Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hello, Lovelies. Just an Update

I haven't posted anything in a few days, but I have good reasons!

First of all, I took the day off Saturday. I mean completely off, I wasn't blogging or emailing or finishing contracts. I went to lunch, the MAC store and a couple other stores with my friend and it was a lot of fun. Okay, I worked a little. I ended up putting all of the eye shadows I depotted Friday night into a MAC palette that I removed the tray from. It fit all 29 eye shadows from the Ulta 52 blockbuster plus 4 coastal scents hot pots. Tutorial on how to depot with pictures coming soon!

Sunday I did makeup for a photo shoot for head shots with 2 lovely ladies. One is an up and coming model and the other has experience doing catalog work. They both photographed so well, I will have pictures coming soon.

I always have meetings all day Monday, plus I started a forensic psychology class that will last until the middle of August. It is a very interesting class.... disturbing too from the true stories haha. If you don't know what forensic psychology is, it's psychology pertaining to the law which includes evaluating peoples' competence to stand trial, being a therapist in a prison, etc.

Unfortunately I'm going to miss the shoot at the studio that I wanted to do today because I'm working in another city, which I'm really bummed about.

These are the articles I have coming up:
  • How to depot eyeshadows and place them into palettes
  • How to repair broken eyeshadows and blushes
Then I will go back to the series of articles all about one specific type of makeup item to build from the foundation up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Setting Powder

Setting powder has many functions: setting makeup so it doesn't come off, mattifying, absorbing oil, as well as others, depending on the product. Many setting powders diffuse the light being reflected off of the products on your face, giving it a more matte or even airbrushed appearance.

You should be getting all of your coverage from your foundation and concealer. You should not attempt to get more coverage from your setting powder, it should just give your face a softer look and help the foundation and concealer to stay on longer. The one exception is for those who use mineral makeup over liquid foundation, but you need to have a very light hand when doing this or it will look fake.

All liquid and cream foundations need to be set because if they aren't, they can melt off of your face as it's combined with oil and heated. Setting powder can also be used on top of mineral foundations to soften the appearance. The same rule about liquids and creams apply to other products like eyeliner and cream eyeshadows - they always need to be set with powder. This article is about setting foundation.

If you need a full description of the application tools, please see the previous foundation articles.

Types of Setting Powder
    Loose Powder - Laura Mercier
  • Loose - This is powder that comes in a jar and isn't pressed or packed in any way. Loose powder may come in colors, translucent or transparent. Colored or translucent powders usually contain talc and other traditional ingredients. Transparent powders are usually silica based. If you have an allergy to either of these products, make sure you check the ingredients before purchasing. I use loose setting powder and carry a travel brush with me.

  • Pressed Powder - MAC Mineralize Skin Finish
  • Pressed - This is powder pressed into a compact. It's convenient to keep in a purse or for traveling. It also usually has traditional ingredients, like talc. If you can afford multiple ones, you can throw one of these in your purse, one in your bathroom, anywhere you might need it for touch ups. You can keep a travel brush on you to apply this or some come with a spot to place a puff or round sponge.

  • Mineral Setting Powder
  • Mineral - This is a special loose powder made to use on top of mineral foundation. It is also made of mineral materials. You don't really need to use a setting powder with mineral foundation, but it will diffuse some of the light reflected by the minerals to give your face a softer look. It will also help to absorb more oil. You will need to carry a travel brush to use this one too for touch-ups.
You can use any type of setting powder on top of any kind of foundation, feel free to mix and match products if you prefer certain types over others.

Application Methods
    Power Brush
  • Powder Brush - This is the most common tool used with setting powder. It gives a light dusting of powder just so it sets the foundation and will absorb the oils. Powder brushes come in several sizes and shapes, but usually they are big, round, and puffy with a longer handle. The larger and rounder the brush, the more evenly dispersed the product will be placed. Work a little powder into the bristles and gently apply it all over your face over foundation. Some set with powder lightly and some work it into the skin. It depends on the products that you are using and how you prefer to apply makeup. I prefer to buff a very light amount of powder into the skin all over. If you just brush the powder across the skin and don't blend it in at all, you can have a chalky look.

