We tried every product from the new e.l.f. XX Jen Atkin make-up collection – here’s our verdict

Starting from just £5, is the budget-friendly range a hit or miss?

Louise Whitbread
Wednesday 14 April 2021 09:09
<p>Designed to be modern and multi-purpose, the seven-piece range is available at Boots</p>

Designed to be modern and multi-purpose, the seven-piece range is available at Boots

When it comes to make-up, there’s nothing better than finding a new favourite product that doesn't break the bank.

We love a bargain as much as the next person, and are constantly on the lookout for budget beauty brands that can give us an expensive-looking finish for a fraction of the price.

Thankfully, e.l.f.’s new collection with hairstylist Jen Atkin, who is favoured by the Kardashians and the founder of luxe haircare brand Ouai, aims to do just that.

Known for her bronzed cheekbones, fluffy brows and bold lipsticks, the beauty pro has now created a seven-piece line-up for eyes, face and lips, with prices starting at just £5.

In it you’ll find a mix of cream and powder products, with an eyeliner, brow pomade, dual-ended lipstick and liners, a hydrating facial mist and an all-in-one palette containing blush, bronzer, highlighter and eyeshadows.

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With chic white and clear packaging, the range promises modern, minimalistic and multi-functional beauty products.

Keen to put the selection through its paces, we tried every single product considering packaging, formula, blendability, coverage and price. Our in-depth review explores every aspect of the launch to see if it deserves a spot in your make-up kit.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

E.l.f. XX Jen Atkin let’s e.l.f.ing do this palette

Available in two shades – light medium and medium to deep – this seven-pan palette contains four eyeshadows, a powder bronzer, blush and a highlighter.

On first impressions, the packaging is undoubtedly chic and feels much more expensive than the reasonable price tag would suggest.

The powder eyeshadow shades range from a peachy-nude base colour to a caramel brown, hazelnut brown and deep brown. They’re surprisingly rich in pigment and very lightweight, but easy to build and blend together. We loved using the peachy nude shade all over the lid to even out skin tone, followed by the caramel brown to add depth in the outer socket.

Read more: I tried every influencer’s favourite Refy brow products

The darker shades work great for a soft-focus eyeliner, and we found it worked best with an angled brow brush for a precise shape.

The matte bronzer is quite fair, so if you like sharp cheekbones, we’d recommend using this over the top of a cream contour for more intense colour and dimension, while the blush has a very sheer finish. It’s subtle but that makes it less intimidating as you can layer it slowly to avoid over-application.

The highlighter isn’t as shimmery or glowy as we wished, but we found a better use for it – layered on top of our eyelids for a quick wash of golden shimmer.

E.l.f. XX Jen Atkin xxtra lip kit

There’s a bright, pinky red, a brown-toned nude and a dusty rose pink to choose from with these double-ended lipsticks, each being rich in texture and giving an opaque colour with one application. The lip liner looks like a fine nib pen, while the lipsticks themselves are in a rounded bullet shape that’s very quick and easy to apply.

Read more: Is Fenty Beauty’s skin tint this summer’s must-have?

Available to buy separately for £8, or as this set of three, if you buy anything from the collection, make it this product. A touch of concealer, brush of the brows and swipe of mascara with any of these lipstick shades is a speedy, simple way to look glam without hours of effort.

They do leave your lips feeling a tad dry, so to counteract that, make sure you prep the skin with a quick application of lip balm. However, they did hold up well through numerous cups of tea and a serving of fish and chips, so they’re perfect for post-lockdown plans.

E.l.f. XX Jen Atkin eyes up here kit

In this kit you’ll find a clear brow pomade for keeping unruly hairs in check, a pencil-style eyeliner and a double-ended brow brush.

The brush is a no-brainer – one end is a sharp-angled brush that we used for adding hair-like strokes, the other a spoolie for combing hairs into place.

The pomade can be bought separately too, for £6, and has a very unique applicator, with two rows of flexible fibres that evenly distribute the product. It’s a gel formula that won’t give you a laminated brow look, but it will help shape your brows slightly.

Read more: Can Charlotte Tilbury’s new eyebrow products give us supermodel brows?

We were hoping for a tackier finish that would set and keep hairs in place a little stronger, but the brush doesn’t pick up that much product and it’s quite wet. Your brow hairs won’t feel stiff, but they won’t set in place either.

The pencil eyeliner costs £5 on its own and is a cream-to-powder formula. It’s super simple to create a winged eyeliner look with just a quick swipe of the product blended out with a pointed eyeshadow brush.

Available in brown and black, it has a soft look and chubby nib, so it's ideal for creating a soft line rather than a sharp flick.

E.l.f. XX Jen Atkin mist me? hydrating facial mist

The frosted bottle and clear liquid is very reminiscent of Atkin’s own haircare line Ouai, and this is a lightweight, coconut-scented spray that’s designed to refresh make-up.

It is quite heavily scented so if you’re keen to avoid a lot of fragrance on your skin, perhaps give this a miss.

If you don’t mind, it smells like summer and is great for a quick, short-term burst of moisture if you’re skin is feeling a little parched.

The verdict: E.l.f. XX Jen Atkin

There’s some great budget beauty buys in this collection, with the two-in-one lipliner and lipstick duos being our favourite: they are inexpensive but rich in pigment with great staying power and colour payoff.

The shades throughout the range are warm but mostly sheer in finish, which we think will be great for the warmer weather, when we’ll be opting for lightweight textures.

For more affordable beauty products, read our review of The Ordinary’s £5.70 serum foundation – is it too good to be true?

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.