Thursday, June 23, 2011

E.L.F. Review and Swatches

E.L.F., short for Eyes Lips Face, is a super-cheap makeup brand available at some Targets and online.  My biggest gripe with them is that shipping is $7, which is completely absurd, so I've only ordered from them a couple of times, when they happened to have 50% off coupons (which is quite often; you can check at Retail Me Not for current discounts) which saved me an amount equivalent to shipping (so I ended up just paying retail).  I haven't tried very much from them, but some of the things I've tried I do really like.
I use three brushes from their Studio collection in my daily routine.  Their complexion brush, which is fluffy with a large head, is great for applying my Mattify! powder, since it deposits a light, diffused coating.  I haven't had any problems with it shedding, and the handle hasn't given me any trouble.  For $3, it is a STEAL, and I recommend considering adding one to an E.L.F. order if you don't already have a fluffy brush.

Top to bottom/left to right: blush brush, powder brush, complexion brush

The most popular brush is their powder brush, which I use to apply my Alima foundation.  It's denser and shorter than the complexion brush, and is great for blending and layering mineral foundation.  My first one of these brushes lasted a few months before the handle started falling off; the one I'm currently using had some issues with shedding the first few weeks, but hasn't given me any trouble lately.  For $3, I feel like it's okay that it's a bit of a crapshoot, quality-wise.

I also ordered the blush brush.  It's much smaller than I was expecting, and quite flat.  I actually like it quite a lot, particularly for loose blushes, because the smaller size and flat side make it easier to pick up just a little mineral blush (and make it easier to tap off any excess that may be picked up).  I'd like to find a fluffier brush for my pressed powder blushes, just because it would more efficiently and evenly distribute them.  This is, however, a more long-term goal, since I generally wear mineral blush.

One of the two pressed powder blushes I still own (I got rid of several before I came home) is the E.L.F. Candid Coral blush, which is widely cited as a dupe for the (supposedly) universally flattering NARS Orgasm blush.  I do like my peachy-pink blushes, but $27 is unacceptable--I don't care how pigmented and luscious it is.  Luckily, I've found the E.L.F. to be a very admirable substitute!  It's not as pigmented as the NARS, which fortunately means it's easier to apply without looking garish, and less sparkly, which is better for the times you're not going to a dance club (which is most of the time, for me), but still buildable.
Very NARS-esque packaging

The gold shimmer is less evident when it's on
Indoors with flash, heavy swatch on left, blended on right; you can see the shimmer dissipates once it's blended in
If you're looking for a cheap, reliable NARS Orgasm dupe, I definitely recommend E.L.F.'s Candid Coral!
$3 for 0.17 oz, from Eyes Lips Face and select Targets and Kmarts
Price: 10
Value: 10
Quality: 8.5
Ease of Use: 5
Pigmentation: 5
Duration: 4
Consistency: 5
Grade: A

They also make a mineral eyeshadow primer that I really like.  I've heard it compared to Urban Decay's Primer Potion (UDPP), an HG for many beauty aficionados, but I've never tried it myself so I can't say how true that is.  The E.L.F. does extend the life of my eyeshadows and prevent them from creasing, while amplifying the colors as well.
MAC Antique; over primer on the left, on bare skin on the right
And it's only $3!  The tube I've had has lasted me about 6 months with not-daily use, though for sanitary reasons I should probably replace it soon.  Definitely a worthwhile purchase if you wear eyeshadow with any regularity!

What about you?  Have you used any E.L.F. products?  What did you think?
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