  • Kabuki Brush
  • Kabuki Brush - Some people use a kabuki brush to set powder. This is especially good for people who want to buff setting powder. They are denser than powder brushes, but not as dense as buffer brushes. Buff the powder into the skin in a circular motion evenly all over the face. The Laura Mercier powder works really well with a kabuki brush. This is a good way to get a natural looking finish instead of having the powder sit on top of the skin.

  • Buffer Brush
  • Buffer Brush - This can be used for serious coverage. Some people use a liquid foundation and a mineral foundation on top as a setting powder for really full coverage. You will apply the powder just as you would apply mineral foundation by buffing it in a circular motion into the skin. Do not buff with pressure over a wet foundation like a cream or liquid that does not dry/set itself at least somewhat or you can smear the makeup off.

  • Cosmetic Sponge
  • Cosmetic Sponge - Yes, these can be used for powder too. I would recommend using a wedge sponge. To set with a cosmetic sponge, you have to use it dry. Get a little powder on the sponge, you only need a small amount to set foundation. Gently roll the powder onto the skin. You want to use a pressing motion, rolling from one side to another (left to right or vice versa). This will really set the foundation well and prevent shine.
You will not want to use flat brushes like a foundation brush because it will apply the powder too thick and you can end up with a cakey or streaked look. I do not like using puffs to apply powder because you will be much more likely to get the cakey look from poor application. If you only use a puff for quick touch ups in your purse that's fine, but a brush is always better.

Recommended Products

Laura Mercier Loose PowderBest Talc/Overall Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
  • Creates a soft focus appearance
  • Lightweight with sheer coverage
  • Absorbs Oil
  • French cashmere talc based
  • This is what I use on my clients and what I will use myself when I need to purchase new setting powder
  • Also comes in beige (warm) if you find the translucent makes your skin too cool toned
  • $34/1 oz or $20/0.33 oz at Sephora (1 oz is a huge container)
Bare Minerals Mineral VeilBest Mineral Setting Powder (Overall #2): Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (Original Formula)
  • All natural minerals - talc, silica, paraben, sulfate, fragrance, and dye free
  • Sheer coverage
  • Oil absorbing
  • Comes in 4 formulations, however I only recommend the regular mineral veil
  • I currently use this, but will be using Laura Mercier when I run out
  • $19 / 0.47 oz at Sephora, Ulta, or Bare Escentuals
Make Up For Ever HD PowderBest Silica Setting Powder: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder
  • 100% mineral silica powder
  • Slightly mattifying
  • Does not dry out skin
  • Completely translucent
  • Used by professional makeup artists for TV, movies and photo shoots
  • $30 / 0.35 oz at Sephora
MAC Set PowderIndustry Standard: MAC Cosmetics Powder
I didn't specify a particular kind because they have all kinds that are used:
  • Select Sheer / Pressed
  • Select Sheer / Loose
  • Mineralize Skin Finish
  • Mineralize Skin Finish / Natural
  • The most common MAC setting powder used by professionals is Invisible Set Powder, but it's only available at Pro stores or ordered online with a MAC PRO card (you need to be a professional in the industry to get this card)
These are all quite expensive. I do like giving less expensive alternatives, however I just haven't found a powder that doesn't cause break outs that isn't high quality (and high price tag). I have not tried either, but I would recommend trying E.L.F. Mineral Booster or Everyday Minerals Finishing Dust. They should have the same ingredients as the Mineral Veil. I use the Everyday Minerals mineral foundation and is the same quality as the Bare Minerals foundation. I will include these to try next time I have an order to place.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Concealer is used to cover imperfections, such as blemishes and discolorations that cannot be covered by foundation. You may apply concealer before or after foundation, however it's recommended to apply it afterward because you will need to use less concealer once the foundation covers what it will and you could smear the concealer off while applying the foundation.

Kat Von D ConcealerLiquid Concealer
This may come in a tube with or without an applicator. If it comes in a tube without an applicator, you can use your ring finger or a concealer brush to apply it. It may already come in the form of a pen or with a doe foot applicator like lip gloss. Liquid concealers are easy to blend into the skin as well as foundation. Blending concealer out with a wet sponge is the best method in my opinion. Some liquid foundations specify that they need to be applied before foundation.

