When it comes to affordable cruelty free and vegan makeup, e.l.f. is a great place to start. They carry a wide range of different cosmetic products, and while there are several treasures to be found within their product line, there are inevitably a handful of duds. I’ve done the sorting for you so you don’t have to make the regrettable purchases with my list of the three best and three worst e.l.f. products.
Best: e.l.f. Studio Sheer High Definition Powder
This finishing powder is both affordable (at just $6) and of high quality. This powder is best used to set your liquid foundation. Used with a kabuki brush, it’s barely detectable on the skin and it keeps your makeup fully intact and shine free for up to 12 hours. In my opinion, this setting powder works just as well as the one by Makeup Forever, without nearly as much hurt in your wallet.
Worst: e.l.f. Essential Brightening Eye Color
These eyeshadow quads may look tempting as many of the colors look beautiful in packaging and it comes at a cost of just $1, but there’s nothing good about this product. First of all, the applicator is useless for applying or blending shadows. The packaging has the eyeshadows separated into tiny triangles, which makes it nearly impossible to really get a brush into its crevices to pick up color, and even if you do manage to, the shadows are incredibly chalky, powdery and lacking good pigmentation. The shadows apply too light, fade quickly, don’t blend out well, and tend to have a lot of fallout. It’s best just to avoid this product entirely.
Best: e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer
This primer works as well as any and costs just $6. I’d definitely consider it a must-have as it makes foundation apply to the skin flawlessly, and never feels greasy on the skin. It comes in four shades. There’s the default clear, two tone adjusting shades to help with discoloration or tired-looking skin, and radiant glow (though beware, the glow is more of a heavy shimmer that will show through your foundation).
Worst: e.l.f. Studio Eye Primer & Liner Sealer
This product seems like a great deal at just $3 for a two-in-one product. However, I don’t think it’s worth your money. The primer applies very dry (I felt it was really tugging at my eyes to apply) and yet it creased badly only an hour after application. It may work for people with skin more on the dry side, but it didn’t last long on my oily eyelids. The liner sealer is even worse. When applied over my liquid liner, it made my liner run all over the place, and my eyes were stinging something furious. Needless to say, it went straight in the trash.
Best: e.l.f. Studio Kabuki Face Brush
This beautiful brush features synthetic Taklon bristles that are soft as silk. It applies and blends out powder on the face for a beautiful natural finish, and after a year of use I have never witnessed any shedding. Even after more than a dozen washes, this brush hasn’t lost its softness or pliability from the day it was opened, and it’s become one of my most used tools for applying my makeup. At just $6, this brush is an amazing find.
Worst: e.l.f. Studio HD Lifting Concealer
I bought this concealer in two shades: Brightening, to brighten up under eye circles, and Adjusting (green) to correct redness. Other than the color, the formula in both was the same: terrible. Greasy. Not at all blendable. This product may only cost $3, but it still somehow manages to be a waste of money.