Top Seven e.l.f. Products
e.l.f makeup is so cheap (almost everything under $10) that you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind and buy up everything. Luckily, I did that for you. These were the hits.
#1: Studio Kabuki Face Brush ($6)
A good rule of thumb when you're shopping for brushes at e.l.f.: if it has a black handle, go for it. If it has a white handle, stay away! The black-handled brushes are from their Studio line, and while they're a bit pricier than the $1 brushes in the regular line, the difference in quality more than makes up for it.
It's hard to go wrong with a brush from e.l.f Studio, but the Kabuki brush's versatility makes it a top pick. Kabuki brushes are great for sweeping over the entire face for setting powder or light bronzers, but you can also mold the bristles with your hand and use it as a smaller, denser blush for apply blush or for contouring. The e.l.f. brush doesn't shed, is easy to clean, and feels absolutely luxurious on your skin.
Buy instead of: Bare Minerals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush--$28
#2: Essential Nail Polish in Sea Escape ($2)
I'm a sucker for nail polishes that only take one coat. Sea Escape looks almost black in the bottle, but one swipe on the nail reveals a gorgeous, multi-tonal green and blue with just a hint of dark sparkle. On its own, it's stunning and subtle. To dress it up, top it off with a layer of sheer blue glitter you have lying around from your middle school days. Unfortunately, no e.l.f. nail polishes are very long-lasting on their own. Grab a bottle of their top coat ($2) or use your own.
Buy instead of: Debra Lippman in Across the Universe--$20
#3: Essential Smudge Pot in Gotta Glow ($4)
I still remember the first time I put a creamy yellow shadow on my lids. It's amazing what just a quick sweep of just the right color can do to make your eyes look bigger and brighter. But it has to be exactly the right gold. Gotta Glow is sheer enough to work on any skin tone; it just brings your natural color one shade lighter and brighter, with some subtle shimmer for fun. The creamy formula goes on like a dream. I put it on with my finger and dab a tiny bit in the Cupid's bow of my upper lip for some extra highlight...if I'm not using #6 on this list, that is.
Buy instead of: Benefit Lemon-Aid ($20)
#4: Studio Lip Exfoliator ($3)
It's effective, it's easy to use, and it makes your lips taste like candy. The e.lf. lip exfoliator is a lipstick-shaped bar of brown sugar, shea butter, and avocado, grape, and jojaba oil. Massage it onto damp lips, rinse off, and apply some lip balm (or Vaseline). Try not to eat it.
Buy instead of: Fabulips Sugar LIp Scrub ($18)
#5: Essential Eye Widener ($1)
e.l.f's Essential line is its cheapest, and some of products aren't worth more than the tiny price tag. Not the eye widener. This pencil is creamy and so bright, and the softness means it's comfortable to apply right up to the water line. Use it on your lower eyelids and on the inside corners of your eyes to wake up your whole face. It's an eight-hour-sleep in a pencil.
The attached sharpener works great, too; I use it all the time on both my e.l.f. and my more expensive pencils. And since it's attached to the cap, it's easy to keep track of!
Buy instead of: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Alpine ($20)
#6: Studio Shimmer Palette ($3)
The Shimmer Palette is great for all skill levels. Casual makeup-wearers can use the two darker shades as pretty, sheer eyeshadows, but more advanced wearers will love this as an easy highlight and contour set. Use the lightest white and deepest brown to accentuate cheekbones, use the lighter brown to contour your nose, and use the pink to lift your brows. The white also works great on the inner corners of your eyes or to highlight a Cupid's bow, and I love pressing a little of the pink in the middle of my lips after finishing my lip color for a little extra highlight.
A warning, though, that the "shimmer" in the name is no joke. Unless you're going for the disco ball look, a little goes a long way. But if you only have room in your bag for one product, this one will cover all your bases.
Buy instead of: Bobbi Brown Copper Diamond Shimmer Brick ($45)
#7: Mineral Blemish Powder ($8)
It's downright expensive by e.l.f. standards, but the Mineral Blemish Powder is worth every cent. It's a completely sheer, completely natural powder that fights breakouts with the power of 3% sulfur (and no, your face will not smell like rotten eggs). It's not a concealer; put this on before your regular makeup or at night and let it work its magic. It comes with a small brush for spot treatment, and I like to supplement that with some big sweeps from the Kabuki brush to get a thin layer over my whole face. And my skin has never looked better.
Buy instead of: Bare Minerals Blemish Therapy ($18)
Have you tried e.l.f. products? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!
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