MAC Studio Finish ConcealerCream or Stick Concealer
Cream concealer may come in a pot or as a stick. If it comes in stick form, you may be able to apply it directly to the skin and blend it out with either your ring finger or a concealer brush. Cream concealers in a pot will require a concealer brush. While you may be able to stick your finger in there and rub it on, you have the potential of contaminating the makeup with bacteria from your hands. You can blend cream concealer out with a wet sponge.

Pencil ConcealerPencil Concealer
Some concealers come in the form of a pencil. They are like cream concealer, but have a consistency similar to lip liner. You can apply it directly to your skin and blend it out. These are best used for small blemishes. For larger areas, you will need to use a liquid or cream concealer.

Everyday Minerals Intensive ConcealerPowder/Mineral Concealer
Mineral concealers are like mineral foundation, but more intensive. They cover imperfections just as normal concealer would, but they are in powder form. They look very natural and are the easiest to blend. You will need to apply it with a concealer brush.

Eve Pearl Salmon ConcealerUnder-Eye Concealer
There are many types of concealers made just for under the eyes. Yellow concealers were made to counteract what was thought to be a purple color to the skin, but the color is actually blue. You will end up with green under your eyes because yellow + blue = green. This is why yellow concealers do not work as well. A "salmon" or orange concealer is the best to use for blue under eye circles. These concealers are usually in cream form. Any mineral concealer can be used under the eyes and they do make salmon colored under eye concealers as well.

Suggested Products

Eve Pearl Salmon ConcealerBest Salmon Under Eye Concealer: Eve Pearl Magic Salmon Concealer
  • Makes under eye circles magically disappear
  • Comes in 4 shades and a color trio for makeup artists
  • Easily blendable
  • Has skin improving nutrients, just like the HD Dual Foundation
  • $42 at Eve Pearl
Kat Von D ConcealerBest Non-Salmon Under Eye Concealer: Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer
  • Full coverage for under eye circles
  • Creamy and blendable
  • Natural looking
  • Multitasking concealer
  • Comes in 3 shades
  • $25 at Sephora
Everyday Minerals Abbott ConcealerBest Mineral Under Eye Concealer: Everyday Minerals Abbott's Pick Me Up
  • Blend of sunlight and peach colored concealer
  • Covers dark under eye circles
  • Gives an uplifted look
  • A little goes a long way, the product seems to last forever
  • $2.50 - $8 - at EverydayMinerals.com
Everyday Minerals Intensive ConcealerBest Overall Mineral Concealer: Everyday Minerals Intensive Concealer
  • Full coverage mineral concealer
  • Blends perfectly into mineral foundation or skin
  • Can be used dry or wet for more coverage
  • A little goes a long way, the product seems to last forever
  • Comes in 3 shades
  • $2.50 - $8 at EverydayMinerals.com
Coastal Scents Concealer PaletteBest Concealer Palette: Coastal Scents Professional Camouflage Concealer Palette
  • Creamy, easier to blend than the Make Up For Ever palette concealers
  • Full coverage that can be thinned with mixing medium or moisturizer
  • Comes with 10 colors in one palette - good for makeup artists or for people whose skin tones fluctuate greatly throughout the year
  • Can be combined with moisturizer to make foundation if needed
  • $16.95 / 1.05 oz at CoastalScents.com
Dermablend FoundationBest Intensive Concealer (Moderate to Severe Flaws): Dermablend Cover Creme Foundation
  • For moderate to severe skin flaws
  • 12 hours consistent color wear
  • Water resistant and smudge resistant when set with setting powder
  • SPF 30
  • Can be used as a foundation or concealer
  • Comes in 21 shades
  • $32 / 1 oz at DermaBlend
MAC Studio Finish ConcealerIndustry Standard Concealer: MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer
  • Creamy, opaque concealer
  • Long-wearing and water resistant
  • Fragrance free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Enriched with antioxidants
  • Contains silica to absorb oil
  • Comes in 14 shades
  • $15.50 / 0.24 oz at MAC Cosmetics

Loose Powder and Mineral Foundations

The most common loose powder foundation is mineral foundation. There have more brands of mineral foundations to count these days and you can even make your own! The benefit to mineral foundations are that they let the skin breathe and do not cause breakouts in people who are acne prone. I suffered from cystic acne for many years and mineral foundation was the only kind that I could use without breaking out. I like to wear mineral foundation for the no-makeup makeup look with a little SPF protection when I'll be outside during the summer.

