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I tried $104 worth of e.l.f products to find what’s worth it — my top picks

I review plenty of skincare and makeup brands as a full-time product tester and beauty lover, but this brand is e.l.f.-ing amazing.

That’s right, the brand of the hour for this review is none other than e.l.f. Cosmetics. Essentially, the TikTok-loved — hey, universally loved — brand is a beauty case study in and of itself, one of the first to garner ground-breaking media hits, social media buzz and loyalty like no other.

Founded in 2004, you can say the brand has had a slow burn. But, a good one at that. It offers premium beauty at an accessible price and is even one of the most-anticipated Super Bowl commercials to air on Feb. 11 (side note: Judge Judy is premiering as “Judge Beauty,” to “object to expensive beauty products.” How clever!)

“We are a different kind of company, one that is purpose-led and results-driven,” Kory Marchisotto, CMO of e.l.f. Cosmetics and president of Keys Soulcare, exclusively told the New York Post. “Our ability to be out in front is that we’re actually running a different race. Our mission is to make the best of beauty accessible. We stand with every eye, lip and face, encouraging self expression, empowering others and embodying our ethics. Our focus on accessibility with an equal commitment to quality is truly unique in the industry. We deliver premium makeup and skincare at jaw-dropping ‘OMG’ prices.”

RELATED: Anastasia Beverly Hills review

Impressively, the brand has conducted a well-orchestrated symphony of high-quality vegan and cruelty-free products that you can find on Amazon, directly on e.l.f. Cosmetics‘ website and at Target and Ulta Beauty.

This is unsurprising, as products like the Halo Glow Filter ($14), Glow Reviver Lip Oil ($8) and Power Grip Primer ($10) have been placed on a consumer-driven pedestal, all because “dupes” language — not to mention, 4 billion views using #dupes on TikTok — is all-the-rage right now.

In essence, the brand has completely disrupted the drugstore beauty market, “overtaking 91-year-old Revlon as the fourth-largest mass company in the U.S.,” per a 2023 case study (see, I told you the brand is quite literally, one of them) set forth by Business of Fashion.

Ahead, you’ll find how I did my full beauty routine using only e.l.f. Cosmetics. Each product contains detailed and honest review notes for each formulation tested.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
Amazon

Pros:

  • Infused with hyaluronic acid, ceramides and peptides — a dermatologist’s dream
  • Melts away into your skin and absorbs nicely
  • Safe for sensitive skin, thanks to no noticeable fragrance

Cons:

  • Takes multiple swipes to completely remove all makeup, though not a dealbreaker
  • May not be the best for extremely dry skin, as its consistency isn’t whipped

Cleansing balms are having a moment, and I’m totally here for it. However, some can be notorious for leaving an unwanted film on your face allowing you to look shiny and even greasy at times. But, not this one.

The e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm has a smooth, glacier-white texture that, even with a soft rub of my fingers, instantly melts into them. The same effect is evident on my skin when I apply it before applying makeup in the mornings or use it to take the day away in the evenings.

It’s truly impressive that this $11 product is this effective and includes a trio of hyaluronic acid, ceramides and peptides to help plump the skin, support the skin barrier and smooth away fine lines. It’s surely a trifecta any dermatologist would summon a round of applause for.

I found it to be a gentle makeup remover on my eyes and measured up to more expensive ones I’ve tried, like those from ELEMIS (though this one was creamier) and Hero Cosmetics (though this one was more effective at removing more makeup with one swipe). For the price, efficacy and ability to support my sensitive skin, it’s wholly worth the purchase.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream

e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream
Amazon

Pros:

  • Beautiful whipped texture
  • Excellent base for creams and foundations

Cons:

  • Doesn’t target the inner eye area as much as others, though not a deal-breaker (especially for the value and quality)

I reviewed 50+ eye creams for the New York Post’s 2024 review and the e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream landed as the best drugstore eye cream used. For approximately $10, it’s always the produce I recommend for those with dry skin, as well as eye cream users with sensitive skin.

Moreover, it contains hyaluronic acid to help pack your under-eye area with much-needed hydration. Impressively, it doesn’t hold a watery or too-dewy appearance when doing so.

While you may need an extra dollop to target those typically problematic inner dark circles, it’s an excellent value. It fared better than some more expensive eye creams I used, thanks to the product boasting an ingredient-first formulation.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Suntouchable! Whoa Glow Broad Spectrum SPF 30

e.l.f. Cosmetics Suntouchable! Whoa Glow Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Amazon

Pros:

  • Contains SPF 35, a smidge above what dermatologists recommend to offer even more protection
  • Helps blur pores
  • Non-greasy finish

Cons:

  • Some may think it smells a little *too* much like sunscreen, though not a dealbreaker

Among all e.l.f Cosmetics products on this list, the Suntouchable! Whoa Glow Broad Spectrum SPF 30 may be my favorite. The silky smoothness this $14 product offers is unheard of and a much more affordable option than the acclaimed Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 Sunscreen ($38).

