lipstick I’ve ever tried. It is also the only $1 lipstick I’ve ever tried, so I guess it also the worst. This looks and feels like cheap lipstick, but I did not expect much else for $1. I can usually wear any color, but I am not a fan of this shade of pink. To wear this, I usually apply it on top of another lipstick. On its own, the formula and the color leave me wanting more.
The e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer ($6) is wonderful for really dry skin. There is an ointment scent to it, but it is not overwhelming. This is one of the rare silicone primers that blurs but hydrates extremely well. Finding that combo is usually very difficult, but here it is in a $6 primer. My skin feels so soft when this is on. It does leave a slight shine to the skin and moisturizes with oil, so I would not recommend this for anyone with normal to oily skin. Everything I apply on top adheres to this well, so I imagine layering cream products could get difficult. So far, I’ve only tried it with cream foundation and cream highlighter. I would easily place this in a list of my all-time favorite primers.
The e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer in Sheer ($2) was a hot mess for me. I did my eyeshadow using the palette below with six different eyeshadow primers on each application. This one creased worse than any of the other six. Someone without super oily and very hooded eyes might have more success, but I need something a lot stronger.
The e.l.f. Hydrating Under Eye Primer ($3) looks and feels like a moisturizer. While I do not notice any brightening effects, I can always use an added boost of moisture, because the skin under my eyes is so dry. When I use this, I do notice less creasing, so I am guessing it does plump somewhat.
The e.l.f. Liquid Eyeliner in Jet Black ($2) was disappointing. There was not a lot of bleeding when I swatched it, which gave me hope. In the swatch, you can see that the color starts to fade at the bottom. That is because this is a very wet formula. You have to keep dipping to get enough product to complete your line. When you have shaky hands and are already terrible at drawing a straight line on paper, much less on a hooded eyelid, you need something you do not have to keep dipping into. This is a definite pass for me. Someone with a super steady hand who can get a straight line despite multiple dips might think saving money with a $2 liquid liner is worth it. Those with oily eyelids will notice that even with primer, this does not stay put. By the end of the day, it is patchy. If you’re like me and cannot draw straight lines, it’s jagged and patchy.
The e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set ($4) is a decent setting spray. I am not a huge fan of how hard the spray comes out, but I can tolerate it if I back it up from my face farther than I usually do with most setting sprays. It is not the strongest I’ve ever used, but I prefer a gentle mist. If it had a better mister, I would repurchase this. For those who do not mind a strong nozzle, it might be worth the price. This is another setting spray that smells like saliva, so it will initially smells like you licked your face to set it. Luckily, the smell fades. There is a slightly sticky feeling as well. As far as the main things I use it for, it works. My makeup seems to last longer and it takes away the powdery look.
The e.l.f. Baked Highlighter Pink Diamonds ($4) requires scraping off the top layer for pigmentation. Once the top layer gets scraped off, it is an extremely beautiful highlighter. This is not my favorite color, because my skin already has a lot of pink in the surface tone. I would love to explore this in other colors, because it gives a shimmery wet look. When I use a light hand, it looks natural. With a heavy hand, I can glow from the sun. It is really versatile (after scratching off the top layer). Those who do not scrape it off will have a hard time picking up any color at all.
The e.l.f. Blush in Candid Coral ($3) is like most other blushes I apply. I put it on and very soon after it is barely noticeable. At $3, I can forgive the fast fading. This is a problem my skin has with blush, so you may not have the same experience. When I purchased this, I thought it would be a dupe for NARS Orgasm. This has more warmth and less shimmer than that. It is also a more sheer formula than Orgasm, so you can layer it for a darker look (and for the hope of slower fading).
The e.l.f. Bronzer in Sunkissed ($2) is not the best color for my skin tone. This is the highest shade, and I am afraid the darker shades will not work for me. It is just a little more peachy warm than I wanted. As you can see with the peach blush in the middle, that this is not much different in tone. Yes, it is a little deeper and a little more warm. They actually pair nicely together, so I would only use this with a peach blush. Otherwise, I want something a little more bronze or brown.
The e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation in Sand ($6) is way too dark. For some reason, I magically thought the fourth shade in the line would work for me. I’m not sure why I thought that, but as you can see, it looks like bronzer because of its shade. To review the product by itself, I took one for the team the first two times I wore it and did not mix it with anything else. This foundation has a cult following, and I get it. Unless I have an extremely dry patch of skin, it is almost unnoticeable unless you are right in my face. A lot of high-end foundations highlight dry patches. It blends nicely and does look like skin when I only apply one layer. If you want a semi matte foundation that sits beautifully on the skin and lasts all day, this is worth a try. There is a chemical smell that is overpowering, so skip this if you are sensitive to scents.
The e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Corrective Yellow ($6) is way too yellow for my liking. I am not sure why I keep buying yellow powders. They never work for me, but everyone raves about them. Until I try this in a different color, I will withhold my review. When you cannot stop noticing how yellow it looks, it is hard to see if it is doing other things it should do.
The e.l.f. Prime & Stay Finishing Powder in Ivory ($2) is silky. This has such a great texture for a $2 powder. There is also a decent amount of coverage. Those looking for a quick boost to their complexion or just to even out skin could get away with only using this. My skin is too dry to use a powder alone. I typically prefer a translucent powder, because I do not want to add a lot of coverage. Even over foundation, this looks great. It sits on the skin beautifully and does not easily settle into fine lines.
