Elf Brushes Review
I remember when Elf Brushes first came on the market and the thought of having such affordable products was mind blowing. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally skeptical and a little nervous. I thought they might not be that good and that it’d probably be a waste of money. But then again, back then all of their products were only $1-3 so there wasn’t much to lose. I gave them a try and wasn’t too impressed, as you’ll see in some of the brushes I’ll mention in this post. But over the years, they’ve really expanded their brand and created some amazing products. They have done as most drugstore brands lately and raised their prices, which I don’t really appreciate, but at least they’re still one of the most affordable and offer good quality items.
Since expanding, they have released many different lines within their brand. I have six brushes from their Studio line and five brushes from their Professional line. The Studio line has all black packaging with synthetic hair bristles. Most brushes in this line are around $3, but some are a little more depending on how big they are. I’ve had pretty good luck with this line, although I have had to glue a few back together...
Starting with the bigger brushes and moving to the smaller ones, the first is the Complexion brush. This is a little more than the others retailing at $4, although that’s still more affordable than you’ll find a single brush anywhere else. This is almost the same exact shape as a brush from one of the BH Cosmetic sets that I own and I use it every single day to blend out my blush. It’d also be good for lightly dusting powder around the face because the bristles aren’t too densely packed.
The Powder brush is also in the $4 range from this line and one of the brushes that I had to glue back together. I haven’t had much problem with it shedding, but the entire barrel came off of the handle when I washed it one time. I noticed that part of the brush was pretty loose to begin with, but after gluing it in place it doesn’t move at all. I typically use this with a mattifying powder throughout the day, but because of its flat top I also think it’d work well with foundation.
This next one is a good example of why I’d rather companies label brushes by number rather than by the way they think they’re supposed to be used. This brush is called the Blush brush, but I think it’s much too small for blush. I do have bigger cheeks so I probably need a bigger brush than normal for blush, but I don’t think this one is much bigger than what I use to set my undereye area. I still think it’s a good quality brush, I just don’t get much use out of it personally.
One brush that gets a ton of use in my daily routine is the Small Tapered brush. I have a smaller brush from Morphe to set my undereye concealer and then I go on top with this brush and a lighter powder to brighten my dark circles even more. I think the shape of this brush is perfect for that purpose, as you can probably tell by how dirty it is.
I never got much use out of the Flawless Concealer brush and it eventually just got pushed to the back of my collection. It’s not a bad brush, it’s just as good as the others, it’s just that I didn’t reach for it while applying makeup. Now, however, I use it every time I apply self tanner. Tanning the fingers has always been the biggest struggle for me and that’s how I’ve chosen to use this brush. It’s small, yet fluffy enough to provide just the right amount of product on my fingers without creating the infamous self tan hands.
If you’ve seen some of my tutorials, then this brush might look very familiar to you. The Contour brush is small with densely packed bristles and a slight dome shape. This would be great for concealer on a blemish or contouring small areas like the nose, but I like using it to place darker colors on the outer corner of my eye when I want a more smokey effect. You can see in the picture below that it’s beginning to have some slight shedding issues, but nothing too serious.
This is the Eyeshadow “C” brush. I’ve had this one for years and when I first started growing my collection, this was my favorite brush for placing colors in my crease. The shape of it was perfect for windshield wiper motions and it could also pack on shadow pretty easily. I don’t use it as much now, but it is still one that I would recommend.
This next brush is from their Beautifully Bare line, which is one that’s somewhat more new to their brand than the other two lines. This is the only brush I have from that collection and it is their Blending brush. I think they could’ve done better on the name because they already have one blending brush and it can get confusing. This is probably my favorite foundation brush that I own. It makes foundation application go by so quickly and the bristles are super soft. It is a little more at $6, but it's definitely worth it.
The next five brushes that I have from Elf are from their Professional line. All of the brushes in this collection have white and silver packaging. Most of them have more natural hair-like bristles, so they’re not going to be as smooth but they can pick up product very well. Almost all of the brushes in this line are only $1, with the exception of the bigger brush which is $2. You can already see in the picture below that there are some inconsistencies with the packaging. But you can only expect so much when they’re priced so low.
Looking back, I’m not sure what made me want to pick up this brush. This is their Bronzing brush and you can clearly tell that the bristles are dry, thin, and sparse. I’m not sure how much bronzing they expect to be happening with this brush. The best way I’ve found to use it is with highlight. Thankfully, I don’t have that big of an issue with this brush shedding unless I’m washing it and a few hairs fall out, but it is concerning how much red dye comes out of the bristles when it’s wet.
The Eye Shadow brush is the first brush I ever bought from this brand and is honestly what kept me from purchasing anything else for a while afterwards. I love how easily this brush picks up powder products and that it’s not your typical flat eyeshadow brush. But it really is not soft at all and I have a lot of trouble with this shedding. Ever since the day I bought it, it sheds hairs all over my eyelid while I’m trying to apply eyeshadow. Unfortunately this one’s probably the biggest dud in the bunch.
I know I already talked about the Elf Blending brush, but this is their other Blending brush that is for the eyes. It’s probably the smallest blending brush I own and I very rarely ever reach for this in my collection. I really only use it if I’m working in a small area on my eyes and I don’t want to mix the colors around. It is only $1, but I do have almost as much shedding issues with this as I do with the Eye Shadow brush.
I specifically bought this one to use in a different way than what it’s supposed to be for. The Concealer brush is perfect for cleaning up nail polish! At only $1, it’ll be the cheapest nail tool you’ll ever buy. If I get nail polish on the cuticles, I just dip this in a little bit of acetone and clean it up. It works so fast, I love it. I clean it immediately after each use because I don’t want the acetone to eat away at it and I’ve never had a problem with shedding, which is really important when working around wet polish.
It’s a very rare occasion that I ever use a Smudge brush to smudge eyeliner along my lash line. I can’t remember if this was a recommendation from someone or if I got it just to play around with a smudge sponge. Either way, I think it’s okay. It’s not too stiff, but it’s also not too soft. Since I don’t smudge my eyeliner often, I’m glad this was so affordable for when I do need it.
Eyelash curlers are made to be different for every person because we all have different eye shapes, but I really cannot stress enough how important it is that you stay away from this eyelash curler. You can tell when you touch this that it’s very poorly made, but my issue was that it was way too flat and wide for my eye that it always pinched the corners no matter how careful I was. I think the one I use every day is from Revlon and I love it. This one is no good. The only thing I can say I like about it is that it has a slot for two fingers for more control, which is something I haven’t seen before.
I got their Eyebrow Stencil Kit when they were having one of their sales, so that made it only 50 cents and I’d be crazy to pass that up. I’ve never used these before and that was the perfect opportunity to get to play. Unfortunately, I have a small face and these are all too big for my eyebrow area. They are pretty nice, though. They’re like a tacky rubbery plastic that could easily stick to the oils on the skin, which would be good for keeping it in place while you work on the shape.
Although some of these worked for me and some of them didn’t, I would say that I’d recommend trying whatever you want from this brand just because they’re so affordable. I found some staples that I always have to have in my collection and it gave me the opportunity to try things that I wouldn’t otherwise want to spend money on. They have 50% off sales pretty often, so I’d definitely recommend signing up with your email address so you’re notified of the next sale.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them for me in the comments below. Have you tried Elf brushes before? What are some of your favorites?
Don’t forget to follow me on all of my social media!