Review: ELF Brushes

I’ll review a few of my favorite individual brushes as can-some of the shapes seem better suited to their purpose than others.  The quality is very uniform, though, across this line. ELF brushes have synthetic bristles, plastic handles, and while they feel soft and fairly sturdy, they do look a bit cheap. There’s a wide variety of shapes available,or you can opt for a ready made kit to get a variety.  ELF has frequent sales(I snagged these during a %50 off brushes/tools event), and you can easily stock up on these for even cheaper!

My favorite brushes are the foundation  brushes, facial brushes.  The eyeshadow brushes seem to hold to two extremes-either they are HUGE, only suitable for all-over shadow color, or they’re VERY tiny, narrow, and a little stiffer, suitable for lashline color, or eyeliner. In the kit, and extra brushes, that I got, there was only one brush suitable for crease shading, and even that was large enough that I wouldn’t trust it for anything besides softening the blending AFTER I’ve applied color with a smaller brush.  These do work fairly well, but the shapes are MUCH more intended for the “average” consumer, rather than a make up fan who requires more precision from their eyeshadow brushes.

These don’t shed at ALL during cleaning, and the bristles seem to return to their given shape without any real fussing.  No bent bristles during washing, or asymetrical bristle densities if you forget to pinch it back into a “normal” shape.  THey don’t get stiff after drying, or have any real technical issues.

I haven’t tried Sigma, to compare quality, but so far this is my FAVORITE affordable brush brand for facial brushes. I still prefer my Posh or Japonesque eyeshadow brushes.  But the foundation brush has become my staple at photoshoots, for buffing concealers into the skin, applying cream foundations, etc.  The Powder brush feels delectable on the skin, and while it’s large enough that you can’t apply powder under the eyes with it, it works just as well as my favorite $40 Sephora bronzer brush.  There’s a lot worse brushes you could spend your money on, and if you’re just looking to add variety to your collection, or just learning, this is a great option.

fan brush

foundation brush

complexion brush and kabuki brush

angled liner brush


small eyeliner brush, concealer brush, round eyeshadow brush
eyeshadow brush, and small smudge brush



brush handles


carrying case included with set





4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emily
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 12:59:55

    This is interesting, because I have E.L.F. Studio brushes too and mine are completely different than yours! Mine have a matte black handle, very sleek looking and not cheap, yet yours appear to be glittery? I wonder if that is a recent change, since mine are only a couple of months old. Also, I have had horrible problems with some of the brushes (particularly the face brushes) shedding and kinking after washing. I have a few more eye brushes than you mentioned, and by far they have been the highest quality of the collection (at least, that I’ve experienced). So far, all of the brushes have had minor shedding (and I’m not hard on them or anything, I rarely even use them) and have gotten a bit out of shape (they’re a little fluffier). I’ve heard that E.L.F. is very hit or miss with their brushes, with two identical brushes having completely different results and that definitely seems to be a factor when purchasing. Thanks for the review, it has definitely piqued my interest in trying more of the E.L.F. line to compare the quality.


    • dolcearia
      Mar 08, 2011 @ 13:09:15

      Thanks for the update! That is SO odd! I’ve washed ALL of these brushes 10+ times, before, during, after, shoots(I’m fanatical and clean ALL of my brushes, even if I didn’t use them, since I’d hate to have forgotten it was used, and then use it on someone else). Not a single bristle has fallen out. Under that strain, one of my Sephora Blush brushes is losing bristles in CLUMPS. I’ve certainly been happy with the quality of the set I have. I’d be game to buy a few more eye brushes, if I could find the “in between” size once. All of mine are either REALLY BIG or really tiny. The big ones don’t get used, and the tiny ones are used for lashline, liner, cut-creases.

      Looking at it now, I think the glitter was a LE thing—I must have hit the wrong option when purchasing. I’m glad their standard packaging looks a bit better. I’ve had decent luck with them overall. Let me know how any more of them work out for you! I’m sorry your experience has been so horrible!


  2. jgorehampenney
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 03:30:55

    I recently found some E.L.F. brushes at the dollar store (!!! Win!) and am pleased with them- they’re the silver handle ones (their lower-end line). For dollarama finds I’m pleased with them, I’d try their higher-end versions like the ones you have in future.


    • dolcearia
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 08:40:42

      Sweet find! Sometimes the cheap brushes work really well! My favorite brushes for bright looks tend to be my Posh Crease brush duo($5 for BOTH!)

      I’m happy with my ELF Studio brushes. It sounds like the quality can be kind of spotty, so if you get the chance to see them in store, definitely take a peep, maybe snap some up!


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