e.l.f. at Target: Back To School Haul 2010

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e.l.f. Target Back To School haul

Like everyone else, I was ecstatic to hear e.l.f.’s announcement that all Targets would carry the e.l.f. Studio line. Unfortunately for those in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor in Iowa, that announcement proved to not be entirely accurate. Many Targets would carry e.l.f., but not all. Though the limited edition 2009 Holiday sets at my local Targets were very successful and sold out almost immediately, neither the Targets in Cedar Rapids or Coralville decided to carry a permanent display. I was very displeased because it was insinuated multiple times that all Targets would carry e.l.f.

Here’s what I picked up.

The Breakdown

  • Back To School: Eye Shadow Set
    • Natural Eyeshadow & Brush
    • Smoky Eyeshadow & Brush
  • Back To School: Bronzer & Blush Duo in Bronze & Pink Glow
  • Back To School: Zit Zapper
  • Back To School: Super Glossy Lip Shine in Paradise Pink
  • Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Brownie Points
  • Hypershine Gloss in Sugar Plum
  • Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush

e.l.f. & Target

My husband has very odd hours at his job with the US Census and is on call every day of the week. I’ve tried to get our family to go on a family vacation the past couple of years, but it’s never worked out for one reason or another. Due to my husband’s schedule, we couldn’t do my first pick, but we were able to go to a local water park a little over fifty miles north of our current location (just slightly out of range for the e.l.f. site). Before we left, I just had to check the e.l.f. Store Locator to see if Waterloo carried e.l.f., and more specifically, Studio products. Sure enough, a K-Mart and a Target popped up on the locator. Judging by the misleading icons (I’ve never seen nail products at any place the Store Locator claimed), I figured this Target carried the Studio line.

e.l.f. 2010 Back To School promotion end cap display at Target

Now why the Iowa cities of Waterloo and Davenport carry e.l.f. Products, but not the state’s second largest city (Cedar Rapids) is beyond me. Especially when the test run at Christmas was so successful.

Anyway, I went to the Waterloo Target under the guise of buying a swimsuit (that I did need). Once that horror was over—nothing but triangle bikinis left—I darted to the cosmetics section and scanned the aisles. I didn’t find a permanent display, but I did stumble onto an endcap with a ton of products not offered on the elf website (some of the items were ultimately added to e.l.f.’s site). Right away, I noticed the new packaging; still white, but different from the “other” new white packaging released this year. These products all have a red sticker depicting a $1 on top of a sparkly apple (not kidding). It was not until after I arrived home and went through my purchases, that I belatedly realized the e.l.f. endcap was part of their Back To School promotion (with the “to” capitalized). Maybe it’s because I have two boys in elementary school, or I was homeschooled during my middle and high school years, but I don’t automatically think makeup when it comes to the back-to-school season.

The limited edition Back To School products include:

  • Back To School: Concealer Kit
  • Hypershine Gloss 3 Piece Set
  • Color 101: Hypershine Gloss Set
  • Super Glossy Lip Shine: Two Shades
  • Super Glossy Lip Shine 3 Piece Set
  • Back To School Eyeliner Sets
    • Eyeliner Pencil Case
    • Eyeliner Pencil & Pen Case
    • Liquid Eyeliner Trio
  • Back To School: Eye Shadow Sets
  • Color 101 Duo Eyeshadow Sets
    • Duo Smoky Eye Kit
    • Duo Shadow Kit
  • Back To School: Bronzer & Blush Duo in Bronze & Pink Glow
  • Back To School: Zit Zapper
  • Back To School: Beauty Books
    • Neutral Eyes
    • Eye Brights
    • Smoky Eyes
    • Lip Edition
  • Back To School: 27 pc. Starter Palette (AKA the Mini Makeup Collection)

e.l.f. 2010 permanent display at Target

We were about ready to leave Target when I happened by the permanent elf display. It was next to the perfumes, so I didn’t see it when I first scanned the aisles from the opposite end. A vertical half of the display holds budget elf products, while the other holds Studio products. There’s a lot of great products and I was able to scout out some Studio products I can’t wait to try during their next sale. I already have most of the Studio items I want, so I’d rather wait for a sale instead of buying the Studio products for full price.

Some other available products are Studio Brushes (no kabukis), Eyelid Primer, Studio Blush/Eyeshadow/Lip Stains/ Minty Lip Glosses/Eyeliner & Shadow Stick, most of the Super Glossy Lip Shines/Hypershine Glosses/Plumping Lip Gloss/Luscious Liquid Lipsticks, a few All Over Cover Sticks (including Golden Peach) and some Shimmering Facial Whips.

I did not see any mineral products, nail polish, budget lip liners, the recently released budget lipstick or glitter eye liner.

If you check the Target website, you can find a few limited edition online exclusives, including e.l.f. Minerals and three different 5-piece Super Glossy Lip Shine sets (Bare, Pink and Plum). I really, really want to try the Plum and Bare sets. I have not seen anything similar to the plum set offered anywhere else, including the Target stores themselves.

