Review: e.l.f. (on location) Makeup Brushes and Nordstrom Off the Rack


A place called "Nordstrom Off the Rack" just opened in Virginia.  It's basically out-of-season or over stock items from Nordstrom sold at massive discounts.  It's still an upscale store compared to Ross and Marshall's but it's definitely worth a peek if you're into the high-end brand names.  Since it's an "upscale" discount store, it's very well-organized and sells marked-down cosmetics like Stila, Nuetrogena (Walmart has better prices for this one), Stri-vectin, and Chi, among others.  Surprisingly, e.l.f. was among them, although it's more of a "$1 brand."

There isn't a huge variety of each brand but still.  The Stila display had a bunch of eyeshadow palettes, eyeshadow singles, lip glosses, and lipsticks but e.l.f. only had makeup brushes available.  That's what caught my eye though, I thought e.l.f. was strictly an online brand but I guess not! They have a sub division called e.l.f.-on-location and though it's my first time seeing it I'm sure they have these elsewhere.

I've heard of e.l.f. here and there and the only thing I knew about it was that it was sold online.  I was so excited to see e.l.f. "in real life" that I got ripped off :P

$14.97 + tax for 6 makeup brushes.  Right after I got home I went on the e.l.f. website and found out they sold a 12 brush set for $12.  ...yeah :P It has good ratings too.   I thought about returning this 6 piece brush set and buying the 12 set online but what the heck I wanted to know how these brushes worked so I just used them.  Also I was just enamored by the slide-out travel lip brush :)

Close up of 4 brushes: L --> R: Lid Color, Crease/Blend, Smudge, Browline
I must say I like!  The Lid Color Brush and Smudge Brush are my favorites.  Much better than the cheap triangular tipped things that come free with drugstore palettes.

Powder Brush (white)

Very dense, soft and picks up color well but it shed a lot the first time I used this, which really annoyed me. It's a good size for blush and contouring the cheekbones, but it continues to shed :\  I'm not crazy about this brush but I'll prolly use this as I only have two large powder brushes and this one is softer and denser.

Lid Color Brush

This lid brush is really good for depositing color onto your lid via dabbing.  It's a little big for actual smudge/precision work because it's too big to control but it picks up a lot of color well.  Has never shed hairs but got a tad stiff after washing.  It still works just fine though.  Recommended as I use it quite a lot.

Crease/Blend Brush

This is slightly smaller than the Lid Color Brush so it's good for depositing color at the inner corner of your eyes.  It's still too big for precision smudge work but very dense, soft and acceptable overall. Has never shed hairs and retained softness after washing.  This is also good for contouring the nose bridge. Recommended.

Smudge Brush

Oo, this is my favorite brush of the bunch. It's good for smudging edges  I am sure you can find smaller more precise brushes somewhere but this one suits me just fine.  It fits right into my crease and it's dense enough to actually move color around and does not shed hairs.  I sometimes use this to deposit color in tight spots around my eye as well.  Washed easily and retained shape and softness.  Recommended.

Brow Brush

I'm going to be honest and say I have never used a brow brush before.  I don't fill or color my brows, mostly because I'm lazy and I fancy myself as someone who doesn't really have to.  When I want to thicken my brows I use Revlon's Brow Liner which comes with a gel end (it looks like brown mascara) and just use the gel end to comb and thicken a bit.  So, it beats me whether this brush is any good or not.  I tried using this as an eyeliner brush though and it's not all that bad though it's a bit "hard" for my taste. Maybe washing it will soften it up.

Lip Brush

I was so excited about this but I have to admit that it just doesn't work.  The brush just doesn't pick up an lipstick so it's useless.  Also the brush is so narrow and fluffy, you need a flat firm brush for your lips. Not recommended and total fail.

I only liked eyelid brushes.  However, I recommend buying these on the e.l.f website for $1 each instead of being robbed in-stores xD  Also some may find the really long handles annoying.  I think it's pretty and makes me feel elegant xD but it can get in the way if you're leaning too close to the mirror.

But that said I'm going to admit that my experience with makeup brushes is fairly limited.  I've really only used brushes I've come by for free or for very cheap.   I would like to one day splurge and buy Sephora's ginormous powder brush (it's basically the size of my face O_O) but I can't bring myself to drop $40 for what essentially is a glorified paint brush. Not yet anyway.  Until that day comes, I'm pretty content with e.l.f. quality :) They're dense and don't shed much (if at all) during washes nor after.  They're soft but not so soft that they don't pick up color properly.

Even with my positive experience, however, I'm hesitant to purchase non-brush items from e.l.f. because I believe things like brushes and foundations need to be good quality (not necessarily brand name) and from the reviews I've read, you really get what you pay for with e.l.f. - as in just about everything but the makeup brushes and a few select shimmer eye pencils leave much to be desired.


  1. The brushes seem good! I was thinking about getting some powder brushes...

  2. eeek =S

    ripped off ! lol..

    i saw elf lipgloss set for 10 bucks.. for 4 lipglosses.. i know they are a dollar on the website.. =S

  3. I love Nordstrom Rack but never really get cosmetic / beauty items there. Shoes and bags are great!:D

    ***** Marie *****

  4. Aw, it's okay. If you bought elf online, you would've paid extra just for shipping.

  5. are these the ones from the regular line??? cuz i know the studio ones are $3 each but they have a black handle, where as the regular ones are white...

  6. @ Steph - reallly?? ahah then I'll feel a lot better about what I paid xD

    I took a peek at the pics on the ELF website though and the tips don't look the same :\ I'm starting to wonder if ELF sells different brushes in-stores vs online...

    thanks for telling me :D

  7. I don't think these are ElF..there's an L in front more Lelf..I have tried mostly everything in their line and never seen these brushes...Hmmmm? i might be wrong though


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