Let’s talk drugstore products for a minute.
I remember, years ago, when I was 12 or 13 and just starting to get into make up, that drugstore make up was all I really knew. To me, make up was either from the drugstore or from somewhere like Clinique. Clinique felt elderly, a little geriatric (and at the time, it was).
In the last few years, make up has had kind of a renaissance: brands like Clinique have been reborn and are more popular than ever, alongside other high end brands, like Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and others. And drugstore make up, at the same time, has kind of grown up too.
No more cheap Bonne Bell chapsticks and Wet’n’Wild eyeshadow that looked purely iridescent on your eyelids. No cheap, oily lipsticks and lip glosses that got everywhere in your purse. No, drugstore make up is more expensive than it used to be (without being as expensive as high end competitors) and it’s way better than it used to be.
Which is where e.l.f. cosmetics comes in. E.l.f. is one of those brands that everyone knows: they’re at Target; they’re super cheap; and they’re known for being super, super cheap. So cheap you actually wonder just how they do it. So cheap that people tend not to buy it because they think it will suck.
E.l.f. is one of those brands that people overlook and they shouldn’t. (I would argue Wet’n’Wild, despite its reputation as the make up of my childhood, is another amazing brand.) One reason why both e.l.f and Wet’n’Wild rock is that they are entirely cruelty free and have a pretty large selection of vegan products as well.
Without further ago, I want to share my 5 favorite e.l.f. products.
This is the palette pictured in my photo. If you’re wondering, to me, it’s the perfect travel palette. It has two blush colors: a cool-toned peachy pink and a crisp, rosy pink color. Both are very pigmented without making you look like a kewpie doll. It also has a bronzer, which is a great cool-toned ashy contouring color. The last square is the slightly lavender-tinted highlight; it’s not the most “blinding” highlight (as the YouTube beauty gurus would say), but it does the job. This is a great travel palette. The price? $8.
I wish this had a funkier name, but honestly, it doesn’t really need it. This is the first contour palette I ever bought and, at first, I was disappointed that it wasn’t cream. (I thought it was. I’m terrible at reading, I guess.) I’d only seen cream contours used in Instagram videos and wanted to try them. I ended up giving this a whirl and, honestly, this is another perfect palette for traveling. It has a killer highlight shade, a great brightening shade, and then two great contour shades; I used the lighter shade for most of my face and then the darker shade for my jawline (sparingly). I’ve been using it for 2 years now and, honestly, I’ll never buy another contour palette. I just don’t need it. And guess what? It’s $6.
I’m kind of a sucker for blushes. For a long time, I only bought pink-toned blushes, but recently, I’ve been gravitating towards more cool-toned violets and peach shades. What’s up with that? This blush in Bronzed Peach is one of the prettiest colors I’ve ever seen: the bronzer is great for along your hairline and to use instead of contouring. And the blush? Silky, smooth, super pigmented, the perfect blush, honestly. Don’t buy those expensive Too Faced peach blushes; get this baby instead. It’s only $6. Buy two! (The Bronzed Violet is killer too.)
Eyeshadow is the one area of drugstore beauty that is still lagging behind. Foundations are great; face products are great; but eyeshadows? Eyeshadow formulas are hard to do, I guess, because I’m still struggling to find great drug store eye products. That being said, I love (love) my Baked Eyeshadow Palette from elf. I have the Texas palette, but I’m really wishing I had the California palette. These eyeshadows are pretty pigmented (with a fair amount of fallout, but again, not bad for drugstore) and when you use a wet brush or your finger… girl, stand back. And it’s $10. Buy all three palettes and you still haven’t paid as much as you would for one Too Faced palette.
Listen: brushes are a necessary evil when it comes to make up. I hate buying them because they can be so expensive. But, e.l.f. brushes are so affordable and honestly, work so good. I love the Contouring Brush, the Ultimately Blending brush (perfect for blending out your contour or blush if you get a little heavy-handed), the Blush Brush, and the Total Face Brush (perfect for swiping off excess powder after baking). All of these brushes are less than $7 a piece. Considering a single Morphe brush can be $14+, that’s a bargain.