Permanent e.l.f. 2010 Studio display at Target

I waffled, but ultimately decided against buying the Mini Makeup Collection. For the Back to School edition, it’s called the 27 Piece Starter Palette. I compared the pictures on the Target website, and the two collections appear to be identical. The primary differences are the collections’ names and respective boxes. The Mini Makeup Collection comes in a nice, black box with “e.l.f. Studio” printed on the cover, while the other is called the 27 Piece Starter Set and is packaged in a white box.

At the Waterloo, IA Target store, the whole bottom row on the Back To School endcap was filled with white boxes with large cellophane windows so I could study the palette a little better. I waffled mainly because I wasn’t wowed by the colours I saw. Also, the whole palette concept doesn’t sit well with me. It’s way too big for me to put in my purse (I’m doing my darnedest to stick to a small one) and I’m afraid it’s too fragile to put into my duffel bag with me on trips. Plus I’ve done a good job keeping the necessary makeup items in a small cosmetics bag.

I’m still very tempted to buy the Mini Makeup Collection, because I’ve always been intrigued by it. Of course, I’d rather get one of the larger versions, but Target has a good deal going by selling them for $10 USD instead of the usual $15 USD. Since it seems to be connected with their Back to School promotion, I’ll have to make up my mind soon. Target is actually selling the two sets simultaneously on their website, with the Mini Makeup Collection being an online exclusive!

On to the reviews.

Back To School: Eye Shadow Sets [LE]

Technically, the packaging refers to this product as Natural Shadows & Brush and Smoky Shadows & Brush, but they look like mini palettes. Each compact features six shadows in a collective theme. I can only find reference to these two themes, both online and in stores.

Back To School: Eye Shadow Set in Natural Shadows & Brush

The packaging looks nice, but feels cheap and brittle. The palettes are $3 USD a piece, explaining the lower quality. e.l.f. could have charged five dollars and used better packaging, but I guess that’s not their priority. Anyway, the bottom part is constructed of shiny black, molded plastic to hold six shadows and one tiny, minuscule brush that some might recognize as a shortened version of the Studio Eye Transformer. The top appears to be solid black plastic with six little windows, but is clear plastic coated with black (a plastic film maybe?). There is a small, rectangular mirror on the inside of the lid. Overall, I’d have to rate the packaging low, because while the compact looks terrific, it’s not very sturdy.

The shadows themselves are good for their price range. Not luxurious, by any means, but decent in terms of consistency and colour payoff. Like most e.l.f. powders, these shadows are loose and powdery. I’m not sure if these are exclusive shades, but I really like them. Each palette has a variety of shades in matte and shimmer finishes. One thing I don’t like is the high amount of shadow fallout. I’m left with a face full of glitter and need to use a lot of makeup remover to rid myself of sparkle.

You can find this product on both the e.l.f. and Target websites, but let me state that the main images on the e.l.f. site are inaccurate. I don’t mean the colours are misrepresented, I mean wrong. Those are not the colours in the palettes. If you click on Zoom/Enlarge to launch the light box pop-up window, you can see the actual shades, but the colours are still off. In contrast, Target did a much better job on their website.

Back To School Natural Shadows & Brush and Smoky Shadows & Brush

Natural Shadows & Brush

This palette features six mostly warm, brown and gold shades. It’s a good set, although the shades are a little on the shimmery side. The set is call Natural, but the little sticker on the back says Neutrals.

From left to right, the top row has a matte beige, a shimmery cool beige silver, and a matte dark taupe/brown. The bottom row features a shimmery taupe (similar to e.l.f. Minerals Eyeshadow in Elegant), a shimmery light gold (similar to e.l.f. Minerals Eyeshadow in Celebrity), and a matte black (or possibly a very dark brown).

The colours are all pretty, but my favorite shade is the gold in the bottom middle spot. My one complaint is the lack of a medium brown. I sparingly use the darkest colour for the outer corners of my eyes, but I would have preferred a medium brown in place of the silver (middle top spot). That way I can have a single palette for highlighting, shading and an eyeliner in one compact.

Smoky Shadows & Brush

Unlike the Neutral Shadows & Brush, this set includes two separate looks, one for green-grey and another for purple.

From left to right, the top row has a shimmer cream, a pearl green-blue grey, and a darker shimmery steel-grey. The second row has a shimmer lilac, a shimmer amethyst purple and a shimmer black.

The top row is a little difficult to explain. I’ve seen some reviewers describe it as straight grey, but I disagree. There is definitely a blue-green undertone, leaning closer to green than blue.

The purples are pretty, especially the darker purple. It’s gorgeous in the pan, and looks great on the eyelid. These colours suit an evening look.

Back To School: Blush/Bronzer Duo [LE]

This was the first item I spotted on the aisle end cap and it surprised me. A dupe of a dupe? Clearly this is a $1 version of the elf Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder (my review on that product here). Some people insist the latter is a dupe of Nars Laguna/Orgasm duo, others disagree. I have no interest in Nars, so I’m staying out of the debate. I’m only mentioning what I’ve heard. While I like the blush side of the Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder, I find the bronzer too dark and orange for my skin tone.

