This has become one of my go-to products for my daily make-up routine. I put it in my crease after an overall eyelid swash of ELF's pink ice, over NYX's eye pencil thing in "yogurt" as a base and I'm good to go with a little mascara. I'm an eyeshadow (well, overall make-up) junkie, and there are tons of other shadows I have sitting around (drawers and drawers, it's scary) but this is what I found to be easiest for the quick neutral day look. It's a bit crumbly in the pan but texture going on is nice and smooth. Love the mix and match of course with probably the best $1 you could spend on the ELF custom compact.
Concealers -Unlisted Brand - Kevin Beautymaker - Aqua Eye Concealer
xcluex 11/17/2010 9:54:00 PM
HG times a million! I am in love - no, in rapture - with this concealer. I have tried my fair share of under-eye concealers, most of them very highly rated, and this is by far the best ever - EVER. It does everything you want from a dream under-eye concealer, it does not crease and is not cakey, it is light yet provides full coverage for under-eye bags and dark circles, it applies and blends into skin tone beautifully and looks natural, it lasts all day, and it makes you look brighter and younger. Not only that, but the packaging is perfection and sleek (simple high-quality black plastic case, small so it's good for travel, mirror for on-the-go touch-ups). And it is really priced well at under $20 - I would pay so much more for this product, thank goodness I don't have to. The only slight problem is that is only available through ebay or on-line retailers that stock Taiwanese cosmetics. I had great anxiety when I hit the pan and it was out of stock at my preferred retailer for a while - I scoured the web and bought for a slightly higher price from ebay - the lesson learned is to buy a bunch when you can. I cannot live without this, it's in my bag every day even when I go camping :). FYI - I am MAC NC-20-25 and use Bright#1 for this concealer, and apply with concealer brush for the best results.
Loose Powders -E.L.F. - Studio High Definition Powder
xcluex 6/22/2010 12:58:00 AM
MUFE was my first venture into HD microfinish powder, and liked it very much for setting my make-up and giving a polished look. I like ELF HD powder even more because it costs way less for the exact same effect. It's a finely milled powder that shows up translucent on my NC25 skin if I take a bit of effort to blend. My verdict is that for those who like the MUFE HD powder, this is an easy dupe. For those who haven't tried any HD powders, this is a good and inexpensive introduction to see if it does what you expect. Yes, minimizes pores, controls shine, etc. But, I can only speak to my own experience, which is having mostly dry skin, expect for a few patches of oiliness on my nose. And this powder doesn't accentuate the dry areas of my skin given I have applied the right primer. A little goes a long way for me, I use ELF's blender eyeshadow brush for setting my undereye concealer and the sides of my nose and ELF's kabuki brush for finishing the overall look. Umm I guess I am an ELF fan.
After an extensive foray into the NYX Round Lipsticks - I think I have err about 50+ now - I have now moved onto Black Label (sigh, I am a lipstick junkie to my chagrin - can't help myself!). These are more expensive than the Round Lipsticks, but I think it is justified - they are less slippery, which means they are longer-lasting - plus, $6 for a good quality lippie isn't grossly extravagant. They are still creamy and highly pigmented, feel good on your lips, and don't have any scent/taste I can tell. Packaging is slightly sturdier and larger, they are square and still have the color sample on the bottom. So I have 7 shades now, which I will review in detail separately later (hopefully!), but in summary here: Summer in Hampton (blue-toned pink, not too pepto, good for smokey eye maybe, didn't look super off as some other blue-toned pinks can be for me); Off the Beaten Path (a fresh juicy warm pink on me - can't believe there are no reviews yet - it's pretty, especially for summer!), Socialite (my fave so far - it's my Round Lipstick 'Doll' of the the Black Label - beautiful berry rose - when I tried it on, you know the feeling when a shade is just really good for you- like bam I look good - and begin skipping, or at least have an extra bounce to your step :))! I also have Diva that I got a while ago and can't really remember what it looked like (another blue-toned pink, somewhat lighter than Summer in Hampton I think, but I can't remember probably because I haven't worn it because it wasn't quite right out of the tube on me and I'm too lazy to make it work), Midnight Dinner (haven't tried on my lips yet, but swatched on my hand - a dramatic wine/berry shade), and Mahagony (again haven't tried on my lips, but looks like a rich brown-red, uumm mahogany-colored ;), swatched on my hand). I am NC 20-25 with yellow undertones (Asian) BTW. Yay for NYX!
