e.l.f. 2009 Holiday Promotion at Target

This post contains affiliate linksPros: Some good LE products, duo eyeshadows and lip tins are the highlights of the new line
Cons: Too much packaging, still the same dollar line foibles

As was mentioned in the previous post, Target is now home to a special line of e.l.f.Products, with the promise of a forthcoming e.l.f. Studio line next year. On the e.l.f. website, these special edition sets are coined “Luxury Sets” and are found under the Gifts category.

You can preview and/or buy these sets from e.l.f. and Target directly on their respective websites, though the latter offers a limited selection. On the other hand, the Target website offers four items not available in stores: the Medium and Large Makeup Collections, e.l.f. Large Studio Brush Holder, and the e.l.f. Studio Brush Set. Feel free to check out the latest e.l.f gifts, but all of these sets reviewed here are long gone.

The products depicted on the Target website are surprisingly true to colour.

There are a lot of new products and colours from e.l.f.’s main dollar line. After some waffling, I selected three individual items and five sets for a grand total of $20 USD. W00t.

Hypershine Gloss

Rating: C+
Price Tag: $1 USD
Status: Still available, though LE shades are not

I currently own three colours: Fairy, Blossom, and now New York City. There have been too many times that I have wanted to try more shades from the Hypershine Lip Gloss line and ultimately decided against it. From my experiences and what I have read in other reviews, this line tends to have very little colour payoff.

I might return to Target to purchase a boxset of Hypershine Lip Glosses, but for the moment I decided to stick with New York City, available individually. Unlike the other gloss shades I’ve seen, this colour looked dark enough to be promising.

e.l.f. Essential Hypershine Gloss Swatches:
Fairy, Blossom, New York City, Honey, and Sugar Plum

New York City is a very pretty colour in the tube. Unfortunately, it lacks power on the lips along with its counterparts, degrading into a very sheer and shimmery light pink. It’s not bad or entirely clear, but leaves me longing for the colour payoff of the e.l.f. Luscious Liquid Lipstick line.

I’m still not fond of the brush applicator either.

Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

Rating: B-
Price Tag: $1 USD
Status: Still available

I was recently surprised to find this product at a local K-Mart. All of the Black and Coffee shades were sold out, leaving me with only Midnight, a colour I would never wear, but I was still curious enough to toss it into my basket.

In all the reviews I read, it completely escaped me that this product is actually a pen! An honest to goodness, felt tip pen.

e.l.f. Essential Liquid Eyeliner and Waterproof Eyeliner Pen Swatches

This is the best way to describe the Waterproof Eyeliner Pen: imagine using a Sharpie to trace a line around your eyelid and you have a good idea as to what it’s like. And boy is this sucker waterproof. You absolutely need a makeup remover to remove it.

This is not a product that I use on an everyday basis—I still prefer dry powder—but it was funky enough for me to give the Black shade a try.

Professional Tweezers (now the Essential Slant Tweezer)

Rating: B
Price Tag: $1 USD
Status: Still available

Kind of clunky and definitely heavy: that would be my first remarks. Not much else to say about the tweezers, other than I find the name dubious.

In most cases, I will probably reach for a small precision pair I picked up at K-Mart over these.

Candy Lip Tins

Rating: B+
Price Tag: $3 USD
Status: Discontinued

The non-seasonal Candy Lip Tins are 11 grams and retail for $2 USD on the e.l.f. website.

These Holiday themed guys are 10 grams and retail for $3 USD for a set of three. Normally I’m turned off or ambivalent about the flavours e.l.f. insists on putting into everything. (Really, concealer?) This is the exception. e.l.f. hit my weak spot by offering such sumptuous flavours as Peppermint Patty, Sugar Cookie and Chocolate Cupcake.

I recognize that they are cheap, candy flavours. Doesn’t stop me from sniffing the containers every time I see them.

That aside, these are the same lip glosses I’ve reviewed before. Sparkly lip glosses in tins.

Super Glossy Lip Shine Luxury Gift Set

Rating: B
Price Tag: $3 USD
Status: Still available, limited edition shades are not

For a product that irritates me, I certainly have a lot of these glosses.

