One of my favorite "budget" lines, e.l.f. is pretty much always running some type of sale. Most of the e.l.f. Studio line tops out at $3.00, so you can bring in a pretty good haul for less than the price of dinner for two (or one!) But, like most lines, the brand certainly has it's hits and misses. Here are my top choices for those that haven't jumped on the e.l.f. wagon yet.
1. Studio Lip Lock Pencil: I've already done a review, posted pics and even included one in my Blogiversary Giveaway (which may as well serve as my "best hits of 2010" list) so it should go without saying. Get one. Or two.
- Powder Brush: I reach past my MAC 109, 187 and 190 and grab this every single day to apply my cream foundation. It works great with liquids and powders too- the synthetic bristles are perfect for buffing or stippling, and the large size and flat top make quick work of the job. Fair warning: e.l.f. brushes are totally worth the money, but they're not exactly top shelf. I've had to super glue a ferrule or two back in place, but for the price, I didn't mind a bit.
- Eyeshadow C Brush: Wide and dense with mid-length bristles, use the paddle shape flat on the lid to apply color, or make it vertical and use it to buff down and blend out crease colors.
- Small Angled Brush: I didn't love this for the purpose for which I intended- applying gel liner. I found it too thick to get the clean, thin line I like with my eyeliner. However, where it failed on my eyes, it succeeded on my lips: the angled shape is definitely more precise than a traditional lip brush, though if you like to use your lip brush to smudge and blend your lip liner, the angled cut may make that difficult.
4. High Definition Powder: A $6.00 dupe of the famous Make Up For Ever High Def powder...what more can I say? Oh, there's a nice pale yellow version too, which is great for toning down redness. I guess there's that.
5. Lotion Wipes: How has everybody not latched on to this idea? Lotion in a wipe? Genius! Easy to travel with, mess free, non-greasy, and they actually do a nice job of keeping my skin hydrated. I will say the two scents I tried (Sweet Mango and Milk and Honey) left something to be desired. Neither was bad, they just didn't particularly smell like...what they were supposed to smell like. Still, just for the ease of use and a nice skin-loving formula, I say grab a few packs!
6. Mascara Wands: I use these primarily to brush, blend and soften my brows after I fill them, but as regular readers know, these little buggers have tons of unexpected uses. I have seen bulk wholesale prices online a little lower, but $3 for a dozen wands is totally fair and probably a bit cheaper than what you're likely find at your local Sally's or Ulta.
The e.l.f. that I like, I like a lot, but some of my previous purchases fell into the "you get what you pay for (and this was three bucks)" category. Here are a couple meh's and skip-it's:
- Eye Shadows: The only incarnation of e.l.f. shadows that I've tried have been the Duo Eyeshadows from their basic $1 line, so maybe I shouldn't even mention them, but I will. They didn't thrill me, though they weren't the worst either. Worth a buck? If there's a color you're dying to try, then sure. Maybe. The limited color options kept me from being too interested, and that carried over into the Studio line since the Studio shadow singles only come in a handful of shades. Having said that, the 100-color Endless Eyes Palette does have me wondering. It is a big ticket item for e.l.f., ringing in at $10, and alas, it is exempt from the sale. Still...
- Daily Brush Cleaner: I'm honestly surprised that I bought this, given the fact that the concentration of Alcohol Denat. is so high (it's the second ingredient). Generally I would be worried that the alcohol would dry out my natural bristles, but for some reason I took the chance. I haven't used it enough to notice if there are any ill effects from the alcohol, but this spray can't hold a candle to my HG instant cleaner, Brush Off. If you're not interested in hunting down that wonder product, want something in a lower price point, and aren't concerned about the alcohol drying out & breaking your bristles (some people use straight-up rubbing alcohol) then this might be an option for you. It lifted enough color from the brush to keep shade changes from muddling, and dried quickly enough with a few passes on a tissue.
- Complete Coverage Concealer: While the shades were nicer than I expected and the light palette actually had a color just about fair enough for me (big shocker, since even MAC can't seem to figure that one out!) the light cream-gel texture of this concealer just didn't pack enough pigment to do task #1: covering imperfections! Complete coverage my booty- this did virtually nothing for blemishes, though since I don't have much in the way of under-eye darkness, I can't really speak to its effects in that area. If you do decide to give these a try, know that all four shades in the Light palette run in a warm yellow undertone.
- Small Precision and Smudge Brushes: I have both of these, and I wouldn't bet money that I can tell the difference between the two. The texture of the bristles on these brushes is closer to a lip than an eye brush- slicker and springier. This gives the brushes the tendency to grab color with out re-depositing it, so they were more "erase" and less "smudge" than I care for.
Well, I think that's about it for me! What about you- if I wanted to try some new goodies, what would your picks be?