Beauty Thought Leader: Elise Marquam-Jahns
If there’s one drugstore brand that’s had really amazing growth and success over the past few years, it’s Elf Cosmetics.
Elf Cosmetics Products:
Since its founding in 2004, Elf has grown from a tiny e-commerce site to a major player in the cosmetic industry. And it expects a 38-39% overall sales increase in 2023. Much of that growth has been fueled through a very strong social media presence—especially TikTok.
Elf has a huge share of the Gen Z market. So the question is—since Elf pays very close attention to a younger demographic: Do their products work for those of us with mature skin? And that’s what we’ll be checking out today as I apply a full face of Elf Cosmetics products.
Before I dive into applying this Elf Makeup, I just want to let you know that the accompanying video is not sponsored by Elf. Also I’ll take a minute to share with you the fascinating story behind how Elf got started. And by the way, if you’ve ever wondered, Elf stands for eyes, lips, face.
“Even today, many of Elf’s products are under $7.00 and their amazing Bite-Size eyeshadow quads are only three dollars.”
Hard Candy Cosmetics:
The company was founded by a then 23-year-old NY University business student Joseph Shamah, Joseph’s father Alan, and 31-year-old beauty entrepreneur Scott Vincent Borba who previously launched Hard Candy Cosmetics. Joey’s wife had recently come home with five new makeup products and a bill that was over two hundred dollars.
Joey thought this was ridiculous. He wanted to find another solution in order to fill a gap in the market for inexpensive, high-quality cosmetics. Scott has also shared that they noticed that there were often expensive cars parked outside of 99-cent makeup stores. He saw all these women with Louis Vuitton purses. But they were buying inexpensive lip balm and nail polish.
Initially, Joey and Scott launched the company with 10 products. Each costs $1.00. Even today, many of Elf’s products are under $7.00 and their amazing Bite-Size eyeshadow quads are only three dollars.
Rare Beauty Eye Primer:
Now let’s try this Elf makeup. Elf does make an eye primer. But, it’s described as “sheer” which I didn’t think would cover up the discoloration on my eyelids. And which most of us have–so I went ahead and already applied my Rare Beauty Eye Primer. For my brows, I used Elf’s Instant Lift Brow Pencil.
Surprisingly, I find the color “Taupe” to be my best shade. I really like the fact that this pencil is fairly thick so I’m able to do my brows faster, but if you’re looking for a very thin brow pencil, Elf does make one and it’s called their “Ultra Precise” pencil. Since my brows are more and more pulling a disappearing act, I also like to use Elf’s Wow Brow which is a great dupe for Benefit’s Gimme Brow. It contains small fibers which add thickness to the brows. I like to start with the shade “Taupe”. And then touch up with a deeper shade called “Deep Brown” if I need to add more depth to the brows.
Great Eyeshadow Sticks:
Elf has some great eyeshadow sticks in both matte and shimmer colors. But since I’m a fan of powder eyeshadows, I’m going with Elf’s Bite Size Eyeshadow Quads. The quality does vary a bit with different quads. But the ones I’m most often dipping into are the “Cream and Sugar” quad, the “Pumpkin Pie” quad– which has more warmth to it. And the “Truffles” quad which has some deeper shades.
“The reason I love it so much is because it’s just about a perfect balance of neutral matte shades.”
Each of these quads has two matte shades and two shimmer shades. But the quad I reach for most often is the “I Love You a Latte” palette. The reason I love it so much is because it’s just about a perfect balance of neutral matte shades. I’m going to start with the “I Love You a Latte” Palette. And then add in some colors from some of the other palettes.
Elf also has some beautiful liquid glitter and liquid metallic eyeshadow colors. So today I’m going to apply “Pinky Swear”—which is a liquid glitter on the middle of one of my eyelids and the shade “Moon”—which is a liquid metallic–on the other.
Best Drugstore Brand Does Not Disappoint:
For eyeliner, I could use the eyeshadow stick—”Cool Beans,” the Elf No Budge cream eyeshadow in “Plateau”. Which is a deep brown–or–one of the deeper powder eyeshadow shades. Today I’ll use powder eyeshadow on one eye and try the no budge cream eyeshadow on the other eye.