They usually only contain 3-6 ingredients that are all natural. They should not contain talc, oil, fragrances or preservatives. If you have a sensitivity to titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide, mica, bismuth oxychloride or ultramarines make sure you check the ingredients before using them. Different brands use a different combination of these ingredients.

Mineral foundations can also be used as mineral concealers, although separate mineral concealers exist. Both synthetic and natural bristle brushes can be used with powder foundations.

Application Methods
    Kabuki Brush
  • Kabuki Brush - As previously mentioned several times, this will give you medium coverage. Swirl the brush on the powder to pick up powder and work it into the depths of the bristles. Tap off the excess powder, most of it should be within the bristles, not sitting on top. Buff the powder into the skin with the brush in a circular motion. These can be purchased at stores like Sephora and Ulta. For less expensive brushes, see CoastalScents.com or StarsMakeupHaven.com.

  • Buffer Brush
  • Buffer Brush - This is my favorite brush to use. It can give sheer to full coverage, based on the amount of product you use. Again, swirl the brush on the powder to pick it up into the bristles. Buff the powder into the skin in a circular motion. You can achieve full coverage by layering or using more product, assuming you are using a product that is buildable. This brush gives a flawless finish. These can also be purchased at stores like Sephora or Ulta.

  • Powder Brush
  • Powder Brush - This will give you sheer to medium coverage. If you really wanted to layer and buff, you might be able to get full coverage out of this brush. It is a handy brush to have because it can be used with any powder product. Everyone should have at least 2 powder brushes, one to use for foundation and/or setting powder and a second to apply blush. The larger and puffier the brush, the more dispersed and even the product will be placed. I would suggest the Posh Powder brush, it's very soft and full.

  • Foundation Brush
  • Foundation Brush - Just as with liquid foundation, a foundation brush can be used. This will give you full coverage. When I don't have the room to carry a buffer brush, I like to use the foundation brush in my Posh travel brush set to apply mineral foundation. The denser the foundation brush is, the more even and full coverage it will apply.

  • Puff Jar
  • Self Dispensing Puff or Brush - These are really interesting inventions. You place the product into a little jar or brush handle and it makes its way out through a hole in the middle of the puff or brush and then onto your skin. Coverage is really at the mercy of the size of the hole and how many times you want to try to apply the product. I bought one so that I wouldn't have to carry a brush on me, but I found it be a lot more work and if you clean the puff regularly, you will lose a lot of product. If you don't clean the puff, you will have a bacteria filled applicator. Novel idea, but for practical use I wouldn't recommend these.
Suggested Products

Everyday MineralsBest Mineral Foundation for Oily Skin: Everyday Minerals Foundation in Semi-Matte or Matte
  • Comes in 4 different formulas (semi-matte, matte, intensive and glo)
  • Does not contain bismuth oxychloride, the ingredient that can make other mineral foundations creamy and overly shiny.
  • Comes in 44 different shades
  • Get a free sample of 3 foundation colors, 1 concealer and 1 blush for the cost of shipping
  • Natural SPF 15
  • My favorite mineral foundation
  • $2.50 (5ml) - $12 (25ml) at everydayminerals.com
Bare MineralsBest Mineral Foundation for Dry, Dull Skin: Bare Minerals Foundation
  • Creamy consistency
  • Gives skin a natural glow
  • Comes in 15 shades
  • $25 / 0.3 oz at Sephora, Ulta or Bare Escentuals
  • Starter kits are also available for $60
Maybelline Mineral PowerBest Drug Store Mineral Foundation: Maybelline Mineral Power Powder Foundation
  • An alternative if you can't order Everyday Minerals online or need something less expensive
  • Talc, oil, fragrance and preservative free
  • Comes with a small kabuki brush
  • Comes in 8 colors
  • Warning: Description claims it contains no fillers, however the ingredients list includes some traditional chemical ingredients
  • $10 / 0.28 oz at most drug stores or Ulta

Pressed Powder Foundation

Pressed powder foundations come in compacts and are meant to be applied dry. They give more coverage than regular pressed powder that you would apply on top of another form of foundation or that you would use to touch-up shine.

