Sunday, 24 January 2010

Elf Haul Part 2: Paying an extra $2 really makes a difference!

Last week I posted about the first part of my Elf review, where I focused on the brushes. Now I'm working through the rest of my rather extensive haul.

One of the products I picked myself was Mineral Eyeshadow in Natural ($3). Wowser! This is one of those cheap ass finds that makes all the other experimentations worth it. It's a gorgeous shimmery peachy gold, and really reminds me of Stila's cult color Kitten. The pigmentation is nice, and it's super smooth to apply. I can see this being an awesome, one sweep and you're done color. Love it.

The next thing I picked out was the Liquid Liner in Silver ($1). This was part of the 10 free products that I received with my order. The liquid liner comes with a stiff nib, rather than a brush or pen. Some people will love this, others won't. I actually do find it helps with control, although varying the width of the line is a skill beyond me. The silver dried quickly, which is a bonus. I hate liquid liners that take an age to dry (I'm looking at you MAC Liquid Last), as I have to sit with my eyes closed for that whole time. The color was a pretty bright silver with a touch of shimmer.

I also received the same liner in black. The ink came out lovely and black; blacker than my Black Stila Smudge Pot, not as black as the MAC Penultimate Liner. The nib naturally draws quite a thick, dramatic line, so it's not for the faint hearted. The nib also comes out with a lot of ink, so you have to make sure you take off the excess. It did take about 2 minutes to dry out entirely, but I didn't have any problems with the color transferring to any other part of my eye. I first wore a swatch on my hand overnight, which it endured quite well. I then used it in a teal smoky eye. I really liked how it applied. It has faded a bit after 8hrs, and some shadow had moved over it as well, but not too serious. If you don't use liquid liner very often, this is a good one to have in your collection. I can potentially see myself using this instead of MAC Penultimate.

I also received an Eyelid Primer ($1). I tested this out with the same smoky eye look. It has the same consistency as Urban Decay Primer Potion, and was very easy to apply. It has no shimmer and was exactly the same color as my lids, or went on clear. I checked back on my eyes after about 8hrs, and there was no creasing at all. Some shadows had moved around a bit and blended together, but all in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this product's performance.

Up next in the haul review is the Brightening Eye Color Quad in Drama. Although the packaging looks cheap, I loved the dinky little hidden mirror underneath the applicator. That is a pretty ingenious place to put one, and I was surprised by how much you can see in there! It is a smoky eye palette featuring a white, dark shimmery gray, an almost black with a touch of shimmer, and silver. The white came out chalky, and the two colors with a lot of shimmer felt gritty. The dark gray was the only one which swatched okay. I do believe in spending a little more on eye shadow, as the pigmentation and quality do make a difference. The little quad is testament to that. I don't ever see myself using this unfortunately.

One of the products I was most excited to try out was the Pink Lemonade Shimmering Facial Whip ($1). This was even before I saw the NARS Orgasm Illuminator. The Shimmering Facial Whip is basically a light liquid that you can use as a blush or highlight. It comes in a dinky little tube and has a subtle orange scent which I really liked. Although it is not greasy in any way, it is a little tacky and not super smooth to rub in. It is definitely not "whip" which I associate with being very light and easy on the skin. I also found I needed quite a bit of it to get some shimmer to highlight. I loved the idea of Pink Lemonade, but the pink didn't suit me as it ran cooler than my skin tone likes. All that said, I'm not sure that I wouldn't try this in another shade as I love the teeny tiny size. I'm giving this a maybe.

Another must try product for me was the All Over Color Stick ($1). I chose Spotlight, which looks to be a dupe for NARS Copacobana, which has been on my wishlist for about 5 years. I have no idea why I don't just buy it. Anyway, the elf one is pretty tiny (hey, what did you expect for a buck?!). This felt much nicer on to apply and on the skin than the Shimmering Facial Whip and felt quite smooth. Like the Shimmering Facial Whip, I had to put on a lot of product to get any shimmering highlight to show up. Instead, my skin took on a slight chalky, almost blue-gray tinge. I really wanted to love this product, but it was too heavy and not enough highlight in it to make it worthwhile for me.

 Pink Lemonade, Spotlight

One of the items I picked out for myself was the Lip Stain in Fashionista, which is a pretty rose. This is a wand product with two ends - the stain which dries matte, and a gloss which also moisturises. I adore lipstains, so trying this product was a must. Firstly, the color is amazing. It is such a pretty, soft pink on me. It went on very smoothly from the wand and it took about 2-3 minutes to dry, and for another hour I could feel that there was something on my lips. A couple of hours later, my lips did feel dry. Matte lip products do tend to dry your lips out, so to me this is just to be expected. I used the moisterising / gloss end of the wand and this did soften my lips, and more importantly for me, was not sticky. The color had faded a bit after a three hours as well, but not completely. I would definitely consider buying this is other colors as I absolutely adore matte finishes, and it felt comfortable and pretty to wear. 

The last thing I opened up was the Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($1). I only used these on my hands to clean up swatches, and I'm glad. They smelled incredibly astringent which caught at the back of my throat. They were able to reasonably clean up swatches (not a hard challenge I admit), but left the backs of my hands feeling dry. Honestly, the harsh chemical smell of these makes me not even want to use them on my eyes. I'm keeping them for wiping up swatching, but definitely not repurchasing. 

So, how to sum it all up? The more expensive products from the Studio Line like the brushes and the lipstain were worth, and the quality far exceeded their measly price tag. The Primer was cheap and remarkably good, all things considered. I've seen that there is a studio line primer; I'd be keen to see how this differs from their base product. I loved the Mineral Eye Shadow and thought that the Lip Stain was pretty good too. However, the eye make up remover, the eye quad, the highlighter and the shimmering facial whip were all big fails unfortunately. 

The fact that half of the products were poor doesn't put me off Elf entirely; it more just says that with super cheap lines like this, there are going to be some things that are amazing, and some that are, well, not. If anyone else has any great elf suggestions, I'd love to hear them in the comments.  


Lisa Kate said...

I totally agree with you!! I think the normal ELF stuff is crap for the most part. I placed a mainly normal order a few months ago and felt like I wasted my $25! The studio stuff is pretty nice though. I love the blushes!

Shao said...

:( A big part about being satisfied with ELF is knowing which products are the best. I suggest the mineral lipsticks (Natural Nymph is a raved about nude), the Studio HD powder, the Studio Primer, and the mineral eyeshadow primer! These are raved about. But thanks for the thoughts on the mineral eyeshadow - now I'm regretting not getting Natural, though I did get Celebrity and Golden.


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