Tuesday, 19 April 2011

E.L.F. hit or miss

This post is going to be about E.L.F. products which turned out to be hits or misses in my personal case. There are many more E.L.F. goodies I managed to come into possession of, but I'm not gonna mention them as they are sort of inbetween, quite good, but, on the other hand, nothing to write home about.

 So let's start with the HITS:

1. Cream eyeliner in black

cream eyeliner in black
This is the product thanks to which I actually discovered E.L.F. I was looking for a gel or cream eyeliner and I read a number of enthusiastic reviews, then I traced the website, my jaws dropped when I saw the price, then to my surprise it turned out they shipped to my country (which unfortunately they no longer do) and a week later 3 eyeliners (mignight, purple and gunmetal) and arrived at my door. Gunmetal turned out to be quite sheer, I would rather call it an eyeshadow than a liner, gave it to my mum, who is perfectly happy with it as she doesn't use dark liners. The midnight and purple stayed with me and have been in constant use ever since. Later I added black, coffee to my collection and metallic olive to my mum's. I absolutely love the liners. They can be worn all day long without any touch ups, they don't smudge or crease, the colour pay off is excellent. The liners are sold with a decent brush, but I prefer my Inglot angled brush. I also like the consistency, the product is easy to apply, although I wouldn't be able to make the kind of line you can make with a liquid eyeliner with a thin brush applicator. In fact I hardly ever wear a pin-up make-up, rather line my eye under or over dark eyeshadow and the E.L.F. eyeliner performs this function really well. As far as the individual colours are concerned black must have been the freshest one and it applies most smoothly, midnight is a bit too dark, almost black, but when paired with a nice blue shadow you can see it's softer than just black, purple is slightly metallic, but you can see it more in the pan than on the lid. And last but not least what I really like about the product is that it's really easy to remove using a simple cleansing gel.

2. HD Powder
HD Powder
Some time ago a make-up consultant tried to persuade me to get Kanebo white powder, this seemed quite risky, considering the price. So when I saw a similar product at £6.00 I deciced to try it out and I  must say I was pleasantly surprised. This thing will last for ever as you need to use only tiny amount, the skin feels soft and looks nice and even. I was afraid I'd look like a miller's daughter, but no. Just got it for my mum and she loves it just as much.

3. Kabuki brush

kabuki brushes
The kabuki brushes are nice and soft, excellent tool to apply loose powders. Although their sizes and shapes can differ substantially (look at the picture! they are the same brush theoretically) they still work very well.

4. Eyebrow Kit in Light

eyebrow kit

There are a lot of similar products on the market (eg. Benefiit Brow Zings), but none can beat the price and I cannot imagine how this could be better. You use the sheer gel to shape your brows and the powder to fill in the sparse areas and generally to set the gel. Good lasting power, the brows stay shaped all day. I have albino-like, almost invisible brows and it's hard to obtain a natural look. With the brow kit it's possible.

EDIT: the packaging snaps shut with such a vibrant click that the vibrations made the powder crack really badly, I never dropped the product or anything. I guess this is an individual case and this does not change my mind. I stil think I will repurchase.

5. Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter in Fair: the concealer

under eye concealer & highlighter
This product literally consists of 2 sides, one good one bad. The concealer is the good one, the highlighter is described below. I didn't expect much of the product and it was a pleasant surprise for me. Dark circles under my eyes are not my issue, I use concealers only to even out the tone, therefore I do not look for full coverage. For me a good concealer is the one that doesn't leave my undereye area dry and sink into fine lines. This concealer works for me in both respects.

6. Studio complexion brush (glitter)

studio complexion brush (glitter)
A very nice, soft and fluffy all over the face powder brush. I've also got the non-glitter one and it's not even close. It seems I was lucky to get this one.

7. Studio powder brush

studio powder brush
 I haven't tried this one for liquid foundation and I hear it's excellent for the purpose. I use it for mineral foundation and blush of almost no pigmentation (NARS Sex Appeal) and it works. Cheap and effective.

8. Mineral Booster in Sheer

mineral booster
Mineral setting powder. Finely milled, blends well, the colour is sheer without any yellowish tint. I don't use it very often now, but in the summer I'm sure this will help me control shine without feeling I'm wearing a lot of make-up.

9. Concealer Pencil & Brush in Fair

concealer pencil & brush

My skin is not acne prone, I do not have many blemishes to conceal so this product was on the bottom of my wish list. When I got it I was pleasantly surprised how soft it was and how well it worked (the brush is really helpful for blending). As I've said I'm not very demanding as far as concealing is concerned, but I simply like the product. Of course the sharpener is just a gimmick, and a very uncomfortable one. It's hard to store the pencil, the sharpener always gets in the way. If you need a good sharpener get yourself one from a stationery store and throw this cap-sharpener away ( but then you have nothing to cover the pencil with, huh?)


