Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Days of Elf #1: Elf Mineral Eyeshadow Primer Review

I have to start off by saying that I did not want to begin this series on such a sour note. However, I want to get this thing going and in order to do that, I needed to rule out the bad apple in order to properly test the other items. Primer is the most important step in your makeup, right?

Well, sadly, the bad apple is this primer.

For reference, everything in this series will feature the full prices on the e.l.f. website. This Mineral Eyeshadow Primer is $3 (though I paid only $1.50 for it during a sale).

The packaging is simple and to the point. The tube looks like a lipgloss and has a doefoot applicator... the bottle is a thin feeling frosty plastic thing.

Upon swatching, I felt like the formula was similar to Urban Decay Primer Potion. Now, you guys know that I have a heavy love affair with Too Faced Shadow Insurance so I was instantly concerned. I hate UDPP's bottle and the performance -- it mattifies my shadows too much; they look bland over top of it. The consistency of the e.l.f. primer is quite thin -- almost watery but therefore it spreads easily. I just used my fingers.

I will state the positive first -- I experienced no creasing with this product. I even slept in my eye makeup for 2 nights in a row to see if it would crease, and it wasn't at all... even in the morning. That is a definite positive -- even though I have drier lids and generally don't experience much creasing.

But that's about the only positive thing I can say about this product.

The first time I tried the product, it was under the cream eyeshadow in "Dawn" (which I will review later in the series). The shadow swatches lovely even when blended, but when I applied it to my eye I noticed that it was looking a little lackluster. I even popped a little bit of taupe eyeshadow on top to try and do something with it and it still looked bland. I decided that maybe the cream eyeshadow just sucked.

The following day I used the Day2Night quad (also part of the series) which swatched absolutely beautifully... and the look I came out with was, again, lackluster. The shadows were flat with none of the dimension that they showed in the pans. The darkened plum colour which was so pigmented in a swatch was very muted and "blah" looking. I decided to give it one more go, as I figured ok, maybe the quads suck as well?

Today I tried another look with the olive eyeshadow duo and the Mystic Moss eyeshadow (also to be reviewed) and had an even worse time! It was getting ridiculous. I had a hard time believing that eyeshadows that swatched so nicely were applying so poorly. The light green in the duo was appearing powdery (to an extreme, I am not exaggerating), and the second my brush touched it, it flaked all down my cheeks and disappeared from eyes. 5 layers later, I still had zero colour payoff.

I got to work and began researching... I initially thought the primer couldn't be the issue -- it's a mineral eyeshadow primer which needs to be slightly tacky in order to capture all of the loose sparkles and bits associated with a mineral shadow... right?


Other reviews were pointless -- they raved about the lack of creasing for the fantastic price. No one else mentioned (or maybe they didn't experience it) the issue I was having. I put out a bid on Twitter for help and got two responses from fellow bloggers saying they experienced the same issue. But I also got a response on a forum from someone saying they didn't -- that maybe I had a defective one. Mine honestly does look like flour mixed with water in the tube. I may email customer service and see what they say... but for now, this primer gets a big fat F from Wendy. Sorry e.l.f. :(

So you can understand, I took photos of my face and eye makeup for those two powder shadow days and some comparison photos of the e.l.f. primer versus TFSI... straight and then blended.

You tell me what you notice.

The quad I used had an ivory, sparkling taupe, deep plum and a dark grey shade. I used all of the colours and this is what was left after -a lot- of work. There's just no depth... the colours are muddy and you can't tell one from the other much.

This is today's... at the end of the day: my eyeshadow is completely gone. This is not something I experienced the first day. Also notice the cream liner smudges from where it didn't set properly over the primer:

That makes me sad to look at it.

Anyway... swatches compared to TFSI:

The e.l.f. primer was used for the bottom row and TFSI under the top row. Notice how the shadows are more vibrant... especially the orange and brown.

After two fluffs with a blending brush. The green colours are all but gone, the orange is struggling and the brown is sorta meh...

After wiping across twice with a napkin. The e.l.f. primered shadows are virtually gone. The TFSI semi held up.

That's pretty much all for the review. I unfortunately cannot give this my recommendation for purchase.

Let me know what you guys think!


  1. This is very interesting!!! I have and use the elf mineral primer, but honestly, do not have much to compare it to as it was my first ever eye primer. Most days, I dont use a primer at all. In the past couple months I have gotten both the UDPP and the TF Shadow insurace included in palette kits that I recently got. Anyways, was planning on using up the elf first, jut because it was old before starting in on the other primers. I have tested the UDPP and the TFSI and was very impressed with the performance. But, it could be that you got a bad product as mine does not have a "flour and water consistancy"...but, I do have to complain that the packaging on mine fell apart (the black wand top slid off after a few uses). My lids are dry so the creasing is not an issue with me either. Thanks for your review!!!! I need to investigate further!!! :)

  2. VERY good to know. I have been wanting to purchase this primer for a while now. I now know it's probably not worth it. Great review :)

  3. i don't use min anymore :p dont' know what to do with it tho :p
    nah it literally does look like flour and water mixed together in a tube. That's what mine look like an di believe it looks just like yours. Yes it doesn't crease b ut i have to say i had to pack on the colours a lot to get some colour payoff :p
    i might try fiddling with it again and see if i can find a better way to using it... it's such a waste to leave it lying around

  4. Lol maybe I was one of the bloggers raving about this product... I did have one and liked it, but I was still a primer newbie then. I much prefer UDPP (the next primer I have tried - still got to try other ones) and compared to the ELF primer it's already much much better.
    The reason why I stopped using the ELF primer wsa that this summer when it was really hot at work it just creased like absolute mad :( so yes, it creases, real bad :( well it did with me anyway !