My Elf haul arrived almost a week ago, and I've been so busy recently with family and work and other general home style stuff that I didn't get a chance to try it out until yesterday, and that's only the brushes. Everything else is still in my box from Cherry Culture along with my lovely big NYX haul. You can see why I don't feel an urge to buy anything else right now! I'll review the make-up in another post, but in this one, I'm just going to talk about the brushes. Elf Cosmetics has an extremely low price point (most of the standard Elf line retails for just a $1), and has managed to generate significant buzz over the last couple of years. It looks like a great line to try out for a cheapie haul, but to me, if something doesn't work, it doesn't matter if it's just $1, it's a dollar wasted.
I ordered 6 brushes in total: 2 from the standard Elf line, and two from their studio line.
Eye Shadow Brush ($1) I didn't love this brush at all. I guess you get what you pay for, and this is a case of springing the extra $2 would have been worth it. The bristles are stiff, and when I used it this morning it hurt my eye a little. I think that maybe the bristles are a little short or something as well, which makes them stiff. Anyway, not a whole lot of love for me. I'll use it for a random back up brush, but it definitely won't make it into my day to day collection.
Blending Eye Brush ($1) When I first took a look at this I was disappointed. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that there are a couple of stray bristles, which already made it look poorly put together. Whenever I played around with it, it wasn't too stiff. It is similar to my Sephora Rounded Smudge Brush, but actually, not as stiff. It felt softer on my skin than the Eyeshadow Brush, which was nice. Ironically enough, I could have done with this brush being a bit stiffer. When I'm blending I want to feel like I have a lot of control, and the fact that these brushes were a little longer meant that I felt like I didn't quite have that spot control. However, this would be good for smoking or blending colors around the crease. If you don't have a blending brush already, this is good value for money for sure.
Small Smudge Brush ($3) This was recommended by we heart this a couple of weeks ago, so I threw it in my basket. When it arrived, I was surprised by how small it is. It is actually pretty much the same size as my Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush. The Elf brush is slightly stiffer. I like how it feels though, and it is good for lining eyes and applying a touch of shadow to the lower lid. I could also see myself using this for getting color right in the crease. Where the Eye Shadow Brush felt like a waste of a buck, this definitely feels like a good deal for $3.
4. Complexion Brush ($3) Woah, now we're talking bargain. This is a pretty nice powder brush. I'm not going to lie and say it's as soft as a MAC or anything like that, but it is definitely comparable to the Sephora one I was playing with earlier today. And it's a full $30 cheaper. Like many synthetic brushes, it is made from Taklon. I gave it a couple of tugs to see whether any of the hairs came out - nope. It gave a nice even finish when I used it with a powder. So yes, definitely a score here. Oooh, yeah, sorry the picture doesn't have more detail. My camera was having a hard time dealing with all that black.
Blush Brush ($3) Yes, this is pretty nice too. Like the Complexion Brush, it is made from Taklon. It is fairly soft, the bristles are nicely in place, and it picks up a good amount of blush. It has a taper, which is okay, but I prefer my blush brush to have more of an asymmetric finish rather than than a taper like this. That's the only thing I would do to make this better. But yes, I'm happy I dropped 3 bucks on this bad boy.
Powder Brush ($3) This brush seems huge!! I can't believe this was $3! It's a flat-headed powder brush that can also be used with wet products. I haven't had a chance to test this out properly yet. I think that the shape is actually too flat for a powder finish, but this would work nicely with mineral powder foundations. It can also be used with wet products so I'm going to try it stippling my foundation tomorrow. Like the other brushes, it's soft and the bristles seem decently in place. Actually, I like the soft feeling on my face of this one and have been randomly stroking it on my face as a "test" while I have been writing this post. Freak that I am!
So, what's the verdict? The Studio Line are nice brushes, and I'll definitely think about scoring a few more from that line. Even though the standard line are only $1, it seems silly not to spring the full $3 for something that is infinitely better in quality. I get that there is a time, a place, and a market for $1 brushes, but the stretch to $3 is worth it. These brushes do compete with more established brands like Sephora's standard line, and are definitely worth a look.
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