E.L.F (Eyes Lips Face) is a New York based makeup brand that's quite popular and well known in the US for their affordable, approachable makeup products. Like super affordable, as in some items are less than $5!! In Canada, E.L.F is not as well known, but is slowly gaining in use now that it's available in Superstore and at London Drugs.
I was super excited to try the E.L.F Mad for Matte eye shadow palette as my first E.L.F experience. This 10-pan, all matte, palette costs around $10-15 and contains:
- a yellow-based neutral lid and brow bone color
- a pink-based neutral lid and brow bone color
- a light tan brown for the lid and transition
- a blush pink lid shade
- a subdued rust brown ideal for the crease
- a cool dark brown
- a slightly taupey brown
- a dark brown with slight grey undertones
- a cool blue grey
- a blue black
As I edge into my 30's, I find myself leaning more towards less shimmery finishes. It's so hard to find a palette with a few good mattes, let alone an entire palette of mattes so I was really excited to see if E.L.F was going to offer me a HG drugstore option to my beloved Tarte Tartelette palette.
One thing that strikes me as interesting about E.L.F is how they seem to market themselves like the cheap brand for makeup people. My impression of this comes entirely from how they package their products. The E.L.F Mad for Matte palette comes in a slim, matte black case. I really like how E.L.F is going for a NARS look with their packaging; the matte finish just stands out from the usual cheap plastic packaging you see in the drugstore and the black exterior paired with minimalist text just gives this palette a more sophisticated look. Unfortunately, that matte exterior draws dust like a magnet!
I also appreciate how E.L.F included a full-size mirror in this palette while also doing the brave thing and opting not to include any brushes. For a drugstore brand, I think that was an interesting choice as most non-makeup people I know don't actually own separate makeup brushes and so the included sponge applicators that most drugstore makeup comes with are their only options.
Anyways, getting back to the colors. On first impressions, I'd say these colors are more workable if your skin leans more towards the neutral or cool spectrum. Unfortunately if you're very warm-toned, then the right side of the palette won't work for you at all. Also I think this palette is ideal for someone who is either very fair, or darker. For someone who's in the middle like me, this palette is very... invisible.
Moving left to right, the first four shades barely appear on my skin. This could also be due to the fact that these shadows are not very pigmented. I can build up shade three and four to be visible with some work, but shades one and two don't do diddedly squat for me as they're the same color as my skin.
The best shade out of this palette, hands-down is the middle rust shade. It's one of the more pigmented shades and also one of the few darker tones that doesn't apply patchy. I like to use as an all-over lid or crease shade. It could even work well as a transition shade.
Everything to the right of the rust shade is just bleh. Like imagine me sticking out my tongue and going "blehhhh". Each of these shades is patchy with little color payoff - basically they're all the things that turn people off matte shadows.
I was super disappointed with this palette. There is so. much. patchiness with these and none of the colors are very pigmented or buildable. It's really quite unfortunate as the color choices are quite nice and I have seen some people put together some really nice looks with this one, but it just seems to take too much work to get there. In fact, I feel so lackluster about this palette that I didn't even bother putting together a look to show you. This one's going straight to the swap pile.
* This post contains PR samples