Love High-Quality Makeup But on a Budget? Enter E.L.F.
True story: I'm one of those people who find makeup intimidating. I get overwhelmed with the many product options and the order in which I'm supposed to apply them. On the few occasions when I do it well, I take a ton of selfies and pat myself in the back for trying.
I've been experimenting with different looks recently, and since the outcomes often surprise me, I use the more affordable products I own. If you can relate and you're up for the challenge, consider E.L.F. Cosmetics as your starting point. The brand launched in 2004 after founders Joey Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba noticed that even women with expensive tastes went to dollar stores for affordable cosmetics.
Today, E.L.F. is widely available in stores including Walgreens, Target, and on its website, and the line has expanded to a wide range of products between $1-$10. The high-quality assortment includes products you'll reach for over and over again. Read on for the standouts of the affordable brand and decide which ones you'll try first.
— Additional reporting by Sarah Siegel
E.L.F. Makeup Mist & Set
Even beauty experts are occasionally left with a cakey face. The E.L.F. Makeup Mist & Set ($5) smooths out foundation with one spray and ensures your makeup lasts all day. It contains aloe and is formulated without alcohol, leaving skin hydrated.
E.L.F. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara
The E.L.F. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara ($2) is an ideal solution for keeping unruly brows under control. It leaves arches soft, not crunchy, and the clear mascara on the other side of the tube is a subtle way to accentuate bottom lashes. Bonus: no smudging!
E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator
If you're a fan of matte lip colors and liquid lipsticks, you need the E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator ($4). The bullet-shaped scrub sloughs away dry skin on your lips while moisturizing with jojoba oil and shea butter. Now you can wear your favorite liquid lipstick without marring its perfectly matte finish.
E.L.F. Powder Blush Palette
The colors of this E.L.F. Powder Blush Palette ($8) will instantly add a warm glow and energy to your skin. This compact also takes up less space in than four individual formulas would, which makes it easy to pack on your next trip. The best part is that each shade can be popped out and switched with makeup pans from E.L.F.'s other four-product palettes, such as the E.L.F. Illuminating Palette ($8) and the E.L.F. Beautifully Bare Total Face Palette ($8).
E.L.F Face Brush Kit
E.L.F.'s makeup brushes have always been a reliable and affordable option. They come in every shape you could possibly think of and are soft enough to blend out any formula — cream or powder — with ease. This E.L.F Face Brush Kit ($15) is a great option to get your tool collection started.
E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit
If you struggle with wimpy brows, E.L.F. has the solution. The E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit ($4) comes with a gel and a powder to beef up your arches fast. Use the gel to create shape, sketching short strokes to draw on hairs. Next, use the powder to fill in any sparse areas and set the gel for long-lasting wear.
E.L.F. Eye Refresh
No one has to know you barely slept with the E.L.F. Eye Refresh ($4). This product includes a metal rollerball that feels cooling under your eyes and releases a cucumber and green-tea-packed serum to get rid of those puffy under-eye bags. The refreshing sensation will be sure to wake you up before you even get to your morning coffee.
E.L.F. Dark Foundation Palette
Sometimes, one foundation color doesn't cut it, especially after a few hours outside in the summer sun. Add dimension and even contour with the E.L.F. Dark Foundation Palette ($10). The formula is ultra-creamy and ideal for combination and dry skin. With a wide range of colors, finding your shade will be a snap.
E.L.F. Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Mist
From morning to night, this E.L.F. Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Mist ($10) will keep your makeup looking fresh and nourish your skin with infused green tea, cucumber and aloe vera.