Wednesday, July 28, 2010

e.l.f. Product Reviews

My e.l.f stuff finally came! I ordered on the 20th, it shipped out on the 21st and arrived on the 26th, so not too bad! I waited till I had a chance to give everything a try before I posted, because what's the point otherwise?
I really want to do a video review, but since my video cameras got stolen the first time my apartment got broken into, and my laptop with the webcam got stolen the SECOND time my apartment got broken into (4 months later, bleh!), we're stuck with photos for now! I have been watching eBay, though, so I can eventually be one of the cool kids that reviews makeup on youtube!

Here's a rundown of the stuff I ordered! I recorded my expectations a few days ago, so I can compare what I was expecting vs the reality of what came. Everything here can be found at I'm not paid for this review or sponsored by elf or anything, so this is all straight-up opinion. Please remember that just because I love something doesn't mean you will, and same thing if I hate it.

Item: Brightening Eye Color in Pretty n' Pink ($1)

Expectation: I’m not expecting a ton of quality here, because lets face it, it’s 4 eyeshadows for $1. Of the four, I’d probably use the two on the upper corners the most… the kind of coraly pink on the left side doesn’t look like it will look very good on my skin tone, and the dark pink probably won’t either. There’s such a thin line with darker mauve colors like this between looking good and giving you a sort of bloodshot look!

If I do end up liking this, I’ll probably order more of the brightening eye color quads in Butternut, Nouveau Neutrals, Silver Lining, Luxe, Drama, Matte Mauve, Ivy, Brownstone, and Glam. I so rarely have any luck with quads, but it would be nice if this one works out!

Reality: The colors are pretty much exactly as they appear in the photo, except the color that looks white here is a little more champagne-y. Although they aren't SUPER pigmented, there is a good amount of color. When I tested everything on my hands and arms to take swatch photos, this was the first thing to totally disappear. I tried them out on my eyes next, and the colors are actually REALLY pretty. I used the upper right corner pink on my lids, and the off-white on my browbone. Nice matte finish.
I am glad that the applicator is double-sided, so you have one surface for each color, even though I use brushes most of the time. The kind of nice surprise with this is that below the applicator is a tiny mirror built into the comapct. Score! Although you can tell by looking that this isn't a high-end product, the compact, applicator and colors are definitely acceptable quality. I'll definitely be ordering more of these quads, like in almost every color. They obviously aren't Smashbox or Mary Kay quality, but they are superior to a lot of drugstore brands I've tried, better than some quads I've paid like $7 for at Target. I'm thinking about picking up a couple just to keep in my car, too. I'm a big fan of having a "car kit" of makeup, but I think that's probably a whole other post.


Shimmering Facial Whip Camilia ($1)

Expectation: This is made to be used on your eyes, lips and cheeks. I’m not much of a blush fan but I can see this being a pretty shimmering eyeshadow, and maybe working as a lip gloss if it isn’t too frosty. I’m a little surprised to read that it has vitamins B, C and E in it, so that’s a nice perk. I’m admittedly a little surprised, too, that this won the 2008 Allure Best of Beauty award. How often do you see $1 makeup win any kind of award? They claim it isn’t greasy, but I’m still a little skeptical. The site says it has a “sugar orange” scent… that could either go a yummy orange creamsicle way or creepy citrus cleaner way.

If I like this, I’ll probably order the Pink Lemonade, Spotlight and Toasted shades, too.

Reality: This comes out of the tube exactly the color I expected. I was surprised how THICK it was. The other color of this wasn't so thick, so I don't know what's up with that. A little dot goes a long way, and my test swatch dried on my hand with a nice shimmer- not super duper glittery, but a nice shine. I did NOT like it on my lips, and it was just ok on the cheeks. The first time I tried it on my eyes, I didn't use any kind of primer, and it was kind of a disaster. It just looked cheap and sloppy, which really surprised me because it went on my hand SO nicely. I tried again after putting some loose powder on my eyelids to help it stick, and again, bleh. I'm frustrated because I keep trying different things to make it work, but nothing is resulting in it being awesome. So why do reviewers rave about it? Was Allure on crack? Is the "toasted" shade better made than this one? Or am I just missing something?