When I opened the package, I was assaulted by the overwhelming scent that I associate solely with the Lip Shines. It was so overpowering that I had to roll my eyes.

There are two 3-pack versions of the Super Glossy Lip Shine luxury gift sets. One is pink and the other is termed “neutral”. I chose the pink set. The three shades are New York City, Pink Lemonade and Los Angeles.

e.l.f. Essential Super Glossy Lip Shine: New York City, Pink Lemonade and Los Angeles

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest e.l.f. Studio line, you would know that New York City and Los Angeles share their names with the new discontinued Minty Lip Glosses. Given that the New York City Hypershine Gloss and New York City Super Glossy Lip Shine appear to be the same, I’m guessing it’s the same as the Minty Lip Gloss shade of the same name.

e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine, Hypershine Gloss, and Studio Minty Lip Gloss in New York City

For those of you familiar with the dollar line, you probably recognize the name Pink Lemonade, as it is used for a variety of products like the Luscious Liquid Lipstick, All Over Colour Stick and Shimmering Facial Whip. This Pink Lemonade is not identical, but I think it’s very close to the original colour.

e.l.f. Cosmetics in Pink Lemonade

All three pinks in this box set are very vibrant and pretty. Both New York and L.A. lean to the hot pink side, whereas Pink Lemonade is more muted when compared to the others. It’s still vibrant, sort of like a darker shade than Goddess. New York is a shimmer shade, Pink Lemonade is metallic, and L.A is a chunky glitter gloss.

New York and L.A. look similar on the mouth, with the glitter having the most effect on the appearance. Pink Lemonade is the big winner here in terms of colour payofff. I’m not sure what it is with these metallic shades, but all of them are very powerful. It joins the ranks of Pink Kiss, Candlelight, Goddess and Watermelon as gloss shades that have a strong colour payoff.

I’m not sure what shades are included in the “neutral” collection, since I decided against purchasing more of the Lip Shines. It looks like one of the shades could be Candlelight and another might be Iced Latte. Then again, I was positive Pink Lemonade was Goddess before I opened the package.

I was at Target today and discovered that the middle shade is named Boston. It doesn’t look anything like the Studio Minty Lip Gloss of the same name (or at least, not according to the images online). I would have had to extract the entire packaging to read the labels for the other two glosses, so I didn’t. Too bad the box is sealed on the bottom, or I would have an easier time figuring out what the shades are.

Liquid Eyeshadow Luxury Box Set

Rating: D-
Price Tag: $3 USD
Status: Discontinued

The luxury box set from Target contains Sultry Satin, Berrylicious and Gold. This seems to be the one gift set that is not for sale on the e.l.f. website, even though there is clearly a picture of it.

I admit that I have only attempted to use this product on a couple of occasions, but I will point out that it is due to my negative experiences that I have not used it more. While all of the colours are very pretty, this is a very unwieldy product to use. The Liquid Eyeshadow dries very fast, so you have to move quickly. I’ve given up applying it all over my eye, sticking instead with the eyelid. It still creases and flakes. Don’t even think about trying to use it as a base. I tried using Coco Loco (not included in this set) as a thick eyeliner, but it just looked like an unflattering swath of copper. I think Green Machine (also not included in the set) might work better.

At the time of this writing, I have tried Sultry Satin, Misty Mauve, Berrylicious, Green Machine and Gold on my eyelid. Green Machine looks very pretty, if not for the creasing, and Gold looks nice since it’s just clear with gold sparkles. Sultry Satin and Misty Mauve look nearly identical. Berrylicious is gorgeous as a swatch on my inner arm, but it looks like I have an infectious eye disease. Who said it wasn’t pink enough?

e.l.f. Essential Liquid Eyeshadow Swatches:
Gold, Sultry Satin, Misty Mauve, Berrylicious, Coco Loco and Green Machine

To use, I recommend smoothing a lot of product on the eyelid with the applicator, using long strokes. I’ve also tried using brushes and my fingers, but concluded that the sponge applicator works best. Work one eye at a time, keeping each side closed until the shadow dries. I say that, but no matter how long I waited for it to dry, the shadow ultimately creased within a few minutes of opening my eyes.

Oh well. I don’t feel particularly cheated. I didn’t have high expectations to start and it’s fun to try something new. There isn’t a lot of product in the packaging, but this product is so gimmicky that I don’t find it off-putting.

