August 03, 2012

Ellis Faas Light Eyeshadow - E305 Holographic Bordeaux

In my recent Sephora haul video, I mentioned how excited I was that Ellis Faas was being featured at the new Montreal location. This is a brand that I've been lemming since I first saw it mentioned on youtube, either by Samantha Chapman or Lisa Eldridge, so when I saw the shiny new counter and the gleaming bullet-shaped tester tubes, I was positively giddy. I limited myself to just one item from the line - the Light Eyeshadow in E305, a beautiful teal/burgundy duochrome.

I was SO sure I would be back for more.

My first hint of trouble was the way in which the bottom portion of the twist-tube fell off as soon as I took it out of the box. Granted, this was not a functional piece, so I shrugged, figured I would crazy glue it back on, and popped open the cap. Only to see that the brush was wildy splayed, as if someone had already taken it out and mooshed it back in, willy-nilly. Except that I saw the Sephora SA take the box out fresh from the drawer, still rubber-banded together with its compatriots. This did not bode well, but I figured hey, I'll soak it in water and pinch it back into proper form. No worries.

As you can see from these pictures, everything looked just fine after I took care of these superficial quirks.

The little cap on the end, to the left of the ribbed portion is what fell off.

And then I tried to get some product out. I rotated the twist-bottom, about 15 clicks through. Waited patiently. Nothing. Rotated another 15. Nothing. ANOTHER 15. Zilch. Tried 20, another 20, and finally a few clicks after that I saw some promising shadowing coming through the brush base and then, finally, actual color appeared.


But the product that came out was so pretty! So promising! I was still clutching to my hopes and dreams.

The red-brown base shade visible here.

And the teal duochrome showing up under a different angle of the light.

Indirect natural light, angled away from light source.

Indirect natural light.

I mean, how gorgeous is that colour??

And then I tried wearing it.

First of all, why make something that is ostensibly packaged for ease of application, and then make the built-in brush extraordinarily ill-suited to the task of applying and/or blending? It's just so oddly shaped and finished, leading to a choppy laydown (which is just what you want with a cream/liquid product) and impossible blending (it basically picks up what you laid down if you sweep it over the same place). You need to pat it on, and then spread and blend with your fingers or another brush.

This is assuming you work lightening fast. This sucker sets almost instantly, making any kind of blending very difficult. But hey, no worries, because it comes off easily with water. Yes, WATER. Not soap and water, not a micellar water. Just water. You can literally wet your finger and rub it away. Which is great if you have a weird edge you want to soften, but not so great for any situation where you might encounter moisture - like, say, rainy days, crying, or you know, your skin doing its thing.

As a test, I applied this all over my eyelid in a fairly thin layer, all the way up and into my crease (where I tried blending, to little effect). Over bare skin, this lasted maybe an hour before it started creasing and fading. After the end of my workday, all that was left was a faint line of product close to my lashline. The remainder had migrated to my crease lines, flaked off or otherwise disappeared into the ether.

To be fair, I also tested it over a primer (Too Faced). Two hours later, it started flaking off and going patchy, though it held off on obvious creasing for about 4 hours. The picture below is at the two-hour mark. I had applied it in a thin layer all over my eyelid, from inner corner to outer and up through the crease in an almond shape. No blending. There's flaking up in the crease and below my eye (more not visible under my lashes), as well as fading at the inner and outer corners and a bit over the center of my lid.

Apologies for the crappy bathroom lighting.
And lack of other makeup.

In desperation, I tried applying an even thinner layer. Like, a tiny pat that I spread delicately over my eyelid until it was barely tinted. This actually gave an interesting, ethereal sort of luminosity. It still faded and flaked, though the latter was not as noticeable.

But you guys. This is probably one of the most ill-performing products I have tried in a really long time, and certainly the most expensive one to bear that distinction.  Those people who love it and get their money's worth out of it - I envy you, and suspect sorcery of some sort. :P

For me, it's just not worth the time and effort it takes to make 50$ worth of product sort of workable under very limited circumstances. It's entirely possible the other products in the range might work better for me, but at this point I have no intention of finding out.

Availability: Sephora, and the Ellis Faas website. Price is 50$ CAD.

Cons: Erm. *points to review up above*

Pros: It's a REALLY pretty color.

(I purchased this item from Sephora.)

EDIT: I was recently contacted by a rep from Ellis Faas, who was curious to know more about my experience with this item. Apparently the packaging/clicker issues are not news to them, but the flaking and creasing I experienced was. After going through the possibilities (eye cream, primer), they are still baffled as to why it performed so poorly for me, when the feedback regarding performance has generally been positive. I possibly have freakish eyelids, crazy skin chemistry or I had a defective model. Either way, take that for what it's worth.


