ELF – An Overview, Part 1

RSW – Day 3

In today’ world, beauty and wellness go hand in hand – it’s a holistic approach that places good health and well-being at the center of what it means to be truly beautiful. Beauty comes from feeling and being your best, an inner confidence that translates to the outer-world as attractiveness.

e.l.f.’s philosophy is that beauty comes from within and it’s our goal to enable every woman to look and feel her personal best through the perfect blend of both the inner and outer person. With that goal in mind, e.l.f. cosmetics was born – a line of simple, luxurious, problem-solution tools that allow you to showcase and believe in your unique, personal beauty. Our cosmetics are designed to improve and accentuate the individual, not hide her away.

We at e.l.f. believe that innovative technology, quality ingredients and superb delivery systems should not be limited to prestige retailers. Every woman should have the opportunity to participate in innovation, without sacrificing her budget. We hope you agree and invite you to experience e.l.f.’s revolutionary, value-priced cosmetics and the proven results they offer.

Once only available online, ELF is now widely available in stores such as Target where you can get items for as low as $1.  Online no one item is ever more then $6 and they often have coupons worth 50% off your order (up to $15) or free shipping.  Shipping averages about $7 and is incredibly slow.  They ship via FedEx ‘Smart Post’ which is not all that smart.

I was asked to review several products from ELF and when I sat down and ordered I had a huge cart filled with things that peeked my interest, so sit back and get ready, this is going to be long.

Hypershine Lip Gloss – $1

Hyper, glass-like shine infused with micro-mirror technology to reflect light. Smoothes lips on contact with a conditioning shine that lasts for hours. Create that natural lip stain of color that’s sheer, subtle and beautiful!

This gloss has been featured all over the place as one of the best beauty buys.  It’s available in twelve colors, I’ve tried five.  They come in brushed tubes just like Stila’s do, and I really love the style.  I love how it applies and how creamy it is.  Each of them have a distinct flavor, that is I can tell what it is versus it just being ‘sweet’.  The colors are distinct enough that they don’t all look the same, although a few are REALLY similar.

I do not think, though, that they are all that particularly great.  Sure, for $1 it’s a great buy, but they really don’t last all that long.  After not long, they disappear.

Studio Blush – $3

The soft sheer texture blends into the skin for a silky finish. Designed to be worn alone or layered for more depth. Highlight your complexion with a subtle healthy glow!

There are nine shades of blush, including Gotta Glow which is actually a shimmery highlight.  I’ve tried Candid Coral as well as Gotta Glow.  They come in nice compacts that remind me very much of the NARS packaging, the ELF has a little window to see the color as well as a small mirror.

The formula is soft and very sheer.  The coral shade has a satin finish and was almost impossible to use too much.  Candid Coral makes a fairly good Orgasm dupe.  You get a fair amount of blush for the price.

Mineral Infused Face Primer – $6

Transform your face into a flawless and smooth canvas with the Mineral Infused Face Primer. Developed to combat against excess oil, flaky dryness, enlarged pores and fine lines. This clear multipurpose skin primer will prepare your skin so makeup goes on evenly for a long lasting satin finish.

This is a really nice primer.  It’s basically just silicones so it makes your foundation smooth on and last really nicely.  It doesn’t have much ‘filler’ in it, though, to help hide pores or diffuse fine lines.  When you first apply it  it seems like it’s a tad greasy, but it soaks easily into your skin so wait a few mutes before you apply anything else.  My face was really smooth and both my powder foundation and my liquid foundation went on nicely.  It’s almost exactly like Smashox’s primer, although Smashbox now has several other options (correcting or SPF versions).

The tube is very nice.  You get about half an ounce of product although the jar looks much larger.

I would defiantly suggest you try this out.

Studio Cream Eyeliner -$3

Creates smooth lines that are defined and precise. Smudge-proof, budge-proof and water-resistant coverage for all day wear to combat against, sweat, tears and rain! Slanted Eyeliner Brush included!

Still looking for a great MAC Fluidline dupe?  This might be it.  This liner comes in eight colors including black and white.  I’ve tried it in both Coffee and Black.  The brush is pointless, although it’s a nice shape, it’s far too short for me to be able to use.  You get 4.7 grams of product (MAC Fluidline is 3 grams) in a nice jar that I really recommend you close tightly after each use, it dries out quickly.  Unlike Fluidline I had to go back over my liner to make sure the line was solid and opaque, but the color was rich.  Once it’s on, it’s on.  It also works very well in your waterline.  The thicker you apply it, the longer you have to wait for it to dry, otherwise it smudges.

