Writer and expert /
Trying to save your pennies a little? Don’t compromise your makeup addiction! Instead of spending all your dosh on the finer things in life, perhaps it’s time to give inexpensive makeup a go. After all, cheap doesn’t have to mean cheap quality! You don’t know what gems you’re going to find…
Enter e.l.f. Cosmetics, the inexpensive makeup brand that manages to skilfully merge high-quality formulas and laughable price points. Laughable, you ask? Yep, it’s hard not to let out a (very excited) giggle when you realise you can bag primers, eyeshadows and more starting at just $6.
Are you as shocked as us? Keep reading to find out the most beloved products in the e.l.f. range, and how you can snag a sneaky discount on e.l.f. with RY throughout the month of November.
Like most makeup fanatics, I’m always reluctant to go cheap. It may sound silly, but there’s always that back-of-the-mind thought that if you spend big, you’ll get fantastic quality products in return. It’s definitely unfounded, too–I’ve spent far too much money on certain products only to be left completely and utterly disappointed. Because of this mindset, though, I was in for quite the shock when trying e.l.f. for the first time.
The brand has a pretty big reputation in the industry, but somehow this had flown under the radar, with me dismissing it as a last resort for when I was feeling extra poor. Boy, was I wrong–not only are the formulas of these products creamy, silky and soft on skin, they’re crazy pigmented and have excellent staying power. Checking all the boxes, e.l.f.!
Of course, as in every makeup range, there are hits and misses. Here are the hit e.l.f. products you desperately need–even if you’re a high-end makeup snob like me.
When it comes to blush, I tend to wear the same one day-in, day-out. If you’re spending upwards of $40 on a blush, this mentality makes sense–it’s simply too expensive to pick up any other shades. That’s the beauty of cheap (yet quality) makeup, though! The e.l.f. Cosmetics Blush will set you back no more than your daily iced latte, meaning it’s perfectly acceptable to pick up this steal to add to your collection, or even splurge on every shade.
The formula of these blushes is surprisingly blendable, and goes on with a hit of pigment, meaning you really only need one swipe. If you love the doll-faced look, layer the powder onto your apples a few times, brushing backwards slightly towards your hairline. Of the shade range, we adore ‘Shy‘–the pretty, pink colour is an amazing dupe for a few well-known (and pricy) favourites. Another stunning hue is ‘Glow‘, a peach with slightly shimmery reflects.
Ahh, setting spray–that magical stuff we all like to spritz over our makeup to help it stay put throughout the day. A matte setting spray is a lifesaver if you get oily, whereas a hydrating mist will help dry gals and guys stay looking fresh and dimensional as the hours pass by. If you liberally apply setting spray both morning and night, like I do, going down the expensive route can be a dilemma. At close to $50 for my everyday fave, it’s easy to wonder whether that chunk of cash could be put to better use!
At only $9, this setting spray from e.l.f. delivers expensive quality without the hefty price tag. Formulated with key ingredient aloe, it’s ideal if you’ve got normal to dry skin, as it will ensure your complexion remains hydrated and protected. It’s also alcohol-free–bye bye, nasties! For those more on the oily side, make sure to check out the e.l.f. Cosmetics Matte Magic Mist & Set Spray ($9) to help keep shine at bay.
My gripe with drugstore contour palettes is always the same–too orange, frustratingly cakey and almost impossible to blend. If you’ve experienced the same issues when buying cheap, it’s easy to be turned off. After all, nothing is worse than a stark, unblended contour. Yikes.
Thankfully, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Contour Palette is decidedly not like the other low-end alternatives on the market. Just like pricier finds out there, it blends like a dream and doesn’t oxidise as it wears. Although one shade does appear quite dramatically orange on my ultra-pale complexion, the others are so workable, it doesn’t even matter! I love using the palest shade with a sponge to bake and set under my eyes, whereas the darker contour shade is fantastic for carving out those cheekbones.
If you’re always on the hunt for the perfect cat eye, this is sure to be the liner that helps you achieve it. Blacker than black and totally long-wearing, the tapered brush applicator means that you’re afforded ultimate control. Often a pen-liner kinda girl myself, I blanched at the thought of using something with a brush–it just screamed ‘you’re going to get eyeliner in your eye and look like a horror-movie level demon’. Just me? Okay, movin’ on.
Very surprisingly, though, this product is anything but difficult to use. The brush applicator is a good width, meaning you can tilt it to achieve a thicker line along the lash line, or a thinner one for your wing. One thing to note, though–if you’re impatient with your makeup, this may not be the one for you. As it’s quite a liquid-y formula (duh–liquid liner) it does take some time to dry, so don’t apply it as you’re rushing out the door unless you want to look like a panda.
As an oily girl, there’s nothing that excites me more than the words ‘silicone primer‘, except maybe ‘silicone primer that doesn’t break me out’. It’s a double-edged sword if you suffer from greasy, breakout-prone skin, as silicone both mattifies and fills pores for that smooth look under your foundation. Unfortunately, with ‘pore-filling’ usually comes pimples, pimples and more pimples. Thus, it’s pretty safe to say this product is a modern miracle for the price point.
Create that flawless base for your makeup by spreading this all over your skin, letting it cool and sink into your pores without fear. It doesn’t feel thick, but rather absorbs well with just a hint of tackiness. It definitely lives up to its claims–pores are practically unnoticeable, fine lines are blurred and makeup stays all day long. Pop this one into your routine and stress less about your face melting off in the impending summer heat! There’s also a version for dry skin, the Face Primer – Hydrating, which works just as well at prolonging the wear of your makeup.
It’s odd to think of cheaper brands having mind-blowingly innovative ideas, yet e.l.f. have managed to knock this out of the park with a few of their beloved products. One of my handbag essentials, especially for long days where I can’t make it home, is the e.l.f. Day to Night Lipstick Duo. This double-ended lippie features two variations on the same colour palette, giving you double the options in the one handy tube.
The formula is rich, creamy and applies satin–it’s the perfect blend of matte and glossy that is bound to work on almost anyone. Take your pick of pinks, nudes, berries or reds that will help you transition from day to night with ease. My favourite is the ‘Need It Nudes‘, which features a lighter shade that’s perfect for work, and a darker brown-nude that will beautifully complement your evening look.
Highlighter is every girl’s radiant dream–dust a little on your cheekbones for that enviably shimmery, stardust-like glow. Although you’ll have to prise my BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector from my cold, dead hands (that stuff is literal magic), I’m always up for trying newbies to mix things up a bit. Enter the e.l.f. Baked Highlighter.
At only $12, this is the biggest steal in e.l.f.’s whole collection. Upon whipping out my fan brush and dipping it into the pearlescent powder, I was immediately floored. Just like any high-end highlighter, this product is pigmented yet blendable, doesn’t feel chalky, and resists accentuating any texture on my cheeks (of which I have a fair bit). The result is a gorgeous, luminous glow with small flecks of glitter. If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to your ride-or-die, this is likely the one.
We hope this guide to our favourite e.l.f. products will help you choose from the extensive range–and if you can’t make a selection, just remember that it won’t set you back too much to buy it all! At no more than $16 a pop, this stuff is the real deal. It’s just begging for you to try it out!
Plus, throughout the month of November, e.l.f. is taking the coveted position of our RY Brand of the Month. You can claim 10% off the entire range, so if you’re looking to stock up, now is definitely the time! Check out our offers page for more information.
Let us know what your favourite product from the e.l.f. Cosmetics range is over on Facebook or Twitter!
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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