Back To School: Bronzer & Blush Duo (left) and Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder (right)

At first glance, the Blush/Bronzer Duo and Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder appear nearly identical. However, the formulas are very different from each other. Like many of e.l.f.s’ pressed powder items, the Blush/Bronzer Duo is very powdery. Honestly, it’s too powdery, but for just a buck I won’t complain. It won’t take long to hit pan.

The two blush/bronzer duos are similar when swatched. It’s a good dupe. The pink is pinker than that of the coral Studio version. I also found the bronzer side more complementary for my skin tone than the Studio version. Overall, the Blush/Bronzer Duo is sheerer, easier to apply and more buildable.

Back To School: Bronzer & Blush Duo and Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder Swatches

The packaging is identical to those used for elf’s budget bronzers. Inside the clear, plastic compact are two metal pans to hold the blush and bronzer. Not the best packaging, not terrible, but could be nicer.

Would I buy this product again? Oh yes. Unfortunately, I think this is another limited edition product, so I’m not sure how much longer it will be available.

Back To School: Zit Zapper

I was super bummed to not order the Zit Zapper during the 6th anniversary sale. I only noticed it after I placed my order.

e.l.f. Back To School: Zit Zapper

This reminds me a lot of the Blemish Touch Stick by Desert Essence I had a few years ago. That one was like $8 when I bought it. The Zit Zapper is a dollar for basically the same product.

The Zit Zapper has salicylic acid and tea tree oil in a base of witch hazel and alcohol. There are a few others, but those four are the main ingredients.

I’ve seen this advertised on the e.l.f. site, but the packaging is for the Back To School promotion, so I’m not sure if this is a permanent product. Grab it while you can.

Back To School: Super Glossy Lip Shine in Paradise Pink [LE]

I saw two, individual Super Glossy Lip Shines (my full review on the SGLS here) available in the Back To School aisle end cap. One was a dark pink with glitter and the other was a shimmery coral/baby pink.

I wasn’t interested in the hot pink shade, but I decided to try the light pink called Paradise Pink. It’s an okay shade, sort of a pinker Candlelight. Nothing particularly special. Paradise Pink is a light pink. I mean super light. Like, lightening my lips, that’s how light. Unlike the usual Super Glossy Lip Shines, this one does not have SPF 15.

e.l.f. Lip Products: Therapeutic Lip Balm in Blackberry,
Hypershine Gloss in Sugar Plum, Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Brownie Points,
and Back To School: Super Glossy Lip Shine in Paradise Pink

Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Brownie Points [DC]

Update: This shade has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase.

I had wanted to order this shade earlier, but never got around to it. After seeing Brownie Points on the aisle display, I decided to nab it.

It’s very similar to Maple Sugar, just a little warmer with slightly less shimmer. Great for a neutral look. If you have one, you don’t really need the other.

Hypershine Gloss in Sugar Plum [LE]

I sort of have an informal rule stating that I will not buy any more Hypershine Glosses. It’s a rule I’ve mostly stuck by, but when I saw Sugar Plum, I was impressed at how dark the gloss is in the tube. I decided to go out on a limb and see if there is a single Hypershine Gloss that has any legitimate colour payoff. This one does.

It’s a little on the cool side for my skin tone, though.

Therapeutic Lip Balm in Blackberry

Update: This product is now called the e.l.f. Essential Soothing Lip Balm and is still available for $1 USD.

I like blackberries and the colour purple and I’ve wanted to try this version of the Therapeutic Lip Balm. These lip balms feel like they’re melting into your lips. I like them, but they’re not for everyone.

Studio “C” Brush

Ah, the famous “C” Brush. I had just decided against buying it in my latest haul, but it looked so promising in the store. It’s different than the other eyeshadow brushes I own, being thicker and shorter than either of my EDM or ecoTOOLS eyeshadow brushes.

Eyeshadow Brush Comparison: EcoTools Eyeshadow Brush,
Everyday Minerals Everyday Eyeshadow Brush, and e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush

Having tried all sorts of eyeshadow brushes, this one is definitely different due to its thickness, though I’ve come to really like it.

Eyeshadow Brush Comparison (side view): e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush,
ecoTOOLS Eyeshadow Brush, and Everyday Minerals Everyday Eyeshadow Brush

My one regret is paying full price, when I could have bought it during the anniversary sale.


Final Thoughts:

Pros: Lots of interesting new products, LE eye palettes are great
Cons: Packaging for budget products is cheap and flimsy, product quality is still underwhelming

Geh. e.l.f. is so addictive. Right after the 6th Anniversary Sale, I ended up with a bunch of new products.

Of the products I purchased this time, I highly recommend the eye shadow palettes and the Bronzer & Blush Duo.

In terms of general recommendations for products Target currently carries, I recommend nabbing the Eyelid Primer, Zit Zapper, Studio Brushes, and the Color 101 – Eyeshadow Duo sets (I have not tried them this season, but really liked the ones I bought during the 2009 Holiday season).