Mineral Eyeshadow Primer – $3

This gentle and completely sheer Eyeshadow Primer has key vitamins A, C and E to help prevent aging and moisturizes the skin. The formula glides on easily and disappears instantly to create longer-lasting, crease-proof eyeshadow. The Mineral Eyeshadow Primer is designed to be used with your favorite mineral eyeshadow to provide ultimate staying power for beautiful and vibrant color that lasts. 100% mineral based with no parabens, no preservatives and no chemical dyes.

As far as eye primers go this is just an eh.  It reminds me of a splotchy concealer and it applies unevenly.  You have to work with it a bit so that it’s not blotchy looking.  Once it sets on your eye (which take a bit) it works well enough, although my shadows did crease.  I would not recommend it for anyone with oily lids.  My shadow stayed in place fairly well (creasing aside, it shouldn’t really be used for ‘complex’ or layered shadows) but on my cousin with oilier skin her eyelids were shiny and her shadows became almost smeary.  I don’t think my shadows looked as sharp as they might over TFSI or SoBe’s Primed and Proper.

It comes in a small tube (like lip gloss) with a doe foot applicator.

SPF 45 Sunscreen Powder

A portable loose powder sunscreen that can be worn alone or over any makeup for key sun protection. Shields against harmful UVA/UVB rays to prevent premature skin aging and sun damage. The soft translucent powder is infused with healthy ingredients such as Aloe Vera Extract, Grape Seed Extract and Vitamins A,C & e to help nourish and soothe the skin

I really wanted to like this.  I love my PF SPF 50 compact and my Zinc Finishing Powder from Silk Naturals.  This fell well short of my expectations.  The powder is not ‘translucent’ so much as it’s tinted a color that makes my face look very dusty and dull.  I’d hoped to be able to dust it on right on top of some primer and be good for the day sun wise (I always always wear an SPF).

It comes in a really nice container like their High Def powder and it’s certainly a very nice quality container.

So far the items I’ve tried have been extremely hit or miss.  Stick around, next week I’ll tackle Part 2 and another six products!

What are your experiences with ELF?  Let me know, one comment will be drawn at random to win a giant ELF Prize Pack featuring some of the products featured here and more.  Contest ends September 9th.


32 Responses to “ELF – An Overview, Part 1”

  1. Everything I’ve tried from e.l.f. has been hit or miss. I HATE their $6.95 shipping cost. It’s slow as hell. Seriously. I picked up 2 of their brushes recently because of your review, one of their large brush holders, and their lip lock pencil (similar to the DuWop pencil you reviewed). I like all of that stuff. In the past, I tried their lip whips and they were ok, BUT some of the colors you couldn’t tell apart, so it was annoying. Their eye shadow quads – when I tried them – lacked pigmentation, which was disappointing. I liked some of the shades of their plumping gloss. I didn’t really like their nail polish.

    So I totally agree with you. Some products are good, others, not so much.

    • TBH, their reverse lip pencil doesn’t actually compare to the DuWop one 😦 I’m going to work on a comparison after RSW is over.

  2. Oh, how I wish ELFs brushes were available in Norway. They seem to have a hit-or-miss-thing about them, though. Either you love-love-love it, or it’s just a little “eh, fine enough for the cost, I guess”.

    Looking forward to pt. 2 already!

  3. I’ve only tried 3 of their products and they’ve all been misses. I’m not attracted to anything from ELF anymore, I really don’t see why it’s so hyped up.

  4. I made a purchase from e.l.f. about two years ago, when they were online only and wasn’t very happy with what I received. I’d like to see what kind of changes they’ve made and if the products have improved. I’ll have to give them a second look.

  5. “Hit or miss” sums it up perfectly.

    So far I have only tried their waterproof eyeliner pens, in Coffee and Black, and the shimmer eyeliner pencil in Gunmetal. It came as a set for $3 at Big Lots, so I had nothing to lose by picking it up.

    The eyeliner pens work really well. They have a precise felt-tip line and stay on, but come off easily at the end of the day with make-up remover. I didn’t expect to love the Coffee color as much as I do… but it is really more of a dark blackish-brown that works well against my lashes. (Darker than the depiction on the web site.)

    The shimmer eyeliner however, doesn’t add much shimmer, which is what I expected given the name… but it is an OK eyeliner for the price. It isn’t super pigmented, and I have to go over it to get it even. It’s smooth and doesn’t tug, though.

