Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beauty on a Budget: Favorites from E.L.F.

Hello beauty babes on a budget! I thought I'd appeal to your zeal for a good bargain and talk to you about the makeup brand known as eyes lips face (e.l.f., for short). Their claim to fame is that many of their products can be yours for just a dollar. Yep, that's right, $1. Now, as they have continued to expand, some of their new products have increased in price, but fear not my frugal friends, they are still bargain basement prices. And compared to the products they mimic, they are a steal.  For example, most of the mineral makeup is only $3 a piece. Same with the studio line. And e.l.f. has recently released and High Definition mattifying power and Primer for only $6 each. They also sell sets and they vary in price, but again, the pricing is more than reasonable.

Now, I can only imagine what you are thinking, how good can they be for just a buck, or three, or six? Well, I understand your apprehension, but I ask you, for just a buck, or three, or six, what do you have to lose? Fret not my friends, I am here to help steer you in the right direction. I have tried out a few of the products. Some I liked, some I loved, and some I wasn't so crazy about. Lucky for me, if I didn't like it, it didn't phase me much, after all, it didn't really set me back and when I liked more products than I didn't, I suppose it more than evened out.  For a while now, the products have mostly only been available online, with a few stores, like Big Lots (where I live) carrying a few things here and there. So, even though the products would only cost you $1, shipping was $6.95, meaning it really wasn't that compelling to restock on one or two items, but instead better to go ahead and purchase several things a once. I mean, it seems silly to pay more for shipping than for the actual item you are buying. Alas, Target has come to the rescue (Zellers in Canada). Starting November 1, most stores will offer a selection of e.l.f. products (there are about 30 Target locations that will not carry e.l.f. products, so check online to make sure your local Target carries it). However, and sadly (at least I think so), Target isn't carrying some of my very favorite e.l.f goodies, though, they are carrying some of the e.l.f. brushes that I like, so you can score those there.

Now without further ado, I shall help save you the trouble of the trial-and-error attempts. Here are a few of my personal favorites, some of the products that have gotten good reviews by others (though I have yet to try), the ones I  thought were just OK, and the ones I wasn't so crazy about.

My faves:

  • Healthy Glow Bronzer in Luminance ($1): This is one of my all-time favorites. It's a lovely gold shimmer that is an awesome highlighter. Brush it over your cheekbones, sweep it down the bridge of your nose and a little over your forehead (just above the eyebrows), and you'll have that pretty light reflecting glow that makes you look simply angelic. I love this product. I buy it two at a time (at least). My sister also likes this product in Warm Tan, it's a nice shimmery golden brown.  I tried it, but it was a bit too dark on my skin, so I gave her mine, and she was happy with the results she got.

  • Mineral Eyeshadows ($3): I own four (pictured right and listed from left to right): Glamorous, Sweet, Socialite, and Mysterious. Some of the colors are a bit different from what they looked like online. For example, Glamorous online looks kind of like a medium pink, when I got it, it's looks much darker; like a pink bordering on purple. Nevertheless, I like it. Same with Socialite, online it looks like a shimmery purple, but when I got it, it's much darker, almost like a dark grey/purple bordering on blackish. Still, it's pretty. Sweet and Mysterious are closer to the actual color I was expecting. As you can see, Sweet is a shimmery pink. Mysterious is a light lavender color. Online it looks a bit more shimmery than my actual one is, it is also a bit on the greyish-violet side. It goes great with Socialite. Regardless, I love these eyeshadows. They show up very nicely on my lids and wear quite well. I've gotten compliments on the at work on several occasions.  I like them so much, I bought them for people as gifts. Feel free to let me know what you think of any of the other colors that you have tried that I still haven't gotten.
  • Mineral Eyeshadow Primer ($3): So, if you can't spend $17 on Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion, might I suggest you give e.l.f's eyeshadow primer a whirl? Trust me, once you use eyeshadow primer you will wonder how you made it all that time without it. It will help keep your eyeshadows from creasing and it will help them last you all day. Girls, I've worked out, and I'm talking boxing class in a warehouse with no a/c, not a leisurely stroll on the treadmill, and come out with my face all sweaty and my eyeshadow looking pristine. I heart UD's primer potion, but I'm pretty happy with e.l.f's brand as well. It's paraben-, chemical-, and preservative-free. It is kind of on the small side, but for $3, just get two. 

  • Shielding Hydro-Tint with SPF 15 ($1): I really love this tinted moisturizer. I got it in Tone 1. It's small, so to make it last, I mixed it with my regular moisturizer (the first time I bought it I only got one) and it lasted quite a while.  When I was almost out, I didn't want to just get one ($7 shipping), so I made the mistake of going to ULTA and buying their tinted moisturizer. I hated it. So I went to e.l.f. and bought four (plus a few other items). It's light, it evens out my skin tone, and it smells kind of like oranges. When I'm not really feeling like wearing makeup, I just put this on and put on some mascara and walk out the door. 