Swatches of both whips on my arm, camila on top and citrus on bottom.


Item: Earth and Water Mascara Duo Noire ($1)

Expectation: I got a little confused because this is listed in my order as “Earth and Water”, but on the site as “Regular and Waterproof”. Either way, it is a dual-sided mascara with regular formula on one side and waterproof on the other, so really TWO mascaras for a buck! WIN. The good news here is that mascara is pretty hard to screw up. I mean, some brands obviously stand out as awesome, but almost anything is at least useable. Probably not going to be the greatest mascara in the history of the universe, but should at least be good for casual daily use.

Whether I like this or not, I might try the Mineral Infused Mascara next. It's $3 (oooh, big money!), but it gets high ratings on the site.

Reality: One thing I like a lot is the labeling on this. Sounds silly, but I was happy that there's a label on the midsection that connects the two formulas to tell you which side is regular and which is waterproof, but the waterproof one also says waterproof at the *bottom* of the tube, because I am exactly the kind of girl who would accidentally swap the ends around and never know.
I tried the regular formula first, and it's pretty good. Not the most awesome mascara ever in the history of the universe, but damn decent for 50 cents! It isn't chunky or goopy, just a nice, basic mascara. I really can't tell much difference in the regular and waterproof yet, but I'll probably develop a preference eventually.

Item: Brightening Eye Liner Black ($1)

Expectation: Eyeliner pencils that actually work well are sooo hard to find. I usually use either a creme eyeliner or a black eyeshadow applied wet with an angled brush as liner. If this actually works well, I'll be amaaaaazed. None of the other available colors interest me, though.

Reality: Nifty fact- it comes with a sharpener! This is a pretty basic eyeliner. Not bad, not amazing, just a stick that draws a black line. It does glide on pretty smoothly, I would use it occasionally.


Item: Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($1)

(no longer available)

Expectation: If these actually work, I will be a very happy girl. They'd be perfect for travel! Only 18 come in a pack, so I'd have to stock up if they're good.

Reality: After wearing the first makeup I tried on my eyes for about 5 hours, I was chomping at the bit to try out something new! What better chance to try out the remover pads? It was easy to separate one pad from the bunch, and I was able to remove the makeup from both eyes pretty effectively with one pad and a little work. Not fantastic results, but pretty decent. These would be great to toss in with my dance makeup for a quick clean-up after a performance. I've seen some people say these are drying to the skin, and I can see that. I wouldn't use them for everyday use, but they are handy if you need something easily portable.


Item: Custom Eyes shadow in Wisteria ($1)

Expectation: I can't quite tell what the difference is between the custom line and regular line, except that these are made to go in the compacts. And have a kind of nifty/creepy eye design.

If I like this, I'll pick up one of the compacts to stick it in, and the same thing in ivory. I really wish there were more colors available!

Reality: This looks much more purple/lilac in person, but it goes on quite nicely. I didn't buy the compact, so I'm a little lost with how to store it, because it is literally just a little circle of eyeshadow in a metal pot- no lid or container or anything. This is a pretty decent little eyeshadow. Not super-pigmemted, but a nice pale purpley pink color. I'll use it occasionally.

Swatched dry. Wet it goes on more purpley and shimmery.


Item: Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15 in Mauve Luxe ($1)

Expectation: This reminds me an awful lot of the Bon Bons lip gloss you can get at Wal-Mart for 93 cents. Except, ya know, this one is 7 cents more. I wear lipgloss a lot more often than lipstick, because it is so much easier to find a color that looks good on you, and I'm not terribly fond of the texture of lipstick. It says it has a "grape vanilla" scent- not too sure what to expect from that.
I think lip colors are probably the hardest thing to pick out without trying them on, but if I really like this I will try it in another shade, probably Goddess.

Reality: I was surprised how DARK this was when I took it out of the box. But now that I look again at the photo from the site, it isn't that much darker than what is pictured. You have to work it in a little after putting it on, but it stays on pretty well, has a nice smell and is actually quite pretty. I didn't expect the shade to be flattering on me when I saw the tube, but it actually looks good on both me and my mom. (I made her test it, too!) I will totally buy another color.

