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  • Writer's picture Miryam Van Horn


Raise your hand if you remember seeing the E.L.F (Eyes, Lips, Face) brand at your grocery store and doing a double take at the $1 -$5 price tag on brushes and makeup? Back then, I surely thought twice about purchasing any foundation or eyeshadow palette for fear that I'd be wasting my money on cheap, chalky makeup. Welp! E.L.F! My have you come a long way!

E.L.F is definitely giving luxe brands a run for their money these days. The once two-shelf brand at the grocery store has turned into a mega-brand not to be ignored with half the real estate of a single aisle. If you haven't taken a peek at their latest skin care collection - you should! Not only is the packaging clean and eye catching, but the products themselves are fantastically effective. Take for example E.L.F's Holy Hydration Face Cream - not only is the texture of this cream absolute heaven (like applying a cloud on your skin), but the moisturizer is a treasure of the best ingredients : squalane (improves elasticity), hyaluronic acid (plumps skin with moisture) and niacinamide (improves clarity and tone).

Where E.L.F really shines is in their complexion products, in my opinion. They are masters at creating beautiful products that "dupe" other luxe brand competitors. Some may have a problem at the obvious "imitation" in practice here, but all brands try to one up the other, don't they? However you might feel about product development, E.L.F has made a case for purchasing a great product at a fraction of the price.

Which brings me to their line of complexion and color products launched in 2020. While some of these items launched earlier this year, they are certainly worth noting as a summary of their outstanding progress in 2020. Here's what to keep you eyes peeled for as you peruse down the makeup aisle in the coming weeks ...

When scoping out a brand the first thing I gravitate toward are complexion products. While not every brand excels in this category (some are color focused brands), I feel this is a good place to start. Honestly, I have found it rather difficult to find a good foundation at E.L.F. , however, while they have missed the mark on foundation they have made up on other fantastic complexion products.

If you missed the Retro Paradise Collection which launched in August, you can peruse on the brand's website or on Among my favorites was a Primer Glow Oil that I was, quite honestly, reluctant to try. I had been on the search for an alternative to my favorite primer serum from Farsali (Unicorn Essence). Though I love what this does for my skin, at $52 I just can't justify it. To my surprise the primer glow oil from E.L.F did a marvelous job at smoothing my skin and giving it a glowy, juicy appearance. While I don't reach for this everyday, it's perfect for when I feel my skin needs extra hydration and bump of umph. At only $10 - it's a steal!

My second favorite of this collection was the Lip & Shine Kit which includes FOUR lip liners and a gloss for only $10! The nude lip liners are perfect for fall/nude lip looks.

While I am not a fan of the hot pink in the set, the chocolate-truffle liners are stunning. For a dramatic statement, fill in the lip with the deep shade and top off with the enclosed lip gloss. You can also take it to another level and add a nude eye or a soft, smokey eye look.

While shopping at Target this summer (for the third time in the same week), I did a U-ey and turned right around to notice these cute bite-sized eyeshadow quads of brilliant shades. If you haven't picked up one of these gorgeous, jeweled mini-shadow palettes put it on your list NOW! In fact, write several down because these little batch of buttery, silky shadows are about to blow your socks off! These pigment-packed, mix of matte and sheen are a perfect add-on to your eyeshadow collection and give a kick in color. Did I mention they are only $3!? Yup!

From left to right are some perfect for FALL: Pumpkin Pie, Truffle and Rose Water.

Building on the same idea are these bite-sized blush and highlighter duos. These blushes have a punch of pigment, so these will be living in your arsenal for a while. Not to mention this entire collection is perfect for travel (okay so we are not exactly traveling a whole lot these days, but work with me here). Weekend getaways are still within reach and these palettes make it so very travel friendly! These beauties are also $3!!

From left to right: Pomegranate, Spiced Apple and Lychee.

If there's one thing I'm absolutely obsessed with is lipstick! I just can't get enough of them! While we aren't exactly wearing much lipsticks these days (per COVID masks), I keep my lips hydrated so they can stay smooth and plump! Enter ELF Ride or Die Lip Balm! These emollient lip smackers will have even the most non-lipstick wearer loving the feel of these beauties and at $5 why not?

From left: Tough Cookie and Boss Berry. (Additionally swatched, is just peachy -bottom)

During my career as a brand makeup artist I worked with many amazing brands. It was my time with Dior, however, that I fell in love with the gorgeous texture, ingredients and lush pigments the brand exquisitely creates. One product that I swore by (and still do) is the Dior Brow Styler. It is one of the best brow pencils EVER! But at almost $30 a pencil, even I can't justify the price. That's why I use and love E.L.F's Ultra Precise Brow Pencil. It is so user friendly, stays put and at only $5 I could purchase 6 and I'm set for the year!!!

If you struggle with sparse brows, grab the WOW Brow Gel to add volume. This formula is fiber-infused which helps to create a fuller brow plus keep them in place! Ahem, $4! Both can be found here.

Do you know what is better than finding seriously gorgeous makeup at less than $10? Finding brushes to apply it all at less than $10! Through out my years in retail I have collected a pretty fine collection of expensive brushes. But out of all the brushes I own, my E.L.F brushes are my go-to! I have often consulted my clients to forgo the expensive makeup brushes and instead go for drugstore. Here are some of my favorites that help blending your E.L.F products a cinch! All brushes can be found here.

From left to right (1st row) : Precision Featherlight Highlighting brush ($8), Smudge Brush ($4), Eyeshadow 'C'Brush $2

(2nd Row): Total Face Sponge ($5), Detail Crease Brush ($4), Precision Airbrush Blender ($10)

(3rd Row): Angled Blush Brush ($5), Flawless Concealer Brush ($4), Camo Concealer Sponge ($5)

Well! There you have it y'all! I hope this serves as a best-of E.L.F's latest releases and honorable mentions. Certainly, there is so much more that E.L.F does right, but these are definitely my hero products and I had to share them with you.

So next time you're on a Target-run or grocery shopping, stop by and pick up a couple of these items. No doubt they'll be cheaper than your next dinner plan!




*E.L.F is not a sponsor of this blog . I purchased and tested all items on my own. The opinions described here in are mine alone and were not influenced or compensated by any monetary means.

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