e.l.f. Essentials Brightening Eye Color Quads - Review

04 August 2011

I am really excited to be finally doing this post. This is going to be a review on one of my favorite e.l.f. products. It's a favorite for many reasons - it's good quality stuff, it's compact, and, hell, it's bloody cheap. This product will cost you ONE DOLLAR. Yes, this product is not perfect. But it is more than worth the dollar it costs. And that would be the e.l.f. Essentials Brightening Eye Color quads. I'm sure most everyone has heard of them, and there have got to be a bazillion reviews available on these things, but I figure I'll add one anyway! ;)

Currently, there are 19 quads available, but they seem to be adding more at a rapidly increasing rate. I have eight and it's those eight I will be talking about today. Like all products, some of these quads are better than others, but the discrepancy between each quad is minimal. It must be stated that there seems to be a wide difference in quality - some people don't think highly of these. I don't know if it's on a batch by batch basis or if my body chemistry is different, but I have never had a huge issue w/ this product.

e.l.f.'s website states:

Luxuriously smooth, corn silk formula provides eyes with a neutral base and an awakened brightness. The formula blends into skin for a long lasting, beautiful effect. The 4 color quad allows for both natural and dramatic looks. Mirror in compact included."

I think that these little quads are, for the most part, really good. Some downsides are the size of each shadow; it can be a little difficult to get a brush to pick up product evenly. Also, some of these shadows are very dusty - I've noticed that the matte shadows seem to have a lot more fall-out than the shimmery ones. Some of the shimmery shades can apply a bit patchy. I would say that an eye primer is a must and that using a sticky base will DEFINITELY help out w/ the color pay-off and consistency.

That being said, these little buggers are quite good for only a buck. There is only one that is slightly disappointing. All of them have decent pigmentation w/o a primer but the primer definitely makes these "pop", for lack of other words.

Now onto the swatches! These are in order from favorite to least favorite. The top swatches are over bare skin. The bottom ones are over Too Faced Shadow Insurance, as per usual.

  1. Punk Funk

    This is my absolute favorite out of all the quads. I love every color in this quad and I've bought several backups. Hey, they're only a buck! This quad has some of the best pigmentation out of all of the ones I own. The purple one is a tad less pigmented than the others and is a bit harder to work w/. It's fairly unusual to find bright, almost neon shadows in the drugstore range; let alone for one frickin' dollar. This comes a bright pink, a color similar to MUFE's N. 92, a nice blue, and a shimmery white. The pink appears to have micro-glitter in it. I adore this one.

  2. Drama

    This is my second favorite. I used to love black shadow and if I were still a teenager, this would probably top my list. But now I'm a huge colorslut so this one is my second favorite. This is an excellent smokey eye kit - it has one of the best drugstore matte blacks I've found. The black in this little quad is less chalky and fall-out prone than NYX's "Black", which I know a lot of people love. This comes w/ two definite staples - a matte black and a matte white. You also get a nice silver, although it's not as metallic as other high end shadows that I own. My favorite out of the bunch is the glittery gray-charcoal shade.

  3. Luxe

    I really like this quad. It's not my absolute favorite but I think this quad swatches amazing, whether w/ a primer or w/o one. That burnt red shadow is pretty fantastic. This also comes w/ a nice cream colored highlight shade. The last two shadows are pretty standard; a warm, shimmery brown and a dark brown w/ a gold sheen to it. All and all, I like this quad, and if you're not super into either smokey eyes or bright colors, this is your next best bet.

  4. Silver Lining

    This quad is the purple quad. For all those who love purples, this will be one of the first quads you'll want to pick up. It comes w/ a white, a blue-violet, a nice gray color, and a shimmery light pink. The purple in here is almost a blurple; it's a really vivid shadow. This quad is also pigmented as hell, swatching nicely over bare skin as well as over the primer. I'm not super geeked by light pinks, but this quad isn't overly chalky either.

  5. Teal Dream

    This is the mermaid quad. It's at this point where some of the quads start to have small issues w/ pigmentation and fall-out mess. This quad isn't dusty but it doesn't swatch as well as I would wish. Even over a primer, the colors could be a bit more bright. There are two boring colors: a typical pale beige highlight and a taupe brown shadow. Then there is the awesome sea green and blue. Those two shadows make this quad for me, and it's why I list it fifth, even though the color isn't as intense as I'd hope.

  6. Butternut

    I want to let it be known that this quad is really good, pigmentation-wise. It's rated so low, not because it's poor quality, but b/c I just don't like or really need another neutral palette, haha. What can I say? If you like neutrals, I DEFINITELY recommend this quad to you. I'm just not a super neutral freak. These shadows are...all different shades of brown, to be honest. The darkest brown reminds me a lot of UD's "Darkhorse" while the lighter color is somewhat like "Smog".

  7. Blue Moon

    This is the same sort of situation as w/ "Butternut"; I just don't particularly like the color scheme. However, these shadows swatch pretty well and they translate well to the eye. The silvery-brown color is nice. This also comes w/ a light sky blue and a dark navy blue. And your typical light cream brow bone highlighter, haha. This quad is nice, it's just not MY kind of nice, if that makes any sense.

  8. Nouveau Neutrals

    This quad is my absolute least favorite. The medium shimmery brown shadow doesn't show up on me AT ALL. It won't even swatch nicely over a primer. AGAIN, there is a cream colored highlighter. The pale, pastel teal/green shadow is a bit chalky and powdery. The sage green is nice, but doesn't swatch as well as I'd like. Plus, I just don't like those greens. All in all, this the one quad that's a total disappointment.

And that's the end, folks. I would definitely suggest checking these out. If you don't like them, you're only out one dollar.


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