  • Mineral Makeup Starter Kit ($20): I really like this makeup, and I have replenished the concealer and foundation ($3 or $5 for a larger pot) twice since getting my starter kit. The kit comes with an angled blush brush and a powder brush too. If anyone wants to try mineral makeup but is a bit shell shocked by the price of the name brands, I definitely suggest you go with this. The only thing that I noticed was that towards the end of the day my makeup faded a bit. I have never used BareMinerals, so I'm not sure how it compares from personal experience, but someone I work with uses it, and her make up lasts her all day long. To counteract this propensity to fade, I used foundation primer (I use Smashbox and Sephora, both work well) and just used a bit more of the mineral powders than I have before and that seemed to work well. As I mentioned earlier, e.l.f. has recently released its own primer and it's only $6, which is significantly less than the least expensive primer I've found, which were the Sephora and ULTA brand ones (both $18, I have the Sephora one). So, I think it's worth a shot. I'm not sure how big it is, but I think $6 is worth it. Most of the brand name primers are at least $30 or more. But I digress, I love using the mineral makeup because down here in the Florida heat, it's nice to get to skip the liquid foundations from time to time. No one likes feeling their makeup cake on their face in the heat, so this is great for that sweltering time of year. 

  • Nail Polish ($1): I like 'em. I have the light pink and deep red. Not bad for $1! Oh, and they do have some very cute nail polish gift sets at my local Target. They make a great stocking stuffer, or just a nice little gift for yourself. Update: I was at Target last night and got a three pack of the jewel tone e.l.f. nail polishes. Love 'em! And loved the $3 price tag! 

  • Super Glossy Lip Shine with SPF 15 ($1): I recently used these again and once I did, I had to update this entry. When I first used them, I thought they were a bit too sticky. But today I decided to give it another go and this time, I applied the gloss with a lip brush and I had to move them from the OK list to the "faves" list. I still love my Maybelline gloss, but this one is nice as well. And the best part is that it has SPF! I saw these at Target too. They had a great little three pack for just $3. Great stocking stuffer, and at that price you can get one for yourself as well!
Products I thought were OK:
  • Liquid Eyeliner ($1): This product is definitely just OK. It's not bad, it's also not my favorite eyeliner. I have it in black, plum, and coffee. If you are going to go for it (heck, it's a dollar), definitely go for the black. I'm not crazy about the coffee or the plum. But the black, I have actually purchased twice (I'm still more partial to my Almay one, but it was good enough for me to buy it twice). It's decent and lasts through the day or night. Smells a little like metal at first, but then you kind of get past it. I do wish the tip was a bit softer, but other than that, I don't have many qualms with it. My preference, however, is for pen-like liquid liners (at least these days). I'm really liking my new Cargo one I got at Sephora, but I've also seen some by CoverGirl, though I haven't tried them yet. Oh, and by the way, I saw that the e.l.f. black liquid liner was available at Target.
  • Brightening Eye Color in Drama ($1): OK, so to be fair, this is a bit better than just OK. I do like it and have used it quite often to create a dramatic smokey eye when going out at night. It's just not my favorite, but I would definitely recommend it if you need an inexpensive black and silver combo of eyeshadows for going out at night because, say, you don't go out often and would rather spend the bigger bucks on a more neutral shadow combo that you would use more often. The pigments are pretty decent. The black is definitely dark.
  • All Over Cover Stick ($1): I like this alright. It's not something I can't go without, though. My sister loves hers, I just don't use mine as much. I can take it or leave it. Just my opinion. It's a bit thick, but then again, it is a cover stick, so I suppose its supposed to be. 
Products that just didn't suit me:
  • Brightening Eye Color in Nouveau Neutral ($1): I just didn't like how these colors looked on me at all. Glad it was only $1. 
  • Eye Widener ($1): This pencil wasn't creamy enough, so I felt like I had to press hard to try to get the color to show (not good on the eye area). Plus, I would have to go over the same area back and forth to get even the lightest bit of line to show. It just irritated my skin to do that. This product didn't work for me at all. 
  • Plumping Lip Glaze ($1): I'm not crazy about it. It doesn't bring a lot of product, but then again, it's only $1. I didn't really get much plumping action. I like the Maybelline plumping lipstick glaze better. I do have to say, I didn't dislike it enough to just give up on it (like the eye widener), I use it sporadically. But I probably won't get it again.
  • Clarifying Pressed Powder ($1): This just didn't ruffle my feathers. It just seemed like I wasn't really wearing anything at all. I prefer Neutrogena's Clear Skin pressed powder. 
Product others rave about:
  • Shimmering Face Whip ($1): I haven't tried this yet, but it seems to get good reviews. Allure even rated it a great beauty buy. So, go ahead and give it a shot. 
Products I want to try:
Check out the selection at Target (or Zellers) and let me know what you think of any of the e.l.f products you try out. And remember, this is just my opinion. If you have tried and liked some of the products I wasn't crazy about, feel free to share your positive experience so others can benefit from it. I always like to hear about others experiences. Overall, I definitely think you should give this brand a fair shot.

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