This legacy post has been given a facelift! Content and opinions remain the same, but have been edited for clarity. A 2018 Update has been added to the conclusion. Enjoy!
I can’t argue with the price-point of the $3 elf Small Stipple Brush, but how does it perform?
Back in the Day
I owned one of these back in 2013 and attempted to use it for foundation when I was still figuring out how to do facepaint. I ended up having some streaking and coverage issues with foundation application, though and ultimately got rid of it in favor of a flat-top buffer (I have one from Coastal Scents and from Sigma) and my beautyblender.
Now that I’m into cream blush, though, I want to explore other application methods. So far, my beautyblender has done beautifully, but exploration is fun, so I picked up another one of these at Target.
The elf Small Stipple brush does shed its synthetic bristles a little bit occasionally, but not enough to stall an ongoing makeup look. The dual-length bristles help you avoid picking up too much product so you don’t end up making yourself look like either a clown with blush or as though you’re actually trying to emulate a strobe light (though that does seem to be a sought-after look these days) with highlighter. It’s nice for a light wash of highlight (I like this one from Becca).
The Bottom Line
For me, these are the only two things I use the brush for – and I’m satisfied with the performance-for-the-price. It’s doing great – if I lost it tomorrow, I’d replace it with the same. I’d recommend this brush to anyone wanting to try a stippling brush for these purposes with minimal investment or someone who just needs to stick to a budget regardless of testing the waters.
I still use this brush for cream blush and highlight application and own the same one from this originally-published-in-2015 post. If I lost or destroyed it, I’d replace it with the same $3 brush rather than a more-expensive counterpart.