Sunday, August 16, 2015

Swatches & Stuff || August 2015 || e.l.f haul + GIVEAWAY!!!!

Hi friends,

I am back with another episode of Swatches & Stuff - August 2015 edition with a GIVEAWAY! (scroll down to enter the giveaway).

This time around it is all about e.l.f with a mini haul and some great products to review!

e.l.f. Haul || Swatches & Stuff || August 2015
If you do not want to read the review and would rather watch the companion video (and the actual swatches), here it is:

1. e.l.f. Studio Poreless Face Primer - $6

e.l.f. Studio Poreless Face Primer
Outstanding! Simply OUTSTANDING! Who would have thought that a simple $6 bottle would give you the same results, if not better, than my old $35 Benefits Porefessional!
This is a semi opaque fluid, which comes, in a pump and obviously contains some type of silicone to fill in pores. I apply it over my foundation for a perfect - flawless finish. I tell you what! Not only does it leave my skin as smooth as a baby's butt, it also mattiffies it. I was seriously surprised by the results and can only recommend it. Get it here!

2. e.l.f. Studio Gotta Glow Lip Tint Perfect Pink $6

e.l.f. Studio Gotta Glow Lip Tint Perfect Pink
This is basically a dupe for the Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Awakening. Only this one is $6 instead of $24!
What is it? An untainted lip balm that becomes pigmented as it comes into contact with your skin Ph and heat. The result is a baby lip pink that is the perfect "I just woke up but look at me fabulous nonetheless" look!
It takes about 10 minutes for the color to take on its full pigmentation. I am not sure whether each skin would produce the same tint, so if you have tried this little gem, comment down below and let me know your thoughts. 
The only drawback is the formula, while not gooey, it is a bit too "oily" and shinny and sleek for my taste. Otherwise, a great conditioning lip balm with just the right amount of pink. I love it. Get it here!

3. e.l.f. Essential Lipstick Classy $1

e.l.f. Essential Lipstick Classy
True, this is a $1 lipstick! And so, the low expectation will ring true. While this is a pretty pink color (a bit pale for my skin tone) the packaging is super cheap and the tube feels like it will eventually break apart, leaving chunks of lip goo all over your makeup bag. It also has a very strong bubble gum scent, which to me is a real turn off.
The formula is okay, nothing to brag about.
Overall, I would say this is a good starter for a young gal who is trying on makeup for the first time, it won't break your bank and it will still give her results. It's just not for us ladies who like to feel a bit of pampering when we apply color. Out of all the e.l.f products I have tried over the years, this one is a dud but you can still get it here for your little one!

4. e.l.f. Essential Instant Lift Brow Pencil Taupe $2

e.l.f. Essential Instant Lift Brow Pencil Taupe
I needed a new brow brush and came across this duo pencil/brush for $2. While I would usually go for a darker color, I picked the lightest one (taupe) to fill my brows and was not disappointed as this one actually matches my brows almost perfectly. It is a pretty handy thing to have and one that saves time (not to mention money).
The formula is neither too waxy nor too dry and I found it was really easy to apply and fill in where I have been a bit too tweezer happy!
Why spend oodles of money on the brow expert products when you can get the same results for $2! Get it here!

5. e.l.f. Beautifully Bare Blush Rose Royalty $4

e.l.f. Beautifully Bare Blush Rose Royalty
This, is the cutest little thing! This is a cream blush that comes in a jar tiny enough for a lip balm, hence super handy when you are on the go.
e.l.f made this treasure in only two colors, the one I picked (Rose Royalty) and a more coral tone (Peach Perfection).
It is a good formula, not too creamy, but rather velvety and it actually feels dry on your cheeks. The color itself is subtle enough for a "no makeup-makeup" look. 
So far, it does not feel like it will clog my pores as many cream blushes do. I am falling in love with this one! Get it here!