Depending on the application method, product, and amount of product used, you can get sheer to full coverage. If applied incorrectly, pressed powder foundation can appear cakey or chalky.

This is a good option for traveling because on air planes because you will not have to choose either to put it in a checked bag or in the mere 1 quart bag of liquid products you can take in your carry on. It is also less messy and more compact than the other foundations for traveling in general. If you do travel with this and are worried about it possibly breaking, place a small piece of foam cut to size inside the lid and wrap the outside in foam as well.

Application Methods
    Kabuki Brush
  • Kabuki Brush - This brush will give you medium, even coverage. Swirl the brush on the powder to pick up powder and work it into the depths of the bristles. If it only sits right on top of the brush, you could end up with a chalky blob where you first set the brush down on your face. You can always blend out your mistakes with this brush, but it's better to not have mistakes in the first place. Tap off the excess powder, most of it should be within the bristles, not sitting on top. Buff the powder into the skin with the brush in a circular motion. You can build coverage this way. These can be purchased at stores like Sephora and Ulta. For less expensive brushes, see CoastalScents.com or StarsMakeupHaven.com.

  • Buffer Brush
  • Buffer Brush - This is my favorite brush to use. It can give sheer to full coverage, based on the amount of product you use. Again, swirl the brush on the powder to pick it up into the bristles. Buff the powder into the skin in a circular motion. You can achieve full coverage by layering or using more product, assuming you are using a product that is buildable. This brush gives a flawless finish. These can also be purchased at stores like Sephora or Ulta. The only downside to a brush like this is that it is rather large and bulky, so you may not want to take it traveling. There is a mini buffer brush that I like from Posh.

  • Powder Brush
  • Powder Brush - This will give you sheer to medium coverage. If you really wanted to layer and buff, you might be able to get full coverage out of this brush. It is a handy brush to have because it can be used with any powder product. Everyone should have at least 2 powder brushes, one to use for foundation and/or setting powder and a second to apply blush. The larger and puffier the brush, the more dispersed and even the product will be placed. I would suggest the Posh Powder brush, it's very soft and full.

  • Cosmetic Sponges
  • Cosmetic Sponge - This will usually only give you sheer coverage. With a really good pressed powder foundation, you could potentially get medium coverage. You can get full coverage if you have the right product and a special sponge designed to give full coverage with a pressed powder foundation. Remember to wash sponges weekly and replace monthly.

  • Powder Puff
  • Powder Puff - This gives sheer coverage. It is the traditional round, white fuzzy puff that comes in many compacts. It is usually used to touch-up and control shine. Usually if I buy a compact with a powder puff, I just throw it away. If you do continuously use powder puffs, please make sure to replace them on a regular basis. Just like any other application tool, they can harbor bacteria.
Suggested Products

Sephora Pressed Mineral FoundationBest Healthy Pressed Powder Foundation: Sephora Mineral Double Compact Foundation
  • Mineral based
  • SPF 10
  • Buildable coverage
  • Long-wearing
  • Talc, paraben, fragrance and oil free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dual layer with a mirror and double-sided applicator for sheer to full coverage
  • $20 / 0.35 oz at Sephora
MAC Studio Fix Plus FoundationIndustry Standard: Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
  • Most commonly used pressed powder foundation by makeup artists
  • Matte, velvety texture
  • Absorbs oil with silica
  • Long-wearing
  • May cause break outs in acne prone skin
  • $26 / 0.52 oz at MAC Cosmetics
Make Up For Ever Pressed Powder FoundationOil-Free Industry Standard: Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation
  • Oil free
  • For normal to combination skin
  • Long-lasting
  • Covers blemishes, imperfections and shine
  • One of the best brands in the industry
  • $32 / 0.35 oz at Sephora

Friday, July 3, 2009

Study Break: Eyes Lips Face (ELF) Cosmetics


Yes, it's true you can find decent products for just $1. Now, I'm not saying they're all hidden treasures, but select items for myself are keepers. Here is a break down of all the products that I am familiar with. The first reviews may leave a bad impression, but read on, I really do like some of their products!


