The Beauty Encyclopedia from ELF

I’ve never been great at doing my eyes – although I do tend to set my standards rather high, comparing my skills to those of the makeup artists who work on me day after day! When they effortlessly create a fierce smokey eye, or an incredible metallic lid, I just watch (through the other eye, obviously!) in absolute awe. My eye efforts often end up looking as though I’ve rubbed a bit of mud around my eye socket and finished off with a dusting of baking powder.

So I was quite surprised to find that I could create a ‘not bad’ daytime smokey eye with the contents of ELF’s Beauty Encyclopedia. Surprised because I created it using a sponge applicator and a (let’s face it) quite inadequate brush, both supplied within the kit; and surprised because the ‘kit’ (easier to refer to it as this than ‘encyclopedia’) costs a mere £6.

For this, you get twelve eyeshadows with surprisingly good staying-power and pigment, two shimmery highlighters and an eye pencil. Everything in the kit worked well, applied smoothly (well, as smoothly as can be with a sponge applicator!) and blended nicely. My creative genius was helped along by a set of detailed instructions on the inside cover of the kit, which told me exactly when and where to apply various shades of shadow. The instructions made life considerably easier, despite a bit of a complicated ‘eye diagram’ annotated with letters and dotted lines.

I managed to cobble together a ‘coffee’ coloured smokey eye that wouldn’t look too out of place for daytime (maybe I’d tone it down a little) in around five minutes. The ‘everyday’ eyes palette that I used also had cooler, blue tones that would look great in the evening! I think that this palette is an absolute bargain; of course, it’s not a luxury, keepsake palette that you’d show off on your dressing table, but it has a really comprehensive selection of easy-to-wear shades that are of good quality.

Have a look at the video to see my first attempt – I followed the instructions in the kit exactly and this is what I got!

ELF Beauty Encyclopedia, £6 from

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