Review: e.l.f. Studio SPF 45 Sunscreen UVA/UVB Protection

By Voxy  

Buy this now.

Oh, did you want more? Sorry.

Buy this right now.

Seriously, this is an amazing product. As you may have gleaned from the Wall, I was recently in Hell a tropical location, and this performed like freaking gangbusters. I absolutely could not have been more impressed.

I have never been super-tolerant of hot weather, and since coming down with heat exhaustion at last year’s Commencement, have been even less tolerant than before. (A Biologist warned me that that could happen, and unfortunately she was correct.) So in terms of climate, this was a difficult trip.

Because we were nearly in equatorial climes, I wanted to be sure I had plenty of good facial sunscreen options. I brought with me my Cosmedix Reflect SPF 30 liquid mineral sunscreen, a Dr. Jart SPF 45 BB cream (soon to be reviewed), and this e.l.f. powder sunscreen. I figured the e.l.f. would probably be the easiest way to preserve some semblance of glamour rather than being a slick, shiny, sunscreen-y mess. Most days I put the Cosmedix and the Dr. Jart on in the morning, followed a little later by the e.l.f., and then reapplied the e.l.f. throughout the day as needed.

I am beyond amazed at the performance of this product. Did I sweat? Of course — it was 100º and excessively humid. But the surprising thing was that I sweated through the powder. I don’t know how to explain this. When I toweled off my dripping face gently touched a tissue to my brow, the tissue came away with sweat glow on it, but no powder. The powder did not streak or smear — not even a little bit. It was bulletproof. Bulletproof! And I know bullets, because I was sweating them. The tissue came away damp, but my face looked matte and flawless, as if I had just put on foundation. Same goes for swimming — for all but the most extended swim sessions, the water just beaded up on my face and was easily brushed away.

Now, of course all of this amazingness has to come at a price, right? That price is this: because it does such an excellent job of repelling moisture and clings to your skin so closely, this product is a son-of-a-bitch to get off. I ended up scrubbing most of it off with a Buf-Puf (yes, I learned to love them as a teen in the 80s, and they’re so convenient for travel!) and removing the rest with my Clarisonic. When I tried not using the Buf-Puf, all I ended up doing was staining the bristles of the Clarisonic. I was not pleased.

The other drawback to it is that the container is really much larger than it needs to be and the lid is difficult to close completely. It’s a screw-top lid that closes into place with a snap, but the lid can be sticky as you approach that last bit. It comes with a powder puff, which you will probably want to throw out because powder puffs do such a good job of collecting oil and re-depositing it on your face. Use a powder or blush brush instead.

I should mention that unlike some other mineral powder sunscreens, this one is not colorless. There is a slight tint to it; it looks more tinted in the container than it does on skin. It’s pretty neutral in undertone — neither too pink nor too yellow — and I would say it clocks in on the MAC scale at about NC/NW 25. This means that it will probably work on most people of Caucasian, Asian, or light Mediterranean descent. People with deeper skintones might not find it such a good match.

If you intend to spend any time outside this summer, I can’t say enough good things about this product. E.l.f. is sometimes a little hit-or-miss with quality, but this one knocks it out of the park. Did I mention it’s only $6?


e.l.f. Studio SPF 45 Sunscreen UVA/UVB Protection: $6

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent, amazing, fabulous, and awesome.

Purchase again? Try and stop me. Go ahead, try.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Let us know in the comments!)

Photo from the e.l.f. website. I usually take my own product photos, but mine is no longer in any condition to be photographed.

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  1. avatar Inthelab
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 7:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    I so need this but with rosacea, CANNOT scrub le visage.
    C’est dommage, because it looks like a great product. Le sigh. Will stick with the current powder (Stila, I think) and reapply PRN.


  2. avatar chaosbydesign
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    I need this for summer. As usual, I cannot buy it in the UK. Voxy, if you could pick some up for me next time you’re shopping I will love you forever (and pay you back, of course!)


  3. avatar marigolds
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m buyin’ it. (I read it was pinkish though. Are you sure you’re not biased, you pink-skinned-lass, you?)


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted May 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Er, well, all I can say is it doesn’t make me yellow, so it’s definitely not on the yellow side of the spectrum. I did think it was neutral, but aye, ye may be right, as I am a pink-skinned lassie.

      The Dr. Jart BB cream with sunscreen (which I also *really* like) is definitely pink.


  4. avatar Relationalista
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for this, Voxy! I’ve been contemplating this product for ages (even though it’s cheap enough that there’s really no need to agonize) so it’s great to see your thumbs up review … and good to be warned about the difficulty of removal. Do you think it would also work for arms, back of neck, etc? I can see that making this especially useful.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted May 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m sure it would, but I think it would probably be more efficient to use a spray or a lotion there. It would just take a lot of brushing to cover up your arms. Neck would be OK, and ears, but below the neck I’d go with a spray.


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