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Since I live in Florida and have resided here for 11 years, I know more about cosmetics found in the US than in India. Sure there is some overlap, like MAC, but you guys know far more about those cosmetics than I ever will and so I doubt I will have anything of value to add to your current knowledge there. But I have seen a lot of posts from girls who’ve either purchased cosmetics or had a family member buy them cosmetics in the US. And that’s where I can help you. Since I am a makeup and beauty junkie, I’ve bought and tried a lot of the stuff out there and can tell you what’s good and what’s not. Since several members have mentioned E.L.F. cosmetics and since they offer really good value, I feel E.L.F. deserves an entire post. When I first heard about E.L.F. and their $1 line, I thought it was too good to be true. I thought that anything that cost so little had to be cheap and worthless. And for the most part, the $1 cosmetics aren’t very good. But E.L.F. does have a lot to offer the thrifty makeup shopper and so here we go!
Eyes: Of the three areas of focus – eyes, lips and face (from which E.L.F. gets its name) – my favourite is the selection of products that E.L.F. has for eyes. They have some stunning shades in eye shadows and some good quality eyeliners. For mascaras you’re better off sticking with Maybelline and Cover Girl. The Essentials Collection’s ($1 line) Brightening Eye Colours have a very wide variety of shades but the texture of the eye shadows isn’t the best. They’re chalky and the colours apply in a patchy fashion. However, do not despair! E.L.F.’s Mineral eye shadows ($3) completely make up for this disappointment! They have fewer shades (still a respectable 26) but they keep adding to the colour spectrum that already has some amazing hues. My favourites are Royal (a deep shimmery purple), Socialite (a shimmery taupe) and Partier (a deep, matte blue that I like to line my lower lids with). If you buy just one product from E.L.F., you CANNOT miss out on their mineral shadows. They go on very smooth and they have a decent staying power over primer. The quality is similar to the Bare Minerals eye shadows which cost $13 each. The only (minor) problem I have with this line is that most of the colours are very shimmery with very few mattes or glitters. Also, you can’t pass on the Studio Line Cream eyeliners ($3). They have them in a decent range of colours and a little brush is included. I’d recommend getting the basic black and the purple. I also like their Navy and the Brown. The only other good eyeliner by E.L.F. is their felt-tipped Essentials Eyeliner Pen ($1). The only downside of this product is that all the colours are so dark, they look black, even the purple and blue. E.L.F also has some very good palettes called Beauty Encyclopedias ($5), with 12 powder eyeshadows, 2 cream eyeshadows, a pencil eyeliner and a brush. These are good value and my favourite is the Everyday Eye collection with a lot of neutrals. No eye shadow collection is complete without a primer. E.L.F. has a few different kinds of eye primers but my favourite is the Studio Eye Primer and Liner Sealer. It’s a very convenient two-sided product with a stick of primer on one side and a bottle of a sealant on the other that can convert any powder eyeshadow into an eyeliner.
Lips: E.L.F. has a lot of lip products to offer in its 3 categories –Essentials ($1 line), mineral and studio. Most of the Essentials aren’t worth it, with the notable exception of the Hypershine Lip gloss ($1). It’s got a thick, but not sticky texture with a tiny hint of colour. It’s perfect for a casual, everyday look. The Minerals collection has no good lip products and so please pass on their $5 lipsticks. You can get much better quality in L’oreal or Maybelline at the same price. The studio line has one very good gloss in the form of the 2-in-1 Conditioning Gloss ($3). Again, it’s a sheer wash of colour in the form of a protecting lip gloss. The new Matte Lip Colour stick ($3) has gotten good reviews but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. The colour selection in the lipsticks are rather limited though. I think E.L.F.’s Lip selection is rather weak but the Eye section more than makes up for it.
Face: E.L.F. has quite a few powders, concealers, foundations and face primers, but I would recommend sticking with MAC as they have a better range of colours suited for all shades and undertones. What E.L.F. does a good job at is the Studio Bronzers. The Cool Bronzer ($3) has 4 shades, none of which I use as a bronzer (I would pass on the Essential bronzers as they tend to be chalky in feel & muddy in colour). However the two brown shades make for a great Contouring powder. The pink is a decent blush and the white makes a good highlighter. I also like the Golden Bronzer ($3) which is very shimmery. I use it on my eyelids, especially on the inner corners of my eyes as a bit of shimmer to illuminate and brighten my eyes. There’s also another great product in the Studio line called Complexion Perfection ($3). This is a mosaic of 4 coloured, oil-absorbing powders. The powders are meant to be used together and I generally swirl a fluffy powder brush over the whole mosaic and then buff over my face after applying my MAC Studio Fix liquid foundation. This will set the foundation, absorb extra oil and neutralize blemishes. The Blue neutralizes orange, the Green neutralizes red, the Pink neutralizes grey and the Yellow brightens!
So, girls, this is my take on the E.L.F. products every girl needs. Look out for my next post on Essentials to Buy on Your Next Trip to the States – Part 2: Drugstore and Walmart Hits and Misses!
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