Thursday, February 16, 2012

New e.l.f. haul, reviews and swatches!

I've been wanting to order some new stuff from e.l.f. for a while, and they recently had a promo where shipping was free on orders over $13.50, so it seemed like a good excuse to order!  They almost always have free shipping over $25, but I rarely feel comfortable dropping a random $25 on make-up unless it's a total must have.  I spent $15 this order, which felt way more do-able!  I got 10 items for my $15, almost all $1 items except for a $2 nail polish, a $3 eye shadow and a $3 eyeliner.  There's just something fun about starting a new year with new makeup!

My order shipped the day after I ordered via FedEx SmartPost, and arrived a week later.   I think the fact that e.l.f. uses SmartPost is possibly the biggest complaint I have about them.  It takes FOREVER.  I'm used to getting packages via UPS Ground, which usually takes 2 days, or USPS which takes 3.  

I also wish they'd take a little more care with their shipping.  The items arrived in a padded mailing envelope, and inside of that were all just in a plastic bag printed with the e.l.f. logo.  As a result of the general rigors of traveling through the mail, some of the individual products' packages were a little dented and banged up.  Not a huge deal, since the products themselves weren't affected, but just adding a little bit of crumpled-up tissue paper inside the envelope would go a long way towards protecting the contents without adding weight that would bump up e.l.f.'s shipping costs.

Here's what I ordered, with both the official images from e.l.f.'s site and my own photos, since in my experience they often look quite different!  In the past, e.l.f's products have been really hit and miss, so I'll also give you a quick review of my first impressions.

(This post is not sponsored, btw, I paid for everything myself and don't have any kind of hookup/relationship with e.l.f.)

Liquid Eyeliner in Black and Silver- $1 each

I don't use liquid liner all that often, but I wanted some to play around with, so the $1 versions offered by e.l.f. seemed like a good choice.  They are pretty nice for a buck.

 They are pretty easy to apply, and don't smudge once they dry.  I don't have the steadiest hands, but I was able to draw a pretty decent line with the black one. (Except when I missed and managed to draw a line on my ACTUAL EYEBALL. Even I don't know how that happened.)  The brush for my silver one was all dried out and stiff when it arrived (thus the wonky line in the photo), so I contacted e.l.f. through their website, and they promptly shipped a new one. Sadly, THAT brush was all dried out and stiff, too! I'm sure I could ask for another replacement, but I think I'm going to just try soaking the brush in eye makeup remover to see if that helps.

Mineral eyeliner in black-$3

This is a pretty decent liner for $3. It goes on smoothly, and it's easy to draw a line with. Other than it being in twist-up "pen" form instead of a pencil you sharpen, I didn't really see much difference in quality between this and elf's $1 eye liner. It's nothing spectacular, but it will get you by for everyday use if you're on a budget!

Nail Polish in Pink- $2

I wasn't very impressed with the e.l.f. nail polishes I've ordered in the past, but they say they have totally redone their formula (and doubled the price in the process), so I decided to give it one more try.

First, I have to rant just a little bit here about some of e.l.f.'s packaging.  The nail polish comes in a little cardboard display box designed to hang from a hook in stores, and is encased in a plastic shell within that box.  It feels like packaging overkill, given that most nail polishes are just out in the open.  I would kind of get the excess packaging if this was a super-fancy brand, but... it's a $2 nail polish.  Save the wasted cardboard and plastic, and just send it as-is, e.l.f.  (They do this on quite a few products, btw, not just the nail polishes, but this was an easy one to use as an example.)

Amount of packaging vs. actual product size.

Although this new formula doesn't 100% suck, it certainly wasn't great enough to justify the price being double what it used to be. The consistency is still a little off, and it still goes onto the nail kind of uneven and streaky. The color for this one was too transparent for me, too. It's a very pale pink, but it goes on so translucently that you need like 3 coats for it to really show up.  I don't think I'll be buying any more nail polishes from e.l.f., I just haven't had any luck.

Lipstick in VooDoo and Fearless- $1 each

I already had one e.l.f. lipstick (Fantasy) that I liked quite a bit, so I wanted to try out a couple of others. VooDoo looked like a fairly neutral, easy to wear color, and I decided to try Fearless in the hopes of finally finding a red lipstick I actually like. I'm not madly in love with either one, but they're both pretty okay. Voodoo is definitely wearable, and although Fearless isn't the amazing red I've been looking for (it's a little too orange-pinky on my lips), I might actually wear it once in a while if I want a really bold lip.

