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.

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 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?

ELF Shimmer Palette Review & Swatches

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 22 - 2009

So, the ELF Studio Line has burst onto the scene with a variety of affordable makeup and the most interesting thing about it all to me is some of the innovation it’s brought with it.

I’m talking genuinely new, innovative products… that, and trying to knock high-end products down from their pedestals (HD Powder anyone? – p.s. how are you finding that?)

elfshimmeringpalette

Introducing the Shimmer Palette.

It’s a palette of 4 shimmering iridescent cream shades that can be used to highlight wherever you choose to apply!

elfshimmeringpalette3

The ELF Studio Line packaging has been consistently good, more than slightly reminiscent of NARS… everything I’ve bought or been given has a solid feel to it and this is no exception.

elfshimmeringpalette4

The 4 shades included range from white through to a couple of peachy/gold colours ending with a pink.  All are very wearable shades.  Although I have no idea how they would look on deeper skintones.

elfshimmeringpalette5

The consistency of the creams are slightly greasy which means that they blend very easily but need setting to stop them sliding.  The colours are also surprisingly pigmented until you blend them out into a nice sheen.

elfshimmeringpaletteswatches

You can see the iridescence in the shades in this swatch, I’ve tried using them on my cheekbones… I like.  I’ve tried using them on my eyelids… um, not so much like (too greasy).  I’ve yet to try them on my lips… I don’t really see the point.

Someone give me some more ideas of how to use!

elfshimmeringpaletteswatches2

You can see the colours a little better here.

So, overall ELF’s Shimmer Palette is a nice, fun product.  It’s easy to use and does what ELF intended it to do… add a bit of shimmer an sheen wherever it’s used.

I’m not sure that I’m going to reach for the palette that often, I don’t really have much need for it… however, I will be buying some as Xmas pressies for a couple of young teenage girls in the family.  I think it would be awesome for that “too young to wear full on slap – but wants to play with makeup regardless” age.

Have you tried ELF’s Shimmer Palette – what say you?

ELF High Definition (HD) Powder – Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 4 - 2009

I had the opportunity to have a play with some of the new E.L.F Studio Products which should be available to buy on the website from next week – apparently the container arrives in Southampton at the end of this week.  Southampton you say?  Where’s my band of dandy highway makeup fanatics… huge makeup party at Dock Gate 4 then back to mine for a cup of tea?

No? Oh ok then.

After seeing some of the new products, I have to say… E.L.F are getting all innovative on us (but thankfully, not in a vibrating roll-on type way)

Amongst the new goodies, this one in particular stood out to me.

ELFHDPowderBox

High Definition Powder… oooooooooooooooooh!  I’m going to look all pore-less and fuzzy round the edges.

Or am I?

Let’s have a look then…

ELFHDPowderBoxBack

So, we’re basically looking at a mix of dimethicones (silicones like you’d find in primers) and silica.  There’s been some controversy surrounding Silica and it’s use in cosmetics… but after a little google I found this article by The Beauty Brains (love them!).

So, it seems that cosmetic grade Silica is not something we should be too wary of using… although some people do have skin reactions to it, so as always… discontinue immediately if you get any kind of irritations.

ELFHDPowderCase

I’ve been very impressed with the packaging in the Studio line, it’s solid… well made and does a good job at not showing you up in public.  This is no exception, the box is a chunky, solid screw top affair… nicely minimalistic – all in black with simple white text.

ELFHDPowderopen

See? Still looking rather sleek isn’t it?  Not bad considering it’s retailing at £6 on the website.  It comes with a powder puff type applicator.  I usually throw these away in favour of using my fluffy powder brush, but the HD powder is *very* finely milled and this applicator manages to contain the flying silica dust really well.  I recommend you give it a go before deciding whether or not you’d rather use a brush.

ELFPowderSifter

There’s a nice deep reservoir to contain the powder and the sifter sits securely in the pot.  Overall, I’m pleased with the packaging design… I’m not sure how it would stand up to being dropped, I *think* you might be hoovering for a week… but really, that’s your fault for dropping it in the first place isn’t it.

ELFHDPowderpuff

A quick flip upside downside dispenses a nice, even amount of powder onto the puff.  I’m really liking this puff.. it’s soft, fluffy and bouncy.  The little ribbon/tab thing that you hook your fingers under isn’t annoying tight either so it’s easy to grip onto.

ELFHDPowderloose

ELFHDPowderinside

The powder itself is white and very fine…. when rubbed between my fingers I can feel the slippery smoothness of the silica.  If you open the pot to have a look… do be careful not to pick that exact moment in which to sneeze.  Luckily I turned my head just in time and only created a minor dust storm.

On to application…

I applied this powder over the top of my finished makeup… that’s after concealer, foundation and blush.  To apply, I placed the puff in the reservoir and inverted the pot which dispensed a thin even coat of powder onto the puff.  Bringing the puff up to my face I patted the powder over my t-zone.  I pat all loose finishing powders on, never swiping, stroking or buffing.  This stuff is *so* fine that it’s not going to leave big floury patches all over your face that need buffing in.