    Overall, I think the products I got are nice and the price is even nicer.

  6. The only elf products I have are nail polishes. My aunt bought me a metallic set which included a metallic blue, pink and orange. I’m wearing the orange right now and its a really pretty colour. (And I’m not a fan of orange.) I like the fact that their polish brushes aren’t tiny like a lot of cheap brands are. The colours are all really pretty. I had the pink on for a full 6 days with only slight tip wear and one chip on my thumb. The formula for the pink was great but the orange was a little thick and streaky. I needed 3 coats to even it out.

  7. ELF is available at Zellers in Canada with a limited selection. They have little eye, lip or manicure sets and a couple sets of the glitter eyeliners at my local Zellers. I’d love to try out their new brushes but the $15 shipping to Canada has put me off of ordering from their website.

    It’s really great that they try to focus on keeping their prices low but when the quality suffers it’s best just to buy something better, even if it costs a few bucks more.

  8. My first experience with ELF was with their holiday gift sets & palettes last year. I bought a nail polish set and a lipstick palette. I liked 2 out of the 3 polishes; there was a pearl white that was way too frosty and brushstroke-y. The deep navy and deep purple nail colors were pretty though.

    The lip palette has 12 lipsticks, 2 glosses, and 2 mini lipliners. It’s a good way to experiment with colors. But I never use it. The lipsticks don’t have any longevity and the palette is bulky so it’s not portable. But there’s other ELF products I want to try, like their HD powder.

  9. I actually think ELF is okay. It’s not great, of course, but one product in particular is working as great as my $45 concealer. I bought their dual-wand concealer/brightener. It has concealer on one end with a doe-foot applicator and a white, brightening cream on the other with the same applicator.

    I didn’t think the concealer was going to work for crap because it was $1. I bought it just to try as I am desperate for anything to cover these eyes of mine. I have really dark, deep inherited under-eye circles. (Thanks Dad! :o) The stuff covers and it’s not very thick. It goes on light and I don’t feel like I am putting spackle under my eyes. The shade matches well and it doesn’t sit in the fine lines of my eyes. Over the past few days, I have been using it more than my expensive concealer.

    Now, the other side of the wand is a brightener, which ELF says can be used as an eyeshadow primer, also. I used it to brighten up my brow line area and it was okay. It’s just a matte white cream. As a primer, not a chance. It did not work like a primer for eye shadow.

    I purchased their brushes for a giveaway on my blog. The girls who received the brushes, love them and they were only $1 or 2. The brushes are synthetic, as well. I made sure because a winner of mine is Vegan.

    As part of my order, ELF threw in a gift that was a skin highlighter to put on the cheek area, use on the lips (light pink color called Citrus) eyelids, etc. It’s okay. A little sticky for my liking and the color is okay but it quickly fades. I put it on my cheekbones and it was just okay.

    A lot of my ELF order was used to throw in prizes, as I know a lot of people like it. So, I only have a few things to comment about. I probably will pick up another concealer, a brush or two and maybe the liner you reviewed. I would like to try the foundation and some lip products…and maybe some eye shadows.

    Now, their shipping charge is a bit high & they do ship slow, but I put over $30-40 in my cart and only spent $12 with a coupon code + shipping.

  10. I think ELF is perfect for people who are curious about makeup and want to experiment without paying too much at first. All I’ve used are the brushes and eyeliners, which I grabbed from Target. The brushes shed and I’ve had the head pop off the handle, but I love the shapes and sizes. I adore the pen eyeliner, but that could just be because I didn’t yet have a good black.

  11. I have tried several ELF products and I can honestly say that I love some of them. Studio line kabuki, powder brush, and complexion brush are the tools I use on a daily basis. Loved the eyeliner pens, even though they tend to dry up faster than their more expensive cousins. For that price I can’t really complain, though. I also love the nail polishes (decent quality for that price!) and the mineral lipsticks.

    What I absolutely hated was the regular line concealer stick. I wasn’t hoping for much, but the concealer is so waxy and oily that it just sits on your face and even if you blended it in really well, it kept creasing and bringing attention to the concealed area. I believe the shade was wrong too, because the palest shade has a strong yellow tone. This looked horrible! The regular line eye primer wasn’t working for me either.. even though some people seem to love it.

    As I’m from Europe, I can’t order from the US website. Therefore I pay a little more for the products, but the shipping is extremely fast and the customer service is superb.

