New Video: My favourite ‘cheap’ makeup brushes

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 26 - 2012

Please, for the love of all things vanity-driven, excuse the ‘left to dry naturally until it looks like shit’ hair.  Please.

Brushes mentioned:

E.L.F – Bamboo Angled Blush Brush (£5.50)
E.L.F – Studio Blush Brush (£3.50)
E.L.F – Studio Small Precision Brush (£3.50)
E.L.F – Studio Powder Brush (£3.50)

Boots No7 – Concealer Brush (£3.00 with till spit)
Boots No7 – Eyeshadow Brush (£0.75 with till spit)

Crown Brush – C139 Stiff Tapered Crease Brush (£2.95)
Crown Brush – C217 Bent Liner Brush (£2.60)

Stila – #4 Precision Eyeliner Brush (£3.50)

Revlon Vital Radiance – Brow Brush (£1.29)

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Do you agree with any of my choices?  What are your favourite cheap makeup brushes?


Swatched: ELF Studio Matte Lip Colors

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 29 - 2011

Always a sucker for a bargain, I dived in head first when ELF recently cut the prices of their new(ish) Studio Matte Lip Colors to £1 a piece.  I jumped on them more because I love lipsticks in pen form than because I love matte formulas.  Let’s face it, matte formulas can be tricky to wear unless you’re 14 and addicted to Carmex.

Currently available on the UK website in four neutral shades, I grabbed the lot (and some nail polishes that I’ll probably never get round to blogging).

Tea Rose, Coral, Praline and Natural are the four shades available to purchase.

Here’s what they look like in the tubes…

For what it’s worth, I really like the packaging on these.  The simple and minimalistic black casing defies their £3.50 price tag.  The lids click to a tight, flush close and the twist mechanism feels like it will go the distance.  No complaints from me.

The formula on these didn’t vary too much between shades.  I found Praline perhaps gave the most drag during application, a little less creamy than the others but probably my favourite to wear because it looked the least chalky once applied.

Tea Rose was the creamiest but I felt that the colour was a little off, it’s quite mauve based which made my lips look a little… dead.

Coral looks far more apricot than a true coral shade in my humble opinion and Natural is easily the most nude for my complexion.  They’re a good, solid bunch of lip-neutral shades and I think most should be able to find one shade from the selection that will suit their skintones well.

And the lip swatches…

I know I usually do a full-face shot with lip swatches for context but none of them flattered me and I have a huge zit on my chin that has been there (without a head) for the past week – some days, you just can’t face those pesky FOTDs and today was one of them.  I also thought the close up might be useful so that you can see just how ‘drying’ each shade appears on the lips.

The paler shades definitely come out a little chalky looking, something that would easily be remedied by a touch of lipgloss to conceal those furrows.  In terms of comfort, I didn’t actually find them particularly drying on the lips which is testament to a quality purchase from the budget brand, however, I wouldn’t describe them as moisturising either.  Just your standard, good quality matte lipstick.

The ELF Studio Matte Lip Colors taste very fruity but are not particularly scented, something which surprised me (on both counts).  The taste, although synthetic, is pleasant enough…. similar to what you’d expect from something like a chapstick.

Overall, and for the money, I can’t really fault them too much.  Sure, I’m not really a fan of how the colours turned out against my skintone but that’s personal preference… throw me a red or hot pink and this could well have been a gushing post of epic proportions.  I’d say, give ’em a go – you might just find your holy grail nude matte lip!

ELF Studio Matte Lip Colors are available to purchase online at the ELF website, priced at £3.50 each.

E.L.F launch new bamboo range of Mineral Brushes

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 19 - 2011

With bamboo handles, 100% animal-free, antibacterial taklon bristles and priced at only £5.50 each… the new E.L.F range of mineral brushes are sure to be an interesting addition to the brand’s budget line-up in the UK.

From Left to Right: Powder Brush, Complexion Brush, Foundation Brush, Angled Blush Brush, Concealer Brush & Lip Brush.