6.  e.l.f. Studio Intense Ink Eyeliner Blackest Black $3

e.l.f. Studio Intense Ink Eyeliner Blackest Black
Real talk! Felt tip eyeliners are not for everyone! I personally prefer pencils or gel eyeliners you can apply with a brush as they seem to afford a bit more control over the application.
Finding myself a bit rusty when I first tried this one, I sort of made a mess. But, and with practice, this is actually not bad at all.
First, the pigmentation is seriously "intense" as its name suggests. This is jet black and unfortunately comes only in this color (too bad, I could use a purple one). If you are on the market for a serious cat's eye eyeliner in the like of the late Amy Whinehouse, this one is for you!
Overall I found the formula to be okay, it might be a bit dry which leads me to believe that it will get drier over time. The application, as mentioned above, is not always that precise as it leaves jagged edges along creepy lids. And one little "oops" will cost you: I learned that the hard way as the stuff will not come off that easily.
If you are the Eyeliner Queen, or want to become the Eyeliner Queen, try your steady hands on this one, for the price of $3 you won't feel so bad if it did not work out for you. Get it here!

7.  e.l.f. Studio Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette $10

e.l.f. Studio Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette Mad for Matte
Let's not get all excited here, this is not the Holy Grail of matte palettes! But it is pretty darn close!
As a matter of fact, I am rating it higher than the L'Oreal Nude Palette which I thought was pretty good.
This one contains nothing but mattes (JOY) in very wearable and versatile colors (10 in total). The left side can be used as a nude, everyday and subtle look, while the right side can be used for a more smokey look. Or mix and match for more contrasts.
Very little fall out, great stay on, overall great quality when considering the price. The only con: the shadows are rather small so one needs to use smaller brushes. The palette itself comes in a pretty sleek, portable design with a mirror. Another great on the go tool. I like it a lot. Get it here!


And now for the giveaway!

This could be yours:

The August 2015 Giveaway includes three of the products reviewed this month:

1. e.l.f Rose Royalty Blush
2. e.l.f Gotta Glow Lip Tint
3. e.l.f Mad for Matte Palette
and a carry all pouch (upcycled from one of my Ipsy bags)

Here are the rules:

Open to everyone 18 years or older  (parental approval required) and internationally as well.

You must be a subscriber to my YouTube Channel
You must "Like" my Facebook Page
You must leave a comment on my blog

Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter entry form below.
The giveaway is opened until August 30, 2015 when one winner will be picked at random.
The winner will have one week to respond with a mailing address.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!
Sophia, NJ

Connect with me:

Want to send me a product for review? Have a product review request?

Mailing address:

My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
519 Pompton Avenue
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel.  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. I am affiliated with e.l.f. and all brands listed below.


e.l.f. cosmetics

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Visit My Great Challenge's profile on Pinterest.


  1. I prefer chapstick or lipgloss but I've been branching out and trying some of the ELF $1 lipsticks.

  2. Believe it or not my favourite lipsticks this summer have been called "All about the Pout" from "Poundland" - yes the discount shop in the UK like Dollar Tree - they literally cost £1 and for the price I really like them. The 4 I have are Sunkissed Beige, Purple Pop, Deep Red, and Choca Mocha. They have hardly any smell or tackiness. Lorna UK

  3. Hey Sophia! Great review..I agree that just because something doesn't have a hefty price tag doesn't mean it's bad quality. I got some e.l.f products when I was on holiday in Canada. Here in Europe I can't get my hands on e.l.f goodies and that eyebrow pencil is on my wishlist. ANYWAY. My fave "lipstick" is really lining my lips with Essence lip liner in 'Honey Bun' and adding my EOS chapstick in Honeydew. All sorts of honey going on haha. Love your reviews and I wish you all the best with the job hunt xx

  4. My favourite summer lipstick is MAC Creme Cup In fact it's my all time favourite I think. You gave a really great review Sophia :) xx

  5. In the summer I prefer something light. I normally just use lip butters. My 2 favorite lipsticks are nude beach and naked dolly from too faced though!

  6. Hi Sophia
    I'm really excited for this giveaway and great review I liked it :-)

  7. I have been enjoying 216 from Ulta, it's kind of your typical nude dark berry.

  8. Hi Sophia!! Loved this swatches and stuff and you are so generous for doing a giveaway and we all really appreciate it :) my favourite summer lipstick would have to be Maybelline's lipstick in 515 Coral Crush a beautiful bright summer coral :)

  9. Nice giveaway, have nothing oof this brand so would like to try it, love budgetbrands/

  10. Hi Sophia!

    My favourite lipstick of the summer is probably Oriflame Beauty Wonder Colour Lipstick in shade Warm Nude. I also love my Lumene lipsticks. I don't always wear lipstick, I also use a lot of lip balms especially in the summer time.

    I love watching your vlogs! And I also have never tried any Elf products because I live in Finland and Elf products are not sold in here. I hope you understand all I'm saying, I don't speak or write English very often (because I speak Finnish). :) Love this giveaway also!