Item: Eye Shadow Brush ($1)

Expectation: It's a makeup brush for $1. No great expectations, but I really wanted to try out at least one of their brushes. Sadly, they were almost ALL out of stock, so I got lucky with this one!

Reality: This is a pretty decent little brush for a dollar. It's no Smashbox, but it gets the job done. Handy for when you are doing an eye makeup look with lots of colors and you don't want to keep washing out your brush, you can have this one as a spare. It's better for packing on color than for blending. I'll probably pick up a few more of these, because we all know you can never have too many brushes.

Item: All Over Cover Stick Apricot Beige (fair) ($1)

Expectation: I would have ordered the ivory shade, but it was out of stock. I'm not sure if this would work best as a concealer or foundation or what, but it is tiny and cute and would be handy to keep in my purse to touch up when I'm out and about.
On my "WHY didn't I order this??" list is the cousin to this product, the All Over Color Stick, which is basically the same thing, but for eyes/lips/cheek color. Next order, I will probably get pretty much every color they have of that.

Reality: It keeps striking me as WEIRD to have a scented concealer! It isn't an unpleasant scent, but I'm really only used to scents on my lips. The shade did match my skin pretty well, I might try a shade darker, though. My only complaint about this is that the top is concave, so if you try to apply it straight from the tube, it is kind of uncomfortable and difficult. Rubbing it on your finger and applying that way works much better. Hopefully I can wear it down so it is more rounded, then it should go on much easier. This goes on pretty well, and has a creamy consistancy. I tried it under my eyes, over blemishes, and as an eye primer, and it did a pretty decent job at all three. Obviously can't compare to awesome concealers like Benefit, but it would be perfect to carry in your purse for touch-ups. This gets a thumbs-up. I also tried sweeping it across my face and blending it like a foundation, but that made it feel really greasy, so stick with using it over a small area.


Item: Pearl Pink Nail polish ($1)

Expectation: I've had really awesome cheap nail polish, and really crappy, so this one is up in the air. I never really paint my fingernails, but I love cute toenail colors, since I pretty much live in flip-flops. This is a cute, girly shade, and I'm hoping it is as cute in person as in the photo.

Reality: This one came in a different style of box than the other two, so I'm guessing it's either newer or older. Hopefully older, because it was hard to get out! The other two popped out much easier. The bottle looks nothing like the photo, to the point that I actually double checked it was the right shade. While the photo is an almost purpley-silvery pink, the bottle is a more golden-undertoned pink. Still pretty, just very different from what I expected. It goes on nicely, and actually looked pretty good after just once coat.


Item: Bubble Gum Pink Nail Polish ($1)

Expectation: Pretty much the same as the one above. This is a bit more pepto-bismal than Barbie's Dream House, but I think that could really work on toes!

Reality: I was a little disappointed in this shade. On the site, it looks very Barbie pink, kind of the ultimate summer shade of girly sugary sillyness. In person, it's more of an awful mauvey pink your great aunt would wear on her lips, kind of smeared outside her lipline. On the plus side, it dries really quick. I may attempt some mad scientist stuff and try mixing some of it with the Pearl Pink to see if it can become an acceptable shade.

Item: Red Velvet Nail Polish ($1)

Expectation: It is red and glittery. What's not to love? Excellent for going a bit more rockstar than girly.

If I'm pleased with the quality of these nail polishes, I will pick up the Coral (which I almost got this time), Mod Mauve (actually a lavender color... I wanted it but it was out of stock), Berry Pink, Royal Purple, Lilac (was out of stock), Mint Cream (out of stock, too), Sunset and Burgundy. I am a little sad that Red Velvet appears to be the only sparkly one!
Reality: The bottle looks quite a bit lighter than the website photo. It's more of a red-red than the awesome dark shade the photo portrays. Also? No glitter. NO GLITTER! It is shimmery, but doesn't the picture above make you think glitter?? However, it is a pretty good red, and you only need one coat.
The nail colors are the biggest descrepancy so far between what colors look like on the site and what they look like in real life. Other products had a little bit of difference, but these are really, noticeably different, so order with caution.

Left to right: Bubblegum Pink, Red Velvet and Pearl Pink.