While any SPF is better than no SPF, the overall consistency is what’ll drive me to reuse a product (as with anything). I love how this e.lf. Cosmetics product comes out a bit beige and glowy but blends translucent; I felt like I was performing a magic trick when swatching the product on the backside of my hand! It offers a subtle glow without a trace of color, making it suitable for those with dark skin as well, I’d imagine.

Because it doesn’t leave a white cast or a non-greasy finish, I’m fully convinced this SPF should be a staple in your bag or atop your bathroom counter. Oh, and the kicker: it helps dwindle down the look of pores.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer + 4% Niacinamide

e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer + 4% Niacinamide
Amazon

Pros:

  • Tacky enough to make your makeup last all day
  • Contains niacinamide to help hydrate your skin
  • Pump applicator makes it simple to use

Cons:

  • Not as easy to blend with a brush; better to apply it with your fingertips

As seen on last year’s Super Bowl commercial with Jennifer Coolidge, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer + 4% Niacinamide has been touted as the “tacky base” everyone needs to make their makeup last all day. I absolutely love the sticky nature of this primer because I always feel like it’s working. My biggest pet peeve? Expensive primers that feel nice but don’t feel like they’re helping the longevity of my beauty look in any way.

For $10, this niacinamide-abounding primer helps my skin feel hydrated all the while I’m following the product with foundation, a creamy concealer and others. It doesn’t irritate my skin or leave it red after rubbing and blending it in either; it’s the ideal base for any situation.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter

e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter
Amazon

Pros:

  • Buildable, glowy coverage
  • The easiest product to apply
  • Has a your-skin-but-better feel

Cons:

  • May not be the best for those with large pores

Whenever I’m looking to find my foundation in a pinch, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter is my answer to prayer. In fact, it’s the easiest getting-ready makeup product I own; just swipe and blend, either with a foundation brush or a sponge.

The formulation really offers that your skin-but-better look without compromising the skin-balancing coverage I crave. I’m not prone to cystic acne or scarring but, if I have an immediate breakout, this product conceals it well (and it’s not even a concealer!) without that unwanted cakey finish.

If you have large pores, you may need more of the product. I’m prone to some larger pores at the apples of my cheeks, so I add a bit more product there. But otherwise, the item is truly my holy grail, all because of its easy application and natural finish glow.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer

e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer
Amazon

Pros:

  • Extensive shade range with helpful tools to find your undertone
  • Creamy without being goopy
  • Satin-finish that helps brighten and smooth the skin

Cons:

Of course, I had to pick up the e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer. It’s creamy without being cakey or off-putting, and I’m *obsessed* with the doe foot applicator. Additionally, the product helps brighten my under-eye area without the effect of looking like a ghost (yes, some “brightening” concealers have made me look like Casper the Friendly Ghost).

For $7, e.l.f. Cosmetics strikes yet again. Its shade range is quite incredible, measuring up to Fenty Beauty by Rihanna‘s vast shade range. It’s refreshing to see a drugstore brand be shade-inclusive, so this is another checkmark in e.l.f’s favor.

It’s quite long-lasting as well, with a satin finish I love to use. I don’t find it to crease throughout the day either, and it’s certainly a phenomenal drugstore find. However, you won’t really need it once the e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter is applied because that product surely does the job of making your skin look *chef’s kiss*.


e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand

e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand
Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to blend and offers a stunning natural glow
  • A little goes a long way, making this product even more of a wonderful value
  • Doesn’t wear off throughout the day

Cons:

  • Twist-up packaging could be a bit neater, though not a dealbreaker
  • Overuse may lead to a color and look too dark for your skin

The e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand is your quick fix to a bit more of a bronzed complexion. No, it doesn’t make you look orange or unnatural, either. As a whole, it’s creamy (without being too much), offers a pigmented yet blendable finish (that’s truly beautiful) and has a targeted applicator (to dab exactly where you want it).

Impressively, it doesn’t wear out throughout the day. Be sure to note that a little goes a long way and I find myself putting two dots near each cheekbone and blending them out with a sponge. Though its twist-up packaging could be a bit more well-designed, it’s not at all a dealbreaker.

It’s said to measure up to the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand ($42). While I’ve tried this one (and reviewed a good amount of Charlotte Tilbury’s products), this one is much, much more affordable and offers a pretty similar experience.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo Liquid Blush

e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo Liquid Blush
Amazon

Pros:

  • Leaves the skin with a beautiful natural glow
  • Lightweight and blendable
  • Comes in nine different shades

Cons:

  • Not as pigmented as some other cream blushes used

For the quickest and most beautiful glow, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo Liquid Blush is the ideal topper to add some flush to your cheeks. When paired with the e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter, my makeup always has a bombshell look to it.

