What to put on your E.L.F. shopping list

Despite my desire to keep my make-up collection small and high-end, I have a hard time resisting E.L.F. coupon codes. E.L.F. make-up is ridiculously cheap (mostly between $1 and $3, plus 50% off with coupon codes), yet there are a few stand-out items that even outperform department store make-up.

You have to be selective about what you buy – as there are a lot of duds too. I’ve put together a list of my favourite E.L.F. products, as well as few to avoid – hope this is helpful the next time they have a great coupon code. (Use cybermonday coupon 50WIDE for 50% off purchases over $25 – valid for another 16 hours)

My favourites:
Gel eyeliner in Coffee ($3) + Studio angled eyeliner brush ($3)

After purchasing MAC’s Dipdown fluidline, I can now compare the two products and say that ELF’s Coffee gel eyeliner is as good, if not MORE pigmented than MAC’s gel eyeliner – but MAC’s cost at least 5 times more. The Studio angled brush makes it easy to appy gel liner, and is especially good for creating winged eyeliner looks.

Studio flat-top powder brush ($3)

This brush is one of ELF’s star products – it is used to stipple on liquid foundation for an airbrushed finish. It is very dense and applies foundation beautifully – however, some people (including myself) have had to super-glue the brush head back onto the handle as it is very wobbly and can fall off! Hopefully ELF have fixed the problem since there were many complaints about this.

Studio Eyeshadow “c” brush ($3)

A super high-quality brush found in many beauty bloggers’ make-up bags. The soft flat brush head makes it easy to apply a wash of color on the lid – I prefer this to my MAC 239.

Essential Custom compact ($1)

This can be used to store depotted MAC eyeshadows: MAC’s refillable palette costs $7 and doesn’t even come with a mirror – I much prefer this. If you’re feeling creative, you can customize the palette to hold a whole face-worth of product (here’s my tutorial).

Hollywood Eyelashes Kit ($3)

I purchased this for the eyelash applicator (looks like a large curved tweezer) – I may try the included eyelashes at some point, but so far I’ve been sticking to the dramatic lashes ($1) as they look more natural. If you’re nervous about using false eyelashes and hate putting tweezers near your eyes – the eyelash applicator can help make the process easier. Don’t use the enclosed eyelash glue (it’s not strong enough) – purchase DUO glue instead.

Mineral Eyeshadow Primer ($3)

A lot of people claim that this is a dupe for Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. I’ve never tried the UD version, so I can’t compare the two. This primer works really well for me – it increases the staying power and vibrancy of my eyeshadow and keeps it crease-free.

Shine Eraser/ Blotting Sheets ($1)

I’m a huge fan of blotting my face – I usually don’t need to reapply my mineral foundation as long as I blot my t-zone once or twice a day. These papers are better than the plasticky Clean & Clear ones, their quality reminds me of my Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens. I keep the Boscia ones in my make-up bag, but stock up on these and stash them everywhere else (car dashboard, handbag etc.)


A lot of people purchase ELF cheek products because their packaging and shades are reminiscent of NARS. From my own purchases (warm bronzer, all over color stick) and reviews I’ve read online, their cheek products can be powdery and lacking in pigmentation – so I would stay away from them.

Currently Trying – Here are some products that I will be trying out for the first time – will update here if they’re worth it or not.

Mineral 4 piece Bamboo Travel Brush Set ($10)

Some days I have to apply my make-up on the go, so I’m putting together a mini full-face make-up kit to grab whenever I need it. These brushes are the perfect size and combination for my needs.

Studio Stipple brush ($3)

 Have read really good reviews about this brush and am going to try it with my cream blushes.

Make-up Mist and Set ($3)

 This spray is meant to blend and set your make-up, much like MAC’s Studio Fix or Urban Decay’s All-Nighter spray. It’s meant to be more suitable for acne-prone skin than Studio Fix, so I thought I’d give it a try – especially since these sprays are meant to help mineral foundations look glowy rather than powdery.

Daily Brush Cleaner ($3)

 Thought I’d keep this in my bathroom for those times when I have to clean a brush in a hurry but can’t wait for them to dry.

