This set includes three Mineral Eyeshadows, two brushes, an eye pencil, and pencil sharpener. Sets are available for various eye designs, including one built around classic brown tones and one for doing smoky eyes. Each boxed kit comes with instructions for how to do the eye design it's supposed to allow the user to accomplish. The eyeshadow has a soft, smooth texture that feels dry but blends surprisingly well. Each shade has a modest to strong degree of shine, ranging from sparkling to metallic, so none of these sets are for wrinkled eyes. The eyeshadow brushes are quite good, and well-shaped for their intended purpose. As for the eye pencil, it has a stiff texture that hurts to apply and, even worse, it needs almost constant sharpening (perhaps that's why they included a sharpener; it's built into the pencil's cap). Overall, if you're a fan of loose powder eyeshadow and shine, this set is a worthwhile investment.
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.