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I’ll admit, I used to spend a lot of money on make-up at Sephora. For make-up lovers, there’s no problem with that. The problem I had was that I’ve always done the same style of make-up since high school, so I had no reason to buy more makeup I wouldn’t use. Wing-tip eyeliner, no eyeshadow, blush/bronzer, and gloss (with of course, my brows, mascara, and foundation). If I had a sort of special occasion, I would use red lipstick, slap on some individual lashes and call it a day. I had my beauty staples, and I stuck to them – for years.
At a certain point I became so broke that I couldn’t afford to use higher-end makeup products for every day. I started to ration my make-up and save it for days when I went out, and made the hard decision of being ugly and wearing no make-up for casual days like school.
But, I’m sure as most of you understand, it gets tiring to feel ugly all the time. Of course, make-up shouldn’t make you beautiful, but let’s face it: I got tired of feeling haggard and wild 5 days out of the week.
Just like most people pinching pennies would have done, I went to Target and zeroed in on the cheapest price tags I could find in the make-up section. And what caught my eye was one particular brand that had products for $1 and at the most expensive, $6.
That’s when I discovered the life-saving Elf Cosmetics!
Eyes Lips Face, better known as E.L.F., is a line of cosmetics sold at $1 – $6 price points. I assumed this was just another cheap make-up brand with weak staying-power and nearly invisible color payoff, but after I did some hard Internet research, I ran right back to Target and shoveled practically the whole shelf into my cart. With the prices being so affordable, I was able to try a lot of their products with a low risk of wasting it! Side note: Even if you opened the product and didn’t like it, Target will accept returns of opened makeup products.
One of the best things I enjoy besides the affordable pricing and quality of cosmetics is that their line is also cruelty-free! Take that, PETA. Saving animals and saving money, one less ugly girl at a time.
I love Elf, and here’s why: with Elf products, I can still achieve my go-to make-up look and look like an attractive human being, something that a lot of cheap makeup products can’t help you accomplish. Let me show you my top Elf products and their higher-end product comparisons!
NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in Orgasm and Laguna ($42.00)
This was the very first product that attracted me to Elf, and I admit it was because of the striking similarity in packaging compared to the Nars Blush/Bronzer Duo. What sold me on the Elf duo was that both the blush and bronzer were nearly the same hues as the Nars duo!
When I tested this out, the color on my skin was definitely the same as my beloved Nars. Through years of using this product, the only cons I can think of are that the blush is more opaque and a tad more shimmery than its Nars counterpart, and I also have to touch up both the blush and bronzer during the middle of the day.
Are those two reasons enough for me to pass on this product? No! Because I can achieve the same exact look, this is a product in my cosmetics bag.
E.L.F. Luscious Liquid Lipstick ($1.00)
Stila Lip Glaze ($22.00)
I consider this product more of a lip gloss, but I think it may have been labeled a “liquid lipstick” because of the rich color payoff. I really like the colors Baby Lips and Ruby Slipper: Baby Lips gives me a lighter color perfect for daytime, and Ruby Slipper is a darker color suitable for evenings.
Compared to Stila’s Lip Glaze: Elf’s liquid lipstick has a foam-top slanted applicator, whereas Stila is more of a brush tip applicator. Both products require twisting to push the gloss up to the tip. Surprisingly, I found the consistency of Elf to be a lot less stickier than Stila’s, which was a relief. The only downfall to Elf’s is that the color tends to fade throughout the das, requiring more touch-ups. But for $1, I stock up on these liquid lipsticks! I actually completely replaced the Stila lip glaze with Elf’s liquid lipstick altogether.
E.L.F. High Definition Powder ($6.00)
Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder ($35.00)
Everybody knows that Make Up Forever’s translucent setting powder is an absolute cult-favorite. I love it too, but can’t agree to pay $35 for something that’s pretty much invisible. Elf’s High Definition Powder is a great dupe for this product. It sets your makeup perfectly and can be used to absorb excess oil throughout the day. Bonus: Elf’s powder comes in 3 shades: sheer, corrective yellow, and shimmer.
Elf’s Mattifying Blotting Papers are infused with oil-absorbent powder and come in a very durable case, perfect for your purse. I prefer the Elf’s papers over Clean & Clear’s plastic sheets because 1: they are probably more environmentally friendly, and 2: together using the applicator, the Elf sheets glide effortlessly across my face without any drag, unlike Clean & Clear’s.
Looking for an even cheaper alternative? Elf also carries these blotting sheets for $1 without the fancy case and applicator. I have some in my purse and also in my car in case I leave my makeup at home.
E.L.F. Makeup Remover Pen ($3.00)
This Makeup Remover Pen is an absolute ESSENTIAL for the ladies who specialize in the art of wing-tip or cat-eye eyeliner! I admit when I’m in a rush, it can be a nuisance to spend so much time trying to make both eyes even. This makeup remover pen helps me clean up and reshape the corner of my eyeliner so that it’s perfect every time!
The only downside: I think Elf pulled this product from Walmart and Target, making it exclusively available on their website. I don’t see this as too big of a deal, because I can throw it into my basket and get a few more dollars closer to free shipping!
E.L.F. Ultimate Blending Brush ($6.00)
What attracted me to this blending brush was the black ferrule finish and multicolored bristles. This style is similar to many of the higher-end synthetic brushes made by companies like MAC and Sigma. But doing more research, I saw that a lot of customers compared these to many other professional makeup brushes out there.
I personally love how seamlessly this applies my powder products. I simply buff the brush into my powder and apply it in circular motions, and it gives me a natural mineralized finish with great coverage!
E.L.F. Flawless Face Powder ($2.00)
I like Elf’s Flawless Face Powder because it provides light coverage on “no-makeup days.” I can also use it underneath my foundation for days where I need more coverage.
But there’s also another reason why I layer this under my makeup: this powder contains salicylic acid, which helps treat acne. This powder helps keep my breakouts at bay without drying my skin out, which can be a common side effect from salicylic acid.
This product used to be called “Clarifying Pressed Powder,” and listed salicylic acid as an active ingredient. Rebranded as the “Flawless Face Powder,” salicylic acid is still the first ingredient on the list, but with no percentage. Who knows, maybe they decided to put even less than 1% this time around. It still works just as great as its predecessor!
The only issue I have with this product is that mineral oil is listed as one of the ingredients. Mineral oil is comedogenic (causes blackheads), so it’s puzzling why they would even put an oil in a powder product. Nonetheless, I tend to have sensitive skin prone to break-outs, and this product has not given me any trouble.
Since 2009, I have continued to use E.L.F. products religiously. For those of you who’d like to try it out, Elf can be purchased in-store at Target or Walmart; however, their full line of cosmetics can be purchased at their online website. You can get free shipping on orders over $25!
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