    Yours, Sonja (sonyhilu from YouTube, but I make videos only in Finnish now :/)

  11. Hi Sophia! Hope I did this right this time for the giveaway! Have a great Sunday!

  12. Good of you to still do give aways even with unemployment going on. Hope things get get better for you soon.
    My favorite summer shade is the same as spring, winter and fall. It is Whisper by Hourglass. Just a easy to wear, go with anything shade. I ration it though since it is pricey.
    I have been eyeing that ELF blush, always looking for a cream blush in that perfect formula!

  13. Use coconutoil on My lips all summer (the body too), great when you are in the sun. Hope that counts. I would hire you any time (live to far away thought). Take care and good luck!

  14. Not really into lipstick so much. Just usually lip balm/lipgloss. Enjoy watching your videos!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Lol I forgot to include my Fav lipstick. Here it goes Matte Glam from Milani! It's a pinkish purple that is so wearable. Also,I'm loving the Elf blending brush and stippling brush. They are great quality. I love the idea of the glow lipstick and now I'm curious what color I'd have:)

  17. Maybellines Matte Daringly Nude lipstick is my favorite! It is pinkish nude and perfect for an everyday look (:

  18. I love the soft lips cubes. right now I am using the vanilla flavor. it stays on longer than any other lip balm that I have ever used. and it has spf 15 in it. I love the softness of my lips after the fact however the down fall is there is no color but your lips are so soft.

  19. I'm not brand loyal, so I choose mostly moisturizing lipsticks.
    Most colors I tend to gravitate towards are in the Rosey Pink family :)

  20. I'm currently loving besame in portrait pink as my favorite summer lipstick.

  21. Honestly my favourite lipsticks are my homemade one's, as I can control the ingredients and get the exact colour and shade I want x

  22. I am on a budget this summer so I am using last years Laura Geller 'Lasting Love' colours which came with her tuscan sun sets, I have got three related colours, ones a peach, a berry, and a pink.They are good but on the loud side, so I could do with a subtler but still fun colour like the one in your giveaway.

  23. Love the lipsticks. Would really like to try some ELF products �� Mirjam Pauwels

  24. Love your YouTube channel! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! :-)

  25. I love that lipstick! How cool! Can't wait to try it.

  26. lately Ive been into anything matte.. Pinks Purples and mauves!..usually by Nyx or any drugstore brand

  27. My all time favorite,that I go back to time and time again is shade 380- Luminous Coral by L'Oreal. Thank you for the opportunity to take part in your giveaway.
    Mon favori de tous les temps , que je vais revenir à maintes et maintes fois est l'ombre 380- Luminous Coral par L'Oréal . Je vous remercie de l'occasion de prendre part à votre cadeau .

  28. I love the couple of ELF products I have picked up after watching some of your other videos.

  29. Love your videos my favorite brand is the Maybelline color whisper in a plum prospect

  30. I love the Dr.Pepper lip smackers! Easy and quick to apply without a mirror and adds the perfect red natural looking tint. Plus, amazing flavor! -heather

  31. My favourite: Super Stay 24 Color Maybelline nr. 120, stays on a whole day and even a night!

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. Thank you so much for sharing with us! I would love to try the products :-)

  34. Mac Lipstick - Sweet & Sour. Lovely summery colour

  35. Loved the color changing lipstick. I would love to try these products. You are just awesome.

  36. This is awesome. It's my first time visiting your blog and I LOVE Elf so it was a perfect first video for me to watch. Thanks for sharing!

  37. I love ELF products but don't have any of the products you're giving away so I would love to win! For summer, I have a few peachy coral shades that I love!

  38. Sophia,
    I'm love my watermelon lip balm...

  39. My fave lipgloss is by Nyx in the color Sugar Pie

  40. Sophia, I just love you and all of your stuff. You motivate me. I wear DEW KISS BY AVON. Hope I win!

  41. Too hot for lipstick, so I wear just a little gloss.

  42. Hi Sophia! In the summer I usually just use any clear lip gloss or lip balm! Love ya!

  43. COVERGIRL's Colorlicious Plum Lipstick

  44. Sophia,

    I liked the Classy pink lipstick on you. It was not too pale. It looked really good on you but you put it on over the Gotta Glo pink lipstick. Did you by chance notice that it wasn't as pale after the video? I am a blonde so I would love to try these ELF lipsticks. I currently use Loreal Infallible in Mulberry and in the summer I put a {mild} frosty pink over it. In fall/winter I wear the same and skip the frost. It stays on a long time. Love your videos! They make my day. looked so pretty in your video & thought you were going to tell us that you had found a job. I have been praying for you & your family. You are truly a remarkable woman and glad I found you you have inspired me greatly.

