E.L.F. holiday gift sets, part 2: Pretty glitter, delicious parabens

We’ve established that I was not terribly impressed with the first E.L.F. eye set I tried out — the shadows seemed to be imbued with an instinct driving them to find their way to my cheeks like elephants seeking out their traditional graveyard. But I’d told myself if I could find three products I liked among my E.L.F. purchases, the experience would have been worthwhile.

E.L.F. Glitz N’ Glam Limited Edition set

The E.L.F. Get the Look: Glitz N’ Glam set seemed promising: A sparkly pink lip gloss, a duo of shimmery pink blush and steel gray eye shadow, a mascara and an iridescent glitter liquid liner. Definitely not products you’d want to wear all together (unless you’re in middle school, in which case go for it now while you’re still young enough to get away with it), but some fun little items to use here and there.

First, the duo. I couldn’t get a great photo of the blush — no matter the lighting, I couldn’t manage to get a photo (in focus) that accurately captured the way it looks. So let me just say this: It’s pretty and pink and sparkly, and no one over the age of 12 should be wearing it on her cheeks unless the circumstances involve some sort of dance recital or cheer competition. HOWEVER. A couple of days after I’d written off the blush, just for kicks, I tried it on as an eye shadow by itself with black gel liner. So pretty! It wore well and looked really nice with my skin (which, as you’ve seen, is Alaska wintertime pale). I’ll wear it again as an eye shadow, maybe over a NYX jumbo eye pencil.

The gray shadow is unremarkable, as is the mascara.

I love, love, love the glitter liner. I’m 31, so glitter isn’t something that has a place in my everyday makeup routine, but for parties, the holidays, nights out I do like a little sparkle now and then. And I liked the way the glitter (iridescent in a clear base) added some interest to the otherwise unremarkable eye that was the result of my first E.L.F. test:

The lip gloss was actually the first item I tried out of any of the kits. I ripped into it in the Target parking lot and tried it on right there in the car. My initial reaction: It tastes like strawberry Kool-Aid powder. I was surprised by the taste (most of the lip products I use don’t taste like soft drinks), but didn’t find it unpleasant. I liked the shimmer and the color, although I did notice the pigment sort of moving around my lips as I pressed them together. I’ve since learned not to apply this gloss generously.

I tossed the gloss in my purse and I’ve been carrying it around for a week now and using it throughout the day. I was just starting to really like it when I made the mistake of reading the ingredients and learned something I wasn’t too excited about: It’s chock full of parabens. While the FDA has said it feels parabens are safe for cosmetic use “at the present time,” I’m not really comfortable putting a chemical directly on my mouth that has been identified as a possible contributor to breast cancer. When there are lots of paraben-free lip products out there, why take the risk? So the lip gloss, sadly, is getting tossed.

So far, glitter liner and blush-as-eye-shadow are the only winners, but there are two more kits to get through. Liquid liners and eye shadow quads await review.

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