2014 was the year my obsession with makeup really started, but my history with E.L.F. began in 2011 at the latest. My Aunt bought me one of their Smoky Eye books that had a step-by-step diagram of how to achieve a smokey eye. I don’t believe I used it that often but compared to the chalky eyeshadows I’d been experiencing at the time, I thought it was amazing. This was the period when I was still using sponge tip applicators and I’d never heard of actually blending eyeshadows!
Elf Cosmetics, and myself, have come a long way since then. They managed to produce some nice quality products at very affordable prices long before Colourpop. Despite having incredible Japanese brushes of the highest quality, I still use some of my ELF brushes that have lasted me years!
But I’ll try to keep this post on the short side for once. I have 4 out of the 8 Bite-Size Face Duos, the newest additions to their line of minis. I also recently purchased another Bite-Size eyeshadow quad, making my total of those 4 out of 8 as well.
At the cost of $3, they’re definitely worth checking out. I recently did a massive MAC blush and highlighter post, so the quality of these duos don’t blow me away when compared to MAC’s formula. However, the color combinations are pretty; they’re lightweight but still decently pigmented, and they blend into the skin nicely without being patchy. I can’t ask for more at this price point. An odd bonus point for me is that I’ll finally have the satisfaction of hitting pan on a blush because the pans are thin and I could definitely get through one eventually.
I will be posting cheek swatches, but because some of the shades are so light, I wanted to show what my bare cheek looks like with just foundation for comparison purposes. I’m wearing the Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing foundation with SPF in 440 Amber. In the grey shirt, I have the original ELF poreless primer. In the pink shirt, I’m using the MILK Hydro Grip primer.
Watermelon – This shade is too light for me, and it’s emphasized by the white/silver shimmer in the blush. It looks matte based on website photos, but it’s far from it. I was also disappointed by the highlighter shade, which is a beautiful salmon color in the pan but just comes off icy on my cheeks. I don’t see myself reaching for this one anymore, or even repurposing the blush because of the shimmer. Even though it doesn’t work for me, it would look beautiful on someone of a lighter complexion (especially neutral to pink undertone).
Guava – This is the only matte blush out of the four duos I have. It’s just dark enough for me to be able to wear this, but I think the buildable nature also helps me to pull it off. It looks brighter and more coral in the pan, but that doesn’t translate to my cheeks. In swatches, it looks very similar to Watermelon, but thankfully without the frosty shimmer.
The highlighter in this duo is the most flattering of the four for my complexion. The Guava duo is one I will keep using.
Pomegranate – This is the one duo made for darker complexions. On the day I wore the pink shirt, I wanted to show how sheer the blush could be applied, because I knew it was pigmented enough that I could actually overdo it. In the grey shirt, I used a denser brush for stronger impact with just a few swipes.
Even though this one is better suited for my skintone, it still comes off a little darker than I prefer. So, I’ll continue to use this with either a very light application or by combining it with a lighter blush nearer to/on the apples of my cheeks.
Coconut – This shade is a little harder to blend than the others, but the formula feels slightly creamier and less powdery (satin finish). I believe this shade was actually intended to be more of a bronzer shade for light-medium skin tones, rather than a blush for tan, dark, or deep complexions, but I decided to try it as a blush anyway. It reminds me a bit of the Format shade from MAC. I like this one, but I’d love it if it had a slightly reddish tone. I’ve worn this shade the most so far, but since I already own a similar shade that I like better (Format), if I continue to use it, I would use it as a blush topper over blushes with some red in it. For example, I’ve worn it with MAC’s Burnt Pepper shade to tone it down a bit, and it looked pretty nice once I was able to blend it in properly, which took a while. I haven’t decided if it’s really worth it trying to use up or not. TBD.
For some reason, the highlighter formula in this duo is different from the others. The glitter is much chunkier, and I’ve never liked sparkly highlighters. It’s a shame because gold is my most loved shade of highlighter among any brand. I was really looking forward to this one until I saw the texture in person.
Berry Bad – In my pictures wearing a grey shirt, I wore the lightest and darkest shades in this palette. The lightest one doesn’t show up on me. It’s a buildable shade but still not opaque enough. The second shade is a more metallic formula compared to the rosy shimmer in the third pan. When I put the two next to each other on my lids in the photo below, I could barely see a difference in person, let alone on camera. And the combination of textures when I applied both shades with a wet brush looked odd and did not blend together seamlessly, so I reapplied the rosy third shade with my finger all over the lid to get that original dull dry texture back. Then I applied the metallic shade wet to the lower lash line so I could still show it in this look, although dampening that shade made it look reddish copper instead of orange copper. In my crease, I have the darkest shade. Basically, the last two in the quad are the most pigmented, but still look very light.
