Friday, April 26, 2013

$1 lipstick for people who hate lipstick: Photos and review of e.l.f. Essential Lipsticks

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Remember how I don't like lipstick? Well (some of) these cheap bastards are a rare exception. The shades I like best (Gypsy and Posh) have a texture, feel, and wear similar to Revlon Balm Stains. I don't like this format as much as I like the big pencil thingy, but then these are 1/8 the price. One of the things I hate most about most lipstick is the constant paranoia that it's going to smear. And it usually does. There's less risk of that with these.

They all have different textures and finishes, and the e.l.f. website is completely useless when it comes to telling you what to expect, so I hope that this information will be helpful when it comes to the 5 shades I have. Also, the photos and color swatches on the e.l.f. site are often inaccurate, as are their descriptions/names. It's not even necessarily that easy to tell what you're getting when you look at the product in the packaging. If you combine my photos and descriptions, hopefully you can get a decent idea of what to expect.
So to start off, one of the weird things about these lipsticks is that they have a slightly hard, waxy coating on the outside, I assume to make them hold their shape better during storage and transport. This means that the first time you use one, it will take several swipes to get to a normal texture and color. Do not be discouraged - just go with it, and it'll be fine. The next time you use it, it will just be normal lipstick.

In addition, the product is not held up well in the tube, so it can tip when you use it and rub against the edge. But since the lipstick itself is firmer than average, this doesn’t cause much damage. Like I said, they are comparable to Revlon Balm Stains, but with inferior packaging. The mechanism to twist up and down isn't always smooth. Whatever - it costs $1. That's what you have to deal with.

All of these lipsticks have a mild fruity scent, but not in a gross chemical way (like Milani, which smells like fake watermelon + puke to me). It's just a slight citrusy smell that disappears pretty quickly. They have no taste. The shape of the product is good and they're easy to apply, for a traditional lipstick. They are stiffer than most lipsticks, which I like, because it makes the application more foolproof. They're more like a waxy balm in texture than a creamy lipstick. I applied all of these straight from the tube, no brushes.

Here are the photos:
Natural light: (left to right) Flirtatious, Sociable, Gypsy, Posh, Voodoo
With flash: (left to right) Flirtatious, Sociable, Gypsy, Posh, Voodoo
e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Flirtatious
Flirtatious: This one is fairly stiff (which I like because it doesn’t smear easily) but creamy. It's a semi-opaque, warm pink, matte, with no shimmer. It's not drying, but it can emphasize dryness on your lips by getting caught up in flakes or lines. It feels nice and looks summery.
e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Sociable
Sociable: This is a darker warm pink, which is also matte but has some some iridescent glitter that feels a little gritty. It's more opaque than Flirtatious and less creamy. The application is really nice and even. This is your typical “watermelon” shade, and it's more like a traditional lipstick formula than the others. I like it the least for that reason, and because of the glitter.
e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Gypsy
Gypsy: Okay, first of all: the fucking name? Ugh, please, can we not? It's unfortunate that it has an ethnic slur for a name, because it's my favorite shade and formula of the bunch. It is very matte and opaque. It's easy to apply and it feels nice, like balm. It's not drying. The shade is a lovely purplish berry/magenta, and you can’t see the texture of the lipstick on your lips - it just blends in with the surface of the lips somehow. (Notice how I have some flakiness around the edges of my lips - from the makeup remover I used when swatching, sorry - but the lipstick doesn't show any of that on my actual lips themselves.) This one wears off evenly and leaves a bit of a stain behind. Nice. Very nice.
e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Posh
Posh: This one has pretty much the same texture and finish as Gypsy, though it's slightly less matte. Again, it almost feels like balm: very smooth. It's hard to describe the color. Sometimes I think it's a dark red, or a berry, or a rose - judge for yourself! It's really pretty color, though.
e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Voodoo
Voodoo: Another bad name. This one has a similar texture and finish to Flirtatious, but doesn’t emphasize dryness as much. It's a medium brick red color that somehow doesn’t make my teeth look yellow. A very easy-to-wear red. It's pretty, but not too flashy.

Overall, I'd recommend trying these out. For $1 each, they're really fucking worth it. You can get them on the e.l.f. website, and I've also seen them in Target, among other places. I think of them as lipstick for people, like me, who hate lipstick. I don't have the usual problems with application and wear that I associate with traditional lipsticks. They're easier to use and they feel better. Plus several of the shades I have leave a stain behind, which makes them really comparable to my beloved Revlon Balm Stains. Check out the stains left on my arm after I scrubbed, scrubbed, at it with a cotton ball soaked in makeup remover.
Left to right: Flirtatious, Sociable, Gypsy, Posh, Voodoo


  1. where can we buy these lipsticks

    1. There are links in the post, and you can also get them at Target.


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