e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; praiseworthy powder blush and eyeshadows; brow gel/clear mascara; oil-blotting papers are a steal; great brushes in the Studio line.

Weaknesses: Mostly average formulas in smaller packaging than what's typical; terrible concealer; limited options for foundation; average to not-worth-it-at-any-price brushes (in e.l.f.'s main line).

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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+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Best Shine Eraser e.l.f. Cosmetics Oil-Blotting Papers/Products  $1.00 50.00 sheets
Good Custom Face (Discontinued) e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Blush  $1.00
Average Luscious Liquid Lipstick e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $1.00
Good Shimmering Facial Whip e.l.f. Cosmetics Face Shine  $1.00
Good Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15 e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $1.00
Best Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara e.l.f. Cosmetics Regular Mascara  $1.00
Poor Eyeshadow Duo e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Eyeshadow  $1.00
Good Regular & Waterproof Mascara Duo e.l.f. Cosmetics Waterproof Mascara  $1.00
Average Shimmer Pencil e.l.f. Cosmetics Eye Pencil  $1.00
Good e.l.f. Brushes e.l.f. Cosmetics Brushes/Applicators/Curlers  $1.00
Poor Zit Zapper e.l.f. Cosmetics Blemish/Acne Treatments  $1.00 0.20 fl. oz.
Good Hypershine Lip Gloss e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $1.00
Average Liquid Eye Liner e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid/Gel/Cream/Cake  $1.00
Poor Plumping Lip Glaze e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $1.00
Average Feather Proof Moisturizing Lip Liner e.l.f. Cosmetics Lipliner  $1.00
Good Custom Lips (Discontinued) e.l.f. Cosmetics Sheer Lipstick  $1.00
Poor Essential Duo Eye Shadow Cream e.l.f. Cosmetics Cream/Cream-to-Powder Eyeshadow  $1.00
Average Brightening Eye Liner e.l.f. Cosmetics Eye Pencil  $1.00
Good Natural Radiance Blusher (Discontinued) e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Blush  $1.00
Average Essential Lengthening & Defining Mascara e.l.f. Cosmetics Mascara  $1.00
Good Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Foundation w/ Sunscreen  $1.00
Good Custom Eyes e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Eyeshadow  $1.00
Good Natural Lash Kit/Dramatic Lash Kit e.l.f. Cosmetics Specialty Makeup Products  $1.00
Average Eye Widener e.l.f. Cosmetics Eye Pencil  $1.00
Average Essential Soothing Lip Balm e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Balm Without Sunscreen  $1.00
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