And now for the MISSES.
These can be basically divided into bad quality products, products which don't work or products which got such excellent reviews that I'd almost expected a miracle and they failed to posess any magic powers ;)

1. Studio Waterproof Lengthening And Volumising Mascara

waterproof lengthening and volumising mascara

I bought it because I thought a waterproof mascara might be handy sometimes, and by a waterproof mascara I understand a mascara that would not budge no matter what and can be removed only with some emolient-based eye make-up remover. This one is not waterproof at all, had no problem removing it with my daily cleanser and what is worse it smeared horribly leaving a sort of photocopy of my lashes below my eyes. I don't really fancy the Joker (from the Batman movie) look. Pity cause the brush is actually quite nice and separates the lashes perfectly, it's possible to achieve a very discreet daytime look with it. And the packaging is very elegant...

2. Duo Eye Shadow Cream in Blueberry and Black Licorice

duo eye shadow cream
This is the worst ELF product in my opinion. There's nothing good I can say about it apart from the fact that the packaging is decent. First of all the pigmentation of the light colours is quite low, whereas the black was really pitch black. There's not much difference between the light blue in Blueberry and silver in Black Licorice. The consistency of the product is sticky cream that never dries out, it travels into the creases and disappears completely from other areas. The cream is rather thick, therefore hard to blend. I really wanted to like the product so I experimented a lot with it without success. I always use a good primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion) and this doesn't help the shadow stay in place. I used them as a colour base for powder eyeshadow, set the base with powder well, the result was that the lids felt heavy with make-up but the oiliness of the cream shadow protruded ruining all make-up. There are so many better products in the market that it's not worth fussing about this one. Down the bin it went.

3. Studio Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter - the highlighter

under eye concealer & highlighter
The highlighter is just white. It's supposed to be sort of shimmery, but you need to really struggle hard to see and shimmer or glow in it. When applied as highlighter on cheekbones it leaves white, unnatural looking patches. The outcome is a bit better on the browbone, but still the whiteness is a bit too bright. Of course you can struggle to make it work somehow, but is it really the point?

4. Mineral Concealer in Fair

For me it simply doesn't work. Even if it does cover some imperfections in the very moment of application, this does not mean it's gonna work for an hour or two. I guess I prefer creamy concealers.

5. Studio eyelash curlers

eyelash curlers
This simply does not work. It's bent at such an angle that it doesn't pick all my lashes and those that it picks are not curled at all. Highly disappointing.

6. Bamboo brushes

bamboo brushes

These brushes are OK, but in fact they are not much different from the studio ones. Obviously the colour is different, but the hair is the same soft, the same shape etc. so why pay more? For the price I expected something better.

7. Complexion perfection
complexion perfection
Again, this is a very nice powder, but having read many enthusiastic reviews, having seen people mention it among the best E.L.F. products I really expected god knows what. I tried using the green to control my redness, it didn't work in that respect at all. So now I just swirl a kabuki brush around, the powder is a decent setting powder with a bit whitish tone. I was afraid the HD powder would make me look white, but in fact it's complexion perfection that does. I think I would like this product much more if I hadn't been led to believe its magic power.

EDIT: What is more there's so little product in the pan, I've been using it occassionally with the ELF kabuki brush and I managed to hit the pan after something like 15 uses, I couldn't believe my eyes.  On the other hand, this is good, cause I'll use this one up and I'll allow myself to try out some other pressed powder!

8. Studio Blush in Peachy Keen

Peechy / Peachy keen blushes: left to right Dior, MAC, E.L.F.

Studio Blush in Peachy Keen was one of my first blushes and I kind of liked it at first. Now I'm not so happy about it. First of all the colour: it's supposed to be peachy (hence the name, duh), but actually it isn't. I guess you can see in the picture what I mean. It's more brownish beige. I could try to use it as a highlighter or bronzer if it hadn't been for this tiny little hiccup: the pigmentation is very low. Some girls say it's buildable, of course it is, every sheer blush is buildable, the thing is that instead of building up some nice peachy colour dark gold patches appear on your cheeks. I could recommend this to the mimes in Covent Garden instead of their gold paint. Not really the result I wanted.

These are my personal opinions, the products simply worked or didn't work for me. I believe many people may have different experience with the products, do feel free to comment. I hope this helps you make reasonable choices.

Disclaimer: I bought the products myself for my personal use and I am not affiliated with any company. I am not paid to do this review and everything I said here is my genuine opinion.

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