Now for face products. Elf has a new Poreless Putty Face Primer in a liquid rather than a cream formula– which I’m excited to try. I think this type of formula is much easier and faster to apply than their cream formula. After applying this face primer—or any face primer – it’s necessary to wait a bit for this product to set before applying other face products.
I’ve never used an Elf foundation before. And I hardly ever hear it talked about—so I’m a little nervous about using it. It’s their Flawless Satin Foundation and I have the shade “Beige” which is for a light, cool skin tone. Since this satin finish is described as semi-matte, I’m going to apply it to one side of my face. And on the other side of my face, I’ll mix it with a little of the Elf’s Halo Glow Liquid Filter to give my skin a little more glow.
I normally use Elf’s Hydrating Camo Concealer in the shade “Light Peach” as my under-eye corrector, but Elf makes a Putty Color Correcting Eye Brightener which I’ll use today for the first time. And I have the light/medium and it also comes in five other shades. I may have been better off with the lightest shade called “Fair,” but I’ll give the light/medium a try.
“I’ll go with the deepest shade since it has a slightly cooler undertone.”
Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer:
I already know—and love – the Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer, but today I’m going to try a new shade—“Fair Rose”—under my eyes and I’ll use the “Fair Beige” on the rest of my face. To prevent creasing, I’ll set the under-eye concealer with Elf’s Halo Glow Setting Powder in pink which will also add some brightness under the eye.
For contouring, I’ll use the Elf Cream Contour palette. This is a long-time favorite and I love the fact that there are three contour shades from which to choose. All the shades have a bit of a warm cast to them. I’ll go with the deepest shade since it has a slightly cooler undertone.
Moreover, I have three Elf blushes from which to choose. I’m going to apply the matte blush “Bora Bora” on one side and one of the luminous blushes on the other side. And I think I’ll go with the shade “Maui” rather than the brighter shade called “Bermuda.” Next, I’ll add a touch of the Elf Halo Glow Liquid Filter to create a little more glow on my upper cheekbone area.
Types Of Lip Products:
Although Elf does have lip liners, I somehow managed to miss ordering one, so I’ll go ahead and use my L’Oreal Age Perfect Lip liner. I do have two Elf lipsticks and a gloss I want to try, but I also have a product called Sheer Slick in the color “Black Cherry” which I want to try on first. This is very sheer so it’s more of a slick, light balm. I’m usually not a fan of these types of lip products since they can easily migrate into the fine lines around my lips, but I just want to check out the color to really see if this is the best drugstore brand.
“If you don’t like the smell of coconut, Elf has two other setting mists..”
I usually end up having to blend a couple of lipstick shades together to get the shade I want, so I ordered the two shades “Effortless” and “Untamed.” “Effortless” is a dusty mauve and “Untamed” is a deep maroon-purple. The gloss I’ll wear over the lipstick is the shade “Pink Paloma” which is one of their newer shades.
If you don’t like the smell of coconut, Elf has two other setting mists besides the “Dewy Coconut Setting Mist” that I’ll be using today. But anytime I smell coconut I’m transported to an ocean side beach, so I love this fragrance. I’ll spray it on a dampened makeup sponge and then press it onto my face.
The Real Stand-Outs:
Now let me share with you the products I felt were the real stand-outs: the Instant Lift Brow Pencil, Wow Brow, the Bite Size Eyeshadow Quads, the Liquid Poreless Putty Face Primer, Elf Halo Glow Liquid Filter, Elf Hydrating Camo Concealers, Putty Blush, Luminous Putty Blush and the Dewy Coconut Setting Mist.
The products I most likely wouldn’t purchase again are the Putty Color Correcting Eye Brightener and the Lip Plumping gloss. Although the rest of the products were not real stand-outs, they were certainly all good and I’ll definitely wear them again. Today’s experiment truly makes this line the best drugstore brand for mature skin today.
About the Author:
Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional, working makeup-artist who is passionate about helping women 45+ get their glow back. In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty. Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 45+. Don’t forget to subscribe! Elise is also an author and speaker and hosts Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Edge Talk Radio show where she interviews experts in the field of health and wellness. And, if you’d like to receive more inspiration each week, check out my weekly newsletter. To get your copy, just drop me an email at [email protected] to let me know you’d like to receive it.