  12. I’ve avoided ELF just because I don’t really trust things that cost that low. If I had the opportunity to try the products first I wouldn’t mind buying things I liked but I feel like in this case quality = cost.

    Not that I don’t buy drugstore makeup. But I’d rather have 1 special and fabulous product than 10 mediocre low cost products

  13. I just recently tried some ELF products. I got mine at Target. I couldn’t resist the low, low prices. I got a couple of brushes and a lip gloss. I like them pretty well. I don’t have any complaints. I would like to try more of their stuff too, but I just became a beauty consultant for Mary Kay so I’m trying not to buy a lot of makeup right now. Lol. =)

  14. I have the cheap brushes, studio brushes, black and brown pencil eyeliner and some nail polishes. I LOVE the brushes (all but the studio fan brush, not dense enough). I was actually the grand prize winner of Toni’s blog and i use that $1 elf eyeshadow brush every day.

    The nail polishes are very opaque and thick, but not too thick. They take a tad longer to dry than most $1 nail polishes but they wear really well. My only complaint is they get goopy very quickly and become virtually unusable.

    The pencils are pretty standard for drugstore quality pencils. They are by no means anywhere near Urban Decay 24/7, but they are easily comparable to some other drugstore pencils that cost up to $5.

  15. I ❤ ELF brushes- I just invested in a few of the bamboo ones you wrote about a couple weeks back and they are really great, especially for the money (I got 50% off using a coupon code or something). I also picked up a few other things to try out, seeing as it'd been a LOOONG time since my last ELF order. I agree with the review above and with other posts I've read here in the comments, the eye primer is "meh", their shimmer eyeliner is pretty "meh", and yeah. I got a couple of their "lipstains", which are actually more like paint than they are stain, so that was also a "meh" experience for me. I actually recently went through my makeup and threw out a bunch of ELF products I had that were way old- I haven't worn them in forever and I needed the room. For the price, you really can't beat ELF, but if price is no object, or if you don't mind spending a little more, you can get much better quality products with better performance all around.

    So yeah. Tl;dr: I like ELF brushes. 😀

  16. I generally go to ELF for cheap, basic eye makeup – they don’t have many original shades, but their neutrals and smokey eye palettes are quite nice and stay on well if you use primer.

    DEFINITELY wouldn’t use their facial products, though – I bought a tube of concealer once and it smelled odd and didn’t work all that well.

  17. I’ve tried quite a few elf products. The mineral lip glosses are my favorite, not sticky at all and a nice range of colors for $3 each.

    The mineral eyeshadows were okay, but then again I have always preferred pressed shadows.

    Also I have tried the $1 brush line and the studio brush line. The studio eye brushes I got were nice as well as the flat top brush. In the $1 brush line I have a blending brush and just a regular eyeshadow brush, both of these are not too bad. For the price these brushes serve me well for travel and I am not afraid of losing them.

  18. For me, ELF is so hit or miss that it’s aggravating. I’ve gotten to where I won’t order anything new from the site until a good bit of reviews go up on MUA.

    The hits: Super Glossy Lip Shine, Luscious Liquid Lipstick, Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (it works well for me, although I can’t foil on top of it), some eyeshadow (I love the Beauty Books in particular), Blush and Bronzer duo (total HG item), the $1 4-pan compact, and their BRUSHES, although the brushes tend to have duds in them as well.

    The misses: Studio 2 in 1 conditioning gloss, Lip plumper and primer thingy, the single studio blush, eyeliners, mascara, and some eyeshadow.

  19. Well, I wish your review had come out before I placed an order for several of the mineral eyelid primers! Am looking forward to trying the eco bamboo brushes you reviewed. Agree with Phyrra, shipping is slow. I’m in California and it is going to take 8 days to get to me.

    The only other product I’ve tried is their lip balms, which I don’t believe are made anymore. They came in cute slider tins, with the most disgusting burnt scent ever. Couldn’t keep it on the lips that long, it smelled so horrible.

  20. they have it at my target on and off.

    I have a eyeshadow and blush brush that I love. I bought the perfection completion pallet, or whatever it is called. it just made me look pale. I also got a pair of fake eyelashes, but the eyelash glue container had no glue in it.

  21. I love the studio powder brush with the flat top, applies my liquid foundation like an absolute dream.

  22. I’ve mostly been happy with what I’ve purchased from e.l.f., but I’m very careful to read reviews before I buy, so that might play into my general satisfaction. I basically only use their Studio line brushes now. I especially like the face kabuki! It’s big and fluffy and not poky at all. It has a tendency to sheer the pigmentation of my mineral foundation out, but it also is really good at blending.

