I was aware that e.l.f. Cosmetics has some wonderful drugstore makeup products, but I am quickly becoming convinced that this brand’s skincare products are just as good as their makeup. Today, I’d like to discuss some of the best products from e.l.f.’s skincare line.
If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that I am a huge fan of The Ordinary and The Inkey List. Both of these brands formulate effective skincare products at rock bottom prices. While most other drugstore skincare brands have good products and the pricing might be reasonable, the majority are not under $10.
E.l.f. stands out amongst all other drugstore skincare brands, and joins the ranks of The Ordinary and The Inkey List because they too have several products under $10 (although their Full Spectrum CBD Collection is priced higher) and the products simply work. While e.l.f. doesn’t offer several treatment serums like The Ordinary and The Inkey List, they do offer some impressive skincare treatment products that produce noticeable results and are priced very affordably.
The e.l.f. Philosophy
E.l.f. Cosmetics (which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) prides themselves on taking a small, independent approach to working, learning, and testing, so they can move their products to market in a timely fashion. By using their relationships with some of the best manufacturers in the world and listening to feedback and reviews from their customers, they can offer the best products at VERY AFFORDABLE prices.
All elf products are free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone. E.l.f. skincare products are also free from sulfates. All of their products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, worldwide!
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Onto the best of e.l.f. skincare products:
E.l.f. Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser is a gentle non-foaming jelly cleanser that is formulated with coconut fruit juice, sugar maple extract, aloe vera, cucumber fruit extract, and vitamin B5. You can allow the cleanser to sit on your eye area for a little longer (10-20 seconds) in order to remove stubborn eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner.
I included this cleanser in my best skincare under $10 post since this no-frills product is gentle and gets the job done. It does have a somewhat strong coconut fragrance, so please take note if you are sensitive to fragrance.
This is the ideal cleanser to use in the morning to refresh your face after waking. If you choose to use it to remove makeup, you can follow their suggestion of letting it sit on your face slightly longer, but I would still suggest using a cleansing balm first to dissolve hard-to-remove makeup.
E.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence is a favorite of beauty bloggers and influencers for its moisturizing qualities thanks to purified water, coconut water, algae (red seaweed extract), and coffee. It also contains brightening and soothing niacinamide and hydrating hyaluronic acid. This product is lightly fragranced.
This essence was an e.l.f. skincare product that I was curious to try since it is often touted as a dupe for more expensive essences such as Tatcha The Essence. E.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence leaves my skin soft and smooth after the minute or two that it takes to dry. It would be nice if this had a spray nozzle so that you don’t overpour, but the large bottle provides enough product in case you do.
This essence would be ideal for those who have dry parched skin and need a little extra hydration. I can see adding this into my skincare routine in the colder months for a well-needed extra layer of moisture.
E.l.f. Gentle Peeling Exfoliant is a best-selling and award-winning cleanser that peels away dead skin cells and leaves behind fresh glowing skin. It is formulated with papaya leaf extract, tangerine fruit extract, and licorice extract, known for its sebum regulating, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties.
Apply the liquid exfoliant (it has the texture of a gel-cream) to your clean dry skin and massage in circular motions, avoiding the eye and lip area. You’ll see the product ball up, taking with it dead skin cells, revealing brighter, smoother skin. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. You can use this treatment 2-3 times per week.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this product, so I couldn’t wait to give it a try. This creamy exfoliant is not irritating to my somewhat sensitive skin and does exactly what it is supposed to do, and in a gentler way than manual exfoliants. It leaves my skin soft and smooth and brightens providing more clarity.
Microcrystalline cellulose is the ingredient in the product that combines with the oils in our skin. This is what balls up taking a small amount of accumulated dead skin cells with it. Please note that there is a light fragrance to this product.
This product will be replacing any face scrubs or manual exfoliants in my skincare collection. This doesn’t replace chemical exfoliators, but is a nice alternative for gentle and effective exfoliation at a very low price! For $10, this is a must-try.
E.l.f. SuperBrighten Peel Pads are single-use treatment pads that exfoliate and brighten skin for a glowing and radiant complexion. The pads are formulated with exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) including glycolic acid. You also find sugar maple extract in these peel pads. Extracted from the sugar maple tree, sugar maple extract contains natural AHA acids, namely malic and tartaric acids which provide a gentler exfoliation than stronger acids like glycolic acid.
These peel pads also contain citrus extracts such as orange and lemon fruit extracts and papaya extracts. Witch hazel is included for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. The jar of 45 peel pads provides a non-abrasive way to reveal fresher, brighter skin.
You swipe a single pad across your face after cleansing. Be sure to avoid your lip and eye areas and if you want some additional exfoliating benefits continue down your neck and to your décolleté as long as this area is not too sensitive. I prefer to use these peel pads at night when I don’t apply makeup on my skin afterward.
