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Hits Or Misses? $8.00 And Under Drugstore Makeup Finds For US!

Elise Marquam Jahns November 2020

Beauty Kuel Category Expert: Elise Marquam-Jahns

(And One $14.00 Eye Shadow Palette) I recently discovered a drugstore eyebrow pencil and a cream contour palette from the brand Elf which I really love and I feel they actually perform better than many high end products.

So I couldn’t resist trying out a few more Elf products. In fact, I ordered 13—but the total price I paid was what I would have paid for only four or five high end products. Obviously I can’t try them all out today, but I’ll check out quite a few.

I couldn’t resist trying out a few more Elf products.”

The Elf Products:

The Elf products I’ll be focusing on today in the video are: the Elf Putty Eye Primer, the Retro Paradise Eyeshadow Palette, the Monochromatic Multi Stick (in two different colors), Hydrating Camo Concealer, two of the Bite-Size Face Duos, and 3 brushes—a blush brush, highlighting brush and a bronzer brush.

In the video I’ve already put on my Elf Instant Lift Eyebrow Pencil. I also put on the Elf Putty Eye Primer in Rose (which costs $5.00) on one eye and my Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden (which costs $24.00) on the other eye. Since I almost always use the Urban Decay Eye Primer underneath eye shadows I wear, I wanted to test out the Elf Retro Paradise Eyeshadow palette using a primer on one eye that I normally wear under my eyeshadow so I can evaluate it fairly in comparison with other eye shadows I’ve tried. And by the way, the Elf Putty Eye Primer comes in five other colors as well:  White, Cream, Sand, Clay and Black. 

Watch How It’s Done:


Elf Retro Paradise Eye Shadow Palette:

In the video I’m going to go ahead and try out the Elf Retro Paradise Eye Shadow Palette. This is the one product that costs more than $8.  It’s $14—which is still a great value for an 18-pan eye shadow palette. I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous colors. And there are several other things I love about this palette.

I love the variety of light, mid-tone and dark colors in both warm and cool tones.”

First, it has 12 mattes and 6 shimmers and I know many of us really appreciate having more mattes than shimmers in a palette. Also, it has both light and dark mattes as well as some mattes which are pops of colors. The light matte is great for blending out the edge of eye shadows in the crease so there are no hard eye shadow edges and for lightening other colors. And the dark colors are fantastic to use to deepen the outer corners of our eyes. I also love the variety of light, mid-tone and dark colors in both warm and cool tones.

Frankly, these are qualities I wish most eye shadow palettes would have. In fact, I was recently describing what my ideal palette would look like to my daughter (who happens to be a Beauty Editor for the online site Who, What, Wear, so this kind of conversations isn’t all that unusual for us) and I mentioned these very same qualities I mentioned in this Elf palette that I’d love to see in most eye shadow palettes. 

Camo Hydrating Concealer:

So next, I’m trying out the Camo Hydrating Concealer which costs $6.00. I got the “Light Peach” shade since I wanted to see if it would work as a color corrector under my eyes. It has a big doe foot applicator so I’m going to put some on my hand—so I don’t get too much– and then dot it on with my concealer brush.

They have seven kuel shades in this concealer”

I already have this concealer in Fair Beige, but it’s too light to use as a concealer on my face, so I often use it as my light contour color. One thing I love that Elf’s done on their website is to make it easier to choose concealer and foundation shades. They do this by letting you pick whether you want to look at colors that have a cool, warm or neutral undertone. That is so helpful in finding a color that really works for us. They have seven kuel shades in this concealer, 10 neutral shades and 10 warm shades. What I really like about this concealer is that it is light weight and matte, but it is definitely full coverage.

Multi Sticks – Blush and Highlighter:

Next, let’s move on to blush and highlighter. First I’ll try out the cream blush sticks which are called Multi Sticks because the description says they can be used on cheeks, lips and eyes. I purchased the two colors Dazzling Peony and Sparkling Rose which should work with the cool undertone of my skin. Each of these costs $4.00.

