Review: e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

I have a love-hate relationship with e.l.f. I love them because they are cheap as hell, but I hate them because sometimes you get what you pay for. Also because they may have some slightly pretentious people representing their brand, but I digress. Such is the beauty industry.

I’m a sucker for eye products, and the e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set happened to just fall into my cart during a trip to Target one day. Five dollars? So cheap… but no. I don’t need them. I don’t… need…

But then it was like an enraged cosmetic poltergeist knocked it down, and who was I to let them hit the ground? You understand, I’m sure.

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

Five shimmery shades, all for me. With ingredients that you’d find in shimmery eyeliner. There’s an extra white eyeliner on the package, but you don’t actually get it. So piss off.


From top: Black Bandit, Gunmetal, Plum Passion, Twinkle Teal and Boldly Bronzed.

The facts:

Built-in sharpeners
Five shades

From e.l.f.:

This set of 5 shimmering metallic liners puts the spotlight on your eyes. The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look! Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.

Set includes:
Gunmetal, Boldly Bronze, Twinkle Teal, Plum Passion, Black Bandit


Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Synthetic Beeswax, C10-18 Triglycerides, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Petrolatum, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Ceresin, Isopropyl Myristate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Tin Oxide , Butylparaben, BHT May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Aluminum Powder (CI 77000), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Red 40 Lake (CI 16035)

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

My most trusted assistant checking to see if the lighting is right. Or obscuring it. One of those.

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

This is how most of my blog shoots go. I just accept it now.

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

A lot of reviews I’ve read have said these aren’t very pigmented and don’t show up on their skin. I don’t have that problem at all, but I’m also paler than a young Rachel Dolezal. Too soon?

They apply incredibly smoothly, and have very little glitter fallout, which seems to be a huge issue with shimmery products. I wanted to like these so much. I almost did. But.


These just don’t last. They never claimed to be waterproof or smudge-proof, but seriously. I don’t have oily eyelids, but I do have hooded ones. One blink and this stuff’ll be transferred to my underbrow region. It seems to do okay when used on my lower lashline (unless I burst into tears or something), which works out as I tend to keep it subtle with colored liner. But still… no staying-power? No thank you.

Also, the caps don’t stay on well, so if you tend to throw your eyeliner all willy-nilly in your makeup bag like me, you may be in for a disaster. A shimmery disaster.

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

Holding my hand under a blasting faucet for ten seconds did nothing, which was impressive for a product that isn’t waterproof. But running my fingertip over them? Instant death.

I should also state that although they are hella smudgey, they don’t BLEND well. So if you want a perfectly-smudged smoky look… don’t even try. They also apply very unevenly. I’m stumped because they still swatch amazingly on my hand, but on the eyes… super patchy color deposits. Maybe it’s the difference in skin textures? The world may never know.

Three months passed by in the blink of an eye. These lonely eyeliners sat on my vanity, begging to be revived. ‘I guess I’ll review you now,” I said to them. They sat motionless with glee.

I don’t know if it was the time that passed, the looseness of the caps, or the coldness of my soul, but something caused these things to become mere fragments of their former mediocre selves. I already had slight contempt toward them, but this was their descent into hell. On the third day they rose, and I wrote this review.

I thought it would be a good idea to reapply them to take some eye photos for this post. As I was doing so, the application was rough and jagged, like they had started to dry out. Mind you, the caps were on tight as could be (not tight at all). I totally saw what other bloggers had stated–the colors just weren’t very pigmented. They were super vibrant when I first swatched them, but on my eyes? The black/slate/purple colors all seemed to run together and look alike. It was just a mess, and it took a lot to build them up to something visible. Maybe I got lucky on the swatch back in March, I thought. But no. They still swatch just fine. Just don’t put them on your eyes, I guess. Huge sigh, y’all.

I wasn’t even going to post these because at some point I just stopped caring because the application process was so shitty. But just so you can see the difference between the hand swatch and the eyes:

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

Shitty phone quality, not even going to apologize because I DON’T CARE. Here are the two colors that actually stand out.

e.l.f. Essential 5-Piece Shimmer Eyeliner Set

Slightly better phone quality, still don’t care. These colors all look the damn same. Thus concludes this review.

Pros: Great colors via swatch, nice shimmer with minimal fallout, smooth application (at first), built-in sharpeners.
Cons: Vibrancy seemed to wane over time, some colors are hard to distinguish from each other, absolutely ZERO staying-power. None. Dealbreaker.

Final Verdict: Obviously I wouldn’t purchase these again, but if they decide to make them smudge-proof… call me. If you’re interested, you can find them at the e.l.f. website or various stores such as Target for $5 USD.


  1. Disappointing! I prefer to buy cheaper cosmetics in fashionable colours, however it’s good to know which ones to avoid.
    Great descriptive review.

  2. How sad, I’ve had these before and had the same experience. But their newer products are getting much better!

  3. Boo that is disappointing, but I appreciate the honesty ;)

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