    I like the Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15, but I’m not sure how the SPF 15 works with the way lipglosses tend to amplify the effect of UVA/UVB rays on lips, or if it works at all. They aren’t sticky, and I have no problems with dryness, but I’ve heard that some ladies do.

    Actually…I can think of some e.l.f. products I didn’t like. The mineral eye primer was no good for me, too, because I had to layer it to get it to work and that just made me look like a concealer panda. The Studio blush/bronzer duo wasn’t my cup of tea, either, because the bronzer was too orange and neither lasted long on my (oily) skin. And I hated the nail polishes that I bought with my first e.l.f. purchase. They never dried and then they peeled off like kiddy polish. I do have the mattifying topcoat, though, and like it quite a bit.

  23. Hi, I love your style and look at your blog often and I just wanted to know if the review for beautiful twists was posted twice …once above concrete minerals And again above solstice scents or is it just an error with how I’m viewing the site?(with my phone)

  24. My ELF experience is mostly limited to lip products (my name is Molly and I’m a lip product addict…) I have a couple of their Luscious Liquid Lipstick – from when it was called something else – and I love them. Not too much color, but just enough. Not too sticky, easy to apply.
    I bought an All Over Stick and didn’t like it at all.

  25. The only thing so far that I have tried from ELF are the brushes. I love them. For someone like myself that doesn’t have much money its great to be able to try some new things for cheap. I’ve been looking into getting some of the blushes. I’ve never really worn blush & I’m just now getting into them. So as cheap as these are I can play with colors & figure out what looks good on me because I honestly have no idea.

    P.s. I got your package today. Thanks so much! I loved everything. I’m excited to finally get to try UD primer potion. I was going to email you but I couldn’t find your email anywhere. I’m curious though…wasn’t there supposed to be a lipglass in there?

  26. They are a bit hit and miss, as others have said, but for $1-$3 a product, I don’t mind taking the risk. I love the liquid lipsticks, the liquid eyeshadows, the Studio eyeshadows and blushes, and the loose mineral eyeshadows have some really pretty colours. The quads are okay, but I’ve got hundreds of eyeshadows, so they don’t get much of a look-in with me. The mineral eye primer is rubbish.

    I just bought a couple of the mineral lipsticks recently and quite liked those as well – they’re both nude colours and good for work, and they don’t feel drying as a lot of cheap lipsticks can be.

  27. I’m a fan of the Studio series brushes, powder, complexion and eye liner brush. The quality of the brushes, along with their design is changing CONSTANTLY, which I find very annoying. Brushes bought couple months apart are not of the same exact design.
    Mineral Eye-shadows in Confident, Earthy, Socialite and Royal are things of absolute beauty. My mineral eyeshadow primer on the other hand has the most disgusting chemical smell. Is it just me?

  28. I think my experiences mirror yours- hit or miss, but the hits are pretty big. I have an ELF overview coming up on my site, hopefully with different products, and I already reviewed their lip lock pencil, which I love. The few color products I’ve used are meh, and the brushes, while not the highest in quality, have some benefits (as long as you’re willing to super glue the occasional loose ferrule!)Can’t wait to see part 2!

  29. Def. hit or miss…
    I heard about the brushes and about the little eye brightening quads. I hate the quads, they are dusty and just dull to me, or full of strange chunky glitter.
    I do like the brushes though, at a buck a pop for them and 3 for the studio line ones- I can scrub the crap out of these brushes and not feel bad about it.
    I also tried the cream liners and I like to use the white shimmer one as a base. I wish they were opaque.
    I love love love the micro hd powder.
    I hate the lip conditioning balms, they smell horrid.
    I love the hypershine glosses and minty glosses.
    I love the nail polish colors.
    I like the lip lock pencil even if mine broke, it still works.
    I like the tone correcting concealer for me too, it is a bit thicker but dries slowly so I can build it up how I really want it.
    The eye makeup remover pads are nice to keep near my bed for when I just am to exhausted to remove my eye makeup…

  30. ELF is my favourite non-mineral brand. I only buy things that have good reviews, so I am rarely disappointed. I love Fuchsia Fusion (I know that most of their studio blushes are sheer, but this one is highly pigmented and very shimmery), studio liners and the shimmer palette.

    I also like some studio brushes, eye shadow quads (some are more pigmented than others, but I really like them all) and nail polish (though every colour has a different formula).