ELF Cosmetics

Tanya Sharma
A glam face and nails can be yours for next to nothing!

It may seem impossible these days to achieve a gorgeous look on anything less than a fortune, but thanks to the beauty of ELF Cosmetics, getting gorgeous on the cheap is suddenly a breeze. Don't be fooled by the idea, though; this isn't your run-of-the-mill, dollar store-quality makeup. ELF specializes in affordable cosmetics that meet the same high standards of your favorite drugstore brands.

About ELF Cosmetics

The moniker may seem a bit curious, but it's not surprising that ELF has nothing to do with little munchkins and everything to do with looking fabulous! ELF stands for "Eyes Lips Face," an ode to the company's core products.

Launched in 2004, ELF, known officially as e.l.f., is the brainchild of beauty professional Scott-Vincent Borba. If the name sounds familiar to you, it's no wonder; Borba is responsible for some of the most renowned brands in the beauty industry.

In addition to developing the men's skin care line for Neutrogena and helping create youth favorite Hard Candy, he is also the founder of BORBA, a skin care line that includes both topical and ingestible products.

While the other lines aren't exactly known for their wallet-friendly price tags, ELF is known primarily for that very reason. With a strong focus on high quality, prestige cosmetics, the line has quickly grown from a handful of lipsticks, blushes and eye shadows into a burgeoning lineup of mineral makeup, bath and body products, tools, gift sets, nail products, color cosmetics and so much more. Many products are priced as low as one dollar each, and, save for a couple of exceptions, even the most costly items barely hit the $20 mark.

Where to Start

The choices can seem overwhelming if you're new to this inexpensive, tempting lineup. Whether you're just getting started in building your makeup collection or have drawers filled to overflowing, you'll likely find something on the vast ELF Web site.

Eyes

From liquid eyeliners and mascaras to brow gels and eye shadows, the company's eye makeup collection is vast. Since the prices are so reasonable, it's not out of the question to consider purchasing a little bit of everything. In fact, you can easily build a small library of eye makeup for roughly what you might pay for an eye shadow quad by a high-end brand like Dior or Shiseido.

Follow this quick purchasing guide if you just want to sample the lineup:

  • Grab a Clay eyeshadow palette These little quads are available in four color schemes and each costs six dollars. How's that for a steal?
  • A black or brown mascara, each for one dollar, is another gorgeous eye necessity.
  • If you buy nothing else, consider the mechanical eyelash curler. The much raved-about product will only set you back - you guessed it - a dollar.

Lips

A key part of the ELF repertoire, lip products include glosses, lipsticks, plumpers, flavored lip balms, cell phone charms (adorable for teenagers!) and much more. Keep it simple if you're just getting accustomed to the brand. Invest in a Prep and Hydrate Balm, buy a Lip Gloss Stick (infused with jojoba and Vitamin E) and line your pout with a Longwear Lip Liner. This simple purchase will cost you all of three dollars!

Face

Great makeup starts with a flawless canvas, so your face makeup should really be up to the task. Clarifying powders, concealers, tinted moisturizers and bronzers are just some of the products available for one dollar each. Do note that many of the face products are scented with a sweet orange aroma. If your skin is sensitive or susceptible to irritation, you may wish to avoid them.

Other Products

Products for the eyes, lips and face might be their bread and butter, but ELF cosmetics is about more than just those basics. Experiencing remarkable growth over the years, the company has expanded its lineup to include a full selection of cosmetic brushes (the one dollar foundation brush is worth noting, both in quality and price), bath products in a variety of delectable scents and prepackaged gift sets containing everything from instructional DVDs and makeup to lotions and bath poufs. In other words, there's something for everyone in this veritable beauty paradise!

Where to Purchase

ELF products are available online and in select Target stores nationwide.

ELF Cosmetics