From Left to Right: Liner and Brow Comb, Flat Eyeliner Brush, Smudge Brush, Contour Brush, All-over Eyeshadow Brush and Blending Eye Brush.

As well as individual brushes, you’re can also purchase two brush sets (£15 and £20 respectively):

The 4 piece set contains: Complexion Brush, Concealer Brush. Blending Eye Brush, Mini Kabuki Brush, Brush Bag

The 5 piece set contains: Complexion Brush, Eyeliner Brush, Concealer Brush, All-Over Eyeshadow Brush, Lash & Brow Comb, Brush Bag

It seems strange to me that they’ve doubled up the complexion and concealer brushes in both sets… it makes it far less appealing to purchase both sets.  Infact, you just wouldn’t would you?

I’ll be receiving a few samples from the new range shortly and will be keen to discover if these brushes are worth a punt.  I’ve learnt since first falling in love with makeup, that the one thing often worth spending a bit more on to get great quality… are brushes.

Will the new E.L.F bamboo range hold their own in terms of quality and usability?

Have you tried the new range yet?

E.L.F Studio Blush in Passion Pink & Fuchsia Fusion

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 26 - 2010

I was sent these a couple of months ago but only got the chance to photograph and review E.L.F’s NARS Albatross dupe – Gotta Glow before my camera kicked the bucket.

I’d like to show you the other two that were released at the same time as Gotta Glow.  I hope the pictures and swatches are useful.

Fuchsia Fusion is a glitter bomb of a blush.  A slightly muted raspberry rose shade with silver chunky sparkles.  Texture is a bit hard but the pan gives up a lot of powder when you pass the brush over the top.  I personally wouldn’t bring this blush within 10 yards of my face until I’ve tapped off at least some of the glitter.

Pink Passion is my preference of the two.  A proper dolly pink matte blush that feels chalky but soft.  Pigmentation is impressive for the price and you could do far worse than this blush for double the money.

If only that glitter in Fuchsia Fusion were a little finer, I’d be giving a double thumbs up.

Both blushes are priced at £3.50 and available online from the ELF website.

Dupe Alert: NARS Albatross Vs. E.L.F. Gotta Glow

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 1 - 2010

The comparisons have to be made don’t they?  At just £3.50 for the pale gold E.L.F Gotta Glow compared to £19.50 for NARS iconic Albatross highlighting powder… who isn’t hoping for a remarkable dupe?

The NARS on the left.. E.L.F’s Gotta Glow, on the right.

I’m not gonna talk about the differences in packaging.  They’re there… NARS is annoying and icky sticky, E.L.F’s is sleeker but hella cheaper looking.  Do you *really* care?  I don’t.

But what about the product?

E.L.F’s Gotta Glow is slightly more yellow toned in appearance and the gold shimmer is less refined looking in the pan… chunkier.  This is pretty much what I expected.  On close inspection, you can see a visual difference in quality.

The texture?  Again… this lives up to expectations.

NARS Albatross is smooth and very finely milled… there’s no flaking when you brush the surface of the pan and no fall out upon application.  The E.L.F version can’t claim the same.  It’s powdery and there is fall out if you don’t give your brush a tap off before applying.

But how about this?  Please look past the hairy arms… I have enough hair elsewhere on my body to frankly give a crap about hairy forearms.

That’s pretty simillar no?

Take a guess before reading on… which one costs £3.50 and which one costs £19.50?  I’d love for you to tell me if you got it right in the comments…

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Ready to find out?

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Sure?

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Oh ok… Well… E.L.F’s Gotta Glow is on the left and NARS Albatross is on the right.  I think that I can tell the difference between the swatches… the E.L.F one looks slightly less pigmented and a bit ‘chunkier’.  But is that *really* a £16 difference?  Not when you take into consideration that once applied and blended… I truly struggle to tell the difference on my face at all.

Before I get really excited though… there is one point to note that although not an issue for my skintone, may make ALL the difference on someone else.  I see a slight ashiness with the E.L.F incarnation that I’m not seeing with the NARS original.  It’s only noticeable when I swatch on my fingertip… but I’m thinking that on a darker skintone, the E.L.F Gotta Glow may leave a slight white cast along with the golden sheen.