I noticed that it immediately absorbed any shininess without looking cakey.

To be honest, that was all I noticed…

I was disappointed, I’m not sure what I was expecting… but I wanted to see a little more than just a really good shine absorber.  To be fair to the powder, it was invisible… no ashiness on my very fair skin-tone and a lovely even, matte finish which felt silky to the touch.

It was only when I took some pictures for the review and uploaded them that I became a little more excited.

ELFHDPowder

Please excuse the blotchy nose, I think I’m developing a little rosacea there 🙁  Hopefully it’s just the change in the seasons rather than something more permanent.

Anyway, I digress… as you can see, it’s left the nice, even and matte finish I described.  Nice, but no great shakes… until I zoomed in…

ELFHDPowderclose

Wait, wait, wait… where have my pores gone?

Let me compare this to the image you thought you’d never have to look at again… sorry… but I have to…

LINK

Can you see the difference?  It’s so hard as a reviewer to explain exactly what I’m seeing… I mean, after 28 years… I *know* my face… I know where I picked a spot age 17 and left a slightly bigger crater, I can pinpoint exactly where that pesky enlarged pore on my cheek is or how deep that fine line is just below my 45th eyelash from the left 😉

What I’m trying to say (in my usual bumbling way) is this HD powder genuinely seems to be achieving something that is pleasing to my eye.  It’s not erasing my pores by any stretch of the imagination but it’s ‘softening’ them.  I think that’s the best way I can describe it.

Maybe all you want to know is… will I be buying this when it runs out?  Yes, yes and yes again.  For me, it works not only as a great finishing powder… but I’m seeing a marked “soft focus” difference in my images.  Basically, it’s doing for me what it’s supposed to do.  It’s living up to the hype of MUFE’s HD Powder at a considerably lower cost to my purse.

Do I notice a huge difference when I look in the mirror?  I’m not sure I do.  But I’ve looked at a few of my older images zoomed in, and I can see it when I compare.  I don’t know what that means… is it only visible in photographs?  That’s just weird and not hugely useful… Maybe it’s a subtle overall soft focus effect and I’m analysing it too closely when I’m looking in the mirror searching out the flaws.  Perhaps I’m able to detach myself a little when I look at a photograph instead.  I don’t know… I’m getting all psychoanalytical now, so I’m just gonna shut up.

Will it work for you? Who knows.. I’ve tried a few soft focus mineral finishing powders (from MMU companies) that have been raved about and I’ve struggled to notice any discernible differences and I really wasn’t expecting to be so pleasantly surprised by this one.

Apologies for my hugely wordy rambling review, but I guess you can tell.  I’m excited by this one.  If you buy it, please let me know how you get on with it.  I hope it works for you.

E.L.F’s HD Powder is available now from the E.L.F website.  If you can wait a couple of weeks, they usually release promo codes on their twitter or facebook page so you can often take advantage of free shipping.

Elf Studio

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 19 - 2009

Anyone else looking forward to the UK ELF Studio launch as much as me?  When it comes to cosmetic shopping and looking after the pennies I often (shamefully) fail in the attempt to beat down the quantity over quality urge.

After the initial “Look how much makeup I got for £20” excitement fades, I inevitably conclude it’s all a load of crap.  I look in my collection and see that I’ve already got 30 cheap eyeliners that pull and scratch so how stupid must I be to waste my hard earned money on more?

I must shop with an innocent but ultimately futile optimism that I’m going to uncover the next high end dupe for under a fiver – pfft!

Now with this, you can understand my skepticism with regards to ELF’s new Studio range.  Oh. My. God, I so want it to be as good as the hype.  I know it won’t be.  I will be more than satisfied though if I can find a couple of pieces to become make up bag staples until the next big (cheap) thing comes along.

In particular, I’ve got my eye on: (all photos nicked from the ELF website):

Eyebrow Treat & Tame:

elftreattame

They say: <snip>…Treat your eyebrows with a hair re-growth, vitamin infused gel formula to help stimulate hair follicules so your once thin and sparse brows become thicker.</end snip>

I say: Wha?  Hair Regrowth?!  Really?  Really really?  You’re not exagerrating or overstating are you ELF?  Will this really be the solution to overplucked eyebrows everywhere?  Sign me up!

Complexion Perfection:

elfcomplexionperfection

Some of the forums I read have this down as a bit of a miracle product – I’m ultimately dubious, but that of course isn’t going to stop me from buying it anyway.

Blush/Bronzer compact:

elfblushbronzercompact

*eternally optimistic inner el-cheapo ego* Oooh look, it’s just like Nars…

*slightly more realistic alter ego* Don’t be so fucking stupid.

Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter:

elfconcealhighlight

I’d love this one to be the business.  Oh, to be able to conceal and highlight under the eyes effectively with one portable little wand.

Anyway, I’m practically peeing myself in anticipation of  the ELF Studio release.  I know it’s pathetic and my little optimistic self is probably going to be cruely crushed and bruised come mid august when the dust settles… but I can’t help it.

What are you looking forward to trying most from the line?

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