One interesting note on these lipsticks- I totally forgot about having swatched them on my wrist, so I just went about the rest of my night and then went to bed.  When I woke up the next morning, they were STILL THERE.  I doubt they would have such crazy staying power on lips, but I still found it pretty impressive!

Blush in Innocence- $1
I don't use blush often, but for a dollar I figured this was totally worth trying out.  I'm really pale, so I went with a subtle, girly pink.

You know how sometimes they give animals at the zoo a treat inside a puzzle as enrichment, and the animal has to roll the box around or otherwise figure out how to get the treat out?  That's how I felt trying to open this frickin' thing.  It seriously took me like 3 minutes to get open.  The top doesn't flip up like a regular blush, it slides.  (I figured that out by the photo above, but even WITH that info it took forever.)  I finally had to hook a nail under the lid and pull REALLY hard, at which point the whole thing came apart in my hands.  Design fail.  The sad thing is that even once I knew what I had to do to to open it after the first time, I *still* have to fight to open it each time. It's easier to just leave the thing open.

Design problems aside, I'm not that impressed with this blush. I wish the texture was softer, it's a little gritty. It's also not very pigmented.  I applied some to my (super duper vampire pale) forearm to check out the color, and it basically disappeared as I was trying to blend it. I guess it will work when I want something REALLY subtle, but it's not what I was hoping for.

Natural Lash Kit- $1
Natural Lash Kit

To be honest, I really needed a new tube of eyelash glue, and buying this kit was cheaper than buying any glue you'll find at the store.  I haven't actually tried these yet, but I did open up the glue to check it out.  It has an icky superglue type of smell, but I was surprised to see that there is a little applicator built in to the bottle.  Kinda cool!  On the down side, it's really hard to screw the lid back onto the tube correctly, so this might dry out really fast if you aren't super careful.

Theraputic Conditioning Lip Balm in Orange Cream -$1
Strawberry Cr�me

I have this lip balm in blackberry and am pretty much obsessed with it, so I decided to give the orange flavor a whirl.  This was the BIGGEST disappointment!  I was expecting something yummy and creamsicle-y, since the blackberry's amazing scent and taste are why I love it.  Instead, this tastes/smells super chemically, like a slightly citrusy Pledge or Pine-Sol cleaner.  I had to wipe it off immediately.  The texture of the balm is creamy, just like the blackberry, but that's the only similarity.  This is probably going straight into the trash.  Yuck!

Matte eyeshadow in pearl- $3

I love a good matte white shadow!  There are a few other colors of elf's matte shadows I want to try, but since they're $3 a pop, I decided to just try one for now, and order the other 2 if I like this one.  I love that you get a little brush included for the price.

I'm kinda "meh" about this.  It is, in fact, a really simple matte white shadow.  It went on a little chunky without primer, but fairly smooth with.  It took me three coats to build up any real color, though. It's also a little hard to blend if you're using a primer. I usually dab my highlight color on near the center of my brow and kind of smooth it out from there, but this didn't really want to move.

Top half is without primer, bottom is with.

The brush isn't really suited to this style of shadow, either.  It's not fluffy enough.  It would work well for a solid eye shadow palette, though, or would do in a pinch.  I might order another one of these to try a new color in the future if they're on sale, but it's not on my must-have list by far.

Inspired by my nail polish packaging rant, I decided to gather up ALL of the packaging once I had opened everything, and I laid it all out for this photo. (This is all one photo, btw, even though the line I drew kinda makes it look like two.)

I get the need for packaging, obviously, but I'm always kind of struck by how MUCH I throw away with an e.l.f. order. This is one area they could really improve on!

Have questions about any of this stuff?  Ask em!


Tamara B. said...

I am always picking up e.l.f. products at Target for my daughter she just loves them.

madneccy said...

you know I never really paid attention to the packaging issue. Whenever I got my elf orders the black packaging made me feel like my items were worth more and it heigtened the excitement of opening the packages up but now I read your post and realized how much garbage is being produced by this. Thanks a lot for your honest and intelligent review!

laurita said...

thanks for letting us more about ELF, I have bought it in the store but never online, I like that you told us about the products you like and don't like.

laurita said...

thank you for letting us know about ELF online ordering, I have only bought this line at the store.I like that you let us know about the products you ordered, the pros and cons.