Continuing my exploration of some of the new e.l.f. products for Spring 2014, I have the e.l.f. Essential Loose Eyeshadow to show you. Here is what e.l.f. has to say: “This silky fine powder eyeshadow creates an intense wash of color that is effortlessly beautiful. The portable, no-mess sponge applicator provides the perfect amount of powder with every use. Simply dip the sponge into the loose pigmented eyeshadow, apply to the eyelid and blend for gorgeous eye looks.” Since they are part of the Essential line, they are listed as only $2.00 each. They look like a fun and creative product, so I wanted to give them a try.
First of all, the name “Loose Eyeshadow” is a bit misleading. The shadows are actually packed pretty tightly into the cap of each pen. You unscrew the cap (where the shadow is) and reveal a sponge tip that dips into the shadow. There is no loose shadow at all, not even on the sponge tip. There is no need to tap off at all. The pens are about the size of a thick pencil eyeliner.
The directions that e.l.f. supplies for the Essential Loose Eyeshadows are simply “Dip the sponge into the eyeshadow and apply to the eyelid and blend as desired.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First of all, there is hardly any product in the cap, so it’s really difficult to get more shadow when you need it. It’s only half a gram of shadow, which is skimping even by e.l.f. standards.
The other issue is that the tiny well of shadow is set pretty deeply in the cap, making it pretty difficult to coat the sponge. You have to screw the cap all the way back on to get the sponge far enough in to get more shadow. In the picture above, it looks like the shadow starts a little way past the threads, but the shadow is concave, so the sides are higher than the middle. The center of the well where the sponge tip dips in, is further back. It’s impractical. Here is a top down shot of the cap. It’s hard to see, but I was trying to show you how deep down the product actually starts.
The other main issue that I have with the Essential Loose Eyeshadow Pens is that the sponge is very small and pretty stiff, which makes it terrible for applying shadow over the lid. It is pretty uncomfortable to use the sponge on the lid, and I felt like I was being too harsh with such a delicate area. I really didn’t like the way it felt at all. And it took FOREVER to get shadow all over the lid. What should be a tool for quick on-the-go application, actually takes three or four times as long to apply a simple one shadow look. The packaging it utterly useless.
The formula itself isn’t too bad. The shadows are nothing to write home about, but some of them have decent pigmentation. As with most e.l.f. Essential products, it’s hit and miss within the line. Another problem is that the sponge leaves streaks, but that’s not really a problem with the shadows themselves. The only use I can see for these is as a shadow liner or inner corner highlight, which they are actually not bad for. The sponge tip is designed pretty well for small precise applications. The darker shades may make decent liners, but that’s not a good enough use to buy them just for that purpose.
The three shades that I purchased are Blue Icing, Pear, and Pancakes. Blue Icing is decently pigmented, and has the longest wear-time of the three. It also showed the most streaking during application, but would work best as a liner. Pear, an icy green shade, was the worst of the three, fading easily and blending to nothing during application. It’s a pretty color, but don’t bother. Pancakes is actually pretty nice. It has the best and most even pigmentation, and the formula gave me the smoothest application that had decent wear-time.
One final complaint is that the packaging is so cheap that it cracks very easily, so be careful when screwing the cap back on. All in all, the e.l.f. Essential Loose Eyeshadows are terrible. I got them half off, so I only paid $1 for them and that was still too much. Though I appreciate that e.l.f. does carry some good quality products for very little money, the e.l.f. Essential Loose Eyeshadow are as cheap and ineffectual as their low price tag would indicate. Save your money and buy something else. This one is definitely a miss.