Review: E.L.F. Cosmetics

The search for skincare and makeup products that are both vegan and cruelty-free can often be a struggle. A surprisingly high number of brands still test on animals but try to keep this a secret, as they know that many people are put off by animal testing.

I am always on the hunt for brands that are open about their vegan and cruelty-free status, as I never want to give money to a company that causes harm to animals! 

Luckily, there are some brands that are open about their 100% vegan and cruelty free status, including the brand ‘e.l.f. Cosmetics’.

I was looking for products to help my makeup last longer, as I often ended the day with patchy foundation or half an eyebrow missing. So, I ordered a few different products straight from the e.l.f. Cosmetics website to see if they could fix these problems, as I had read many good reviews for this brand.

Some products were pricier than I was used to paying for makeup and skincare, as I am a student with a strict budget. But, I was willing to spend the money and give them a go so that you wouldn’t have to! 

Holy Hydration! Face Cream

Holy Hydration! Face Cream – £12
Firstly, I wanted a new moisturiser to help keep my skin hydrated and avoid the patches of dry skin that can often ruin the look of your foundation.  

Finding a good quality vegan and cruelty-free moisturiser is not easy, so I was excited to try this one. It is very hydrating without being too thick or greasy, which has kept my skin smooth and hydrated without clogging my pores. 

However, at £12 for a small pot this is not the most affordable for students, although it is not as expensive as some of the high-end options. I am convinced that there are more affordable and equally high-quality moisturisers out there, though!


Glow Up Primer Serum

Glow Up Primer Serum – £10
I had never used primer before, as I wasn’t convinced that it was a necessary product. Since beginning to wear foundation, I noticed that it would often be worn away by the end of the day. This primer has really helped with this! 

Not only does this product prepare your skin for makeup application by creating an even surface, the serum quality keeps your skin soft and hydrated too.

This primer and serum combination comes in a pretty bottle with a useful dropper which prevents wasting the product, as you only need a few drops to cover your face. 

The e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Up Primer Serum has definitely become one of my must-have products and I will be buying this again in the future!  


Wow Brow Gel

Wow Brow Gel – £4.50
I have light eyebrows despite having dark hair, so I struggle to get my eyebrows to match my hair without looking too unnatural. I have tried a few different products to combat this issue but have never been completely satisfied with the results, so I purchased the Wow Brow Gel from e.l.f. Cosmetics. 

I chose shade ‘brunette’ as it appeared to be perfectly in between light and dark brown, which I think was the perfect choice for me! It gives my eyebrows a good colour without looking too unnatural, which is exactly what I was hoping for. 

This gel is applied with a spoolie brush which allows for a more natural look, although it is difficult to maintain the shape of your eyebrow with that type of application. In combination with an eyebrow pencil, this gel can produce good results, although I will be continuing my search for the absolutely perfect eyebrow product for me. 


Perfect Finish HD Powder

Perfect Finish HD Powder – £7.50

I was unsure about using a white finishing powder, as I was concerned that I would end up looking too unnaturally pale. I have always used a powder that matches my skin tone, but after seeing the good reviews for this product I thought I would give it a go. 

After a few uses I can confirm that I really like this powder! It helps my foundation look matte without affecting the colour and can even be applied on top of your contour and highlight, which a coloured powder can’t be. Overall, this has stopped my face from looking shiny whilst I am wearing makeup. 

I would especially recommend this for anybody with oily skin as it can be applied over your entire face and prevents you from looking shiny. I will definitely be buying this one again! 


Illuminating Mist & Set Spray

Illuminating Mist & Set Spray – £5
I had never used a setting spray before but have wanted to try one for a while. Many people swear by using a spray to maintain your makeup look all day. After a few uses, I have noticed my makeup has been lasting longer!

However, the spray is quite intense rather than being a gentle mist, which has made my mascara run a few times. As long as you spray quite far away from your
face this problem can be avoided, though. 

The main issue I have found with this setting spray is that it has a strange smell when you first spray this onto your face, although it disappears pretty quickly. 

I like this, but I think I will try some other brands to see if there’s anything that appeals to me more! 


Free Gift – Volumizing & Defining Mascara

Volumizing & Defining Mascara – Free
As I had spent quite a lot of money on their website (oops), I got two free gifts – an eyeshadow brush, and this mini mascara. I love when brands include a gift with the products you buy, as it gives you a chance to try something new without spending more money, which is important on a student budget!

This is obviously not the best mascara as it was a free add-on, although I was surprised at the lack of volume this mascara created despite its claim that it would be ‘volumizing.’

I won’t use this very often, but it’s always useful to have a spare mascara at the bottom of your makeup bag just in case you run out of your normal mascara choice, and I always appreciate a gift! 


Overall, I was very pleased with my purchases from e.l.f. Cosmetics, especially with the primer serum and finishing powder! This brand has certainly become one of my go-to choices, although I’m hoping a few more brands that are more affordable for a student budget will become 100% vegan and cruelty free in the future too.

All images by Phoebe Stevenson.