Has anyone tried it with a darker skintone than mine?  How are you finding E.L.F’s new Gotta Glow highlighting powder?

E.L.F Gotta Glow is available online and priced at £3.50 – a bargain if ever I saw one.

ELF – Rosy Raisin NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 30 - 2010

Another one from before my camera bit the dust…

ELF’s Rosy Raisin is another 3 coater that seems to ‘turn good’ on that final coat.  I had a dodgy brush with this bottle – splayed ends.  There’s a first time for everything and this was the first time for me that the price tag really shone through everything else when it comes to ELF.

Disappointing.

The colour is a great wintery shade for those among us who favour them.  Again, at £1.50 – there’s really only so much moaning about a product I can do.  If I hadn’t had such crapola quality issue with the packaging… I’d be happy to recommend but even at £1.50, a girl needs a brush that’s up to the job right?

ELF does neon nails!

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 28 - 2010

Hardly apt for Autumn… but if you’re clinging on to the last remnants of Summer, these shades could be for you!

E.L.F – Mango Madness

E.L.F – Passion Pink

Both are *incredibly* bright and neither of the samples I was sent came without their application issues.  Streaky and thin… 4 coats were required for each to achieve an opaque finish.

As with most neons, these dry semi matte (and kinda ugly), they need a glossy top coat to bring out the shine.

Passion Pink, as I’m sure you can see… is far more coral than it appears in the bottle and Mango Madness somehow manages to look almost creamy despite being retina burningly bright!

As usual for E.L.F polishes, these are priced at £1.50 each and available online from the website.

ELF – Purple Pleaser NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 19 - 2010

Sounding slightly more like a sex toy than one of E.L.F’s latest UK nail polish releases…. Purple Pleaser is a red-undertoned purple polish.  Just in time for winter!

My sample applied a little streaky, but nothing that a few coats didn”t deal with.  It could also benefit from a top coat to up the shine factor.

The colour isn’t particularly unique, but wear is pretty good with no chips for me until the 4th day.

Purple Pleaser (£1.50) can be bought online from E.L.F

E.L.F – Mineral Boosters in Tinted & Shimmer

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 14 - 2010

I received these two boxes of E.L.F’s new Mineral Booster through the post the other day courtesy of PR and my interest was piqued.  I do love my mineral makeup.

I will however, always hate the mess from playing with… what are essentially, little pots of dust.

I already own the original version of the Mineral Booster which I bought about a year ago to use as an alternative to Bare Escentual’s Mineral Veil (it got superceded by my love for E.L.F’s HD Powder though).  These new incarnations are pretty much the same thing as the original… but on steroids!

Since I’ve become spoiled by Bare Escentuals new Click Lock Go packaging, I’m taking a point away from the E.L.F Mineral Booster ‘cos frankly, it’s a nightmare to transport.

E.L.F Mineral Booster in Shimmer is an ivory toned powder with a healthy does of sparkle.  Sneeze over this baby and you’ll be seeing stars for the foreseeable future!  I was surprised at how creamy the powder felt to the touch.  Obviously very finely milled… E.L.F never fail to impress me with the texture of their mineral products.

E.L.F Mineral Booster in Tinted is a warmer chocolate latté kinda colour… not quite dark enough to terrify me, but certainly deep enough to give me pause about applying it to my pale skin tone.  Again, texture is great with no lumps or areas of heavier pigmentation.

When I swatched both products, I felt a little disappointed.  Not hugely inspiring are they?  The Shimmer is pretty subtle on the back of my hand and the Tinted is just kinda Ovaltine-y.  I wasn’t actually sure what I was gonna be able to do with them by way of demonstration to show you how they work.