Glycolic acid is one of the smallest AHAs which means that it can penetrate deeper into your skin than gentler acids, so those with sensitive skin may have an issue with products containing glycolic acid. I am one of those people who are pretty sensitive to glycolic acid, I was able to use these pads without any problems or irritation, so perhaps the concentration is not too high in this product.
I think these peel pads are a great introduction to chemical exfoliation. What an affordable exfoliating treatment for $10. It’s hard to believe that these are so cheap since they are an effective way to brighten skin and remove dead skin cells providing results quickly. They may not be as strong as some formulas such as my favorite peel pads, but they are the perfect introduction to AHAs and a quick and easy way to get an AHA treatment a few times a week.
E.l.f. SuperHydrate Moisturizer With Hydrating Squalane is a gel moisturizer. It is formulated with squalane to enliven skin and create a plump bouncy complexion. Squalane is a plant-derived ingredient that supports hydration and maintains moisture.
This elf moisturizer also contains niacinamide. Niacinamide has so many benefits. It balances sebum production, minimizes the appearance of pores, evens the skin tone, reduces redness, improves dullness, and supports the skin barrier. If that weren’t enough, niacinamide also has antioxidant properties to repair and protect from UV and environmental skin damage.
Centella Asiatica (Cica) protects and soothes while Snow Mushroom plumps and hydrates. Vitamin E nourishes and moisturizes.
I am amazed at all of the fantastic skincare ingredients in this moisturizer and the fact that it retails for only $12. This is a fun moisturizer because it has a jello-like texture that provides so much hydration and moisture. The one drawback is that it applies to a somewhat tacky finish and takes a little bit of time to dry. It’s ideal for all skin types, but I think it would work best for those with normal to dry skin.
E.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream (the same formula as Hello Hydration! Face Cream in the photo, just a new name) is one of the first e.l.f. products that made me take note of their skincare brand due to its impressive formula. This moisturizer is all about plumping and hydrating the skin. Notable active ingredients include:
- Hyaluronic Acid – a holy grail for hydration that can hold up to 1000% times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid will help prevent water loss, and plump the skin.
- Niacinamide – a true all-star skincare ingredient (and one of my favorites), niacinamide (Vitamin B3) controls oil production, brightens, evens skin tone, and soothes irritated skin.
- Squalane – balances oil production, noncomedogenic, calms the skin, and seals in moisture, supporting the skin barrier.
- Peptides – amino acids that support collagen and elasticity production and helps revitalize aging skin.
- Vitamin B5 – soothes with its anti-inflammatory qualities, supports the skin barrier, and hydrates the skin.
This formula is packed with hydrating and anti-aging ingredients and is so incredibly affordable. The rich and creamy elf cream feels surprisingly light on the skin without feeling greasy. I love this drugstore elf moisturizer! Please note that this moisturizer is scented but is also available in a fragrance-free version.
E.l.f. All the Feels Facial Oil is a lightweight facial oil that is infused with hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil to hydrate and nourish the skin. The oil has a base of jojoba seed oil and also contains sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and carrot seed oil. Squalane improves moisture while rosehip seed oil provides antioxidant qualities along with vitamins and essential fatty acids.
This oil is so lightweight and doesn’t leave your face feeling like an oil slick. If you have dry skin and are looking for a boost of moisture, you can mix a few drops in with your daily moisturizer or foundation, for a beautiful glow and added radiance.
NOTE: This oil feels very similar to e.l.f. 100 MG CBD Facial Oil reviewed below in that they are both so lightweight and perfect to add as the last step in your skincare routine to soothe, hydrate and seal in moisture.
I am including all 5 products from e.l.f.’s Full Spectrum CBD Collection in this best of post because they are that good. Every single one of them. Yes, they are more expensive than most of e.l.f.’s other products. This is because they contain respectable amounts of full spectrum hemp-derived CBD, and all of the products are so soothing. You can read my review of the entire Full Spectrum CBD Collection in this post.
All of the products with the exception of the eye cream have added fragrance, so please note this if your skin is sensitive. The fragrance in these products contains notes of Japanese citrus and chamomile. It is a very light soothing and pleasant fragrance.
NOTE: E.l.f. ’s CBD collection is not for sale in Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, or South Dakota.
e.l.f. 100 MG CBD Facial Oil
E.l.f. 100 MG CBD Facial Oil is formulated with an impressive 100 mg of full spectrum CBD, marula oil, balancing grapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil, and sweet almond oil. This lightweight oil sinks into the skin without feeling the slightest bit greasy or oily.
e.l.f. 50 MG CBD Moisturizer
E.l.f. 50 MG CBD Moisturizer is formulated with 50 mg of full spectrum CBD, hyaluronic acid for plumping the skin, and sweet almond oil to retain moisture. This moisturizer has the texture of a lightweight gel-cream. It sinks into the skin leaving a beautiful natural finish.
e.l.f. 50 MG CBD Eye Cream
E.l.f. 50 MG CBD Eye Cream contains 50 mg of full spectrum CBD plus hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumping and a peptide complex to brighten under the eyes and to reduce the signs of aging. The eye cream is unscented.
e.l.f. 50 MG CBD Body Cream
This is my new favorite body cream! E.l.f. 50 MG CBD Body Cream is infused with 50mg of full spectrum CBD, argan oil and shea butter. This body cream absorbs quickly, is never sticky and is so soothing.
e.l.f. 5 MG CBD Lip Oil
E.l.f. 5 MG CBD Lip Oil is formulated with 5 mg of full spectrum CBD along with sunflower seed oil to moisturize the lips. It has a delicious flavor of peppermint vanilla and is not sticky or greasy.
