Picks and Skips: e.l.f. – Studio and Mineral lines

Today in my second Picks and Skips blog post I’ll be looking at e.l.f.’s Studio and Mineral lines and writing about the products I’ve tried that I would recommend (my picks) or not recommend (my skips) to other people. I’m going to try my hardest to place every product I’ve used into one category or the other. No “I’m on the fence” wishy-washy-ness. It’s either “like” or “don’t like.”

Note: As with most beauty products it’s often a case of “your mileage may vary.” What works for me might not necessarily work for you, and vice versa.




  • Single Eyeshadow – The pigmentation and texture of these varies from shade to shade. The colors that I’ve tried that have the best color payoff and texture are Saddle and Coffee Bean. Pebble’s okay but the consistency’s not as good; I’ve heard the color is a dupe for MAC Copperplate. Rather than eye shadow, I prefer to use Pebble as a brow powder sometimes. The Studio Single Eyeshadows are decent but there are much better drugstore options (e.g. wet n wild blows these out of the water) and these three shades all have a somewhat chalky texture.
  • Small Smudge Brush – If you like small, round-tip eyeliner brushes like Bobbi Brown’s Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush, give this a try. It has a very similar shape (a tiny bit wider) and works just as well, in my opinion.
  • Cream Eyeshadow – I own this in the color Dawn. This is a definite must-have e.l.f. product! The Studio Cream Eyeshadows are surprisingly good excellent. They’re the most long-wearing, creaseless cream eyeshadows I’ve tried in the drugstore price range, and are far superior to the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadows which creased on me. I’ve used the e.l.f. Studio Cream Eyeshadow on its own with no problems but it makes a great base for powder shadows as well.


  • Single Eyeshadow – The pigmentation and texture of these varies from shade to shade. The colors that I’ve tried that have the worst color payoff and texture are Sand Dollar, Butter Cream, and Wild Wheat. Butter Cream and Wild Wheat barely show up on my skin and the consistency of the powder is simply terrible. I’ve tried to “re-purpose” Sand Dollar as a cheek highlight but it was a massive fail; the texture is awful and literally looks like blackboard chalk on my skin.
  • Eye Primer & Liner Sealer – I think this is a very mediocre, non-essential product that’s easily dupe-able with some of e.l.f.’s other products. I actually wrote a review on this product a long time ago here. In my experience, this primer alters the colors of powder eyeshadows that are placed on top of it by making them warmer. I would strongly recommend getting either the $1 Eyelid Primer or the Mineral Eyeshadow Primer instead of this.



  • 2 in 1 Conditioning Gloss – I own the shades Perfect Pink, Fanatic, Supermodel, and Va Va Voom. These are the stickiest glosses from e.l.f. that I’ve tried. They’re much thicker and stickier than the Minty Lip Glosses, and around the same stickiness level as MAC Lipglasses. I don’t like to open too many glosses at once so I’ve only tested out Va Va Voom and the color payoff is actually decent; it’s sheer but it shows up. I don’t think this product conditions my lips and, in my opinion, e.l.f.’s $1 glosses are much better.
  • Conditioning Lip Balm – I own Mellow Melon and Blissful Berry. These are not my favorite tinted balms by any means but if you’re looking for an inexpensive dupe for the Korres lip butters definitely give the e.l.f. Conditioning Lip Balms a try. I don’t happen to be a fan of the Korres lip butters but I know a lot of people are. In my opinion, the e.l.f. Studio Conditioning Lip Balms are comparable in terms of color payoff and texture, and more moisturizing and last longer on the lips than the Korres lip butters.