For now, I like it enough to keep using the last three shades. It’s still better than the Acai palette, but not as good as the Jalapeño or Truffle. I’ve discussed the other three mini palettes in this post if you’re interested in seeing more about them.
ELF’s Instant Lift Brow Pencil was in my favorite products from 2019 post, and I still love it and have continued to use it consistently since then. I recently bought the Ultra Precise Brow Pencil with my ELF website order because Ulta only sells the 4 lightest shades.
The Instant Lift Brow is 0.006 oz. Not only is the Ultra Precise Brow Pencil much smaller in packaging size, it actually contains a third of the product at 0.002 oz. What I love about the Instant Lift is how creamy it is, though that also means it only stays put as long as you don’t accidentally rub your brows. The Ultra Precise Brow is a bit stiffer, as is necessary to maintain the precision, but it’s not as stiff as all the other brow pencils I’ve used. It’s also not quite as easy to remove.
Both shades are in Dark Brown. The Instant Lift is $2 whereas the Ultra Precise is $5. Despite the Ultra Brow being more expensive for less product, I never go through my brow products before having to toss them, so I think I will continue purchasing the Ultra Brow in the future because I really enjoy how sharp I can make my brows look! That being said, I still love the Instant Lift and will continue to use it up until it’s finished or it’s time to throw it out.
The original Poreless Putty Primer has been touted as the dupe for Tatcha’s Silk Canvas primer, but I can tell the difference. The ELF primer is more emollient and actually easier to blend into the skin than the Tatcha primer. On the smooth areas of my face, they perform similarly. However, my favorite place to put the Tatcha primer is under my eyes, because I noticed it helps my Tarte Shape Tape to look a little less dry and minimizes the look of creases under my eyes. They’re still obviously there, but when I tried to ELF primer under my eyes, within hours they drew attention to them in the worst way. It made the concealer slide away in some spots and gather up in the creases instead. It basically looked worse than if I’d used no primer at all with Shape Tape. I can still recommend this primer (and I will still use it) on the rest of my face, as it worked nicely everywhere except the under eyes.
I think the original is a great option, but I absolutely hate the Luminous Putty Primer. At the time I bought it, I didn’t realize the luminosity was due to shimmer particles; that it would leave visible glitter specks randomly dotted all over my face, even under the foundation, and look like I had glitter fallout from eyeshadow before even doing my eye makeup.
The Putty Eye Primer that I own is in the shade Sand. These eye primers are often compared to the MAC paint pots. It does feel similar straight from the eyeshadow pot, but as it’s applied to the eyes and dries down, it takes on a very stiff texture that is similar to the feel of the ABH eye primer. MAC paint pots stay a little more creamy on the skin.
I enjoyed the Putty Eye primer for about four months until my eyeshadows were no longer sticking to my lids as well when I used this product. The formula became drier over time and a week after I started writing this, I checked again and it’s even drier than before. I no longer have the original box to confirm, but I believe it has a 6 month or less period after opening suggestion. Some products perform well for much longer than the PAO number, but this one didn’t. There are youtubers I admire who like this product (though the videos were first impressions while the pots were still fresh), but I don’t think it’s worth getting when there are other brands who make affordable eye primers too which last longer.
Lastly, I have the Deep Chestnut shade of the 16HR and Hydrating Camo concealers, yet they look like different shades. The original camo concealer has an olive undertone, but the hydrating version is lighter with a very yellow undertone. This difference in color was also noted by Samantha March who wears a very different shade than me, yet still encountered this issue. When you look at the consistency of both concealers, the hydrating one does look more fluid and has a creamier feel under my eyes when it’s freshly applied. After it sets, it continues to look dewy but it feels just as dry as the original. This doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone, but it is for me. I was hoping at least one of them could be an inexpensive replacement for my Tarte Shape Tape, but I can’t find a color to suit me.
In addition, these concealers also have the problem of not lasting as long. Granted, they lasted longer than the PAO date, but still quicker than any other concealer I’ve purchased. The 16HR Camo concealer has spots where the color is starting to separate in the tube. The Hydrating Camo concealer, which I’ve had an even shorter time, is definitely separating. I only used it perhaps five times in the seven months I’ve owned it, so I can’t even say it’s due to overexposure of oxygen from opening and closing the tube. Even if they did last longer, I don’t like the formula of the hydrating one anyway. I do prefer the original, but the shades and undertones in the range are a bit strange to me. I will be tossing them both out, but I at least showed swatches in the gallery further up in the post, even though I didn’t demonstrate them under my eyes.
That concludes this post! I hope it has been helpful. Thank you for reading!