There are three main parts to this post, the swatches and the review of the eyeshadow and then a bonus review at the end. The swatches of the eye shadow come first because they are the part I did first and this is being typed as I do this review so that I am not spending a week trying figure out my notes later. My apologies if this makes the information at all confusing.
These swatches were done over the primer provided in the palette. The primer itself is more like a concealer in texture and pigmentation. The swatches were done with one swipe of the finger over the eyeshadow and then one swipe over the primer on the arm. All of these shadows are glittery, but the darkest color shows this the most.
These swatches were done over the illuminator provided in the palette. The point of the illuminator is to "transform" the color of the eyeshadow, this was most obvious on the two middle colors when on the arm side-by-side. The illuminator itself is a very glittery cream and primarily seemed to increase the glitter showing in the eyeshadows.
All photos were taken around 5pm when the light is still bright but not glaring to avoid the color being washed out and were taken outdoors in all natural light with no shadows to be as true to color as possible. No color adjustments have been made to the photos.
So before I actually get into the review let me state that I have highly crease prone eyelids. My eyelids disappear if my eyes are fully open and they are also very oily made obvious by the fact that if I am wearing no makeup at all they are shinny within a hour or two. Before I started using the e.l.f. eye shadow primer my eyeshadow would last less than an hour before heavy creasing would occur so please keep this in mind while reading the review because your experience may be different from mine because of either the shape of your eyes or the type of skin on your eyelids.
If you just want to know would I buy this or not, please scroll to just above the picture of lipgloss.
When I first received this eyeshadow palette what first struck me as unique is that it comes with a primer, something I have not seen before in a drugstore level eyeshadow, although it may exist in markets that I am not aware of. This appears to me marketed to people who are either just getting into makeup and/or people on a very tight makeup budget because as their website states: "the all-in-one compact with everything you need for a complete eye look"
so when testing this I decided the focus would be on the quality of the primer and the illuminator and their ability to prevent creasing. To do this I applied one swipe of the primer over the right eye and one swipe of the illuminator over the left eye so that I could see any "transforming" effect of the illuminator and to see if there was a difference in wear times without having to spend eight days testing the different shadows separately and because I probably wouldn't be able to tell the different if I didn't seem them at the same time..
When applying the shadow I used one swipe of the applicator provided in the shadow and then applied to one eye and then one more swipe of the shadow with the applicator and then applied to the other eye to help determine the pigmentation level of the eyeshadow because while the primer and the illuminator are the main focus of my testing, if the color does not show well, then that kind of defeats the purpose of the eyeshadow.
Primer: As stated in the swatch photo this primer has the quality of a concealer due to the level of pigmentation. I actually tried it as a concealer under a powder foundation to see if it could also be used as that, but it did not hold on to the powder very long and this is going to be a running theme in this review. Also, this primer mostly blended into the skin, but I could still see where it had been applied to my eyelids and had to make sure to completely cover the primer with the eyeshadow so it wasn't obvious on the skin. If the primer is a good match for your skin tone this shouldn't be a problem, but I am very pale in comparison to the tone in the palette and so it did become noticeable quickly on my lids. As a summary of the lasting power with the different shadows, the shortest time before creasing was with the darkest shadow at just under 2 hours and the longest time was just over 3 hours with the silver shadow; the white and grey shadows both lasted about 2 1/2 hours. This was a big disappointment for me as I had been very excited about the possibility of finding something that would be good to recommend to people just starting out with makeup to help them avoid the frustration of creasing eyeshadow without having to buy a separate primer to keep track of.
Illuminator: The illuminator has a lot of glitter and a lot of glitter fallout. Before I even got any of the eyeshadows on top of the illuminator side I would find a lot of glitter fallout on my cheek on its side and considering it is a cream product, this was highly unexpected. After cleaning up the fallout from the illuminator and then again from the eyeshadow fallout which only seemed to happen on the illuminator side, I would then over the course of testing find more glitter transfer all over my face. By the end of the one day of testing this all took due to the short amount of times I ended up with for creasing I was completely over glitter and happy to step away from this eyeshadow palette for a night and ended up putting something non-glitter on just to have something different for a little while since I knew there would be a few more days of testing to see if this palette could be salvaged at all. The illuminator also had equally short times on the creasing and was a disappointment as well, although going into this I had lower expectations of it just because it wasn't labeled as a primer.