Item: Butter Pecan Duo Eye Shadow Cream ($1)

Expectation: Eeeeeeveryone’s reviews seem to say these crease like crazy and don’t stay on very long. It is also verrrry hard to find browns/neutrals that look good on me, but I wanted to try these anyway.

Reality: These colors are quite pretty in person, but I'm not a fan of how they look on together. It's too much thin shimmeryness. I do like the brown used with other shadow as a crease color, though. The thing I DON'T like is that the little metal line that separates the two colors is sharp! It hurts if you poke it while using your finger to apply the product. And, as everyone says, if you do use them as an all-over color, they crease. You could avoid that by putting on a VERY thin layer with the lightest touch, but then you just have a shimmery eyelid, no color.

Item: Mocha Swirl Duo Eye Shadow Cream ($1)

Expectation: See above about the other creme duo. I really hope this is good, though, because I love the pinky-lilac color!

Reality: This poor shadow seems to have had a rough trip to my house, because it arrived with little sweat beads decorating the purpley side:

I really wanted to like this one, but the purpley color doesn't look very good on me. It loses its color, and just looks like shimmer on my eye. Like the one above, the brownish color makes a pretty good crease color when paired with normal eyeshadow, but if you try to use both colors of the creme shadow together, it's just too...unsolid for lack of a better word.
Item: Coffee + Cream Duo Eye Shadow Cream ($1)

Expectation: Same worries as above. Not sure what the white side would be good for besides a base, but I want to experiment with it!

If these magically end up being better than I've heard, I'd also like to try the Olive, Berry Mix and Sugar Cookie shades.
Reality: This one was a bit of a surprise, because the white is actually glittery. I actually bought it because I wanted a plain white to play with, but I guess I'll have to keep searching! (Next stop: Glamour Doll Eyes in Cloud Coverage!) The coffee side makes a pretty nice crease color. You can use it full strength for a pretty dramatic crease, or blend it a bit for a more subtle color. The white is ok as a highlight color, but the pigment is too thin for my liking. I don't think I'll be buying any more of these duos, but I will use the brown sides for crease colors sometimes, because they're pretty good there.

Here are all three duo shadow sets:

Butter Pecan, Mocha Swirl and Coffee & Cream
I just wish they looked as good on my eye as the do here swatched on my arm!

Item: Sweet Mineral Eyeshadow ($3)

Expectation: I have slightly higher expectations for the mineral shadows, since they are $3. This color is really simiar to the one from the Big Beautiful Eyes set that I love from Benefit, so I hope it looks good on!

Reality: This is a tiny bit more orangey than it appears in the photo, and VERY shimmery. It has a fairly metallic finish, whether you apply it wet or dry. Actually, if you apply it wet, it has a REALLY, REALLY shiny finish. I ended up putting it on wet and then patting dry shadow over it to tone it down. It takes quite a bit more product to get good coverage than with something like Mac, but that's kind of to be expected. I'm probably one of few people who HATE sifters in my eyeshadow, so I'll be popping that thing out pretty soon! After some experimentation, I've found that I like this quite a bit if I put a little white shadow over it. It takes out a little of the overzealous shimmeryness and tones down the orange a bit, making it much more wearable.

Item: Girly Mineral Eyeshadow ($3)

Expectation: It is hard to find a matte pink shadow, so I'll be tickled pink (hah! Sorry.) if I like this! If e.l.f. still has the 10 free mineral shadows promotion when I put my next order in (if there is one), I'll be so very happy!

Reality: Umm.. remember how I wanted a matte pink? Not so much. This is a shimmery purple. Yeeeahh... take a look at that photo again... you would think matte pink too, right? It's still a pretty nice shadow. It actually goes on a darker color dry than wet. I *like* it, don't love it. I'm always a little wary of using purples because I feel like they make me look like I haven't slept or have a black eye. Any makeup tips for using purples and still looking fresh?

Girly on the left, Sweet on the right

Sweet on top, Girly on bottom. The ones on the left are dry, on the right are applied wet.

Item: Pearl/Glow Eyeliner and Shadow Stick ($3)

Expectation: Ooooh, preeeetty. I obviously love pink eye colors, and this looks like it could be a good color for the entire lid. Not sure about the smaller end, other than maybe some funky effects, but it will be fun to play with! I think this is the only item I ordered from the Studio Line, btw.