Eyeshadow Duos Luxury Sets

Rating: B-
Price Tag: $3-$5 USD
Status: Available in limited edition sets only

I will review both eyeshadow kits at once since this review has run long.

The eyeshadows are packaged in the same containers as the Duo Eye Shadow Cremes. None of the powder duos I purchased have listed names, which struck me as odd.

I’ve tried a lot of the e.l.f. eyeshadow products. I have a few each from the Brightening Eye Colours, the Custom Eyes, the Duo Eye Shadow Cremes, the Liquid Eyeshadow, and the e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadows, most of which have disappointed me in some way or another.

Unlike most of the other dollar products from e.l.f., these duo powder eyeshadows are actually decent. Imagine that. Turns out the duo packaging holds the perfect amount of product for this price range. They are pigmented, have nice colors and apply well. The only down side is that the more shimmer the shadows contain, the softer they are.

Eyeshadow Duo Kit

e.l.f. Duo Eyeshadow Kit

The Eyeshadow Duo Kit contains an odd pairing of a white/silver eyeshadow duo and a vibrant purple duo. I’m positive the first duo has two of the same shades in the Drama Brightening Eye Color. I do not know where either purple shade originates, but I really like the dark plummy brown shade. It’s very pretty and works great as a crease colour. I expected the dark plum to make me look like I had a black eye, but thankfully it didn’t.

Smokey Eyeshadow Kit

e.l.f. Smokey Eyeshadow Kit

The Smokey Eye Kit set contains four eyeshadow duos. As mentioned earlier, none of these are named and their product ID number does not match any of the original Essential Duo Eyeshadows. Still, I think three of the four are Butter Pecan, Mocha Swirl and Berry Mix. They are all neutral shades and similar to each other on the skin.

The last duo—I have only online reviews to go by—sound similar to Mystic Moss and Raspberry Truffle in the Studio line. Of course, there’s also been additions to the Brightening Eye Colour, so the shades could originate from there. The two colours are a green that is almost black and another plummy brown that resembles the one in the Eyeshadow Duo Kit.


Both sets came with an applicator. In the Eyeshadow Duo Kit, it is a large sponge applicator. I exclusively use brushes, so I haven’t tried it yet. The Smokey Eye Kit contains a dual Eyeliner Pencil/Eyeshadow Brush. As a note to vegans, all of the sets with brushes contain natural bristles. I thought I was safe with this kit since I only saw the Eyeliner Pencil end. The packaging covered up the brush side. I guess I will trade the pencil/brush away.

Are these the best eyeshadows I’ve ever tried? No. Are they my Holy Grail makeup items? Nope. They may not be the best eyeshadows on the market, but they definitely earn their keep at $1 USD a pop.


Final Thoughts

I had hoped to find Studio or Mineral products at Target, not more dollar products packaged in shiny new boxes. I still insist that the $1 concept is flawed and should be abandoned. Personally, I’m looking for less expensive vegan cosmetic options, not utter schlock. I think the Studio and the Mineral lines have the right idea: cheap and slightly crappy knockoff versions of department store cosmetics.

The products that really stand apart from the crowd are the eyeshadow duos. Since I love eyeshadow, I am very pleased with this offering. I am also happy to find the special edition versions of the Candy Lip Tins. I only wonder why the originals aren’t sold online for $1 as well. Is that extra gram really so expensive?

On the negative side (what, there’s more?), too much packaging. As far as I’ve read online, most people don’t want e.l.f. for stocking stuffers, they want e.l.f. for themselves. Sure, it has it’s uses and I’m thinking of picking up a set for my niece, but it’s kind of overkill, not to mention wasteful.

And what up with focusing only on lips, eyes, face and nails? Nothing for the face? It would be one thing if the online e.l.f. catalog wasn’t overflowing with face products…but it is.

The only products I’m still considering at this point are the Beauty Encyclopedias, the neutral Super Glossy Lip Shine set and the Lip Color Duo Kit. But I just made another e.l.f. order of products I’ve wanted for months, so I can’t justify buying more of the dollar line at this time.

Still, those Beauty Encyclopedias are tempting…