  1. Anonymous3.8.12

    I find these Eye Light duochrome ones aren't as good as the creamy or milky eyes. Those ones last all day on my oily lids, even without a primer. These light ones just don't. The formula is different on them I guess. I HATE the applicator too. Even though I do like the ones that I have, I agree, not worth the money or the hype!

    1. Ok, I was wondering if there was a difference in formulation, because all the reviews I've read so far have been so effusive, I felt like a tool for not being able to get this bloody thing to work!

      That said, I have so many other things I'd rather spend my money than another EF product to test for comparison's sake. Meh.

  2. Okay, thank goodness. I feel like I'm the only one who dislikes Ellis Faas products :p The packaging kills me, and I feel like the product itself is somehow greasy/slippery. I've only tried a lip product, but it went right back to Sephora.

    1. Larie, it makes me feel so much better to read that!

  3. I don't care for the packaging either. Enough that I haven't bothered pulling out my spring set again since I first reviewed it. I need to play with it more! I'm sorry this was such a disappointment. The spring set did have the purple Light one but it seemed fine? I noted in my review how many clicks each of my pens took. It;s a freakin lot!

    1. Yeah, I really don't know what the deal with this was. Most of the reviews I've seen have been positive, so I was completely bemused by my experience. I found myself glaring at it, saying "Why do you HATE me?"

  4. Anonymous4.8.12

    Bah humbug, as wise old Scrooge once said. Ok, I can *sort of* forgive the cap thingie falling off, and even put up with the ridiculous amounts of clicks it took to finally see some product, but $50 (plus about a bajillion $$$ in taxes) and it applies like crap and stays on for just a tease? thanks. I was eyeballing the line too and was considering which to pick up. No more, thanks to your stellar review. I too have way better things to throw my money away stuff that actually does what it's supposed to.

    Maggie, get thee hence right back to Sephora and return the damn thing. STAT!

    1. Oh my gosh, I dithered over this review for a few days. I really respect any makeup artist willing to put themselves out there and create their own brand, especially one that is so original in its aesthetic design. But I can't in good conscience recommend this product. A nice color just can't make up for all the ways it goes wrong in terms of form and function. (And hey, MAC Club eyeshadow is pretty much this color in powder form, so... *shrugs*)

  5. Anonymous5.8.12

    I'm sorry that you had such a horrid experience Maggie - you're certainly not the first person I've heard who despised the packaging and brush, and had trouble blending the product, but I didn't hear about the horrid wear before! Its such a shabby thing to happen, because the color is so gorgeous, and other shades seem to be so pretty too, but this is just a fail all around. I ordered a Creamy Lips shade last week since they had the free shipping promo from the website itself, and thankfully only paid $36 (still pricey in my books though), and I wanted to order more to kind of make it 'worth it' but was too nervous because of all the trouble I'd read before! Now I'm glad I didn't - this way I'll get to check it out in a small way before potentially wasting any more of my money. What a shame that this seems to happen to everyone with these products - for the price they really need to step up their game or else they're going to lose their fan base, fast. :(

    1. My eyelids are really finicky - between the general oiliness and the heavy-lidded/deep-creased shape, I really don't expect most things to last on me without a primer, and as a result I don't generally judge performance based on primer-less wear. Still, most eyeshadows generally hang around for at least 3-4 hours without a primer, and over a primer most will make it to the 8 hour mark with minor issues.

      But this stuff. Geez Louise, it's like it took one look at my lids and gave up.

      I know I should try some of the other finishes (the Milky and Cream) to see if this is a one-off wear issue, but somehow it's not high on my priority list. :P

  6. Anonymous14.10.12

    I have bought the same shade, which is an awesome duochrome, and the only thing I can say is that as soon as the product dries it starts flaking off like crazy! that said, I have normal eyelids.. I cannot put it on my whole eyelid because pieces of it will fall off and I am a bit tired of cleaning up flakes on my face, so I only use it as an eyeliner but... honestly, I didn't want an eyeliner.
    I appreciate the concept and all but they should change something in that formula... (and maybe lower the price a bit would be great)

  7. I have the same problem with the e305.. Beautiful color. Piut it on my eye lid. Was not blendable, dried super fast the color wow awesome but within an hour flakes, vrust everywhere. Ellis faas please change the formula. The other milky eye formulas and applicator are wonderful and long lasting but what happened to this?


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