Why I Stopped Using Elf Cosmetics Makeup

January 13, 2016


As I was reorganising my makeup collection yesterday I noticed how I had placed all the Elf Cosmetics makeup products in my 'throw away pile'. I've been very unfortunate when it comes to Elf makeup and after giving it some thought I came to the conclusion that it was about time I'd share with you why. For sure, I can't be the only one who's had issues with their products. Elf Cosmetics is a low budget beauty brand with a great range of makeup at super affordable prices, which in Europe is mainly sold online. I received a couple of their products in a makeup swap I did in my early Youtube days and I then later on also purchased some more myself. I was really excited, Elf makeup was trending at the time and I felt like a true beauty blogger. Finally I was able to try and talk about their makeup!


The baked blush in Rich Rose is the only product from Elf that I have been able to use without a problem - or now that I think about it, their contouring blush and bronzer duo in St. Lucia has never posed any issues either. All their other makeup has always caused an allergic reaction in one way or another. The brow kit came first, I remember being so obsessed with it that I used it every single day. This product was very hyped among beauty vloggers at the time and I was really excited to be participating in that hype. It didn't last very long though as my eyebrows soon started getting itchy, like really itchy. I was not even plucking my brows back then so it could only have been caused by the Elf Brow Kit. As soon as it was eliminated from my daily makeup routine my brows went back to normal, fortunately. The lip products were a little worse than the brow kit. The 1$ lipsticks caused an irritation immediately, creating painful little bumps all over my lips. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen! Their Matte Lip Colors caused the same problem but only after a couple days of wear. I remember the rash would stay around for more than a week and I wasn't able to use any other lip product until it was completely gone because it would just make the irritation worse. I still recall that uncomfortable burning sensation. What is your experience with Elf Cosmetics? Have you ever had any allergic reaction caused by makeup? Share it in the comments!

88 comments

  1. The only ELF product I've tried is that brow kit. I broke out in dry scaly itchy burning patches that my doctor prescribed a cream for me to use to heal it. I haven't tried anything else yet. But my friend took it and has been using it with no issues, I can't wear Wet and Wild products either, they make my eyes swell shut.

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    1. Wow I'm so sorry that happened to you! I feel like I shouldn't complain anymore after this πŸ˜… I understand you never tried anything from them after that, same here!

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    2. Hi, I've had allergic reactions to thier eyeliner & BB cream~ Red, scaly,itchy patches on skin & swollen eyelids. I never get allergic reactions, ever. I'll never use thier products again!

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    3. So strange....I have never been allergic to any cosmetics....However I bought elf eye shadow and have dry red itchy on my eyelids. I stopped using this product and my eyes are fine..Strange!

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  2. I always wanted to get my hands on Elf products, but Elf ain't available in India.
    Now I'm thankful it ain't!

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    1. Haha! You're welcome :D Hope you're doing well <3 Love Xxxxx

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  3. Ijust picked up the blush and bronzer a few days ago, thankyou so much for the warning. Ahah i was going to go ti kmart (where they sell elf) to buy the matt lip colours and that blush, so greatful i didnt buy them though!

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    1. You're welcome, enjoy the blush and bronzer they are really good :D Thanks for checking out my blogpost honey! You're so sweet 😘

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  4. I used and still use bunch of ELF products (including the brow kit and the matte lip color) and haven't got any issues whatsoever. And I have very sensitive skin. I am sorry to hear about your experience. Try to look into the ingredients of these products and see if there are some that are potentially allergenic and that appear in all of the products that caused you the allergy reaction. <3

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    1. Good idea, I'll definitely do that! :) I'm surprised you haven't had anything because I didn't think I had sensitive skin until this happened!XXx

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  5. I haven't tried Elf but I'm so glad I read this! My skin reacts so badly to some brands of make up, I always have to test a patch out before I wear the product 'officially'.

    Lauren | shynature.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. You're welcome! I'm so sorry you have to do that, better safe than sorry I guess :D

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  6. Hey Jolien, I am very VERY wary of buying elf products, but I do have some. Any of their eyeshadows I tried cause the irritation/itching you were describing. The matte lipsticks did not cause any bad reaction so I use them. Also the blush palette worked for me. But still I do not trust this brand and don't buy it often.

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    1. It's very difficult to trust a brand quite some people have issues with as far as I can see, thanks for sharing your experience Grace :) have a nice day!