So I’ll get a lovely, sheer application of these colors, I’m going to put them on the back of my hand and then pick them up with a stippling brush. The stippling brush doesn’t apply as heavy a concentration of the colors as other brushes might because the synthetic fibers are different lengths and not densely packed. And this type of brush also won’t disturb the foundation underneath.

I really appreciate the fact that there is a wide range of shades in this multi-stick product so warm, neutral, and cool undertones are all covered and there are some deeper colors for darker skin tones as well. The colors are:  Radiant Bronze, Luminous Berry, Bronzed Cherry, Glimmering Guava, Glowing Mango and Glistening Peach so there are some good color choices no matter what the undertone of your skin might be.

Bite Size Face Duos:

And finally I’m going to check out the new Bite Size Products that Elf has come out with: they’re called Bite Size Face Duos and they each cost $3.00. These are powder blush and highlight combinations and come in a wonderful array of colors. I have the Lychee and the Watermelon for my cool skin undertone, but the other colors are Cantaloupe which is a light yellow/peach; White Peach which is slightly deeper than Cantaloupe; Guava, which is a brighter, deeper peach; Spiced Apple which is a light terra cotta nude color; Pomegranate which is a richer, deeper pink; and Coconut which is a bronze shade.

So once again, there’s a nice range of colors for different skin undertones. Since I have a cream foundation and blush already on, I’m going to press on some powder over the cream blush areas so that these powder blushes will glide on and not look splotchy. 

My Take on Elf:

Elf Putty Eye Primer and the Retro Paradise Eye shadow Palette:

you can create beautiful, full looks with this palette without dipping into other palettes”

So let me share my initial thoughts on these products. First the Elf Putty Eye Primer and the Retro Paradise Eye shadow Palette. I do like how the Elf Putty Primer applied and how the eye shadows went on over it, but I need to have a longer wear test with the Elf Putty Eye Shadow Primer to see how it lasts on the eyes throughout the day, so I will let you know how that goes.* 

There is a lot I really love about this eye shadow palette which I mentioned earlier: the fact that there are quite a few more mattes than shimmers, the range of warm and cool shades, the fact that there are light and dark mattes along with pops of color and the nice range of light, mid-tone and darker colors. All of these factors really mean that you can create beautiful, full looks with this palette without dipping into other palettes.

Amazing Value For The Price.

The colors blend in easily with each other—which is a big plus—especially for those of us  who may have issues with texture. The only drawbacks with this palette are that some of the colors are a bit powdery so it does make sense to always apply your eye shadow first if you’re using this palette. And with the shimmers it can be helpful to apply them with your finger or to spray some setting spray onto your brush before or after dipping into them. And you do have to apply several layers of color to get strong color payoff with some of these shadows. But overall, if you like colors that blend in easily, like some shimmers along with more mattes, and like a few pops of both warm and cool colors as well as a good range of light to dark colors, I think you’ll enjoy this palette. And it is an amazing value for the price.

Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer.

Moving on to some of the other products: I do love the Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer. It definitely provides good coverage and feels light weight—both things which I think are important to those of us over 45. This Light Peach color does work fairly well as a color corrector under my eyes. 

Multi Stick.

And here are my thoughts on the Multi Stick. I did like it as a cream blush, but I don’t think I’d use it on my lips simply because I think it would feel too drying. And I don’t think I’d use it on my eyes because I do prefer using powder eyeshadow rather than cream on my eyes—but that’s just my personal preference. And then the Bite Size Face Duos which are powder blush and highlighters. The range of color options is excellent and they applied beautifully.

Share Your Experience:

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these Elf products. And if you have, please share with us your thoughts about these products.

*After trying out the Elf Eye Putty Primer for a longer period of time, I found it drying out a bit which meant that it tugged and pulled as I applied it which is not particularly good for older eyes!

About The Author:

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional, working makeup-artist who is passionate about helping women 45+ get their glow back. In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty. Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 45+. Don’t forget to subscribe! Elise is also an author and speaker and hosts Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Edge Talk Radio show where she interviews experts in the field of health and wellness.