You can buy the entire Full Spectrum CBD collection here.
Related Post: The 10 Best Skincare Products of 2020
As a fan of e.l.f.’s Holy Hydration! Face Cream and cleansing balms in general, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm.
This cleansing balm is formulated to easily remove makeup, dirt, and oil without leaving your skin feeling dry or tight. It contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides to cleanse while hydrating and plumping the skin.
This silky cleansing balm melts into your skin and turns into a milk when water is added. It rinses cleanly, leaving your skin soft and hydrated. Please note that it does have a light pleasant fragrance.
TIP: This elf cleansing balm is perfect as Step 1 of a double cleanse. A double cleanse consists of an oil-based cleanser and the first step, and a water-based cleanser as the second step. If you want to stick with e.l.f. products, follow with e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser as step 2!
e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser is a foaming gel cleanser that removes makeup, dirt, and other impurities. It is formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to hydrate the skin and support the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It has a thin gel consistency that provides a nice foam action without stripping the skin.
This gentle cleanser works well on its own but really shines when used after e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm in a double cleanse to completely clean your skin. It preps skin with moisture to get it ready for the rest of your skincare routine. Please note that this water-based cleanser is lightly fragranced.
e.l.f. Oil Control Pore Minimizing Serum minimizes pores and controls excess oil production. It uses niacinamide to soothe and brighten, while willow bark and tea tree oil minimize shine and clarify the skin.
This is a very lightweight serum that I like to use as a booster to keep oil production at bay around my t-zone. If you’ve never tried niacinamide on your skin, this would be a great introduction at a very affordable price. Niacinamide is the second ingredient in this product so for a niacinamide-rich formula for only $8, you can’t beat it.
Ideal for acne-prone skin, e.l.f. Acne Fighting Spot Gel is a rollerball formulated with salicylic acid, camphor, and tea tree to target acne and breakouts. It also contains witch hazel, green tea, and aloe to calm and soothe inflammation from acne and pimples.
I love that this acne spot gel is in a rollerball format, because you don’t need to use your fingers (and accompanying bacteria) to rub it in. It’s really hard to believe that this effective treatment is only $3. You can buy a few and throw one in your purse, one in your travel bag, another in your gym bag…so easy and convenient!
e.l.f. Happy Hydration Cream is a hemp-derived face cream that has a rich but lightweight texture. The cream is formulated with Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, which is rich in omega fatty acids, including omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. These fatty acids help support the skin barrier by locking in moisture.
Help seed oil, which does NOT contain THC or CBD, also has anti-inflammatory properties and may even help with acne. The cream also contains brightening niacinamide, which also offers barrier repair and anti-aging benefits. Niacinamide can help to reduce the look of enlarged pores and improve uneven skin tone.
You’ll also find Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 in this cream. This peptide duo is also known as Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex that can help smooth wrinkles per the manufacturer, as well as improve skin tone, elasticity, and roughness.
Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) hydrates and plumps. Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) soothes and hydrates the skin. Ideal for all skin types, this cream absorbs quickly and is very nourishing and moisturizing. It leaves skin with a lovely glow and also works well under makeup.
e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream is a rich and hydrating eye cream this is formulated to moisturize the eye area and minimize the look of dark circles and shadows with a replenishing peptide complex.
This lightweight eye cream contains hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump the skin. Glycerin and jojoba esters moisturize the skin.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, also known as Matrixyl 3000, is a peptide complex that is said to have anti-wrinkle benefits and helps stimulate collagen production for a firmer more youthful complexion.
The eye cream is lightweight, non-greasy, unscented and is perfect for under makeup.
Final Thoughts on The Best of e.l.f. Skincare
E.l.f. is one of the few drugstore brands that offers innovative and unique skincare products. It seems that drugstore products are often late to the game when it comes to skincare trends and new product offerings, but e.l.f. is becoming competitive with some of my budget-friendly favorites: The Ordinary and The Inkey List.
For an affordable intro to e.l.f. skincare products check out their Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit. It contains 5 e.l.f. skincare products for just $20:
- Holy Hydration! Daily Cleanser (1.01 oz)
- Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm (0.45 oz)
- Hydrating Booster Drops (0.14 oz)
- Holy Hydration! Eye Cream (0.23 oz)
- Holy Hydration! Face Cream (0.529 oz)
Thanks for reading, and until next time…