Top Five Cosmetics and Makeup Brands: Elf, Ulta, Smashbox, StrawberryNet, Too Faced Review & Coupon Code

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It's hard to find makeup that's affordable and effective. However, all five of these companies (elf Store, Smashbox, Ulta, Too Faced, and StrawberryNet) offer high quality makeup that won't break the bank.

When it comes to makeups and cosmetics, it seems that women have to choose between quality and price. As wonderful products become more and more expensive, it seems that the reasonably priced drug store alternatives have become of lower and lower quality. Nothing can boost confidence like perfectly applied makeup and therefore its important to use quality products that you are comfortable with. But at the same time, your pocketbook also needs to be comfortable with the prices. These five companies offer high quality products of moderate prices that are more than worth it. With the makeups listed here, you'll be more than confident enough for that big interview, big date, or even just grocery shopping!

Elf Cosmetics


  • Elf Cosmetics is very inexpensive
  • High quality makeup
  • Earn points through rewards program to earn gifts and extra discounts
  • Shipping is often free and very fast (standard shipping sometimes arrives within 3 days of ordering!)


  • Because they are run through a website and do not have their own stores, you can't try on colors of makeup or products before purchasing without going to an expensive boutique.


  • EXTREMELY LOW! Some products are as low as $1
  • Same low prices as drug stores but of much higher quality
  • Lowest prices of these five

 Smashbox Cosmetics


  • Smashbox Cosmetics offers kits for inexperienced buyers or for seasoned make-up veterans ready to mix it up. For example, they offer multi-packs of concealers to match colors just perfectly, smokey eyeshadow kits with instructions, and more
  • Smashbox offers the PhotoFinish Primer, a wonderful product that softens and brightens the appearance of the face. Trust me, I've used it, it is magical
  • Smashbox offers enough options to meet all skin types, not just cookie-cutter categories
  • Smashbox is cruelty-free--they don't test their products on animals


  • Smashbox Cosmetics is more expensive than drug store and grocery store brands. 
  • Like elf store, because they are run through a website and do not have their own stores, you can't try on colors of makeup or products before purchasing without going to an expensive boutique.


  • Smashbox is one of most expensive groups of make-up in this article, but is by far the highest quality and much less expensive than the highest class of department store makeup
  • The PhotoFinish Primer, a best seller, costs $32 for a reasonably large amount
  • Currently offering 25% off on orders for their Beauty Blowout Sale



  • ULTA offers brands like Smashbox (listed above), Chi, Urban Decay, and Pur Minerals
  • ULTA has stylists on hand and a website full of advice to help choose between brands
  • ULTA has an in-store salon, which, though not complimentary, is wonderful for trying out a new style or getting ready for a big event like a wedding or prom 


  • Because they are sold in a boutique setting, products are generally somewhat marked up in price
  • Salespeople and stylists in the store are said to be very pushy


  • Prices slightly more expensive than all the others ranked here
  • In-store salon runs between $40-$60 for an hour long appointment (hair and makeup will take an hour each)

Too Faced


  • Too Faced allows customers to create custom palettes online
  • Same makeup is used in movies and television programs
  • Too Faced offers free samples with orders
  • Free shipping on orders over $50


  • Too Faced is more expensive than Elf Cosmetics
  • Too Faced offers no subtle options, only very flashy make-ups
  • No stores in which to try colors before buying


  • On par with ULTA and Smashbox, much more expensive than Elf Cosmetics
  • A Too Faced eye shadow palette goes for $36 but valued at $72



  • StrawberryNET offers worldwide shipping for free
  • StrawberryNET discounts for orders of 6 or more items
  • Very large range of products
  • StrawberryNET can locate even most discontinued products by using their global supply network


  • Shipping can take a while because the products may be shipped or located across the globe
  • Customs can charge delivery fees if buying out of country--however, with proof of charges, StrawberryNET will refund you


  • Once again, lower than department store prices.
  • Pricing about equal Too Faced, ULTA, and Smashbox, but more expensive than Elf Cosmetics
  • Free shipping worldwide
  • They offer individual eye colors for $16.50 and an "Intro to Eyes" Tutorial Kit for $46.00

Bottom Line

Bottom line, these five different brands and retailers offer extremely high quality makeup that you can buy without going bankrupt. All of these wonderful options allow for the feel and confidence of high-end department store cosmetics without the price tag. Of the five, Elf Cosmetics is certainly the most cost-effective, but Smashbox Cosmetics offers the highest quality make-up. 

ULTA offers the most support for use of the make-up, offering in-store instruction and also a salon within which clients can have hair and make-up done by appointment. Too Faced offers the most customizable products and shopper choices and StrawberryNET puts forth the most effort to accommodate any and all requests for obscure make-ups. Each has their own strength and weakness, but all five of these companies are fantastic market leaders when it comes to affordable, effective makeup.