Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cheap Tricks: E.L.F. Haul, Review, and Spring Tutorial

Spring has sprung on its merry little way, leaving us in the throws of Summer down here in the Deep South. Sure, we've only just bid farewell to the leprechauns, and the Easter Bunny won't hop into town for another week, but already flip-flops and shorts are costume de rigueur. Just don't dare pull out your white sandals till after a week from Sunday. We have standards.

Ah, heck, it's too hot to have standards. These days, I dress like a cross between Dr. Livingston and a GAP ad: khaki cargo capris and whatever white shirt is clean. It's really just too hot to wear anything more than that. Today, I have on a black sundress, and I feel like I'm about to die. God help us when we hit August.

Anyhoo, because it's too darn hot to wear real makeup, I pulled out my Bare Escentuals mineral foundation a few weeks ago. There's no danger of it melting off, and it won't clog my steamed-open-by-the-humidity pores. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left in the container, so I needed to re-order, but I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to. I like the foundation, and it's the perfect shade (Fairly Light), but it's a little shimmery, and it feels weird to powder over powder. I wasn't super keen on spending $26 on something I didn't absolutely love. There had to be another option.

Well, there was. I remembered that a few years back I'd tried E.L.F.'s mineral foundation, and that it had been pretty good, but not my shade. I decided, what the heck, it's only $5, let's give it a shot. First, though, I emailed customer service for a little shade advice. Amazingly, they replied almost immediately with their recommendation for a BE Fairly Light dupe: Warm. Um...really? Well, why not? They should know, right? I added Warm to my cart, and tossed in a couple of other items to complete my haul.

I ordered:
Mineral Foundation in Warm ($5)
Eyebrow Treat & Tame in Deep ($3)
Mineral Moisturizing Lip Tint SPF 8 in Blush ($3)
Essentials Glitter Eyeshadow in Flirt ($2)

All in all, a decent amount of stuff for a very small amount of money. Plus, I had free shipping.

Yeah, that's me. On a cellphone.
In the dark. With the crazy eyes.
So, this morning, I decided to try everything out and do a Springy look to hopefully trick my brain into thinking it's cooler outside than it actually is. I applied the Warm foundation with a Real Techniques buffing brush, then added concealer (Benefit Bo-ing) with a RT deluxe crease brush. Using a RT blush brush, I swept bronzer (Benefit Hoola) onto cheek bones, bridge of nose, forehead, temples, and chin, then down throat and decolletage. I filled in the eyebrows with E.L.F. Brow Kit in Medium, then tamed the brows with the Tame part of the Treat & Tame. Urban Decay Primer Potion went on each eyelid, up to the brows. On the lid, I applied E.L.F. Glitter Eyeshadow in Flirt up to the crease, then used UD Verve (from the Rollergirl palette) from crease to brow. UD 24/7 Eyeliner in Whiskey went on the top lash line, and UD shadow in Darkhorse (from the Rollergirl palette) was applied to the bottom lash line with a RT accent brush. Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes mascara went on top and bottom, and Stila blush (from the Urban Outfitters Pocket Palette, that apparently is no longer available. So...bubblegum pink along the cheekbone, with rose pink on the apples. Sorry about that) applied with a RT blush brush. I finished the look by swiping the E.L.F. Mineral Moisturizing Lip Tint in Blush across my lips.

Now, the big question: how did everything work?

I'm going to start by saying that I was pleasantly surprised with how well the overall look turned out, and also with how well all of the inexpensive E.L.F. products worked by themselves, and in conjunction with the higher end brands. Individually:

Mineral Foundation: I'm really happy with this product, so far. It's a good bit thicker than the Bare Minerals, but the coverage is still sheer and light. Amazingly, Warm was the perfect shade for my skin tone, so when in doubt, ask the experts. I never would have picked that for myself, going off the online swatches. The finish is not matte, but it's nowhere near as shiny as the Bare Minerals, and I haven't had to blot at all in the several hours I've been wearing it. My only issue is the size of the container. It's much smaller than it used to be, and I could barely get my brush into it. Still, for $5, it's a steal. I may just transfer it to a larger container. 8 out of 10.

Eyebrow Treat & Tame: This scared me. I'd been warned that dark wouldn't be dark enough on my brows, so I went with the deep, but it's almost black! This is not for filling in sparse areas, so I still needed to use my brow kit for that, and paired with the Tame, I ended up with extremely dark brows. The thing is, it's not unattractive. This just does its job and does it well. The brush is firm and easy to use, and the formula did a great job of making my brows look groomed without making them too stiff. I'm not sold, but it's growing on me. 7 out of 10.

Mineral Moisturizing Lip Tint: It's okay. That's pretty much all I can say. It's a nice color, but there's no moisturizing going on. The packaging is gorgeous, but aside from that, you'd be better off with Burt's Bees, MAC lip conditioner, or my favorite, Buxom Big & Healthy lip balm. 3 out of 10.

Flirt is on the lid, and UD is above.
Told you I'd get my brows done!
Essentials Glitter Eyeshadow: First of all, I'm not a fan of the Essentials line, usually. There are a couple of items I dig, but I'm more of a Studio girl. However, the word glitter was used, so I had to give it a go. This seems to be striving to copy Urban Decay's Stardust collection, and it's not bad. I mean, it's surprisingly not bad. The pigmentation is very good, and the glitter content--while not up to Stardust standards--is fairly high. The major selling point, though? Very little fallout. Just a little sparkle right under my eyes, and that's not necessarily unwelcome. The packaging is pretty awful, but what's in it is a find. 8 out of 10.

So, that's my haul, look, tutorial, and review. If you have any ideas for reviews, tutorials, or whathaveyou, let me know in the comments below. Just bear in mind that I'm not a makeup artist, just an enthusiast. I have very definite limitations, but I do love a challenge.

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