October 25, 2012

E.L.F. Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick Review & Swatches

I purchased several E.L.F. Jumbo Eyeshadow Sticks recently as they looked like a rather great bargain. Much to my delight I had smashing success with the E.L.F. Jumbo Gloss Sticks so this was promising for the Eyeshadow Sticks.

These are mere $2 bucks each and come in ten shades. Quite a value when compared to budget brands like NYX who also does a jumbo eyeshadow pencil as well.

Did I love them?

Find out!

Nope, skip ’em I don’t love ’em.

First of all they stink. Wow. I mean so bad that I was scared to put them near my eyes. They smell like burnt rubber or oil or burning oil or something car slash mechanic related. It’s gross sorry.

I’m fascinated because there are 24 reviews on E.L.F. and most are raves. Eh? What am I missing?

These are twist up chubby pencil stick which you can use to line and shade with. They are a cream formula so you can use them as an all over eyeshadow, eyeliner, or as a base for powders.

I tried them in a variety of ways and didn’t love any of the results. As an all over eyeshadow they crease and fade within an hour even with primer. The colors just don’t want to stay put and I had severe issues with keeping them on my lid. The creasing is extra bad and seems like I have an oily lid when in fact I’m drier. Pigmentation varies on each shade some of the darker colors I tried had sheer to medium color pay off when built (but you had to do quite a few layers for the medium color pay off). The lighter shades are very subtle with very little color pay off as you’ll see in one of my looks below.

Feeling Lucky, Little Miss Thing, Turkish Coffee, French Lace

Turkish Coffee

Little Miss Thing

French Lace

Feeling Lucky

I find blending difficult with them because as you build color up and blend out with a finger they end up blending away and looking patchy or looking like you didn’t even apply the shadow at all. After some challenging minutes with the pencil I finally got it into place correctly. But the struggle of application kinda got me irritated. The dry down is a little slow as well which could be why they crease so quickly as they felt a bit tacky 30 minutes after application when they should have long since dried down….!

I finally tried using them as a base with an eyeshadow and a loose pigment. They do very well under powders during application as they’ll help minimize fall out and intensify the shade you’re using. However, at about an hour and a half into the wear my eyeshadow starts to crease in a major way and gets very muddy looking. With loose pigment I saw a longer wear time with creasing but a lot less creasing compared to powder eyeshadow.

In the end I felt like the smell, application issues, and color pay off added up to a very poor product. Plus these are .11 oz and NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencils are 0.18. My sound advice is dish out the extra $2 for NYX, get more product, and a better formula with a wide array of colors to choose from and skip E.L.F.’s version!

Little Miss Thing

Turkish Coffee

Tried ’em?

Do share!

I purchased this item.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Carrie

    Haven’t tried them, but these sound like the drug-store equivalent of the nightmare NARS eyeshadow pencils!

    I’m guessing they get raves because at the price point people are more lenient than they otherwise would be.

      • Jen

        In the past, I used to leave reviews on Elf’s website – the first 8 or so I did were positive. Then I left two not so positive ones – not scathing, just not thrilled. Those somehow never showed up on Elf’s site. I know some negative reviews do make it onto the site, but after having that experience personally I just don’t trust their review section.

        • the Muse

          interesting…I noticed reviews on sephora site happen to have the same issue jen! HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

          • Jen

            *sigh* I’m not surprised. I suspect a lot of sites feel the need to control the reviews, but I have only left 1 or 2 on Sephora so i hadn’t seen that for myself. But hey, that’s why we’ll always need blogs like yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • the Muse

            that sucks though…don’t have a review option on your site if you can’t take the good with the bad ya know? Aw thanks Jen flattered!

          • elaina

            I have noticed the same thing with the birchbox reviews I’ve written several negative reviews that haven’t shown up even though they follow the review guidelines.

    • Tiffany Martin

      Yeah, nearly every review on ELF is a rave, it’s gotta be a rock-bottom price thing. I mean if people only spend a couple bucks in general they probably don’t have picky taste.

      • the Muse

        i honestly couldn’t care less on the price, just b/c it is cheap doesn’t mean we should rave it, that’s absurd mentality…! hit and miss as always with ELF ;-D

  • Robin

    Thank you for the review. Was heading to Target this weekend to check these out. Now will head to Ulta to look at NYX.

    Bummed Cliniques chubby sicks for eyes got pushed back to the spring. Was so wanting them!