  • Minty Lip Gloss – I own the shade San Diego. The pigmentation is good but you won’t be able to achieve a totally opaque color with this product. The consistency of this gloss is on the drier, thicker side. It also feels gritty and slightly sticky. This product has a strong minty scent and flavor; it tastes like toothpaste and makes my lips tingle a little bit. I really don’t care for the artificial sweetener they use in this gloss; it tastes so fake like Splenda, Sweet’N Low, or any of those sugar substitutes.
  • Lip Stain – I own First Date and Fashionista. Words cannot express how disappointed and unimpressed I am by this product. I don’t think it’s worthy of being called a stain at all. It wears off super easily; it doesn’t last through a conversation, and you can forget about it lasting through a meal. The clear gloss topcoat is even worse; it has a really greasy texture that’s so unappealing. I literally waited 30 minutes for the stain to dry before applying the clear gloss, and the stain still rubbed right off onto the clear gloss’s doe-foot applicator.



  • Flawless Finish Foundation – I own the shades Porcelain and Sand. The packaging is really sleek and comes with a pump dispenser (huge plus!). I was pleasantly surprised by this product. I have dry to very dry skin and this foundation doesn’t feel too heavy on my skin, blends well, provides up to medium coverage, has a dewy finish, and lasts all day for me. You can build it up to full coverage but I wouldn’t recommend it because it’ll start to look cakey. e.l.f. claims that this foundation is oil free but one of the main ingredients is mineral oil. This foundation also smells like baby wipes. Just an FYI before you buy.
  • Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – I have this in Porcelain, the lightest shade. This tinted moisturizer is quite yellow so I wouldn’t recommend it to people with cool-toned skin. It also has a rather strong sunscreen smell. The coverage is sheer to light, it blends easily, and doesn’t feel too heavy or thick. I consider this makeup rather than skincare, so I still use a regular face moisturizer under this product.
  • Bronzer – The Warm Bronzer provides a nice sun-kissed, summer glow. It’s a shimmery product but not overwhelmingly so. Since it is a shimmery bronzer I only use it on my cheeks instead of as an all-over powder. It is a bit powdery in texture, but I’ve learned to expect dustiness and fallout with all of e.l.f.’s powder products; compared to their other powder products the texture’s actually pretty good. You can swirl all four colors of the bronzer together or use the four shades individually as eye shadows.
  • Blush Brush – One of my favorite products from e.l.f. and a must-have in my opinion. This is my Holy Grail blush brush and I use it everyday. The size is perfect for my cheeks. I have an ecotools blush brush that’s very soft but it’s humongous compared to the Studio blush brush, and it was simply too large for my cheek area. The Studio Blush Brush is not only good for blush but for contouring and applying cheek highlighter as well.
  • Cream Brush – I own Heartbreaker and Flirt. With these blushes you really need to build it up gradually in layers for it to show but the colors themselves are lovely. However, the weird spongey-clay texture does take some getting used to and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. These are not my favorite drugstore cream blushes at all, and I feel funny even referring to them as cream blushes because there’s nothing creamy about them. I much prefer the NYX cream blushes and NYC Blushable Creme Sticks for their ease of use and the fact that they actually possess a creamy texture.