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    2. I used the brow kit and i started to itch and had red splotches on my face so i hid them up with more of the make up(bad choice on my part) my face was in pain and red for 5 hours.

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  7. Wow, I was thinking in to try this brand and now I completely changed my mind! Good post!

    www.brownsugausa.weebly.com

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    1. Thank you and you're welcome :) Xx have a nice weekend <3 Xxx

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  8. I used to use elf products when I was a bit younger, before I finally accepted that they were quite terrible quality, I'm not surprised you gave up on them either!

    http://skylish.co.uk

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    1. Haha I did in the end :D Thanks for checking out my blog!

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  9. I've bought a few never had a issue with them. I do prefer other brands though

    (Www.glitzandglamourmakeup.co.uk)

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  10. Wow! Never had an issue but I'm sorry it happened to you!

    I will say tho since ELF has gone mainstream I've lost my desire to purchase from them

    www.werejustbloggers.com

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    1. Haha I feel you! It's okay, I guess I just stick to their face products :D Xxx

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  11. Eek! This is the one thing I don't like about not being able to swatch products before purchasing them!

    I haven't reacted to any of the elf products I own (clear brow mascara thing, 1 lipstick, powder concealer & my favourite, the under eye setting powder), but I have reacted like you did to another brand we get in Australia called BYS! I purchased their cream highlighting palette, and while I loved the colours I ended up with quite bad eczema where I had used it on my cheeks and forehead! Like you, I wasn't able to put any makeup products for almost a month, although after 3 weeks I did try some mineral foundation powder but it just looked crusty 😜 I still have it though because I'm a bit of a hoarder with makeup lol

    The one saving grace from the experience is that it forced me to look after my skin better, and I ended up changing my skincare products to a more natural based range. Though it hurts the hip pocket, it's worth it to see the results 😊

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    1. I'm so sorry that happened to you, can't believe it actually caused eczema. Do you have sensitive skin at all? :) I'm not familiar with the BYS makeup brand, I'm going to take a look!

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  12. I've tried the entire ELF cosmetics line up until the recently added 2016 products when I partnered with them through my other business last year. They sent me all the products to test, which I did. All of it SUCKED with the exception of a handful of products.

    The clear brow and mascara gel $2 (only use for brows) is pretty awesome and does it's job. The smudge pots $3 (I LOVE) are incredible. They are my most favorite from ELF. They have the perfect amount of pigment which is light, but even and can be built. The face primer $6 does pretty well to considering I use a $50 primer almost daily. Last but not least, the makeup brushes $30 for a full set are pretty good quality for what they are. I'm not keen on a specific type of makeup brush as I always buy new ones, but I've never experienced shedding of any sort from their brushes. They last too! Prices are listed in USD btw.

    Love your blog, and the post!!

    Jordan @ www.notyourordinaryblonde.com

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    1. Hey Jordan! Low budget drugstore brushes can turn out to be pretty awesome indeed, I have the same experience with brushes from Claires and H&M Beauty :) Thanks for the heads up, I really appreciate it, I'm familiar with your blog btw, nice work ;) <3 Xxxx

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  13. I've never had any allergic reactions to it. I do have some allergies for products of Lush, but have never experienced any allergies for other brands. Btw: great blog!! xx Frederique

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    1. Thank you :) this is the only cosmetics brand so far where I've had issues, I think I can consider myself lucky! Xxx

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  14. I just bought E.L.F. blush kit and right after I put it on, my cheeks felt tight. Over another half hour, my neck and head really began to hurt. I felt kind of inflamed, to be honest. As soon as I washed it off, the symptoms began to subside.

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    1. I've heard about symptoms like that caused by makeup before :) you're lucky you found out so quickly! Xxx

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  15. Sad to say I can never use E.L.F. Matte Lip Crayons again! It's a shame, 'cause for the first few days I loved how it looked on my lips. And for the price! :(

    My lips had a similar reaction: itchiness, some inflammation, weird bumps, and scaling! So I stopped using any of my lip products (except for a blistex medicated balm) and some natural almond oil. Eventually - after two whole months - they healed and I tried the E.L.F. Crayon again... immediately felt itchy and dry... and in the trash it went.

    No other product has done this to me. I'm reading the ingredients and can't pinpoint the allergen. Oh well.