Lipstick -Maybelline - Color Sensational - Park Ave. Peach
xcluex 6/5/2010 7:18:00 PM
Thank you reviewers at MUA for such a great rec! I was at CVS and they had BOGO 50% - I had wanted to get the Mousse Concealer, and remembered coming across positive reviews for this lippie, so threw it in the basket. This was definitely the better purchase - the color and texture has been described perfectly already, beautiful coral/peach with pink undertones, with no weird muddiness and not obnoxious, just fresh looking. Completely brightens up my whole face (NC 20-25 with yellow undertone) and perfect perfect perfect for summer! I will be reaching for this often!
Umm, hmmm. I waited a while before reviewing this product, and well, hmmm. I got these in two shades, medium and light, just because you can never really tell what will be right for you based on online swatches and who cares on ELF since it's so inexpensive. I love love love medium for my NC 20-25 skin and specifically for my undereye circles. I have HE (like really HE that made me question why did I buy this stuff argh) undereye concealors, none worked like this. It has a light consistency, beautiful coverage, and just easy easy. You know that moment when you have to pull together something quick, like someone brings unexpected guests when you are already pj'ed out, well this is my #1 thing I go to. Or at least close to that. BUT, the wand on the light concealer broke the day I got it. I have been using the medium shade, and I love it, but today, the highlighter wand part of it broke. I use the highlighter part for all highlighting purposes when I'm in a rush, it's not great but works in a pinch. And today, the highlighter wand broke. This tells me the wands are none too strong, I am not battling with these things, merely gently swabbing them on my eye and perhaps too hastily stuffing them in the tube. And the highlighter stuff came out smelling like really really sour Elmer's glue? Anyhow, the color and texture of the concealer is great, so that's what I will be using. EDIT: Ok I am adding a lippie and giving it a full five even though I have little use for the highlighter and the packaging could be better, because no matter where I stray, and I have been going a little concealer crazy lately, nothing gives me the results of this one. My main issue is undereye bags and puffiness, not necessarily darkness under my eyes. Maybe that's why this works for some people and not others - I wouldn't call my issue true discoloration, even though there is some darkness, it just mainly looks darker under my eyes because it's baggy. For people with truly dark circles, this may not work because it may be too light in coverage, but I don't know. But it covers my eye puffiness perfectly and makes me look younger and more refreshed. And for that, I think it deserves all the lippies :).
As others have stated, this is a warm rose shade that seems to look different on everyone - on me, it definitely didn't look like the color in the vanessa paradis ad, but well, I definitely don't look like vanessa paradis :). But, it did look good enough - for the first coat, a casual daytime look, and for each successive layer I put on, it did get darker and a bit more dramatic, and it does seem like the color changes a little after on the lips for a while and I like it more the longer I had it on. It's moisturizing enough, not special, just not drying or especially moisturizing either. I think I will wear it often, but for the price, well, this is pricey for what it is IMO. On the makeup purchasing spectrum, I am all over the place, especially after consulting MUA reviews, I have found "bargain" brands that are of good quality that I adore, and maybe I am just no connoisseur, but overall, I just don't think this is ten times better than some other brands that cost ten times less. One small turnoff is that it smells really strongly of rose petals, rose scent is nice on roses and perfume, and maybe it is fancy, but I just am not that into putting perfume on my lips. Of course, the packaging is beautiful, so I guess it's all worth it :)
I got Jewel and Vintage. I really really like this - I am a daily lip balm gal but more of the cherry chapstick kind than, well, whatever the opposite of that is. I've gotten a few other DS tinted lip balms, but not impressed - I want the balm feel and of course moisturizing effect, and with designated beauty products, I feel you should also be able to wear them when you want a natural no gloss/no lipstick day. When I put this on, it's exactly everything I want from a tinted lip balm - it feels good, love the tingly mintiness, moisturizing, and can wear on those low maintenance days. I like Vintage better - soft hint of just the right color, warm wine on me, for my NC 20-25 Asian skin tone. But Jewel is not bad either - the only difference is color of course - it's slightly brighter/warmer/more berry-ish, but I've been liking somewhat more cooler tones lately. But these are great!