  • katie

    Thanks for the review. I have a few in my basket on the ELF website. I think I will take them out now!

  • Lulubelle

    I haven’t tried these, but the one e.l.f. eyeliner I picked up smeared like crazy and never seemed to set. I was afraid these would have the same issues, and it sounds like they do.


    what a shame…. I mean if it even makes the eyeshadow crease faster. whats the point! ๐Ÿ™ i had such hope for those

  • Josh :D

    Thanks for saving me some $$$! I was going back and forth on buying a few of these to try but I’ll be passing now! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • the Muse

      josh <3! how are you? my pleasure, don't bother, they aren't great sadly!

  • cat

    Le sigh… Swatches look great and they look really pretty on you but “burnt rubber or oil or burning oil or something car slash mechanic related”? No thank you.

  • Kelly

    Aww! But they look so good on you in your pictures!
    I almost splurge in during the 50% off eyes product. I am glad I waited patiently for your review before I dig in a bunch of those.

    • the Muse

      kelly, good for you on waiting! they really aren’t worth getting imho ๐Ÿ™

  • m

    too bad they’re so difficult to work with, because your swatches look beautiful!

  • mj

    The smell you describe is disturbing. elf is made in China, and there have been many issues with products from there containing chemicals that are dangerous. There is more info here:


    I am in no way affiliated with thie site or the owner of the site…i`m just getting tired of buying things I must either return or toss out…

    • Tiffany Martin

      It’s more likely the hydrogenated coconut oil making that smell than evil chinese chemistry but whatever.

      • mj

        That could very well be. I haven`t ordered any, so I didn`t sniff them myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Abbey

    Too bad they’re awful, but I just bought some Milani ones that I love so I’m not too disappointed ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Joanna

    Thanks for the review. I was thinking of getting them but I doubt I will now.

  • Laura

    For what it’s worth, I did not notice any horrible smell.
    But, I have to agree on wear. I experienced creasing even with my usual TFSI. I also noticed that they were hard to blend. I think I paid $1 each, so no big loss. Too bad, since I was hoping to like these.

    • the Muse

      are you sure you didn’t notice the smell? It was pretty bad….! I’m surprised! perhaps my pencils were a flue. ๐Ÿ™ I’m so sorry you had to experience the same issues with the formula le sigh! Oh well! at least it wasn’t TOO much ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Tiffany Martin

    Sucks that these are a miss, that’s how it is with ELF, innit?

    Glad you did this review, Muse, I was really interested in finding out about these jumbo pencils because I love my Urban Decay jumbos so much.

  • Jen

    Thanks for the honest review here! These do indeed sound like the NARS Soft Touch (and hey, at least they’re a whole lot cheaper). Too bad – glad we have NYX and Milani cream shadow pencils.

    • the Muse

      hey jen! yeah…ugh at least they aren’t that costly though ;-D agreed! Love the NYX/Milani ones!

  • Miranda

    I find that a lot of reviews on the ELF website are given high stars just because of the price, not the quality. So sad about these though, I had a couple saved in my cart but I can find much better ways to spend $2 on ELF’s cosmetics!

  • paintednightsky

    Thanks for the review! The swatch looks nice but guess I’ll stick with my UD. Wonder if they’d work good as a base by itself for powder eyeshadow? A lot of times I tend to use the UD underneath and put some shadow on top to set it although I guess that defeats the purpose of a stick eyeshadow lol

    • the Muse

      my pleasure paintednightsky. I doubt they’ll be all that great as a base as they crease badly which will result in creasing powder on top as well.

  • Writtergirl

    Wow I have midnight rendezvous and I love it! I didn’t notice a smell or creasing I’m wearing it now as a base. No creasing or fading. Maybe it works better as a base rather than by itself.

    • the Muse

      wow…the smell is really bad surprised you didn’t notice it. and a formula that doesn’t crease/fade? you lucked out ;-D doesn’t work for me at all!

    • Kate

      I agree, I was just writing a review for this and thought I should see what others were saying. I definitely didn’t notice any smell, or creasing (though I didn’t wear it for too long.) Are the formulas the same in America and the UK? Maybe that’s why I didn’t have issues?

  • Valerie

    I didn’t notice a smell either. I don’t smell my makeup closely unless I can smell it from a good distance?? I love your reviews and swatches. I feel like when you take the same poses it’s a little hard to see the differences in all of your products.