Because of how badly the primer and the illuminator did at preventing creasing I am repeating the testing for the four shadows over the e.l.f. $1 eyeshadow primer available at Target and on the e.l.f. website
which is the primer I normally use and has only seen creasing one time when used under a dark blue eyeshadow of questionable quality, possibly expired, and heavily applied because this primer does not help the eyeshadows show as in the pan the same way a primer with color would. When using the e.l.f. primer I also switched to the basic e.l.f. eyeshadow brush from the $1 line also available at Target and the e.l.f. website
Over the primer and the illuminator it basically looked the same and had a lovely slightly iridescent quality to it that made me very excited because it seemed to be the perfect inner corner highlight that I have not previously been able to achieve with my other white shadow I have already been using. It does not come off as actually white even over the primer and illuminator and was more subtle than in the pan, but in this case I think that was a good thing.
Over the e.l.f. primer I basically can't see it. If the mirror is more than a foot from my face I can't see that I am wearing any eyeshadow at all. With the mirror closer than a foot I can see I am wearing eyeshadow, but primarily because the texture looks different from my skin without eyeshadow, not because I can actually see a color difference. Pigmentation in this eyeshadow is actually quite low but would still work as a below the brow highlight, although not as well as the inner corner highlight as it did over the primer and illuminator. The eyeshadow also didn't crease until sometime between 7 and 8 hours. Given that this is supposed to be the highlight shade and not in the crease I thought this was a good amount of time. Just too bad the crease was the only time the shadow actually looked white on my eyelid.
Over the primer and the illuminator it basically looks the same with the illuminator side being more glittery but no real difference in the silver color itself. It does appear to be a nice all over lid color as suggested by the packaging instructions. It is also more subtle than it appears in the pan, not being as strong of a color so if you are going for an actual silver eye look this may not be the shadow for you.
Over the e.l.f. primer I basically can't see it. I did the white over the right eye and the silver over the left eye at the same time to prevent the second round of testing from taking four days and they look identical and not really there. There is almost no pigmentation to this shadow at all and it only really shows well if you have primer under it that cancels out the natural color of the eyelid. If you are going to use this as a lid color you are probably going to have to apply it very heavily rather than just with one swipe of the product onto a brush as I did. The eyeshadow lasted longer than 8 hours without creasing.
Over the primer this appeared to be a nice more subtle version of the color that could also be a good lid color or crease color depending on how dark of a look you were going for. Over the illuminator this did appear darker than it did over the primer as well as being more glittery, but this was the only one that actually changed color when on my eyelids. It also appeared closer to the color actually in the pan over the illuminator than it did over the primer.
Over the e.l.f. primer this does look pretty close to the color in the pan. Initially it took on a kind of metallic gray look, but then when I moved into a room with different lighting that effect went away and may have been removed by my blinking and distributing the eyeshadow more evenly. This is definitely a very pigmented color and a very little goes a very long away. My one swipe with the brush left my eyelid gray from my lash line to my eye brow so use a very light hand with this one. So far this is the only color that has appeared as shown in the pan on my eyelid in this whole process of testing. This one also appears to have the worst fallout because two hours after applying this side has glitter all the way down to my jaw whereas the charcoal side just has some on the tops of my cheeks. I could be mistaken, but again, depending on the lighting, it looks like it is wearing off already, particularly in the crease; it isn't creasing, it is getting lighter in color. After 8 hours the gray has not creased, it has just gone really light and looks more like I have dark circles around my eyes than anything else.