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    1. I use the blistex medical balm as well, it's amazing what it can do! I'm sorry you also had a bad experience with their matte lip crayons :) thank god there are so many other great drugstore brands out there! Xxx

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  16. I just tried their eye shadow for the first time and had a pretty bad allergic reaction. Ive never had that happen with makeup before, definitely going to steer clear of their products in the future.

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    1. There must be something in their products that is just not right, I'm glad you figured out immediately it was an eyeshadow! No majeup is worth that πŸ‘ŽπŸ» Happy New Year! πŸ˜˜πŸŽ„ Xxx

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  17. I used ELF face primer spray for the first time about a week ago and my face has progressively broken out so severe that I'm forced to use a ton of concealer and foundation just for it to look like I only have a few spots. I have about 15-20 on the right side of my face and about 5 on the left. I've used their blush palette with no issues but the primer spray made my face look so terrible that I'm trying everything with no help. Luckily, I read somewhere today that lavender oil and aloe vera leaves can help so I'm going to try that.

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    1. I think Elf should seriously reconsider what they put into their makeup products, allergic reactions like this are just unacceptable. I'm sorry this happened to you :) I saw your private message to, no worries ;) Xxx Have a nice day! I hope your skin clears up soon! <3

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  18. My wife woke up other day and her face was swollen around her eyes and bad, she had just started using Elf 2 days before...not for everyone...

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    1. Oh no! I hope she's better now :) Thanks for checking out my post! XXx

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  19. My google search lead me here to your article. I used the ELF matte lip crayon a few days ago and noticed some swelling on my lips but didn't make the connection to the lip stick since it wasn't until later in the day that I started to notice the irritation. But today, I wore the matte lip stick again and after about 2 hours I realized this was the cause of the swelling. I wore it for less amount of time today but it seems a little more irritated than last time. I don't have any dots just redness and swelling, more towards the softer inner part of my lips.

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    1. I suggest you find another matte lip crayon :) even if you don't wear it for long it still has negative effects on your lips. There are so many other affordable lipsticks out there that don't cause these problems. My fav matte lipsticks at the moment are the Essence Cosmetics Matt Matt Matt ones. Thank you for writing in ;) Xx

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  20. My lips are dry, chapped, and burning and the only thing that I have changed in my regimen is using ELF lipstick for the first time. I have been using it for 2 weeks and I didn't make the connection until I read this. No more for me. Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome honey! I'm glad I could help <3 Xxx :)

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    2. My lips too have been swollen and chapped, and it takes up to two weeks to heal. It first occurred with the scrub, then with the lipstick. I went makeup free for two weeks without issue. Tuesday, I put primer on, then foundation. My cheeks directly under my eyes started burning. My eye allergies were aggravated the next day, tried one more day (like a dummy) and today my lips are swollen and chapped again. I have used other products with the Elf, so narrowing it down to just this brand has been difficult.

      The reviews are all glowing - thought I was crazy. Glad I found your post.

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  21. I just got the foundation pallet yesterday and I could only keep it on for an hour. Immediate burning sensation and trashy face. My skin still burns over 8 hours later :( waste of money.

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    1. Rashy face, but made it look trashy lol

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    2. Oh no, I'm glad you figured out immediately that it was the foundation! lol I thought so ;) have a nice weekend dear! Xxx

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  22. Today I bought an Elf hydrating primer and used it right away I am new to using primer and was excited to try it. Shortly after putting it on my face started burning I thought it was just because it was something new my face has never had on a few hours went by and I scratched my cheek and it was unbearable the burning sensation I washed it off right away and my face is as red as a cherry and I have little red bumps scattered around my face. I am disappointed but maybe primer just isn't my thing and I am okay with that I tried something new and it didn't work out.

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    1. Oh no! Primer isn't supposed to make your skin tingle and burn, if you are looking a for a budget friendly option try Essence or Catrice Cosmetics :) Xxx

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  23. Iv'e been using the Elf gel eyeliner for about 3 years and not until i recently repurchased it is when i started getting a rash on my eyelid. I've had the dry flaky itchy rash for over 6 months and never suspected it was the liner because it was my holy grail go to eyeliner! I'm guessing they changed the formulation. In fact, it seems like all their products have gone through a formulation change whether it be big or small. Their logo is also not how it used to be.

