This brush set includes almost every brush e.l.f. Studio offers. All of the brushes in this set are also sold separately for $3 each, so with the kit's 11 brushes you're essentially getting the carrying case plus one brush for free. The zippered case is made of a soft synthetic fabric and has room for every brush in this set. As for the brushes themselves, they are each made of synthetic Taklon hair and are surprisingly good considering their low cost. Each one is exquisitely soft and well made, with sleek handles that feel great. It's really hard to believe such quality brushes are so darn cheap! The best brushes in the set (and again, all of the brushes are sold individually) are the Complexion Brush, Small Smudge Brush, Concealer Brush (though we prefer one with a more pointed tip), Small Precision Brush (great for lining the eyes when a smoky eye design is being done), and the Small Angled Brush (which works great for brows or eyelining).
Fans of applying foundation with a brush should check out the Angled Foundation Brush. The Contour Brush isn't the best and the Powder Brush is cut straight across, which isn't the easiest way to dust on loose or pressed powder (this type of cut makes it easy to over-powder).
From a line of cosmetics whose claim to fame is its rock-bottom prices we weren't expecting much. With almost every individual item selling for just $1, could there be any outstanding finds to rival the best options from drugstores and department stores? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Yet although that's good news, the entire picture isn't so rosy, and many of the products from e.l.f. (which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) are as basic as can be, while a few are resounding disappointments we wouldn't even give away.
e.l.f. was founded by Scott Vincent Borba—the same businessman responsible for the Borba "beauty waters" being sold at Sephora boutiques—and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in an unnamed "dollar store" (where everything sells for a dollar) and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. enjoyed sales last year of $5 million.
As you might expect, not everything in the e.l.f. line is great. When you're offering almost every product for $1, they're not going to be nearly as luxurious or innovative as the company proclaims (the ingredient lists couldn't be more basic and the packaging is sometimes slipshod). Many e.l.f. items have packaging that, while functional, can only be described as cheap. In terms of value, yes, almost everything is inexpensive, but in most cases the container sizes are much smaller than the norm. Still, if you're considering spending a few dollars on fun, occasional-use colors, size becomes much less of an issue.
In addition to being found at some dollar stores, e.l.f. has expanded its distribution to selected Target stores and regional drugstores. However, the best place to experience the collection is online (none of the stores provide testers). The cheaper elements are a given based on the price point e.l.f. has established, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains that raise the bar—at least to a height that's taller than your average elf!
For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.com.