Faced with this… a lack of any technical skills whatsoever and my 10hr old makeup, I decided to just go for it.  I grabbed a big powder brush and went for the Tinted version first.  I chose a powder brush over my kabuki as I wanted something that wouldn’t deposit too much product.  I needn’t have worried, Tinted is quite sheer when applied with a brush, it definitely gives you the opportunity to build without flooding your face with pigment.  I applied a light layer allover, then built up the shading along my invisible cheekbones.  I wasn’t too bothered about whether I was ‘contouring’ or ‘blushing’ – I was just slapping it on.

Reaching for Shimmer, I focused on the high points on my face.  Those imaginary cheekbones got a dusting, as did my nose and chin.  Watching the sparkles float on the air I was expecting to see a beacon of glitter reveal itself to me when I looked in the mirror, but the effect was pretty subtle.  Infact… I couldn’t really see any difference at all.

I took an ‘after’ photo anyway and figured that I’d leave the review at swatches and the fact that I thought it was too subtle.

The photos disagree with me though:

Is it just ‘cos it’s mattified me or does the ‘after’ look smoother?  More polished?  I think it’s given me a hint of coverage (check the red nose)… but as a Mineral Booster, that’s not really it’s job description.

Wait… what IS it’s job description?

Achieve the ultimate, translucent “photo finishing touch” to your makeup, our Mineral Booster melts into your skin, infusing it with key vitamins A, B and E to promote healthier skin that’s noticeably silkier and smoother. Completely sheer and ideal for all skin tones, Mineral Booster gently absorbs oil and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and pores for a beautiful even finish. Wear alone or buff over our Mineral Concealer and Foundation to lend extra staying power and to achieve a professional and stunning porcelain matte look that will last all day.

Oh right!  Well, I guess it’s up for promotion then ‘cos that’s what I’m seeing…. though they aren’t gonna last you all day unless your middle name is Dust Bowl.

Can you notice a difference?  I can’t put my finger on what else it’s done.  Considering the colour of ‘tinted’, it’s pretty subtle innit?

All I know is, I prefer the ‘after’.

At £3.50 a pot, these new E.L.F Mineral Boosters are getting the thumbs up from me.

FOTD – Alice in Wonderland Palette (again)

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 27 - 2010

A mostly cool-toned FOTD bar a hint of peach on the lids.

It’s crazy how much of my eye makeup actually disappears when I open my eyes…. which kinda begs the question, “Should I walk around with my eyes shut?”

Face:

~ Max Factor Second Skin Foundation in Creamy Ivory (thanks Jen!)
~ Stila Sheer Pressed Powder in Light

Eyes:

~ Urban Decay Drink Me, Eat Me on the lid (from the AiW palette)
~ Urban Decay Vorpal in the crease and outer ‘V’ (from the AiW palette)
~ Stargazer Cake Liner in Brown on the lashline
~ YSL Singulier Mascara in Black

Lips:

~ ELF Runway Pink with a slick of…
~ …MAC Please Me ontop.

ELF Studio Cream Eyeliner in Coffee

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 7 - 2010

My last foray into ELF’s eyeliners was not a successful one.  About a year ago, I picked up a couple of the liquid liners they do and HATED them.  Scratchy and lacking in pigmentation made them a huge fail for me so I was ready to be disappointed when I accepted the offer to try a liner from the new ELF Studio Cream Eyeliner range.

I chose Coffee, a medium brown shade.  There are currently 4 shades in the line up: Coffee (medium brown), Black, Midnight (dark blue) and Ivory (off white pearl)

The packaging fits in nicely with the rest of the Studio line, the jar is plastic with a solid, chunky feel.  The lid screws on with a satisfying click when it’s fully tightened.  Lightweight and portable, it’s not the sleekest eyeliner in the world, but it’s fully practical.

The texture of the liner is *incredibly* soft, perhaps a little too soft.  When I dip my brush, the fibres sink downward straight into the product which makes it a little hard to stroke across the surface without picking up too much product.  A couple of times, I’ve picked up a whole clump of eyeliner on the brush instead of an even coating.

You can see the tip of the brush sinking straight into the product in the shot above.  Whilst this might mean it takes a little more care to load your brush, it makes for the smoothest application of any liner I’ve ever used.  And I’ve used a lot.  Note, that this only applies to this particular shade as I know texture can vary between products in the same line.