  • Bronzer – I’m not a fan of the Golden Bronzer at all. It’s not so much a bronzer as it is a highlighter, and a super frosty highlighter at that! Even with a light hand it makes me look metallic. I also find the consistency of this powder much more powdery and loosely packed compared to my Warm Bronzer.
  • Blush – I own the shades Tickled Pink and Mellow Mauve. I know the Studio Blushes have a lot of fans but I don’t like them at all. My skin’s pretty light but I can never get these blushes to show up on me unless I pile on 5 or 6 layers with a very heavy hand. These blushes have very poor pigmentation and, in that respect, remind me of the Maybelline Expert Wear blushes which I also hate. In addition, I think the e.l.f. Studio blushes look ashy and chalky on my skin. I would strongly recommend getting yourself some Jordana, Jane, wet n wild, NYX, or Milani powder blushes which have superior texture and color payoff compared to the e.l.f. Studio blushes and are in a similar price range.
  • High Definition Powder – I was suckered in by e.l.f.’s “soft-focus” and “radiant” claims. This product was extremely mattifying and dried out my skin.
  • Mineral Face Primer – There isn’t very much product in the container and it feels like Monistat’s Chafing Relief Powder Gel, a silicone-based product (not the medicated stuff for yeast infections) which many people use as a makeup primer. Neither product really does a thing for my dry skin and large pores, so I don’t consider the Mineral Face Primer anything special.
  • Powder Brush – I bought this brush when e.l.f. first introduced it on their website years ago. I don’t really use face powder so I bought it based on e.l.f.’s other suggested uses for this brush, mainly for blush and contouring (the Studio Blush Brush didn’t exist yet). However, this brush is simply way too big for those purposes.
  • Stipple Brush – (sorry, I forgot to add this in my photo but I’ve shown it here before.) I bought this to use with my cream blushes but I don’t really care for it at all. I find the Studio Stipple Brush too flimsy for my liking. The bristles are too long and the brush isn’t dense enough to offer enough control. And compared to using my fingers I find that the Stipple Brush picks up too much product. The first time I tried it with the e.l.f. Studio Cream Blush I ended up with clown cheeks, and that was with an extremely light touch. As for applying liquid foundation -meh- it’s decent, although far more time consuming compared to using fingers or a damp sponge. I wish it were a little firmer/less floppy. I’ve tried using it with my powder cheek highlighters but I find the circumference of the brush head too big for precise placement along the tops of my cheekbones.

I actually haven’t used very many products from the Mineral line so this section will be short.


  • Eyeshadow Primer – This prevents my eye shadows from creasing and extends their wear time; however, I think the $1 Eyelid Primer works just as well on my dry skin and eyelids.
  • Mineral Lipstick – I own the shades Natural Nymph, Runway Pink, Nicely Nude, and Rosy Tan. I really like these lipsticks. They’re creamy, smooth, pigmented, and have no fragrance/taste.

10 thoughts on “Picks and Skips: e.l.f. – Studio and Mineral lines

  1. >The powder brush isn't really good for powder, but it's great for stippling liquid and cream foundation! Thanks so much for all these comprehensive reviews. They'll be very helpful for doing a major elf haul. πŸ™‚

  2. >Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try it with my liquid/cream foundations.And you're very welcome. I'm glad I was able to help πŸ™‚

  3. >Thanks for the tip on the cream eyeshadows. Everyone raves about the MAC and Benefit ones, but I'm not made of money. It sounds like I could give the ELF ones a try instead!

  4. >@DonnaYou're welcome. I definitely think it's one of elf's standout products. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me πŸ™‚

  5. >Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I had the same problem with the studio blushes until I switched brushes… It turns out the studio blush brush wasn't picking up enough product. Ironically, the $1 total face brush picked up the product so well that after 2 heavy swipes, I ended up looking sunburned. πŸ˜‰

  6. >Love your reviews! I'd have to say though, I absolutely adore ELF studio blushes! They come off as such a beautiful color, though they don't stay for the whole day which is the only/biggest downside. 😦 And also try pinching the stippling brush between your index and thumb to make a soft line of highlight on your cheekbones. Perhaps you'd get more use out of that and that would work for highlight. πŸ™‚

  7. >@KathrynThanks so much :)I wonder if I may have gotten duds when I bought those two blushes because so many people love them. I bought my Studio blushes literally the day they launched on the e.l.f. website which was awhile back, so maybe they've improved the blush formula since then. Thanks so much for the tip on the stippling brush. I'll be sure to try it!

  8. >your blog is really detailed, had to follow! 8Dthats too bad about the lip stain since I love them, but I think ELF changes its formula frequently though? The first stain I bought on the site was first date and it was a bit thick, compared to the same shade I bought in target which was more liquid-y. It also happens with brushes, same exact brushes but some are denser && longer while others are shorter and less dense.

  9. >Thanks for following :DHmm, that could be true. I usually buy e.l.f.'s newest products right when they're first released. Perhaps e.l.f.'s improved them over time in response to peoples' complaints. Maybe I should give their Studio Blushes and Studio Powder brush another chance then…

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