    Take Care!

  45. I love nude nude lipstick from deborah

  46. loved the lipstick. and I love your hair beautiful curls :)

  47. my favourite lipstick right now is lolita from kat von d

  48. This is great. I would love to try the blush! THANKS :)

  49. Boots 17 Sheer Moisture Lipstick - Cashmere Blush.

  50. NARS x Christopher Kane Lip Gloss in Glow Pink

  51. I've been loving the nyx butter lipstick in little susie! Thank you so much for such a generous giveaway!

  52. I love MAC Impassioned for summer!

  53. Pamela (pamela1063)August 17, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    Hi Sophia I don't often wear lip color so I don't have a favorite, but I do like trying different lipsticks, tints and butters!

  54. I LOVE pinks for the summer! Many of the L'Oreal lipsticks are great colors for me, but I can't stand their "aroma." This week I'm wearing the Maybelline Colorsensational Petal Pink. Looking forward to trying E.L.F. products ... one way or another. ;)

  55. I love hard candy lipgloss in "girl next door"

  56. My fav lipstick is MAC Angel ;)

  57. I like this new line. Well new to me.
    I have never heard of it
    I also like the color palettes.
    Sorry to hear about the unemployment.
    Thank you for doing this. I do like your chanel.

  58. I love ELF. There are a lot of products in this giveaway that I have not tried.

  59. Hi Shopia. You look always good. Even if you say it´s a "crazy hair day". To me it looks just perfect!
    About the lipsticks: This summer I am using 3 diferent ones. 2 of them are from Kiko make up Milano. It´s a brand I cannot find in Norway. At least until now. I just bought them in Portugal when I was there in April. The colors are: 917 and 911. You can find more about the brand at
    For the nights out I am using a swedish brand called Viva la Diva. The name is Love affair #56 and it is a deep red. Really love it :) You can find out more here:
    I am thinking of send you some of Viva la Diva products for you to review. I am waiting for the fall/winter collection. And the eye shadows are just amazing :)
    Big kiss to you and beatiful family! And believe that everything is going to be better and fine with you. Because you really deserve the best! <3

  60. My favorite brand of lipstick are the ones from Mac and my favorite color is the All Fired Up... :)

  61. Sophia: i don't have this brand in my country so i wish to win to try it

  62. I like NYX lipglosses in the pink shades, they smell like dessert.

  63. I don't really have a fave, but I do like nude shades in summer, especially MAC xx

  64. Hi Sophia ,love you curls and I don't think your hair style is messy at all it's actually really pretty!!! My everyday lipstick is pink plaid by Mac but it's a bit pricy for me to keep repurchasing. I love watching all of your videos and you inspire me to organize and de litter my house so thank you for that . I really enjoy your did building projects because I've been really wanting to make things too. Your awesome Sophia !!!! Xoxo

  65. Hi Sophia! I love your blog and YouTube channel! They are my favorite. My favorite lipstick colors are brownish reds. You have beautiful eyes and I wish I could do my makeup like you do. I love your cleaning videos and also really liked the tour of New York City at Christmas time with all the stores and their decorations. You are an inspiration to me! Thank you. You are awesome.

  66. Beautiful colours and the colours look gorgeous on you.

  67. Love that pink on you (the first one). It was changing colour. You will be fine, the right job will come at the right time.

  68. My fav is pinken from elle 18

  69. L'oreal Color Riche - Deep Raspberry (#375) is my favorite - shaunie

  70. I am really enjoying my MAC lipstick in the shade "Snob", and a lipgloss by Too Faced called "Sex Pot". I think these shades would look really nice on you, too!

  71. I really like and constantly wear Jordana's lipstick in Natural; a great looking neutral nude shade.

  72. I just picked up 530D dark pink rose/frost from wet n wild and really like it. Cruelty free, cheap and a beautiful color.

  73. I love my No. 17 lipstick honey blossom

  74. I love Revlon Balmstain in Honey and Too Faced Melted Fig

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I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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