As you may well have heard, e.l.f. Cosmetics is no longer selling to the UK. Their distributor, Distribeauty, has decided to move on from selling e.l.f. in the UK and I wish them the best of luck in their future ventures. I thought that it would be the perfect time to write a tribute to the first ever beauty brand I tried many moons ago, and list my top 5 favourite e.l.f. products.
For those who have never heard of it, e.l.f. (Eyes Lips Face) Cosmetics is a brilliant little budget beauty brand, formed in New York City. They are completely cruelty free and all of their products are suitable for vegans, apart from their dirt cheap Essential line brushes which are made from horse hair. e.l.f. products are available internationally but unfortunately, no longer in the UK.
My first experience with e.l.f. was at the age of 13, when I was just starting to become interested in make-up. My mum didn’t want me spending a fortune on products I had no idea how to use, so she encouraged me to buy some basic products to use from e.l.f. Cosmetics. I fell for their fun colours, decent quality and low price from my very first use, and although I use their make-up less than I used to as I have discovered the beauty blogosphere, I still use some of their products on a daily basis. Here is a list of my top 5 favourite e.l.f. products and some suggestions for dupes that are still available in the UK. Farewell e.l.f, we’ll miss you and I will cross my fingers that one day you will find another UK distributor!
5. Studio High Definition Powder in Sheer – £6 for 8 grams
Much raved about in the beauty blogosphere, e.l.f.’s High Definition Powder is loved by many, including myself. Although you do have to be careful when applying this completely white powder (especially if you have a darker skin tone), if you apply with a light hand it makes your skin look beautifully smooth and even, like you’ve been airbrushed! During the day I apply the powder after concealer and foundation, but before blush, highlighter and mascara. The powder is extremely mattifying, so any shimmer from blush or highlighter completely disappears if you apply the High Definition Powder at the end of your routine. I find that despite having oily/combination skin, my face doesn’t end up looking like an oil slick by the end of the day when I use the powder and it sets my make-up brilliantly.
I adore the packaging – the big box means that you have enough room to swirl your brush in the lid before application, and I think the matte black box looks very sleek and high-end. The puff that the powder comes with is useless and you would end up with way too much powder on your face if you used it, but it is handy for preventing all of the fine powder coming through the sifter during transportation.
My only complaint with this powder is that if you are wearing it and have your picture taken with a flash, it has a tendency to make you look slightly ghostly. Since I very rarely have my photo taken during the day I have no problems using it in my everyday make-up routine, but if I’m going out and know that photographs will most probably be taken, I apply it over my primer and under my mineral foundation. It helps mineral foundation to slide on like a dream and still makes your pores look smaller, but it doesn’t add a whitish cast to your face. Finish with a spritz of setting spray and you’re HD ready!
DUPES: This HD Finishing Powder by NYX is extremely similar despite being more expensive at £9.50 per 6g, although it gets massive bonus points for also being vegan and cruelty-free. I would strongly suggest giving this one a go if you love the e.l.f. HD Powder.
4. Studio Lip Exfoliator – £3.75 for 4.4 grams
I love wearing matte lipstick, which can really magnify dry patches on your lips. Therefore, it’s essential to keep lips in tip-top condition and exfoliate regularly. The Lip Exfoliator by e.l.f. is a brilliant way to do this. The lipstick-style tube is perfect for throwing in a handbag and applying on-the-go. The taste is incredible, I just can’t resist licking the sugar off my lips after scrubbing them – I know I shouldn’t but it’s just so tasty! I find the abrasiveness of the scrub just perfect, not rough enough to make it painful to apply, but abrasive enough to get rid of the most stubborn dry patches. The Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil in the scrub are moisturising so you don’t even need to apply a balm afterwards. My one fault with it is that I tend to go through it quite quickly, I use quite a lot every time I exfoliate which I think is down to the fact it is in a lipstick tube.
DUPES: Lush’s Bubblegum Lip Scrub is tasty and just as good as the e.l.f. one, but the scrub is contained in a jar rather than in a lipstick bullet, making it last a little longer but less convenient to apply when you’re out and about. It’s also a little more expensive at £5.50 per jar, but you get a whopping 25 grams for your money. The Lush version doesn’t contain any Shea Butter, so I would follow up with a nice nourishing lip balm (like my DIY Double Mint & Shea Butter Lip Balm) to retain some moisture. Nonetheless, it’s still a good dupe. You can also buy it in Mint Julips and Popcorn flavours too, but personally I like the Bubblegum the best.