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    1. That is possible, you can contact them to ask :) I also had a rash on my eyes once and I found out later it was actually because I'm allergic to pollen, even though I knew that, I was convinced it was my makeup because I had never experienced a rash like that before. I'm sorry you had to go through that :/ Xxx

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  24. I recently purchased the daily face cleanser and moisturizer, I put it on before I was about to be a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding and I had read streaks and burning all over my face! It took a lot of green concealer to pull off my makeup for that night. Lol

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    1. OMG I can't believe that happened to you, I guess for special events it's better not to try any new products, just to be sure :D

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  25. I've tried ELF twice and I've had the same reaction. The first time I bought them I got their lip stain and lipstick. Both made my lips tingle. This time I bought a new lipstick and my lips have been red, tingling and felt kinda numb all day. But I couldn't figure out why until after reading this article. I tried finding answers everywhere and kept looking at my lip. I realized it was numb right where i lined up my lipstick. Then I saw my lip was red. I thought it was from the lipstick. But then it made me realize that they were swollen as well. I immediately washed the left over lipstick off and it burns so badly. I really hope the allergy medicine will help stop the allergic reaction. And on that note, it's a cute color lipstick, but I refuse to buy anymore lip products by ELF.

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    1. Hi :) I hope you're lips are healed by now! I still remember how terrible it was when I was struggling with this, I just put on loads of vaseline and chapstick to ease the burning sensation. This is the only makeup brand I've had this issue with, so weird!

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  26. I have been using the ELF lavender brightening primer for a few days and I have itchy hives all over my face.

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  27. I have a rash right now underneath my eyes from Elf under eye highlighter and concealer after wearing it 2 days in a row. I haven't worn any make up today, but the rash hasn't faded. I've really liked their brow gel, so I'll just stick that for Elf, and leave the rest alone.

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  28. I used their under eye concealer one time only because I forgot mine and had to use my friend's. The next day my under eyes and the area in the top of my cheeks were scaly and irritated and I had to use my medication two-three times a day until it was gone

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    1. OMG that sounds painful, I'm sorry that happened to you! Let's not use makeup anymore from other people lol :D

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  29. Wow this seems horrible. I cant believe their products turned out this bad. Thank you so much for writing all this down. I'll have to be more careful with what i buy next time

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  30. I bought the elf hydrating face primer and I used it yesterday and today... Last night when k took my makeup off my face was hot red and itchy... Bad! I brushed it off since we were outside for a long time during the night and it WS cold. This morning it was still red and irritated but again brushed it off. However as the day went on my face is itching so bad and is so red and irritated! I have no idea what to do to clear it up. I did make oatmeal and layer it on my face to relieve some irritation but its not helping. Omgee how long will this last¡!!!!!!!! Help

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  31. Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up!
    best tattoo makeup

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  32. I bought the foundation and contour palette. I loved both until about 8 hrs into wearing it. My skin began itching and became inflamed. It was red and hot to touch. I knew I was having an allergic reaction, but couldn't be sure what caused it. It lasted two days and I had to use Behedryl and hydrocortisone cream to get relief. I've used the makeup two more times and the exact same thinf happened, so I knew then it was the makeup. I trashed it! I'll never buy another Elf product. I've never had any kind of reaction to makeup, even cheap ones. It's scary to think what could possibly be in these products.

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  33. I finally found what makeup brand was creating horrible bumps in my lips... Elf lip tint! I recall feeling that tingly sensation after I would apply it but never thought anything of it... Now I know this was causing my lips to get bumpy painful type of sores... I also remember using a liquid liner that made me eyes itchy and I stopped using immediately...Thanks so much for this because now I know I can’t use the elf Cosmetics brand.

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  34. I used their liquid eyeliner and after about an hour my eyes started to get very itchy and swollen. I also had little bumps all over my eyes.

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  35. I think the eyes shadow is doin the same to me, my eyelids are swollen and red, since i bought a whole new producst including skin moisturizer, make up and powder, from diferent brand i didn knew wich one was causing the problem, but im guessing is the elf eyeshadow, now reading your post ill stop using it, inmediatly

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    1. Same here, almost immediately after application my eyes began to itch, get red, and water. After I wash it off, my eyelids are a bit swollen. I think it may be my eyes reacting to talc? Does anyone have any recommendations for other brands?

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  36. I just recently use Elf primer (Hydration) and it burned my entire face. I cannot put anything such as lotion or soap because it burns my face even more. My face has also become very dry.

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  37. I just bought the concealer and was really excited to try it for dark circles under my eyes since my foundation is very sheer. I used it yesterday and when I woke up this morning, I was soooo swollen under my eyes! I can't say with 100% certainty it was the product , but this has never happened to me before. I've tried several remedies today. Still swollen.

