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Like most people, I have been keen to make cut backs recently and have become more open to testing out 'value' brands, with varying success. Make up for myself is one of the things I have had to cut back on, and so I was very interested when I heard about EyesLipsFace.co.uk and their £1.50 cosmetics. I just had to check it out.
=== A bit about EyesLipsFace ===
EyesLipsFace, or E.L.F as it's more commonly known as, is a budget cosmetics company first launched in New York in 2004 and took America by storm with it's $1 cosmetics.
E.L.F Uk was launched in 2007 and is run by a welsh brother and sister team in Swansea. They stock a large range of make up for Eyes, Lips and Face (unsurprisingly!) with most items costing just £1.50.
Their philosophy states that:
"We at e.l.f. believe that innovative technology, quality ingredients and superb delivery systems should not be limited to prestige retailers. Every woman should have the opportunity to participate in innovation, without sacrificing her budget."
But how can they manage to provide quality cosmetics for just £1.50? Well, they claim that they have "low overhead costs, little advertising and minimalist packaging which means that the consumer only pays for the makeup itself" and by using the internet for branding instead of paying for expensive advertising.
E.L.F claim to be completely against animal testing on any of there products.
=== The Website ===
My first impressions of visiting EyesLipsFace.co.uk where that it was a pretty simple and uncomplicated website, clearly labelled and easy to navigate. The home page shows the 4 newest products they are promoting at the time. Free shipping when you spend over £30 is clearly advertised.
Along the top there are several links. 'Get The Look' is a page that has various 'make up looks' and gives clear instructions and products to use to achieve these looks. 'Beauty secrets' takes you to a page which gives you just that, there are loads of tips here for all areas of the face. Both these pages look very interesting, professional and full of useful recommendations and tips, however I was far too eager to jump into the product section to investigate too much. It's pretty obvious that as well as being useful, the real purpose here is to entice you to buy more products.
But as I already stated I was keen to get to the products. These are split into the following sections with clear links:
eyes lips face nails make up brushes kits and gifts tools elements cases train case dump bag organiser signature wristlets mineral
I dipped right into the eyes section and was amazed to see not only that everything was indeed £1.50, there was also such a vast range of everything you could need for your eyes. Even more delightful, a wide choice of colours. Each item has a full size picture showcasing the product, and then a large colour swatch showing alternative colours. Lips and nails where no less disappointing, also having a fantastic range of products and colours, though the face section didn't have a great choice. None the less I still managed to pop a couple of concealers into my virtual shopping basket very easily.
Too easily in fact, as after visiting just 4 sections I had £18 worth of goodies. Having never used the products before, I wavered for a second as that was more than I planned to spend without testing them. Until I realised I actually had 12 products. That made it seem more than an OK risk, so time to check out with just a quick browse around the gift set section and noting future pressie possibilities.
Clicking the shopping basket page took me to check out, where a complete list of my order was displayed. The list included a small picture of each item, a small swatch of the desired shade, the price, quantity and option to remove. It was very easy to go over your order, ensuring you had shades and quantities you wanted and could clearly see what you were about to pay for.
As my order was under £30, shipping was added at £2.95 for standard delivery. No time-scale was advised, and so I presumed that would be within 4-5 days. Next day delivery is offered at a pricey £6.95 while Fedex Saturday delivery is an astronomical £16.95.
You are then required to input your name, address and billing address. There's no option to store these details, or register so they are already held which could be a bit of a pain on return visits. To pay, you are redirected to Sage Pay, a secure payment site and can complete the transaction using any of the major cards, or very usefully, Paypal. I like online shops which accept this method of payment, as I can treat myself with my Ebay earnings and not feel so bad. So I was pleased to note this for future reference!
I received Email receipts from both Sage Pay and E.L.F confirming my order and payment within minutes. The whole process was easy, painless, and quick. I now looked forward to receiving my goodies!
Delivery and products
I ordered on a Saturday, and received an email advising me that my items had been dispatched on the following Monday. I wasn't expecting to receive anything for a few days, so was very surprised on Tuesday morning when the postman delivered a white jiffy bag with the E.L.F logo on it! Brilliant service, I thought.
Tearing into my parcel, I have to be honest and tell you that my initial reaction was disappointment. Each item of make up was in a cardboard blister pack, you know the ones with a little hole to hang on displays? It reminded me of cheap hair accessories you see in pharmacies, and remembering E.L.F's philosophy on packaging and costs, wondered why they'd bothered with so much wasteful card and plastic.
Once I got all the items from their outer packaging I was still underwhelmed. The make up cases/containers were very basic and cheap looking, but I was expecting that...E.L.F are quite open about how this is where they make cut backs. What really surprised me was that The site does state that these are full size products, but some items didn't look so to me. The Concealer and Lip glosses in particular looked very small, almost trial size. The eye shadows looked great though.
Trying the cosmetics, I got a mixed result.
The two concealers and mascara I bought were both very tiny. I was also pretty disappointed with the results. With these make up staples I have discovered you really do get what you pay for, and buying cheaply turned out to be false economy, being that the products where small, and quite a lot was required. The bronzer was also disappointing, giving me a funny metallic glow, thankfully it wasn't very long lasting!
I also had in my order 2 plumping lip glosses. While these where small too, I am pretty pleased with them as a product. The same for the 2 nail varnishes I purchased, they weren't very chip resisant and you wouldn't get more than a day out of the application, but with there huge selection of funky colours, and the fact they are easy to apply and look good on, I'm happy enough.
My favourite 2 products by far where the candy shop lip balm tins (I have reviewed them separately in more detail if your interested) and the eye-shadow cream duo's. I am extremely impressed with both, the eye-shadow in particular is fantastic, in a huge range of colours, applies smoothly and lasts all day.
While I decided to keep all my products, E.L.F do have a refund policy. I can't comment on how good this service is though, as I decided not to use it. Full details of the policy can be found through the contact us link on the home page.
I loved the website. It was simple, inviting and clear. The whole browsing, ordering and payment process was extremely user friendly, and the 'extra' tips sections are great. I also can't fault the fast delivery service, although maybe if they got rid of the plastic and card outer wrapping on each item, not only would it be more environmentally friendly, it might save on postage!
Like many budget ranges, the products from E.L.F seem to be very hit and miss. By being an online store the option to 'try before you buy' is taken away. After my experience I wouldn't buy any make -up staples again. Foundation, concealer and mascara are in my view, worth splashing out on to get a decent product.
However I love the eye shadow cream and lip balm tins, and found the lip gloss and nail varnish adequate for the price. I love the huge range of colours, in-fact I have returned since my first order and bought more. I find ELF to be ideal for make up items you won't use everyday, and love the fact that the price means I can build a whole colour range. I also noticed that the make up brushes look very good and are decent prices, and I have a couple of people in mind for some E.L.F gift sets.
While I didn't feel the products where only aimed at a younger market, I do think they would really appeal to teenagers. I can't think of anything I would have loved to find in my stocking more when I was younger than lots of these lip gloss's and eye shadows! So I would recommend this site to any Mum's out there.
As far as I'm aware, EyesLipsFace cosmetics is only available from the website, which is why I covered it in some detail. There is a trade section, so perhaps it already is, or will be soon, available in shops, however there is no mention of any high street stockists as yet.
I'm going to rate EyesLipsFace.co.uk 4 stars. 3 seems too harsh for such a fantastic site and service, and for the price most of the products I bought are at least usable, some have even become firm favourites. I will be a regular customer of ELF cosmetics, and would recommend all but the core make up items to anyone.
~ A version of this review already appears on Dooyoo.co.uk under the same name ~