If I like it, I will definitely pick up the green/moss and plum/purple. If the liner part is really good, I'll also get the black/smoke. And maybe the brown/basic. Arrgh, too many pretty things!
Reality: I am so bummed. I think this is the ONLY product I was really disappointed in. The eyeshadow side goes on with almost NO color. It adds shimmer to my eye, but no real pink color to speak of. The eyeliner (white) side is much more pigmented, but it FELL APART after the first time I used it! I tried it on the inner corner of my upper lid, put it away, and when I took it back out to photograph it, the whole liner part was stuck to the cap and came off with it!! I guess the lesson is to screw it ALL the way back in before replacing the cap. I had unscrewed it like a nanometer to try it, and left it like that and it got stuck. BOO! The liner end does NOT work on the waterline, btw. Total waste of $3.

As you can see, the "pink" side is much more peachy/neutral.


The liner stuck in the cap after the first use. FAIL.

I managed to smoosh it back in, but I think it's a little worse for wear.


Item: Black Waterproof Eyeliner Pen ($1)

Expectation: I almost never use eyeliner pens, I just prefer a creme liner and brush a bazillion times more. I got this mostly to a) try on my waterline, and b) use for any fancy eyemakeup maneuvers.

Reality: This turned out to be a pleasant surprise! It didn't work on my waterline, but for the upper lid it was surprisingly easy to use. I'm usually not a fan of liner pens, because it seems so easy to mess up and the line comes out harsh, but I like how this one went on. I was able to get the line on quite thin, getting it all the way down to my lashes. And it STAYS on. Thumbs-up to this one!

Item: Misty Mauve liquid eyeshadow ($1)

Expectation: How often do liquid eyeshadows actually work? Pretty much never. If by some miracle it does, I'll also get the Sultry Satin shade. But really, not expecting it.

Reality: This goes on smooth, dries quickly to a very shiny, metallic finish. The final product doesn't have a powdery appearance at all, more... painty? I'm on the fence about this one. It's not something I'd wear during the day... the super-shinyness is too much for that. And oddly, it looks better when used over your entire lid than just below the crease. It might be good for going out to a concert or something, because once it dries, it is NOT BUDGING. You can rub your eye all you want, it's stuck there. So I see definite potential for use in a crowded bar when you're all sweaty from dancing to the band, and it's dark so the shinyness doesn't look out of place. I was actually a little worried it would be hard to remove, but if you wet it it comes right off. If only they could find a way to make this matte, it would be pretty cool. I've been trying to think of what it reminds me of, and all I can come up with is those long-wearing lipsticks that feel kinda weird going on, and make your lips feel a little funky and dry, but DO stay on. It is sort of the eye equivalent of that. I am going to play around with this a bit and see what kind of fun uses I can find for it, I know there are possibilities in here somewhere!
Another note, when I was checking everything out after opening the box, I was a little bummed to notice air bubbles in this tube of eyeshadow before I even opened it. With the air in there, it was probably only maybe 80% full. It's a tiny tube to begin with, but I guess sometimes you get what you pay for!

The applicator is very similar to what you'd see on a lip gloss.

You can see how much air was in the tube before I even opened it.


Item: Free Gift! Citrus Shimmering Facial Whip (Normally $1, free for submitting 3 friends’ e-mail addresses as referrals.)

Expectation: I’m quite happy that this is the free gift they selected for me! The name, “Citrus” makes it sound a lot more orangey than it looks online, so we’ll see!

Reality: It looks pretty pink in the package, but it does have a kind of coral hue on the skin. A little dot of this goes a long way! The other color of this was VERY thick, but this one was a more medium consistancy. Like the other color, this is SO not good on my lips, much too frosty. A tiny bit on the center of the bottom lip might be good for shine, though. It actually felt a little tingly on my lips, so I wiped it off quickly. It went on to my eyes better than the other color, but it is quite hard to blend or get even coverage with, it just kind of smears around. I still just can't figure out how these swatched so nicely on my arm, and then end up as such a disaster on my eyes.
This could maybe work as a base for eyeshadow to help it stick, but it feels kind of icky on my eye, so I doubt I'll use it for that. Glad this was free!
I mentioned how much I appreciated the labeling on the mascara making it kind of idiot-proof when it comes to accidentally swapping the ends around... I wish they had applied that to the facial whips. The color name is only listed on the cap, so what if I accidentally put the wrong cap on the wrong tube? Why not print the color on the tube itself?