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  38. I have TONS of ELF products from the different lines they have. Hydrating face moisturizer, primer, contouring powders, lip glosses. I have had a reaction with my 2nd product today. And the strange thing is I have used the flawless finish foundation before and did not have any issues. Not sure what the change is. But anyway my eyelids from applying foundation has itchy swollen allergic reaction. When I used the eyebrow kit a couple yrs ago. It was awful. ITCHY, BURNING. Very uncomfortable. So needless to say I love ELF products...but for whatever reason cant use those two.

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    1. Hope you’re better!!! I’m gonna have to go see my Dr. it’s so bad the rash around my eyes!!!!

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  39. I purchased the makeup primer and OH MY goodness... i have a horrible rash around my eyes!!! For days!!!! Ick what to do!!!!! Ouch!!

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    1. I've also purchased the Elf primer and setting spray, and BOTH made me break out in a bunch of huge, red, swollen pimples all over my chin, jawline, and forehead. My skin also got extremely dry and looked like a huge blister!!

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  40. I came across this after a google search on reactions to Elf cosmetics...so I brought a face primer..highlighter and very glittery blusher and after using the primer a few times which went on so smoothly and felt amazing for about Five mins..until my skin then felt all itchy and irritated all day until it was fully removed..I then got very puffy eyelids. Highlighter is stunning and never had issues. However the blusher has caused awful soreness and puffy eyelids and now conjunctivitis due to irritating my tear ducts so much. Awful stuff..learnt my lesson now and realised what caused these issues.

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  41. Just got a horrible eye infection from the Elf Mascara and my eye is practically swollen shut and is very itchy and painful! I'm about to go to emergency hospital because it's that bad! These products need to be taken off the shelves! ��

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    1. I agree! I have tried 2 ELF products over the last couple of years and had reactions to both. I should have known better when my daughter wanted me to try the setting spray that she bought, but figured it couldn't happen with another one of their products. But it did. Learned my lesson for sure.

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  42. My daughter convinced me to try the ELF setting spray. I used it only once and it was about a day later that my lips and jaw and corners of the eyes are red and swollen. So frustrating! It's been over a week and it won't go away! I have tried everything, so now doing more research for more things to try. UGH.

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  43. Adding to the list..

    I recently switched to Elf's flawless finish foundation. I was so excited to find my perfect color match! Unfortunately since using it, I've gotten a red, scaly rash from the corner of my mouth to my jawline. Just there. The only way it goes away is to stop wearing makeup and moisterize the area every hour or so. After a week it started to go away and thought I would be okay to start wearing makeup again and it came right back! I can only think that it must be from this foundation as I've never had a reaction like this before.

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    1. YES! exactly as I did. It was scaly. from the flawless finish foundation

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  44. I have recently found out I am allergic to something I put regularly on my face. I stopped using my moisturizer, my all natural face wash and cream. Today, I continued to use my ELF BB cream. I had a hunch that was it; but, I was in denial. I have used this BB cream for a few years now. I suspect they changed their formula. I feel so relieved reading these comments because it is exactly what I have been feeling on my face for a few months. Thank you all and thank you for your blog post!

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  45. Hi, I never used ELF products; however I stopped by a makeup store yesterday to try their primer. I tested it on my hand, and it felt great initially. A few minutes later, I felt a bit itchy and when I looked at it, my skin looked red... I still have the mark. I can´t imagine if I would have used it on my face....

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  46. Every time I use the foundation I get hives and my skin swells. I have pics

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  47. Just want to thank you for posting your reactions to ELF products. My rash and itchiness has just started showing up and I've been using the products for about 3 months. Guess you do get what you pay for!! Thanks again!

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  48. I bought the makeup mist and set a few days ago, and I now look like I have the measles all over my face, under jaw and now spreading to my ears. Even my hand and lower arm from spraying my foundation sponge with the mist and set is broken out and itching like mad. I am so curious what the ingredient is that so many have issues with. I'm miserable with itching, taking benadryl every 4 hours, applying cortisone 10, no sleep! Ugh!

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  49. I purchased a bunch of their stuff on one of their 50% off sales. Some is okay...lower than mediocre..but the foundation made me break out of my chin super bad. its almost scaly, It keeps drying up and flaking off, I've even stopped wearing makeup all together until this goes away. I recently ordered some arbonne skin care products and I hope it will help.

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