ELF Eyeliner Pen
Waterproof Eyeliner Pen - This is great... for 1 day and then dries out. I went through 2 within a week because they dried out so quickly. I believe it's due to the flimsy cap. If they fixed the design flaw, it would be by favorite eyeliner. If I were in an emergency and this happened to be in the first drug store I stopped at, I would definitely use it because it is a great liquid eyeliner and it does last on your skin. $1 a use can get more expensive than the pricey brands though.

ELF Liquid EyelinerLiquid Eyeliner - This liner has a bad rap for smelling really bad. That is why I haven't even tried it. A lot of people claim it is a high quality liner, but if you can't get past the smell (which most people can't) you may want to steer clear. I've heard it smells like chemicals and that really concerned people when the ELF line first came out. On myself, I use Rimmel London Professional Liquid Eyeliner that runs about $6 at Walmart.

ELF Mascara DuoEarth and Water Mascara Duo - This is two-sided mascara where one side is waterproof and the other side is non-waterproof. I don't really have much to say about this. I would only recommend using this if you can't afford the $3.50-5 pricetag of Maybelline Great Lash or for some reason you really do need both regular and waterproof and just simply don't have room for 2 bottles of mascara.

ELF Lash and Brow MascaraWet Gloss Lash and Brow Clear Mascara - I didn't find that this product worked for me at all. My eyebrows did not stay in place at all, I don't think any product was even dispensed on the spool. Maybe I saw a little bit of a glossy finish on my lashes, but it could have just been hope. Again, I would go with Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara and Maybelline Define-A-Brow Gel instead if I could afford it.

ELF Brightening EyelinerBrightening Eye Liner - One word... OW! This pencil was so dry it hurt to attempt to use it. I read that if you sharpened it, it would become easier to apply and would stop tugging. It didn't help at all. I ordered it in Gilded (Gold) because I couldn't find another gold eyeliner. I'm keeping it just because I may need gold eyeliner some day, but I don't plan on using it unless I'm going for a specific gold look.

ELF Brightening Eye ColorBrightening Eye Color - I do like this eyeshadow. It's not as long lasting as say Too Faced or other eye shadows that will set you back $20 a piece, but use it over Urban Decay Primer Potion ($17 - that's just what I happened to use) and the ELF Duo Eyeshadow Cream ($1) as bases and it will stay true for a good 6-8 hours. This is totally worth $1. These quads are available in 14 combinations now, so this is all you may need!

ELF Duo Eyeshadow CreamDuo Eyeshadow Cream - Cream shadows should never be used alone because it will crease and smear, so I tested this under the Brightening Eye Color eyeshadow. For the first 4 hours, I couldn't even tell a difference between the eye with and without primer. I saw barely any creasing, I really had to look hard to even see it. I have unusually oily lids, so for someone with normal lids you may not even need an additional primer and you can just use this under your eyeshadow. These remind me of paint pots. This is a great deal, it is a good sized product and you get 2 cream shadow bases for just $1!

Eye Widener - I will not be trying this product because of reviews that it's dry and clumpy, just like the brightening eye liner.

ELF Makeup Remover PadsEye Makeup Remover Pads - I could see myself getting these if I'm traveling to carry with me if I don't have much room. It takes several pads to remove makeup properly. They do dry out quickly and only contain 18 pads, so if you plan on traveling for more than a few days or want a similar higher quality product I would suggest Almay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads (in the screw-top canister) 80/$5 at drug stores

ELF Duo Eye ShadowDuo Eyeshadow - I have not tried this product yet, but want to because they are the matching eyeshadow colors to the Duo Eyeshadow Cream. As I said before, you never want to use a cream eyeshadow by itself so if you really like the color of the cream shadow and want to maintain that exact color, pat this eyeshadow on top. For a professional look, put the lighter color on the inner half of your eyelid and the darker color on the outer half.

