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ELF Essential and Studio Moisturizing Lipstick Swatches & Reviews

Purchased – No Affiliate Links

elf moisturizing lipstick E.L.F. makeup is definitely hit or miss, but they have some amazing products for very little money, so I keep going back! The website had a 50% off sale over Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, so I purchased everything I had been wanting, plus perhaps a little more to get free shipping.

I spent $35 for this:

Six lipsticks, three glosses, two tinted balms, one eyebrow gel, one glitter eyeshadow primer, two liquid blushes, one eyeshadow, one highlighter, and eleven brushes. I haven’t tried everything yet, but I have swatches plus some thoughts about the (new, or at least new-ish) Studio Moisturizing lipsticks and the not-so-new Essential Lipsticks.

First up: the Studio Moisturizing Lipsticks, which sell for $3 each (full price) and are pictured at the top of this post. These are fantastic – creamy but not too slippery in texture, no taste, light vanilla scent.  They sit very nicely on the lips as well.  Both colors I bought, Ravishing Rose and Red Carpet, are flattering and pretty – I especially like Ravishing Rose.

The packaging is great too – the casings are lightweight metal, not plastic, so they feel much more nicer than most drugstore lipsticks (and even some high end lipsticks!). They don’t seem to be particularly long-lasting, but since they don’t dry out my lips that’s not a dealbreaker for me.  I love both of the ones I bought, and I will definitely be buying more the next time I place an order.

ELF Red Carpet Ravishing Rose lipstick swatches

Red Carpet // Ravishing Rose

ELF Ravishing Rose Moisturizing Lipstick swatch

ELF Moisturizing Lipstick – Ravishing Rose

ELF Red Carpet Moisturizing Lipstick swatch

ELF Moisturizing Lipstick – Red Carpet

The Essential lipsticks, however, are not so good. They have a slight chemical scent; they don’t apply smoothly; and the packaging is barely functional. Not only does the lipstick bullet not fully retract, but I had trouble twisting all four of them up & down. That said, Posh is a great color and they are only $1 each (full price).

ELF Essential lipsticks

ELF Essential lipsticks

ELF Essential lipsticks-2

Seductive // Gypsy // Voodoo // Posh

ELF Essential lipstick swatches

Seductive // Gypsy // Voodoo // Posh

ELF Posh Essential lipstick swatch


See anything you like?

ELF 3-in-1 Mascara Review, Swatches, Photos


ELF 3 in 1 Mascara

A few weeks ago, I gave a rather bad review to Rimmel’s Scandal Eyes Show Off mascara – you can read the full review here, but the gist of it was that the formula was terrible (lots of smudging!) but I liked the shape of the brush.  Lyn from Cheap as F suggested that I try ELF’s 3-in-1 mascara instead, which has a similar brush, with a spiked ball on the end, but is a tubing mascara with a good formula.  A $3 tubing mascara? I bought it two days later.

ELF 3 in 1 Mascara  brush

I apologize for the poor quality of the above picture, but you can see the shape of the brush well. It’s a silicone brush with very short bristles, and the spiked ball at the top. It does tend to come out of the tube with a little extra drop of mascara on the tip, but it’s easily wiped away with either a tissue or the edge of the mascara tube.

I love the shape of this mascara brush – smaller silicone brush tend to work well for my lashes, and this is no exception.  Both the standard part of the tube and the ball tip work well; they separate my lashes and leave them completely free of clumps while adding length and a little bit of volume. I’ve never tried a tubing mascara that adds much volume – this is about as good as it gets.  There was a bit of a learning curve in terms of not getting mascara on my face with the ball part while using the other part of the wand to apply mascara, but I figured it out pretty quickly.  Also worth noting is that the wand is fairly flexible – I don’t like the flexibility, as it’s a bit harder to use the wand, but it’s workable. For a $3 mascara this good, I can live with it!

I unfortunately don’t have a good before picture at hand, but here’s the after picture, which I think shows the mascara off very well:

ELF 3 in 1 Mascara  swatch  applied

I can wear this mascara all day (12+ hours) with no smudging, smearing or flaking.  Since it’s a tubing mascara, it removes easily with warm water. Oddly, it seems to come off in small pieces rather than in long tubes – as other tubing mascaras I have tried have – but that is just an oddity, not a problem.

Overall, I definitely recommend this mascara! It is super cheap, has a great wand, a great formula, and is my new every day mascara when I want a more natural look and / or easy removal.  Thank you so much, Lyn, this mascara is great!

