Essential Lip Stain

by e.l.f. Cosmetics   Essential
Price:
$2 
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Category:
Makeup > Lip Paints/Stains > Lip Tint/Lip Stain
Last Updated:
12/27/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Essential Lip Stain has a felt-tip marker–style applicator that comes to a fine point to allow precise control. The major issue is getting the actual liquid formula to come out of the applicator so you can apply it to your lips! It takes several applications to get the color to fully cover your lips, and even then it can look streaky if you’re not careful.

You can ignore the claims about this containing “Vitamin E to hydrate and moisturize lips” because it isn’t present in a high enough concentration to offer much benefit. Plus, the formula doesn’t leave your lips feeling moisturized, so you’ll likely still want to follow up with a lip balm.

On the plus side, and true to claim, the color really does last for hours without smudging and, although the shade range isn’t expansive, there are some attractive shades. Still, that’s not enough to warrant our seal of approval, especially given the difficult, uneven application.

Pros:
  • Smudge-proof color really does last for hours.
  • Attractive shades.
  • Felt-tip marker–style applicator comes to a fine point to allow precise control.
Cons:
  • Difficult to get the liquid formula to come out of the applicator.
  • Takes several applications to get even color, and even then it can look streaky.
  • Despite claims, this will not leave your lips feeling moisturized.

From a line of cosmetics whose claim to fame is its rock-bottom prices we weren't expecting much. With almost every individual item selling for just $1, could there be any outstanding finds to rival the best options from drugstores and department stores? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Yet although that's good news, the entire picture isn't so rosy, and many of the products from e.l.f. (which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) are as basic as can be, while a few are resounding disappointments we wouldn't even give away.

e.l.f. was founded by Scott Vincent Borba—the same businessman responsible for the Borba "beauty waters" being sold at Sephora boutiques—and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in an unnamed "dollar store" (where everything sells for a dollar) and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. enjoyed sales last year of $5 million.

As you might expect, not everything in the e.l.f. line is great. When you're offering almost every product for $1, they're not going to be nearly as luxurious or innovative as the company proclaims (the ingredient lists couldn't be more basic and the packaging is sometimes slipshod). Many e.l.f. items have packaging that, while functional, can only be described as cheap. In terms of value, yes, almost everything is inexpensive, but in most cases the container sizes are much smaller than the norm. Still, if you're considering spending a few dollars on fun, occasional-use colors, size becomes much less of an issue.

In addition to being found at some dollar stores, e.l.f. has expanded its distribution to selected Target stores and regional drugstores. However, the best place to experience the collection is online (none of the stores provide testers). The cheaper elements are a given based on the price point e.l.f. has established, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains that raise the bar—at least to a height that's taller than your average elf!

For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.com.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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