Pigmentation is medium, I needed to go over the line twice to build it up to my desired strength, but when a liner glides as smoothly as this one does, it’s not a problem.

The above swatch shows 3 swipes of the liner.  It takes about a minute to set before becoming truly transfer proof.  Even on my hooded eyelid it stuck fast for hours, by bedtime the line had faded to about half it’s original intensity, but the fading was even.

I’ve also used it as a cream base which worked really well thanks to it’s super-soft texture.  Blending was a delight and I love wearing it under greens to create a more ‘old gold’ kinda shade.  I haven’t noticed it partcularly increasing longevity on eyeshadows though, so I still combine with a slick of eyeshadow primer underneath.

I’m amazed by the quality of my ELF Studio Cream Eyeliner, and at £3.50 you really can’t go wrong.

ELF Eye Transformer Review & Swatches

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 29 - 2009

STOP PRESS!: Check out Janice’s review on the Eye Transformer too, her photographs demonstrate the whole ‘smoky eye thing’ better than mine and really give a good idea of what I was trying to explain (lamely!).

http://seekforbeauty.blogspot.com/2009/08/review-elf-studio-eye-transformer.html

The new (to the UK) ELF Eye Transformer is another product that was lurking at the bottom of my goody bag from a recent E.L.F event I attended.  It’s an unusual product, I’ve only ever seen one other like it and I think that it fits in very nicely with the rest of the E.L.F Studio lineup.

elfeyetransformer

It has one main function.  Applied over a dark coloured eyeshadow base, it will have the effect on transforming the base into a new and wonderful shimmering iridescent shade.

Make sense?

Let’s look more closely…

elfeyetransformer2

Oh there you go, it says what it does on the back of the box… and for bonus points it gets straight to the point.  Unlike me.

elfeyetransformer3

Packaging is identical to the Shimmer Palette, it’s good stuff… solid and sleek.

elfeyetransformer4

There are four powder shades: Green, Orange, Pink and Blue.

The powders are quite dusty and I’d recommend giving your brush a quick shake or blow before applying the powder ontop of your base.

elfeyetransformer5

First, I laid down 4 black base swatches.  I used a black eye shadow from one of my Sleek Palettes, then I layered each Eye Transformer powder over the base…

Let’s see them in action…

elfeyetransformerswatches

elfeyetransformerswatches2

As you can see, from left to right… the powders create green, bronze, purple and blue hues when layered ontop of black bases.  Very pretty and much more interesting than plain old black!

This by itself is pretty cool, but I’ve discovered an even better use for them!

I’m rubbish at true smoky eyes, I look like a panda, I find it hard to blend very strong colours.  It’s a shame then that smokey eyes are *everywhere* at the moment.  Hell, Sleek and GOSH have even brought out palettes in celebration…

Let me demonstrate my crapness…

ELFEyeTransformerBefore

That’s my best effort!  It’s harrrrrrrrrd!

The variations between the black in the crease and the grey on the lid are obvious to me… I just can’t get a smooth blend when I use black, which is why I usually shy away from the shade, favouring greys and browns for crease colours.

However, let’s go over the whole lot with the blue shade from the Eye Transformer Palette…

ELFEyeTransformerAfter

What do you think?

It’s not *so* visible in the photo as it was in person, but adding the Eye Transformer shade seems to bring the other shades in harmony with one another.

My blending isn’t the best, and I should have definitely gone over that outer edge with my blending brush.  But focusing on the actual lid, don’t the colours seem to flow better?  Am I imagining things?

Anyway, all I can say is…

The ELF Eye Transformer is not the best quality product in the world… the powders are pretty chalky and dusty.

Having said that, I’m a sucker for novelty products like this and usually a little disappointed when I try them.  But I’m really enjoying using this combined with the Sleek Graphite palette.  They simply work as they’re supposed to, opening up many more opportunities for colour.

What are your thoughts?  Have you tried the ELF Eye Transformer Palette? Want to?

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