*I purchased the product(s) featured in this post. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

ELF Superstar and Showstopper HD Blush Review, Swatches, Comparison

ELF HD Blush Superstar; Showstopper

Superstar; Showstopper

E.L.F. recently released a new HD Blush as part of their studio line.  A few days after it showed up online, they had a “50% off Studio” sale, and I decided to make a purchase – two of the new blushes and several other items (see everything I bought here).  There are five shades of the HD blush available, and I had a hard time narrowing my choices down to two.  They were inexpensive enough for me to buy all five, but given my hit and miss experience with ELF, I wanted to make sure I liked them before buying several.  So, I ended up with Superstar, which I expected to be coral (but is more pink/coral), and Showstopper, which I expected to be berry, and is a purple-toned berry.

This review is two parts; first, I’m going to compare the ELF blushes to the very similar MUFE blushes. Second, I’m going to evaluate the MUFE blushes on their own merits.

MUFE vs ELF HD Blush comparison

MUFE vs ELF: the same packaging

So, how similar are they? The packaging is virtually identical; the only difference I noticed, besides the branding, was that the MUFE has a glossy lid and the ELF has a matte lid.  The pump mechanism seems identical to me (very functional, but you have to be careful not to pump out too much product.)

However, the texture of each brand’s blush is different.  Below, I have extremely heavy swatches of MUFE #6 Quickie and ELF Superstar.

MUFE HD blush vs. ELF HD blush comparison swatches

MUFE HD blush vs. ELF HD blush

Of course, the colors are different, but the reason I swatched them so heavily was so that you could see the texture. The MUFE blush is creamy, with an opaque base, while the ELF blush is more watery, with a translucent base.  The MUFE blush is thicker and takes slightly longer to dry down; the ELF blush is thinner and significantly more pigmented.  The MUFE blush is a little easier to work with because it’s not so pigmented and you have more time to blend. However, if you prefer a very pigmented blush, and especially if you have darker skin, the ELF is going to be your best bet.

And of course, the MUFE blush is $26, while the ELF blush is $3, or as low as $1.50 on sale.  Both are labeled as 10ml (.33oz); however, the ELF arrived full, while my MUFE blush did not – and Sephora.com says that the MUFE blush is .2oz, so perhaps they have adjusted the label to adjust for the quantity you actually receive.

And now, my evaluation of each blush:

ELF HD Blush: Superstar swatch

ELF HD Blush: Superstar

(The darkness on my arm is from a leftover eyeshadow swatch that I failed to remove completely
– sorry about that! I didn’t realize it would show up so clearly in the photo.)

Superstar is a very pigmented pink-coral.  It sets very quickly; you’ll definitely want to apply/blend one cheek at a time. I had the best luck if I put a little bit of blush on the back of my hand, dabbed some on to a fingertip, then applied/blended with my fingers, working quickly. I was able to achieve a subtle result with this method, as seen below:

ELF Superstar, applied

I’m also wearing Superstar on my lips in the photo, mixed with gloss – but I wouldn’t recommend that, as it really settled in to my lip lines. Also, I don’t know if it’s lip safe. And here’s a slightly heavier application so you can see the color better:

Next, Showstopper – this one is gorgeous, but was much harder to work with. It is very, very pigmented, and also sets quite quickly.  The heavy swatch stained my arm (by the way – straight up oil is awesome at removing swatches and stains from swatching).

ELF HD Blush: Showstopper swatch

ELF HD Blush: Showstopper

This is a purple toned berry; a really beautiful color. I think it would work particularly well on deeper skintones, where a more intense color would look natural.

I had a hard time making this work for me.  Even with well-moisturized skin, the color was just too intense.  So, I ended up mixing a little bit with some moisturizer (primer would work even better, due to the texture), and using my fingers to apply the mixture. This worked very well; I wouldn’t call the result natural, but it’s wearable.

ELF Showstopper, applied

Here, I’m wearing Showstopper on my lips. This worked really well – it had a nice finish.  Again, no idea if it’s lip safe.

Overall, these are fantastic products at a bargain basement price.  They require some work to use – I won’t be reaching for them unless I have time to play with my makeup, and time to correct mistakes (i.e. overapplication) if needed.  But, on days that I have the time, they are a really great option. Because they are so pigmented and you need so little, they look just like skin – they basically have no texture at all once applied. I am glad I bought them!