Nourishing Cuticle Pen and Cuticle Pusher ($1)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m obsessed with keeping cuticles well-groomed. The cuticle oil pen seems promising – it contains avocado oil and almond oil, as well as a lot of vitamins. Am going to keep this in my handbag along with the cuticle pusher to try keep my nails in the best possible condition (especially in this dehydrating cold weather!).

My only other advice for shopping on ELF is to look up reviews on Makeup Alley – they can really help you decide which products are worth it. Also – wait for coupon codes so you only end up paying $.50 to $1.50 per item! (I used their cybermonday coupon 50WIDE, which is still valid for another 16 hours. For Canadian readers – only pay US shipping by using this tip.)

Have you purchased ELF make-up – please tell me your favorites in the comments below.

DISCLAIMER: I purchased all these products by myself and am not affiliated in any way with ELF.


  1. Beautygirl24
    November 29, 2011 / 8:10 pm

    I love ELF! I think I get joy out of buying makeup for such a low price. I agree with your picks, and also agree to stay away from the blush/bronze duo. I bought it and used it only a handful of times. It was super shimmery and looked horrible, making my pores stand out.

  2. Ella Pretty Blog
    November 29, 2011 / 8:56 pm

    Noelle – the ELF blushes look so pretty, but after reading reviews on MUA – along with my experience with the bronzer, I know to stay away – I guess I enjoy the ELF tools more than the actual make-up (lip, cheek and eye products).

  3. Anonymous
    November 29, 2011 / 9:55 pm

    I love Elf brushes, so durable and fab.

  4. Ella Pretty Blog
    November 29, 2011 / 10:47 pm

    Andi – a lot of them are really good – very dense and soft. I'm hoping my travel set ones turn out to be good – I have MAC travel brushes (from holiday sets) but a lot of them (especially the blush brushes) aren't of very good quality.

  5. Schnelle
    November 30, 2011 / 3:41 am

    Wow, I'm surprised with your reviews! I agree with you on the primer, I like it too but Urban Decay's is WAY better. I am totally in love with the blusher and bronzer duo as I found the colors to have great pigmentation and staying power. I think their makeup setting spray works well too but again, I prefer Urban Decay's All Nighter.

  6. alicia
    November 30, 2011 / 5:42 pm

    good choices!

  7. Ella Pretty Blog
    December 1, 2011 / 4:58 am

    Schnelle – You're so lucky that the blusher/bronzer works for you as the colors are so pretty! I wonder if our different experiences are from 1)the product being from a different batch or 2)our skin types? For my first ELF order I ordered items reviewed by one of my favourite bloggers (the all over color stick and a cream eye shadow), and they didn't show up AT ALL on my skin – but worked for the blogger who recommended them – so I do think there are some differences in opinion.I guess you can't go wrong with their tools LOL – less chance of changing the product/formulation!Alicia – thanks 🙂

  8. Louise @ cosmetic bee
    December 3, 2011 / 2:32 am

    Thanks for the reviews, esp. of the gel eyeliner. I use Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner. It is excellent but pricey. I tried the MAC one but found it does not have as much staying power as the Bobbi Brown one. However $3 for a gel eyeliner is incredible!

  9. Tali
    December 6, 2011 / 8:15 pm

    Great choices.. my misses are the eyebrow things as NO colors match my brows 🙁 also hate the brush cleaner!!

  10. Ella Pretty Blog
    December 7, 2011 / 3:07 am

    Louise – the Bobbi Brown liner is on my "to try" list, as is the Maybelline gel liner – have heard good things about both of them.Tali – Do you have the spray cleaner or the brush shampoo? I wonder if I'll like my spray cleaner….

  11. Jayme and Mendi
    December 8, 2011 / 5:31 pm

    Great post!Be sure to visit our blog to enter our Sephora Collection giveaway going on now…it's valued at over $100! :)Jayme & Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravingshttp://herlatenightcravings.blogspot.com/2011/12/sephora-collection-giveaway.html

  12. Beauty Make Up Addict
    January 18, 2012 / 8:27 am

    This was really helpful thanksI am a new follower, Please check out my blog thankshttp://www.beautymakeupaddict.blogspot.com

  13. Ella Pretty Blog
    January 18, 2012 / 5:26 pm

    I will definitely check out your blog – thanks so much for following. Glad my list was helpful 🙂

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