That's everything! A few general notes...
*Everything I read said shipping takes foreeeeever, but mine was very reasonable. In fact, e.l.f. did their part magnificently, shipping out the day after I ordered, it was Fed Ex that somehow turned a 4 hour journey into a 20 hour one. Still, not bad.
*Another thing I heard over and over was to check your order first thing upon opening the box to make sure everything is there. Lots of people have found stuff missing and had to contact the company for a refund on those items, usually because they ended up being out of stock. Everything I ordered was there, so I don't know if e.l.f. is getting better at this, or if I just got lucky.
*The packaging is nicer than I expected. For $1, I was expecting the nail polishes, for example, to arrive loose, not in boxes. In fact, after opening everything and piling all of the wrappings on my coffee table, I kind of think there might be too MUCH packaging. They could probably cut back a bit in that area and save both money and the environment a bit.
*If you are considering putting in your own first e.l.f. order, I would suggest doing something like I did and ordering a wide variety of products. Limit yourself to one (two at max) of each TYPE of product until you know if you love or hate them. For instance, I'd be pissed if I'd ordered like 5 of the shimmering facial whips because I heard how awesome they are, only to find I hate them. I think ordering just one of each thing I was interested in set me up to make a much more informed 2nd order.
*e.l.f. offers promos allll the time. When I ordered it was free shipping on orders over $25 or 10 free mineral shadows with orders over $20. (I totally should have gone for the latter instead of free shipping, but oh well!) They changed promos last night, where now it is free shipping on orders over $30 and a half price sale on the best selling products. I'm kind of liking THAT. I found myself putting the plum version of my beloved eyeliner pen in my cart because dude, it is fifty freaking cents! Even if I only ever wear purple-lined eyes once, it is worth it. You can probably find promo codes other than the ones listed on the site with a little google action.
*I recommend ordering from e.l.f. when you're in one of those moods where you just want to treat yourself to something frivolous. Stuffing your shopping cart full of pretty colors is FUN. Anticipating the arrival of your package is FUN. Getting a box of 20+ makeup items in the mail is FUN. Experimenting with all of the colors like you are 13 again is FUN. It's a pretty good pick-me-up for about $25.
*On that note, though, don't get your hopes TOO high up. Keep the perspective that this stuff is a DOLLAR, and thus probably not going to be the greatest quality in the history of the universe. I think that if you look at it as more of a fun experiment than serious makeup purchase, you are much less likely to be disappointed.
*Elf does not test their stuff on animals. Yay!
*I realized whil reading this over for editing that it sounds pretty negative, but I'm actually pretty pleased with my order. Here's a very basic run-down:
Stuff I really like and will order more of/other colors of: Liquid eyeliner pen, Duo Mascara, Super Glossy Lip Shine, All Over Cover Stick, Brightening Eye Color quad, Eye Shadow Brush
And although I wouldn't say I loooove them or anything, I also intend to try another mineral shadow or two, another of the liquid eyeshadows (I'm telling you there is potential there!), maybe another nail color or two. I also intend to try quite a few of the products I haven't yet experienced.
Products I won't order again: Duo eye shadow creams, Eyeliner and Shadow Stick, and Shimmering Facial Whip. Although I am kinda tempted to order that in Toasted to figure out what the freakin' deal is.
If you have any questions about the stuff that I ordered, please post them in the comments! Reading and watching other people's reviews helped me a lot, so I hope to pass the knowledge on!


V said...

DAMN LADY! This was an awesome review post, you actually sold me on getting some stuff from elf. I think youve found your calling lol. You are great at critque posts! Thanks for sharing.

ps. Do you know of any great eye liners for your waterline? I cant seem to find one that stays on without making me look like a

salman said...

Amazing..You wrote a complete detailed Review..I was really like your post..Thank you ffor Sharing this..Elf Products I use but not found such a great review..
Make Your Own Lip Gloss

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Writergal said...

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