Over the primer and the illuminator the only difference appeared to be the level of glitter. The interesting thing on this one is it looked more like the grey color in the pan than the charcoal color in the pan when on the lid. I did think this would make a nice one color smokey eye look.
Over the e.l.f. primer this one looked like the color in the gray pan and never came close to being as dark as the color is in its pan. It never took on the metallic effect and again I think looks nice as a one color smokey eye. Either I applied less pressure when picking this one up or it is more tightly packed bound together, but it did not spread as far and I have always tried during this review to use the same one swipe of the pan with the brush, but I got the perfect amount for a smokey eye without that smoke going all the way up to my brow. But, no matter what light I look at them under, they look like the same gray, although the actual gray has a lot more glitter in it, but that may also be due to how much more my brush seemed to have picked up of it. The color does appear to be good and pigmented even if it isn't the color it appears in the pan so if you are going for the charcoal look, you are not going to be getting it. After 5 hours the charcoal side actually looks lighter than the gray side, still looks nice, but the fading is significant. After 8 hours the charcoal has not creased, it has just gone really light and looks more like I have dark circles around my eyes as well.
Quick review of the applicator included in the palette: It isn't horrible and actually feels like a nicer quality sponge tip applicator than any of the other sponge tips I have from previous eyeshadows. Unfortunately it does pull on the skin which makes blending out the shadow very difficult and did leave something of a skipping pattern initially that only went away after working with it for a while. If you have the option of using a brush, I would, because it would have to be a very bad brush to come out better with the applicator included.
Was the suggested application on the packaging easy to do? Yes, using a brush, I was able to achieve the suggested look on the back of the packaging. I didn't us the sponge tip applicators because I couldn't tell which one I had used in which color before and didn't want to muddy the results. Is it some way I would wear this quad normally? Probably not, the super dark crease as compared to the very light lid is not something I normally would do and I had to blend most of the color away with a separate e.l.f. blending brush ($1) to tone it down enough to feel comfortable wearing. The silver and the white still looked exactly the same when on the same lid even after adding the crease color to separate them. The two dark gray colors also looked exactly the same on the lid and while I know I added the charcoal color to deepen the end of the crease, you can't tell I did. This seems like it would be more of a "night out on the town" kind of look, although if you are more daring than me then it is probably perfectly acceptable for every day wear. I am more daring with my makeup now than I used to do, but as Kevin can attest to, I am still much more reserved with it than a lot of people we do actually see walking around every day.
Kevin's opinion of the eye look: Kevin didn't see the eyeshadow until I had been wearing it for over 5 hours and it had faded enough that even I liked how it looked depending on what light we were under and I asked while under defused ideal lighting, so please take this with that in mind.
"It's okay." Kevin wasn't impressed is the tone he gave.
Inclusion: Would I recommend this to someone just starting out with makeup and/or on a very tight makeup budget as I originally thought this would be good for? I really can't say I would. If Kevin told me I had $5 to spend on our oldest niece who is getting close to the age makeup starts becoming interesting on something makeup I wouldn't want to buy this for her as her first experience with eyeshadow. I would buy the e.l.f. primer, three e.l.f. $1 shadows duos or three of their $1 quads to give her even more color options, and their $1 eyeshadow brush. If I could go up to $7 I would buy her the e.l.f. little black beauty book in Warm because it is 48 colors, mostly brown tones, with a few other non-brown colors thrown in and for someone just getting into makeup I think it browns are the safest and easiest colors to start with. And just to reassure her mother, we aren't planning to buy her makeup and only would if you said it was okay and that she was actually interested in it.
So could I recommend this to anyone? I think if you already have a primer you know works well for you and the basic eyeshadow colors covered, I would only suggest to give them a try if you see a palette that has four colors you don't already have in your collection, and even then, I would suggest looking to other brands first to see if you can find those colors elsewhere because this was just really disappointing to me and in general I don't have as much of a problem with drugstore makeup as other people who I have seen review other eyeshadows I already own. It is possible this particular palette was a dud, it does happen, and my experience may not be representative of the average user experience so you may still find that it works well for you.