ELF Get the LooksGet The Looks - I have not tried these products, but they look like good for beginners who don't know which colors or products to use for specific looks. At $5 can you really go wrong?

All Over Color Stick - See Face

Shimmering Facial Whip - See Face


ELF Plumping Lip GlazePlumping Lip Glaze - Anyone who has used a lip plumper before knows the tingly/burning sensation. I wanted to try a lip plumper without paying a high price and then hating it. This lip plumper works well for $1 and has very pretty colors. I don't like the feeling of lip plumpers, but I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't. If you do like lip plumpers or want to try one on a whim, I would suggest this product.

ELF Luscious Liquid LipstickLuscious Liquid Lipstick - I really wanted to like this because the color Ruby Slipper is really pretty. It was luscious at first, but quickly dried out and wore off. If you just need something really cheap for a short photo shoot or something, these will work.

Hypershine Gloss - I have not tried this product because I didn't really like the luscious liquid lipstick and they seem like basically the same product, they even come in the same dispenser.


ELF All Over Color StickAll Over Color Stick - I absolutely love this product. I use it in Toasted, which is a bronze color. I use it on my cheeks as a blush bronzer, on my eyelids as a cream shadow base and have used it on my lips as a bronze lipstick. It comes in 5 shades. I have not tried all of the colors, but I am anxious to try their new Golden Peach color.

ELF Shimmering Facial WhipShimmering Facial Whip - I should be trying this product soon. A TV personality put this product on her top 10 list for ELF products and it won Allure magazine's Editor's Choice Award. It now comes in 8 colors including a white highlighting shade called Spotlight.

ELF Bronzing PowderHealthy Glow Bronzing Powder - This product doesn't really compare to my $30 bronzing products, but hey it's $1! There are 2 bronzing shades (Sun Kissed and Warm Tan), 1 bronzing/contouring shade (Matte Bronze) and 1 highlighting shade (Luminance). I'm keeping it in daily my makeup bag and using it over foundation, even though I can't really see it. If I wear it on my bare skin it's a little irritating. I'm kind of up in the air on this because Sun Kissed really doesn't do anything for me, but I will have to try Luminance and Matte Bronze before making a final decision.

Custom Palettes
ELF Compact
Compact - This is a high quality compact that has a mirror, magnetic pot holes and a mini brush that is an eyeshadow sponge on one side and a lip brush on the other. It is very sturdy and I would only use these as a makeup artist for my pots if they didn't have the ELF logo on the front. They have better construction than the MAC 4 x Eyeshadow Palettes. If you just want one compact to take with you that has 2 eyeshadow colors, a blush and lipstick this is perfect for you. It's also great if you want to create your own 4 item makeup palettes.

Custom Eyes - I have the eyeshadow colors in Ivory and Mocha. I do like Mocha, which is a medium bronze shade. It may be too dark for light skin, but I think it's perfect for medium to dark skin. I found Ivory to be much too bright for me, it is a bright stark white. I really wish they had a more natural highlight color like MAC Vanilla or anything off-white that is almost a skin tone. You could create a smokey eye palette using Ivory or Pink Ice and Dusk.

Custom Lips - These are your basic cheap palette lipsticks with decent sheer to medium pigmentation. If you want to use your compact for on the go or emergencies, it's convenient and I would recommend it. If you're looking for something to use at home that will not really need touch-ups or to give you a high fashion luscious lips, you should probably go with something more high end.

Custom Face - Again, these are good for an on the go compact. I found that the color Shy didn't really work as well as I would like with my skin tone, but it only comes in 5 colors so I had to choose one. If you find a color that works really well for you that's great! Also, if you just need an emergency compact in your purse, choose the color that you think would look the best. If you need a really light pink blush, you could try using Custom Eyes Truly Pink.