3. Studio Lip Balm SPF 15 in Rose – £3.75 for 2.1 grams
As much as I love lipstick, sometimes that much pigment isn’t appropriate – there’s no way I’ll be rocking a burgundy lip to a 9.15am lecture any time soon! For those days a tinted lip balm is perfect to add some polish to your look, and this is my go-to. The rosey pink is my perfect MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade and it moisturises my ravaged lips really well – with all the matte lipstick and stains I wear, my lips sometimes get pretty dry and flaky. The balm lasts pretty well but when it disappears after around three hours, it doesn’t leave a stain behind. I don’t particularly mind reapplying though, the more I use the balm the softer my lips seem to get. It also has a deliciously refreshing minty taste to it which I absolutely adore.
I never used to wear anything on my lips, apart from the occasional red lipstick at the weekend, but when I first started using the Studio Lip Balm about a year ago I couldn’t believe how flattering it was. It makes your make-up look so polished. I have tried a couple of the other colours but being honest, I didn’t really like them because they weren’t the Rose. It’s my favourite everyday lip product, and I stocked up during the sale – the four I bought should last a while!
DUPES: Barry M’s Cor Balmy in Jam Jar for £3.49 looks like it could be a good dupe for this balm, it has SPF 15 protection and is a similar warm-toned pink/red. It’s also cruelty-free and suitable for vegetarians (although sadly not vegan, it contains beeswax). I’ll definitely pick one up next time I’m in Superdrug and do a comparison.
2. Essential Zit Zapping Concealer in Fair – £2.95 for 1.5 grams
The first time I saw this on the e.l.f. UK website, a glitch was making it show up as costing £0.00. Intrigued, I decided to add a couple to my basket and see if I actually received them, or if e.l.f. caught onto the mistake as they were packing my order. It turns out that I did receive my free concealer and from the first use I fell in love with it! Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree and Camphor are the prominent ingredients and they work wonders to reduce inflammation and pain in big spots. The coverage is very high and the colour Fair is absolutely perfect for me – I was delighted to finally find a concealer light enough for my pale skin. Despite the less than brilliant reviews of this concealer on the American e.l.f. website, this concealer really works for me and I will miss it very much. I’m also pretty sad that I wasn’t able to order any in their final 70% off sale, but I did pick it up in Corrective Green rather than my usual Fair, I will be sure to review it when I receive it.
DUPES: I have found this Blemish Banish Concealer for £7.95, although it’s worth mentioning that this concealer isn’t vegan and is only suitable for medium-light complexions, so it will probably be way too dark on the Casper the Friendly Ghosts of the world such as myself. When I run out of my e.l.f. I’ll probably have a stab at making my own (I will definitely report any successes here!) and pray that someone I know is going to the USA soon so they can bring a bucket load back for me. Please comment below if you know of any cruelty-free spot healing concealers available in the UK, I would love to hear of any suggestions.
1. Studio Powder Brush – £3.75
A somewhat predictable choice if you read about brushes in the beauty blogosphere, but my favourite e.l.f. product by a country mile is their Powder Brush. With a completely flat top and super soft, dense synthetic bristles, this brush is perfect for… well, pretty much every face product there is! I use mine every day to apply mineral foundation and setting powder. It washes extremely well and it hasn’t shed at all in the four years I’ve had it, although I have to admit that the handle has come off mine – nothing a dab of super glue won’t fix! I actually have two backups of this brush just in case disaster strikes and I lose or break mine, I love it that much. I would even say that it is my holy grail make-up brush.
DUPES: I haven’t ever tried any other flat top make-up brushes, but this Real Techniques Stippling Brush looks pretty similar and gets good reviews, priced at £8.99 on Amazon. Quite honestly though, I would scour eBay and try to find the e.l.f. one for a decent price, it’s definitely worth the legwork.
I made a couple of orders from e.l.f. in their final sale and I’ll be sure to do reviews of the products I ordered when I receive them. I’d love to hear your suggestions for your favourite e.l.f. products and any dupe suggestions you have, so please comment below.
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Until next time,