Notes From The Powder Room

Beauty on the cheap. And when I say ‘cheap', I mean ‘look at my receipt'.

This column always seems to include some harsh overtones of my poor command of finance, so in keeping with tradition, my rent was due today. Between that and the fact that I’m slowly realizing that one day when my future child asks where the hell his or her trust fund is and all I’m going to be able to do is gesture to my overflowing vanity table, it’s time to hit the brakes on living beyond my means. Just for this week, I mean — I really don’t think my kid needs a trust fund. Furthermore, how can I really be expected to budget around someone I haven’t even met yet? I might not even like them.

Anyway, in the interest of being frugal, have you ever heard of the brand E.L.F.? It’s short for “eyes, lips, face,” which, I know — very inspired — but that isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that you can get your eyes, lips, and face in check for five dollars.

After some surveying, I bought the following:
– The splurge, if you will: E.L.F. blush in Fuchsia Fusion, $3
E.L.F. eyeliner in black, $1
E.L.F. lipstick in Seductive, $1

Don’t I look great and summery? Maybe it’s because I’m sweating.

Let’s break this down:

Unlike other inexpensive brands that, upon application, cause you to really squint in the mirror and try to figure out if there’s any difference in your appearance, this stuff pretty legit. It’s subtle, but you can build it up with a few moments of dedication. I think I look like someone just slapped me, which is exactly the look I was going for.

I don’t know what I really expected for $1, but I really struggled with this and I’ve been wearing liquid eyeliner almost daily for the past four years. The brush is weird and the formula is weird and the end result is that I look weird. Buy a soda instead.

Buying a new lipstick really causes my already off-the-charts anxiety to swell. There are just so many variables against you when it comes to lipstick that once you find something that works, it’s hard to want to stray away from it. I know this sounds really derisive — lipstick is so serious, you guys — but it really is. I was more than skeptical when I picked this one out, but this lipstick is seriously awesome. It’s creamy and natural-looking, so you can definitely wear it during the day if you approach lipstick situations with hesitation, or at night if you want to get theatrical with your eyes. I imagine it also works if you’re sitting poolside and want to go for that elusive effortless look. I can even see it being great on a first date if you want to look like you tried, but you didn’t try, you know?

Overall, I like E.L.F. and I think they should hire me as their new spokesperson. I’m ready to move past the fact that I trashed their eyeliner if they are.

  • Erica Lane

    E.L.F. is probably one of my favorite line of cosmetics, I really like there corrective concealers.

  • Jessica Lyn

    I ADORE E.L.F. I discovered it a few months ago and have been addicted ever since. I didn’t find the eyeliner quite as dis-likable… maybe it’s because I’m rather special when it comes to “normal” liquid liner and a marker-like pen is easier for me to use. Either way, this brand is definitely a staple in my make up bag.

  • Ramou Sarr

    I am so happy that someone else is singing the praises. Recently, I’ve been feeling like an asshole after buying something at Sephora and then seeing it on the E.L.F. website for much, much less. Good call on the lipstick. I rarely wear it and am wanting to just test it out and E.L.F. is perfect for that.
    Other must-haves: 1.) The oil-absorbing sheets. They’re $1 each and I just stocked up and bought 10 for summer. 2.) Makeup remover cleansing cloths for when you’re too lazy to wash your face or they’re easy to throw in your bag if you won’t be staying at home that night, when you’re flying, road trip, etc. $3 each so you can stock up on those too. 3.) The Little Black Book of Beauty. $5, comes in either cool or warm and includes a bunch of eye and lip colors and a mirror. It’s also relatively small and easy to throw in your handbag.

  • Heidi Beagley

    I love their mineral eye shadows. They’re $3 instead of $1 but work just as well or better than the much more expensive MAC versions. I literally have every color.

    • Sharon Friedman Sweeney

      Agreed! They’re perfectly shimmery without looking like hooker-glitter, and they last ALL DAY! Without any eyelid primer, even!

  • Kasey Lum

    I feel the same way about the E.L.F. lipstick too, it’s actually a pretty great buy for $1 and I love it! I also tried the eyeliner and although it’s easy to use (and of course only $1), the brush was kind of dry and hard. I found it to hurt my eyelid when I applied it. Either way, I found lots of great and affordable E.L.F. products at Target! Thanks for writing about E.L.F. products! :)

  • Erika Scott

    I bought an E.L.F. 100 color eye shadow pallete for 10 bucks a while back at Target and I love it :)

  • Rachelle Letain

    This is exactly why Canada is eagerly awaiting Target’s arrival. I need to expand my cosmetic collection and the only way I can conceive of doing so is through student-budget-friendly options.

    • Sarah Eaton

      E.L.F. is also available online! I’ve been buying it online for years ever since a friend clued me into their great and cheap products. If you sign up for their emails you can also get extra discounts that make it worth the fact that you’ll have to pay shipping.

  • Rachel Orme

    I’ve been buying ELF cosmetics from their website for a long time before they were available at Target. Now I can get my ELF fix without paying shipping, though, which is great! I love their blushes and eyeshadows because you can layer them to get the effect you want-sheer or dramatic. But I still invest my money on higher quality eye products and foundation/concealer. Still love ELF for color, though!

  • Jennifer Dalaque Bulatao

    I am so into drugstore cosmetics. just as good as the expensive department store products. E.L.F. Is wonderful…also try NYX. Target is da bomb!

  • Marissa A. Ross

    That first paragraph was very relatable, lol.

  • Liz Haebe

    Their eyeliner totally sucks, but I love their eye shadow! And, the tweezers I bought from them are awesome.

  • Evelyn Sue Sandoval

    lipstick is seriously a serious issue. ain’t nothing that can lift some many people’s moods as a good lipstick on yo’ lips.

  • Flo Chica

    I tried ELF and was disappointed. However, their Studio line is better, but I don’t buy any makeup, just brushes. The regular ELF products are just too poor in ingredients. I do like their zit zapper. 😀 If you’re gonna buy the cheapest of the cheap, stick with Wet N Wild

  • Monica Tao

    for elf eyeliners i suggest the black eyeliner pen! it is my go to eyeliner when i am in a hurry. :)

  • Wilma Faye Inocencio

    ELF’s Studio Line blushes, eyeshadows and brushes are amazing, but I usually wait until they 50% sales to buy and stock up.

  • Leslie Holguin

    ELF is amazing for what it costs. :)

  • Sarah Payne

    Their eye primer sucks.. not worth $1, at all.

  • Sarah Payne

    oh…and FYI, they pick and choose which reviews make it onto their site. That’s why everything has close to 4 or 5 stars. My negative review of their primer didn’t make it!

  • Annie Lambert

    I LOVE the e.l.f. liquid eyeliner! I’ve tried almost every other brand at almost every store.. from Wal-Mart to Sephora to Macy’s. This eyeliner is my favorite. I like the marker kind – it’s so much easier for me to use – and the line is just the perfect thickness, and it stays true black (except for when it’s running out). My only complaint is the pen only lasts me about three weeks (I do the cat-eye every day).. But for only $1? I can deal with that.

  • An Na

    its companies like these that make easily entertained losers,like myself, all fuzzy inside. thanks to your article and the commentts, i now know im not the only one .BUT DAYUM ELF,U ROCK!

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