Brushes and Tools

ELF Total Face BrushTotal Face Brush - I felt this brush in its package at the store. I found it to be too rough for me, but I am very picky about brushes. In fact, I even find the Bare Escentuals brushes that are $30-40 too rough. There is no $1 or even $5 alternative though, so if you have a tight cosmetic budget it's a decent brush. If you are willing to spend more, I would recommend the Posh Blush Brush for $14. This may seem like a huge jump to some of you, but professional brushes from Sephora or MAC will set you back $30-45.

ELF Eyeshadow Brush
Eye Shadow Brush
- This is a nice, dense brush for applying color to the lid. I would say that it is professional quality and recommend it. Some of the other brushes looked more sparse, but this one is solid. It also has consistently cut bristles. I have not tried some of the other brushes because it looks like the bristles are not cut uniformly.

ELF Slant TweezersSlant Tweezer - For $1, any tweezer as long as it closes is worth it in my opinion. I checked them in the store to make sure the two ends close properly and they did. Good enough for me! I use these for all kinds of things besides plucking. If you want serious professional plucking tweezers, you'll have to invest in some Tweezermans for about $15 at Ulta or Sephora.

ELF Shine EraserProfessional Shine Eraser - This is basically just tissue paper. I'm used to using the Clean and Clear Oil Asborbing Sheets ($5), which actually do absorb oil well. I would save my $1 for another e.l.f. product. I think I would have better results using a tissue and I can find 8 travel packs for $1 at Dollar Tree.

ELF Travel MirrorTravel Mirror - I saw these in the store and they looked good. I didn't need a travel mirror, but if I did I would buy this one. One side is a regular mirror and the other is magnifying. There's no point in buying a more expensive travel mirror as long as it doesn't break easily.


ELF Nail Polish Remover PadsNail Polish Remover Pads - It took about 4 of these to do the job that 1 cotton ball with nail polish remover could (and it was the regular stuff, not 100% acetone). They also dry out fairly quickly. If you may need to remove nail polish suddenly for any reason, you could carry this with you. Only expect to get 1 use out of it.

Other Lines

Studio - ELF has introduced higher quality products with their Studio line. These products range from $3-8.

Mineral - ELF now has mineral makeup that should be comparable to more expensive brands.

Sugar Kiss - This line is aimed towards younger girls. They have some fun products.

All of these other line products can also be purchased on the main ELF website (eyeslipsface.com)

About the Store Locator

It doesn't work at all. It lists about 8 stores in my area that are supposed to carry it... well I went to 2 and they don't carry it. The other stores don't even exist. If you don't want to pay the $6.95 flat shipping fee, you may just have to happen upon it. I do know that the Texas grocery store H-E-B carries it in some of their stores, but they carry limited products. Even with $6.95 shipping, if you're ordering 10 products you're still getting them at $1.70 each so, at least in Texas, it's only 61 cents more than you would pay with tax anyway. From there the price per item just goes down because it is truly flat shipping.


As coupon codes change, I'll try to update this post with more recent codes. This will be for big sales, not like get one $1 item free when you buy 10. These codes are for their 5 year anniversary sale that lasts 5 weeks. I have no idea when it started, so if you're going to use these codes do it now! None of the coupons can be combined

Free Cosmetic Bags in Metallic Burgundy!
Wristlet free with purchase of $10: ECREDAY
Signature Case free with purchase of $15: ECREDBY
Train Case free with purchase of $25: ECREDCY

10 $1 items for the price of 5: 5FOR5FREE (you have to put 10 items in your cart)

50% off the Studio line products + $5 gift card: 50FOR5STUDIO

50% off Minerals line + $5 gift card (max discount $100): 5FOR5MINERALS

Free $1 Bronzer
Sun Kissed: ECBROAZ
Luminance: ECBROCZ

$5 off e.l.f.'s mineral starter kit with orders of $20 or more: ECMINZ

Free shipping for orders of $30 or more: ECTAPBY

$5 shipping with any order of 10 items: ECPICKZ (I would use 5FOR5FREE instead because you'll save $5 instead of only $1.95)

50% off of a third product for every 2 products you purchase: ECBUYBZ