e.l.f. Essentials Brushes Review

** This post was written by Fiona. She no longer blogs for Swatch And Learn. However, Mary still continues to blog and will be happy to reply to your comment. **

I’m sure many of you have heard of how affordable e.l.f. brushes are. e.l.f. Cosmetics is able to offer cost-efficient makeup and products because they don’t use celebrity endorsements and pass the savings in advertising to their customers.

I appreciate that this company is dedicated to offering ways to accentuate natural beauty within budget… all the while without compromising principles against animal testing. It’s understandable that the quality of these affordable products isn’t as high as that of luxury brands, but my question is: has the quality been compromised so much that the products aren’t even worth the $1 they cost?

Take a look at what I think of the e.l.f. Essentials Brushes line!

e.l.f. Essentials Brushes Pictures & Photos

Here’s a brief outline of which ones I recommend skipping and which ones are keepers (list isn’t complete). Click on the links for in-depth reviews, if available.

elf Essentials Blending Eye Brush

This one’s a good one! The shape is perfect for the crease area, and the bristles are soft. I own multiples of it and use it every single day. It’s one of my favorites.

elf Essentials Brow Comb + Brush

The Brow Comb + Brush is pretty standard. It’s sturdy enough for everyday use. If you don’t have a tool to groom your brows, it’s not bad for $1. Otherwise, skippable.

elf Essentials Concealer Brush

This brush has one detrimental flaw: the size is waayyy too small. Because of this, it’s quite useless to me. I wouldn’t spend the money on it again; it’s currently sitting in a drawer somewhere.

elf Essentials Defining Eye Brush

This brush isn’t bad. It handles several jobs: blending eyeliner, applying/blending shadows into the crease, and applying highlight. It’s good if you don’t have brushes that already do those jobs very well.

elf Essentials Foundation Brush

Another just OK brush. You do get a slightly streaky application with this and it’s not dense enough, but it’s a good back-up brush or a travel brush that you don’t mind losing.

elf Essentials Eyeliner Brush

This brush does make drawing straighter lines easier, and the bristles are just stiff enough. But the width isn’t ideal though as it doesn’t fit the curve of my eye. I prefer an angled brush to this.

elf Essentials Eye Shadow Brush

I really like this one. The size is good to fit on the lid, and the bristles don’t feel scratchy on the sensitive eye area. Only issue is: I own three of these, and the bristle density on them is all different.

elf Essentials Smudge Eye Sponge

I like that the sponge is slightly firmer than free ones that come in kits. This makes it easier to get the precision I want when smudging liners or shadows. But it still feels soft!

elf Essentials Total Face Brush

This is the worst brush of the bunch, I think. The dye comes off, the bristles are rough, it smells, and it sheds like crazy! I would definitely not recommend this brush. Stay away!

elf Essentials Eyelash & Brow Wand

I actually prefer using this to groom my brows than the brow comb/brush. The wand really catches every hair. It’s standing up to quite a lot of usage… it’s a good tool!

Claims: OK

    Ergonomically designed
    ~ Flawless application (yes to some brushes)

Key Notes

  • Name: e.l.f. Essentials Brushes (formerly e.l.f. Professional Brushes)
  • e.l.f. Essentials Face Brushes Available: Total Face Brush; Blushing, Bronzing and Blending Brush; Concealer Brusher; Foundation Brush; Fan Brush
  • e.l.f. Essentials Eye Brushes Available: Eye Shadow Brush, Blending Eye Brush, Defining Eye Brush, Eyeliner Brush, Smudge Eye Sponge, Brow Comb + Brush, Eyelash & Brow Wand, Eye Crease Brush
  • e.l.f. Essentials Lip Brushes Available: Lip Defining Brush
  • Where to Buy: e.l.f. website, Target, some Zellers locations, some drugstores

elf Essentials Brushes Review

Every elf Essentials brush was created by Scott Vincent Borba, who’s a professional makeup artist. Each is supposed to be ergonomically designed to provide ease of application. I think the length on all the brushes is good – you never feel like you’re wielding a samurai sword at your face. But I do feel that some of them are too light. If they’re slightly heavier, they’d feel more comfortable in my hand.

I think that e.l.f. Cosmetics needs to do some quality control on their brushes. One of my elf Essentials brushes came with the ferrule detached. A little glue will fix this, but I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

Also, I have multiples of the same brush, and for some reason, they’re different sizes! Not only that, two of the brushes are less dense than the other… by a lot! Plus, one of my brushes had glue on it. It took me forever to get it off.

As for the quality of elf Essentials brushes themselves? Well, it depends on the brush really. Most of them hold up quite well – slight to no shedding. Please view the pictures above to see which ones are good eggs and which are rotten, smelly eggs.

  • Affordable
  • Variety of brushes available
  • Animal-friendly & hypoallergenic
  • Frequent promotions
  • Need better quality control
  • Some brushes shed
  • Some brushes are not very well designed
  • Shipping available only to US, CA & UK

Final Verdict: 6.8/10

I think for someone who’s just starting to use brushes, e.l.f. Essentials brushes are a great beginner’s set. Not only can they practice how to use the brushes, but they can also learn proper care. Also, there are some gems in the collection of elf Essentials brushes, which even makeup experts will like. But there are a lot of misses in this selection, too!

What do you think? Have you tried e.l.f. Professional brushes and think differently? Let me know!


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