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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: e.l.f. Essential Smudge Pot in Brownie Points

The e.l.f. Smudge Pots, which are part of the Essential line, debuted earlier this year. Since their debut, I've heard lots of raves about these little mult-taskers. According to the e.l.f. website, they can be used as both eyeliner and eyeshadow. For $3 a pop, how could I resist trying one?

I purchased one shade, Brownie Points, from the e.l.f. site a few months ago. I've given this product a thorough testing, so read on for my full review.

e.l.f. Essential Smudge Pot in Brownie Points
(retail: $3, 0.19 oz)

The e.l.f. Essential Smudge Pots are available in nine shades on the e.l.f. website. I can't remember if these are sold in-store at Target and Kmart yet, but I would image they will be soon (if they're not there already).

I usually show you the outer packaging of the products I review, but the packaging for this product got a little banged up in shipping, so I'm sparing you! Here are the ingredients from the e.l.f. site (per the packaging, this product is "Made in China, Designed in the USA"):

Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Ozokerite, Phenyl Trimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Mica, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Ve), Propylparaben.
MAY CONTAIN: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Calcium Titanium Borosilicate, Tin Oxides (CI 77861).

After seeing this product in person, I couldn't help but think of Maybelline Color Tattoos.  The packaging is different though--Color Tattoos come in glass jars while these are made of light plastic. The Color Tattoos are also a little bit bulkier, while these e.l.f. pots are smaller--although a bit taller--than Color Tattoos. 

Brownie Points actually reminds me of the Maybelline Color Tattoo Spring 2014 Limited Edition shade Sleek & Spice. While not an exact dupe, I have no doubt that if you liked the color of Sleek & Spice, you will love this color as well.

swatched once on bare skin with my finger

In these photos, I applied Brownie Points to bare skin (no primer) using the Real Techniques Shading Brush. I also lined both my upper and lower lash line with Brownie Points using my e.l.f. Studio Small Smudge Brush (my absolute favorite brush ever for applying cream and gel liners).

As you can see, this is a very pigmented product. I definitely don't have to build for more intensity--I swiped my brush two times lightly into the pot for the amount of color you see on my lids above. The only issue I DID have was with how quickly this product sets when you're applying it as eyeshadow. My goodness! By the time I applied it to my lids, it was challenging to blend it up into the crease. I've had to practice my technique several times to get it to what you see above--if you think it looks patchy up above my crease, you should have seen what my first few attempts looked like! It was a mess. My suggestion is to apply the thinnest layer of product possible to your lid and then quickly work up, with a fluffy brush, and blend like crazy before this sets. Because once it sets, it's not going anywhere.

The texture of this product is thinner than a Maybelline Color Tattoo, and it's not as slick--it's a little bit drier. So you don't get that "slip" that you get with the Color Tattoos, but you do get the same level of pigmentation as many of the Color Tattoos. This product also sets much more quickly than a Color Tattoo, but I find the wear-time to be about the same. I'm seriously impressed with how long this product wears as both shadow and as liner. It doesn't budge for a good 6-7 hours on my super-oily skin, but after the seven hour mark, I do see a bit of fading in the crease area and the shimmer sort of fades to more of a matte finish.

Removal is not difficult, but I do find that it's easier to remove this product using eye makeup remover (or a cleansing oil), especially if you're wearing it as eyeliner.

Speaking of eyeliner, that's actually my favorite way to wear this product. Using an eyeliner brush, I find that this product applies very easily to the lash line, and it's also easy to smudge it out. It's way easier to smudge this out as a liner than it is to blend it as eyeshadow. I actually like wearing this product as liner over wearing Color Tattoos as liner, because I find that the pigmentation of Color Tattoos decreases a little bit when you wear them as liner. That's not the case with these at all.

One more thing: I've also tried using this as a base for powder eyeshadows, and it works nicely in that capacity as well. In fact, for me, I think it's better as a base than a stand-alone shadow. I find that my powder eyeshadows blend over this product and cover up any patchy areas that I can't quite blend out. I've been wearing this underneath the shadows in my Maybelline The Nudes palette and it's worked very nicely with many of them.

FINAL VERDICT: For three bucks, this is a great little product. It does have its faults, but they're minor. I really love this as eyeliner and as a base for my powder eyeshadows, and I would certainly purchase additional shades in the future. The wear-time for me (and my super oily skin) is very impressive, which is what I'm mostly concerned about when it comes to cream products on my eyes. I say give these a shot if you're generally drawn to cream shadow/liners.

Do you own any e.l.f. Smudge Pots? How are they working for YOU?

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. Tempting!!!!! Sounds like I would love it as a liner....

  2. I haven't seen them anywhere retail in my area or I would have picked some up.. the only thing that has stopped me is having to place an order online. There really isn't anything else at ELF I want and it would cost me too much in shipping for a small order. I swear by my ELF C shadow brush for cremes.. it's dense and fluffy with a curved edge.. you can dip/rub the ends of the bristles in and buff them on in light layers, blending as you go. Everything goes on smoother with it.

    1. I really like the RT shading brush for cream shadows and also concealer, for many of the reasons you described. It's rounded and fluffy, yet dense. But sadly, even that didn't help with the patchiness. This product just sets so darned quickly! Lol. I really, really love it as liner though. :)

  3. Amazing pigmentation for being ELF. I will have to check this out, normally I use Benefits cream shadows because of their staying power

    1. Agreed. I was so pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation...especially from the Essential line!

  4. I have all of them and am in love!

  5. have you tried the Nars eye primer? its really good for oily eyelids!

    1. I have, but I actually prefer my Wet n Wild Fergie and Milani primers to the NARS! Those are my holy grails as far as primers go...they both work SO well for me, even better than TFSI and UDPP. :)

  6. I agree, great value for money here! I've heard so many great things about the elf smudge pots, I really need to give them a try soon.

  7. I loved them I got them when they first launched for $2 ea. They work awesome for me!!

  8. I might have to make a trip to Target to see if they have these in store! Looks great on you!

    1. Same here! *fingers crossed that Tarjay has some*

  9. Wish they had some matte shades. The colors look beautiful.

  10. I'll have to pick some of these up...I'm obsessed with the Color Tattoos. I have almost every color!

  11. Thanks for the thoughtful review. I'm impressed with the pigmentation of this one. I'm not sure if I've seen these in stores but I love that these work well as shadow or liner. I might pick up a couple if I can find them in stores and check out the shades.

  12. I have three of these and I actually like them better than the CT's. For me they apply smoother and blend better(with the exception of the pink one in both CT and ELF)

  13. I love their smudge pots! That color is very nice!

  14. I have three of these, and they all crease like crazy:( I've tried with and without a primer. Thick and thin layers. The only way I can wear them is with a primer underneath and good quality eyeshadows on top to set it. I tried wearing some elf eyeshadows on top, and it still creased:( They're beautiful when they work, though!


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