The e.l.f. Shape & Stay Brow Pencil ($2) holds really well for a wax. I normally use a gel, but this was holds about as well without leaving a stiff or sticky feeling. To set, it requires a little pressing. That does at times lift the work I put into my brows. For $2, I do not mind occasionally touching them up a little.
The e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil in Taupe ($2) is a great color for my natural hair color. It pairs really well with the Shape & Stay, because they’re both waxy. I like the tip, because I can make somewhat thin strokes, but I can turn it on its side and make thicker strokes as well. That helps whether I am looking for a really natural look or in a hurry to go. There is a spoolie that comes with it, which is impressive for a $2 pencil. This is a pencil I have reached for over some of my higher end pencils, so I think it is almost as good. It is definitely worth $2.
The e.l.f. Beautifully Bare Smooth Matte Eyeshadow Blushing Rose ($4) creases on me. All cream shadows crease on me though, and there is not really much I can do to stop that. I lay down a base under it and set it with powder on top. When I set most cream shadows with an eyeshadow, I have more success on the creasing front. Like my other cream shadows, I will only use this for nights out. If I wear it all day, it is way too messy at the end of the night. Again, someone without overly oily and extremely hooded eyelids might like this.
The e.l.f. Color Correcting Stick Correct Dark Circles (Light Skin Tones) ($4) is a creamy formula, but it does not melt into my skin as it claims it should. I imagine someone without really dry skin might think this melts in. For me, it goes on a little thick. With some effort, I can blend it. Thickness underneath my eyes is a definite pass for me, because I already get a lot of creasing there. when something is thick, it usually creases even more. This is no different.
The e.l.f. Color Correcting Stick Correct the Red ($4) is a creamy formula, but it does not melt into my skin as it claims it should. That is actually a good thing for this green shade. It gives a sticky base to the concealer I apply on top of it helping it adhere better. Most concealers slip right off my acne. When I use this under my concealer, it covers longer. This shade also helps neutralize the red a little.
The e.l.f. Volumizing & Defining Mascara ($2) is a pretty basic mascara. For $2, it is not bad, but it is not something I would reach for over something else if I had it available. It provides the slightest bit of volume and definition, but it does not do either in a grandiose way. On the bright side, it is not too wet or too dry. Despite the sticky texture, there is not really any clumping.
The e.l.f. Nude Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette ($10) is great for a $10 palette. I’ve used the Mad for Matte palette in the past and assumed this would be similar given the same packaging. It is powdery and has a lot of fall out. Colors fade throughout the day even when a primer is laid down. Its mattes are a little patchy and the shimmers are not very vibrant. Overall, this feels like a $10 palette. Considering the Mad for Matte palette feels like it could compete with more expensive palettes, I expected more. If you want an okay palette for a good price and are into these colors, grab this. Otherwise, I’d pass.
My eyelids have always been oily but my beloved Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base could usually keep almost anything from creasing. As I age, my eyes get more hooded. Between oily eyelids and heavy hoods, I rarely go crease free anymore. NARS does not even keep me crease free with most of the same palettes it used to when I was younger. There was only one primer of the six times I wore this that helped the shadows remain crease free all day. That was the LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, which might be my new favorite (sorry NARS).
I used these products without supplementing from other brands for the first look. That means I was able to create this look for $68. I have products in my collection that retail for more than that for a single item.
Getting an entire look for that amount is amazing. Granted, I forgot concealer. Had I substituted one of the correctors for concealer, I would have spent the same $68.
While I normally use concealer over under eye corrector and the red spot corrector for my acne, I had to skip it for these looks. After shopping direct, grabbing things from the Dollar Tree, and purchasing some from Ulta, I still forgot concealer.
I also used a different eyeshadow primer, but I cannot remember which specific one I used for this.
The only thing I remembered is whichever one I used, it creased. Everything else is from this brand.
For the third look, I am only using the e.l.f. eyeshadow palette and the foundation mixed with a lighter foundation to match my skin tone better.
In my attempt to find an eyeshadow primer that paired with this palette without creasing, I tried it 6 different times (did not photograph all of them).
This was the one time out of six where it did not crease. Read above to see which miracle primer came through for me.
More e.l.f. Cosmetics Reviews are Coming
While I was shopping this brand, I picked up a lot of things that did not make this article. As such, I expect a part two at some point. If there is a part 2, I will make sure I have concealer. I also really like a lot of elf makeup brushes, which I will probably review separately at some point. The sponge from this brand is absolute garbage and not better than Sassy+Chic one you can grab from the Dollar Tree, so I will not even wait until that article comes to say do not purchase it.
Are e.l.f. Cosmetics Worth the Money?
As I mentioned at the top of the e.l.f. Cosmetics review, there are hits and misses. Even when products miss, you are not out too much. As you can see from this small sample of products, many of them are hits and easily worth more than e.l.f. charges. It impresses me that the brand has a lot of great products in its super affordable line. I am a huge fan.
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What do you think of this elf Cosmetics review? Let me know below. See all e.l.f. and One Brand articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration. All orders ship free with a $25 purchase and get a free GWP with the same purchase amount. The free gift(s) load automatically. One of the main reasons I like to order direct (other than the low free shipping minimum and elf exclusives) is the free gift that at times has a value near the minimum to get the gift. Beauty Squad members also earn rewards, and it is free to join.
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I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.