In terms of cruelty-free, affordable brushes, I wouldn’t say elf is on par with Eco Tools or Real Techniques (which I find very much comparable to higher end brands), but they do have some nice options. I’ve purchased quite a few elf brushes over the years, many of which were everyday staples for me for a long time. I always purchase these with 50% off codes, so they’re $1.50 a piece. I recently picked up three new ones: the Mineral Powder Brush, Flawless Concealer Brush, and Small Tapered Brush.
The Mineral Powder Brush is relatively small for a powder brush. It’s rounded and tapered. It would work for blush and bronzers.
The Small Tapered Brush is shaped like the Real Techniques Setting Brush, but it’s larger and round, while the RT Setting Brush is flat on the sides. It’s pointed enough to use for contouring and the rounded shape helps blend. I like it for applying silica powders. The tip works great for the “flicking” off excess.
The Flawless Concealer Brush is longer and a bit larger than other similar-style brushes. I prefer something smaller and less dense for the under eye area, but if you buff in concealer with a brush, you may like this.
Like all of elf Studio brushes, these are in the style of Illamasqua brushes. There’s no denying they are super soft, particularly the Mineral Powder and Small Tapered Brushes. They all have the same bristles, so I imagine any variation in softness has to do with the way the brushes are cut.
So, are these must haves? Not really. But they do work nicely. I can see the elf Studio brushes being particularly good options for someone new to makeup who wants to experiment with different brushes and ways of applying products. You can always invest a bit more in the brush types you use most often once you discover which work best for you.
Do you use any elf brushes? Other budget brush favorites?