As other reviewers have noted, this doesn't really work as an eyeliner brush - it is very thick. The bristles are quite firm, which means this brush would work well as an eyebrow brush as others have mentioned. I also found that it works nicely to apply potted cream eyeshadow base too.
Primer/ Corrector -E.L.F. - Mineral Infused Face Primer
xcluex 3/13/2010 5:49:00 AM
It really is that good. And not just for the price. I have tried Smashbox, Shiseido, Sephora brand, and some brands available only in Asia. This is most comparable to SmashBox Photo Finish, it has that slidey feel I really like, but could feel greasy to some. Somehow ELF seems better though - it just feels thinner, makes foundation glide on like magic, and the dreaded undereye concealor lines are not as noticeable. Packaging is really not bad either, looks fancy-pantsy especially for its price point. EDIT: LOVE still!! Is there a 10 lippie score :)? I have hit the bottom of the product , which comes quicker than you might anticipate given that it is a pump dispenser which leaves quite a lot of product on the sides and the bottom, but I just used a little spatula stick to get the last bits out before I opened the new one. But goodness, it's better than great! Why do I love this even more? Because I have, like most women, weird skin issues. One of my issues is that I have both redness and dryness issues along the sides of my nose. I exfoliate that area daily to get rid of the dryness (ahem flakiness), but it's is still reddish or at least an uneven skin tone and can be flaky still. When I put concealer on for the redness, the concealer gathers up and sometimes becomes a cakey beige skin-flaky mess, if not immediately, then soon after. So this is my miracle primer - all the great things I said about it before still stand, but for my particular weird skin issue, it makes my concealer go on smoothly and naturally (I set with ELF's HD powder BTW), no flaky skin, redness, all around everything I wanted from a primer and more.
Lip Gloss -E.L.F. - Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF15 - ALL
xcluex 3/13/2010 5:13:00 AM
I really like this lip gloss - I'm not a lip gloss expert and haven't tried any HE ones, and truthfully, never got the lip gloss thing before - the lip glosses I had purchased in the past were not great I guess. After finding ELF, I figured why not, it's only a dollar (as many people obviously do). So, I got a bunch of the different types of lip glosses that ELF offers, and I like all but one type (the Hypershine Gloss, which was blech-tasting for me). I waited before reviewing just to see what I was drawn to, what I grabbed for without really thinking, and it was this one. True, it has a very strong grape bubblegum smell, which I personally love, and if you taste it inadvertently it's just sweet like sugar but no other taste that I can tell. I like that it feels thick, I love the type of glossiness it has, the SPF ain't bad either. Gonna put some on right now :).
HG HG HG! Why there aren't more reviews for this product I just don't know. I was looking for an inexpensive alternative highlighter as a sub for my NARS Multiple in Copacabana, which is $$$. I still love the Copacabana, but this ELF shimmer palette is simply amazing. FYI, I use both for highlighting the brow bone, cheek bone, the cupid bow area of the lip etc - not for eyeshadow base or eyeshadow color or lipcolor so can't speak for those uses. But as a highlighter, wow! What I love about this is that it is so soft, subtle, blendable, sheer, silky, shimmery but not glittery. I also got the All Over Color sticks in various colors, which are okay, but you have to try this shimmer palette if you are looking for that soft shimmer highlighter. And when I say shimmer, I don't mean glitter chunky shimmer, I mean glowy. The All Over Color sticks are thicker and less blendable in comparison. In comparison to the NARS Multiple (I have only tried Copacabana), this is definitely more subtle so it depends on what you are looking for. I can't really notice that much difference in the palette colors it comes with when I put them on (there are 4, an ivory-ish, a peach-ish, a gold-ish, and a pink-ish). And I don't use the brush it comes with, just my fingers, but the little brush seems like it could be useful for something else, maybe a lip brush or a small precision eye brush, I'll have to see, but the brush does seem like it is of ELF studio brush quality. BTW, how I know something is HG for me is when I feel the intense need to purchase back-ups (just in case!) even though I just got the product - I just got two more.
