Saturday, January 27, 2007

Beauty on the Cheap: e.l.f. cosmetics

This past Tuesday night I was surfing around and looking at blogs, trying to forget my troubles. A new (as in, new to me) blog I'm enjoying, Megan in Maine, had a little post about e.l.f. cosmetics, so I clicked the link to look around a bit. Many of you may already be familiar with e.l.f.--which stands for eyes, lips, face--but I was not. Here's a bit about their philosophy, directly from their site:
"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."

Value-priced, indeed! Eye shadows and blushes for $1.00. That's right: $1.00. Brushes for $1.00. Cosmetics bags for $5.00. Custom kits for as little as $10.00 (includes a makeup bag of your choice--and they have many choices--and five products to fill the bag) to $30.00 (for a bag, eyeshadow, blush, foundation stick, 3 lip products, blotting papers, eye makeup remover, polish remover, four brushes, an eyelash curler, and more).

While part of me thought there must be a hitch, the beauty junkie in me decided to click around and create a kit for myself. To make a long story short, I ended up with around 25 products for $26.00 (and until January 28, you get free shipping--their standard is a $5.00 flat rate for priority mail--when you enter the code "shipelf"). I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was also breaking my New Years' resolution (the first one to go) to use the Trish and only the Trish.

Well, I'm glad I did! I got almost all my product yesterday--three items were missing, with no explanation (boo)--and this morning, I tried on just about everything. Here's a little taste of what I bought:

Makeup case ($5.00)

This is a nylon zippered case with two pockets. It's cute and roomy, and it comes with an attached mirror. Small enough to fit in an average-sized handbag.

Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Sun Kissed ($1.00)

Okay, this is more like it. This bronzer has a bit of shimmer to it, and the color is a bit rosy. Because it's not matte, it goes on quite evenly and sheer and doesn't look at all muddy. No more Pigpen...yea!

Shielding Hydro-Tint SPF 15 in Tone 2 ($1.00)

I was a bit worried about this one, as I'm quite fair, and e.l.f. only offers four color choices. Their fairest, Tone 1, is for fair skin with a blue undertone. I have fair skin with a yellow undertone (thank you, Prescriptives), so I chanced it and ordered Tone 2, which is for medium skin with a yellow undertone. The consistency of this is less thick than some tinted moisturizers, and it goes on very smoothly and feels hydrating. The tint disappeared on my skin as though it were made for it. Could I have found a $1.00 replacement for my beloved Stila tinted moisture? I hope so.
CAUTION: This tint is scented, as are several of e.l.f.'s face products. The scent is "sugar orange," and while I find the scent pleasing and experience no reaction on my sensitive skin, you may want to be careful if fragrance generally bothers you. Try a spot test first.

Pre-Designed Comapct 3 ($5.00)

The site says this compact was designed by an editor from Lucky magazine. You get two shadows, Pink Ice and Sage; a blush, Glow; and a sheer lipstick in Sugar Plum. The shadows are slightly pearlized with a soft sheen and are quite silky and easy to apply. I used the Pink Ice all over and the Sage as a liner: gorgeous, soft, and making me itch for spring. Glow is a lovely coral, also with a soft sheen and natural color. (It's scented as well...test it first!) The sheer lip is a darker plum with a bit of glitter to glam it up. I love the color, but it's a little bit dry, so I recommend putting on a bit of balm first. There are others to choose the Gifts link, and then click Gifts under $5. You'll have to scroll down a bit on the page...
BONUS: The compact is well-made for being so inexpensive, and it's refillable. That's right--add a new shade for $1.00, or swap out all four for $4.00.

Brightening Eye Shadow in Nouveau Neutrals ($1.00)

I just told you the eye shadow is silky and lovely, but I just wanted you to see a picture of this one because the colors are so pretty.

Total Face Brush ($1.00)

Megan in Maine had specifically called out e.l.f.'s brushes, and I needed a new powder brush, so I ordered this one, as well as an extra blush brush. It's soft and seems better made than what you can find at the drugstore. The bristle quality is close to that on my "professional" brushes (Prescriptives), but simply not as dense. Still, I thought both of them gave very even coverage.

I posted an inquiry to e.l.f. about the items missing from my order, so I'll let you know what I hear. I'm hoping that the low prices don't mean low-level customer service! So far I'm very impressed with the quality of the products, and there are lots of other things I want to try.

Go check it out! Let me know if you buy anything!

*all photos from e.l.f.