If you have used this palette or any of the other palettes in this series please leave a comment letting me know of your experience. If there is one that is generally well received I may give that one a try to see if it was just this one that was not good since testing only one palette in a series is not necessarily going to be wholly representative of the series. I am interested in trying one out with more neutral colors that would be easier for me to wear, but it may be a while before I decide to ask Kevin to look for one as I do actually consider $5 a lot of money for four shades since it does not appear I get much benefit from the primer or illuminator.
NYC Long-Wearing Lip Color in Dreamer (481)
Purchased for $1 at the Dollar Tree before I knew I would be reviewing the eyeshadow palette above.
So because I didn't want to end this review on a totally sour note and I know that there are some good NYC products out there, I decided to open the NYC Long-Wearing Lip Color in Dreamer that I have had for a while, but hadn't opened because I have been trying to use up the never ending kit Kevin got me almost two years ago that just won't die and I don't like having too many things open at once because they do go bad after a while. I had never worn this or any of the other colors in the series so I didn't know if this would actually be a good or bad review, but I was hoping for good.
So after lunch and brushing my teeth I applied the pink side of the lip color, which isn't really a gloss and isn't really a lipstick, it feels more like a liquid lipstick and has full color on the lips so this is very pigmented. Then, after less than a minute the lip color started to feel different so I took that to mean it had dried and applied the conditioning top coat, which brought it back to feeling more like a gloss. Even without the top coat, when it dried it didn't feel bad, just different; with the top coat it actually feels very nice and if there is any stickiness, I didn't notice it. Another thing that surprised me is the color didn't transfer on to the brush of the top coat like I had expected it to. I had actually had a tissue ready to wipe off the brush before replacing it into the top coat tube to avoid color transfer and didn't have to.
Initial impression: Even if this isn't long-wearing or smooch proof I really like the way it looks and feels and would totally buy more of these because I am not against re-applying lip products during the day, I always eat off my lip color anyway, even when I am not trying so the fact that it is full color and feels nice is a real plus for me.
The claims of the product are that is long-wearing and smooch proof:
Applied at 1:30pm - Wore off by 8:30 pm
Is it smooch proof? No color came off on my hand but there was some residue from the conditioning top coat that was slightly tacky. Because I used a light pink color it may not leave as much behind as one of the darker colors so the main question would be, would the person you are kissing notice the residue? When I kissed Kevin after he got home from work 5 hours later he didn't seem to notice any reside and the lip color survived eating dinner.
Kevin's opinion of the lip color: He liked the color on the lips
Is there anything I can say bad about this? If I had to find something that I would prefer if it were not that way I would have to say the way it wears off. While it did survive kissing and eating, a short while after dinner I found that the top and bottom center of the lips where bare and the color was now only showing as if it were a lip liner in a ring around the inside edge of the lips. This was probably due to the eating and the food breaking down the color so I would suggest if you are wearing this out to eat, reapply immediately after you finish your food. It is not a major grippe because I have had lip colors completely disappear from my lips after having a drink of water, it just would have been nice if it was going to wear off to disappear more evenly so it doesn't have such an odd look. I usually take my lip color off before eating, but if you are on a date you probably don't want to do that.
Lastly to get the color left over after it started to wear off removed from my lips required a lot of scrubbing and did leave them slightly red, but since it is supposed to be long wear I would expect it to be difficult to get off.
Would I recommend these to anyone? Yes, the color lasted 7 hours and even through eating and kissing without transferring. It is not super obvious feeling on the lips although I was aware of it being there, but I actually consider that to be a good thing because it helped me to tell when it was starting to wear off. The color stayed fully pigmented for the whole time and my lips never felt like they were drying out. I think so long as you reapply the color and top coat after eating lunch, you would probably be able to get away with little to no problem from this during an average work day. And at $1 from the Dollar Tree it has a price that makes it easier to acquire than the other long wear lip colors I have heard about online.