I went on a major ELF gloss shopping spree to combat the winter blahs, and got a bunch of the different types of glosses they have available. Out of all the gloss types I got (including Hypershine Gloss, Super Glossy Lip Shine, Plumping Lip Glaze, Mineral Lip Gloss, and Luscious Liquid Lipstick - which isn't listed as a gloss, but really is more like a lip gloss than lipstick in texture and effect), I found the Hypershine Gloss to be the worst. The texture is a bit sticky and the color is sheer, but I can get over that, but the smell and taste! I just tried one color, so I don't know if that one was just especially bad, but I don't really want to try another one. At first, it just smelled overly sweet, but after putting some on and getting it inadvertently in my mouth as I tend to do, I gagged - it was like some weird bitter chemical taste. Bleh! I had to wash it off immediately, and it still kind of left me nauseous. For comparison, the gloss type with no discernable taste/smell was the Mineral one, which also has a good texture. The Super Glossy has a very strong grape Hubba Bubba gum smell and feels thicker somehow, maybe what people refer to as cushion, both of which I kind of like but may turn some other people off. If you want more pigmentation, go for the Luscious Liquid, which has a slight minty smell/taste if you don't mind that.
Love! The texture of these are great, smooth and creamy going on, the matte ones can get a dry feeling after a few hours but not too bad, and that also means they have the staying power to last a few hours :). No smell or taste at all. I got 6 different shades (Barely Bitten, Cheerful Cherry, Ripe Rose, Rosy Raisin, Royal Red,and Rustick Brick). and with their 50% off minerals product promotion, they were only $2.50 each! I found most of them to be sheer with the first swipe but buildable (maybe a little like MAC Lustre finish). And I absolutely adored ALL the colors I got, which surprised me because I knew the color swatches online weren't accurate and figured it would be a hit or miss, buy I found the written descriptions helpful, and you can usually tell what you like and what works for you - I got colors that seemed like they would be warm non-nude colors knowing that these usually work for me (NC 20-25 Asian). The biggest surprise was Cheerful Cherry, which is a very red almost blue-based true red. I have been finding very red lipsticks less appealing, but this was beautiful and glamorous. Barely Bitten was the most wearable for me, the rosy reddish pinky perfect color for every day.
NYX Round Lipstick - I stumbled across the NYX brand when browsing through MUA, and thought I would give the round lipsticks a try - why not at the price of $1.50 each. Wow! Color selection is incredibly extensive, pretty decent quality, and the value cannot be beat. A lot of my cosmetics got destroyed in a fire, and I was looking to quickly stock up, plus to try out colors that I wouldn't normally gravitate to, and went on a total spree. Got about 30 overall, some were misses, but most were hits. The texture is creamy and silky, some may say slippery, but no problem for me. I tend to find MAC lipsticks can be drying sometimes. The staying power is not too bad, but because they are so creamy, the color does wear off more quickly. There is a faint chemically taste/smell at first, but wears off in a couple of minutes, and compared to many higher end brands that knock you over with scent, it really is negligible. Highly, highly pigmented - so colors that I want to be in your face pow, like Snow White, are awesome. Other colors that I want to be more subtle, like brown/purple tones which can make me look washed out and dead at full-strength, need a bit of lip balm underneath or gloss over them, to get them to be sheer. My favorite color is Doll (see separate review). The packaging, well it doesn't scream bargain basement, and actually is pretty cute considering the price, all black glossy finish, real color sample at the bottom end and lipstick name with flower design at the top of the cap. The color sample at the bottom end is actually quite useful if you have an acrylic lipstick organizer. Lipstick swivels all the way down, which is a plus - some other budget brands don't have this, which means putting the cap back on in a rush can end up in a mess. I'll be trying the more expensive Black Label series soon, and write a comparison review.