The soft, dewy finish is exactly what I love in a blush. It’s not extremely pigmented but it’s buildable, so I always see the result I want. It’s available in nine shades, with “Peach Perfect” one of my favorites. It’s a lightweight finish for that sought-after, natural result.

And, spoiler alert: it’s a pretty close match to the Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Soft Pinch Liquid Blush ($23) in “Hope.” Seriously, side-by-side, they’re pretty comparable, but this one is only $7.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Satin Eyeliner Pencil

e.l.f. Cosmetics Satin Eyeliner Pencil
Amazon

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable e.l.f. Cosmetics products tested
  • Leaves the most natural finish to your eye area
  • Non-irritating, so great for sensitive eyes

Cons:

  • Becomes quite dull after a while, but that’s what the sharpener is for (wink, wink)

The e.l.f. Cosmetics Satin Eyeliner Pencil is the most affordable product tested, along with the lip balm below. It’s simple to apply, though be sure to sharpen it often; it tends to become dull with frequent use.

However, that’s not a dealbreaker. Because it’s non-irritating to the eyes, it’s one of the best pencil eyeliners I’ve tried. Additionally, it leaves a natural finish and is much easier to apply than retractable options.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash ‘N Roll Mascara

e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash 'N Roll Mascara
Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellent at lengthening and separating
  • Doesn’t crease throughout the day and lasts for at least three months in the tube

Cons:

  • Not the best for volumizing

Looking for a good tubing mascara with lengthening power? The e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash ‘N Roll Mascara is a tried-and-true favorite of mine, allowing my lashes to be separated and extended — more so than their natural look.

Lasting for at least three months in its tube, the mascara is a stellar drugstore pick. It doesn’t crease throughout the day and, while it’s not the best for volumizing, I’m kind of in my *lengthening era*, so I’m all about seeing how high my lashes can go. In my opinion, it offers a more natural look.

Its packaging and formula remind me a bit of the Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling Mascara ($29), though this one is a bit more lengthening. On the flip side, Benefit Cosmetics’ is a bit more pigmented, but I find that doesn’t last up to three months like the $6 e.l.f. option does.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Squeeze Me Lip Balm

e.l.f. Cosmetics Squeeze Me Lip Balm
Amazon

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable e.l.f. Cosmetics products tested
  • Hydrating and serves as an excellent lip primer
  • Travel-friendly

Cons:

  • Not as balmy as some other options tested

Shop the e.l.f. Cosmetics Squeeze Me Lip Balm if you’re looking for an affordable lip balm that you can carry around with you at all times (at least that’s what I do).

Similar to the brand’s Holy Hydration! Lip Mask ($7) — one of the best I reviewed — it offers the easiest application with subtle hydration, especially near the cupid’s bow and center of my bottom lip. I love the applicator and its travel size, and it does the job for only $4.

Offering a sheer tint of colors — in any of its five shades — it’ll be your new favorite to experiment with and try out for yourself.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Reviver Lip Oil

e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Reviver Lip Oil
Amazon

Pros:

  • Available in seven shades (and you’ll want to grab them all)
  • Excellent doe foot applicator
  • Makes your lips look and feel completely nourished

Cons:

  • Sellout risk

Meet the lip oil that has seriously never been more than a foot away from me: the e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Reviver Lip Oil. For less than $10, it makes your lips look and feel nourished, like you just slapped on Vaseline to your lippies.

This product is available in seven shades and be prepared to add them all to your cart. I love pairing the product with a lip pencil to define them a bit more and its doe foot applicator is one of the nicest I’ve tried from any brand.

This is one of my most worn products from the brand.


How we tested

e.l.f. Cosmetics review
My full face of e.l.f. Cosmetics on a day I was working from home. Victoria Giardina

Makeup is one of my favorite products to test, much for the quick, tangible results I can take note of on the spot. Of course, I’ve been testing each individual product for at least a week — most of them up to three months — and this is what I kept in mind for each one:

  • Formulation: Is it pigmented? Is it long-lasting? These factors were majorly taken into account.
  • Irritation levels: I have incredibly sensitive skin, so I’ve been wary of most drugstore brands for years now (after one foul experience in middle school). So, I made a note if any product broke me out in any way (spoiler alert: thankfully, they didn’t).
  • Finish and glow: Because the whole aesthetic of the e.l.f. brand is your-skin-but-better, I made sure to note the most glowy of products within this review (another spoiler alert: it’s the e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter and the e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand).

Check out the New York Post Shopping section for more content.

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