The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Beauty Review: E.l.f. Bath & Body

by The Budget Beauty Babe
And the results are in!!! Yours truly reporting back for the Budget Babe on E.l.f.’s line of bath and body products. I have tested and rated these products based on 5 criteria; Value, Presentation/Packing, Scent, Performance, and Overall impression. Please note that while I did test each scent and each product, I did not test each product in every scent (no use for 5 of everything!) Here we go...

Lavender Blossom Cleansing Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap

Value: Meh. Not really a budget buy in my humble opinion. You can get a big ol’ container of liquid hand soap at Target for a fraction of the cost, not really feeling this.
Presentation/Packaging: The packaging is pretty, but its also pretty average. I don’t think its cute enough to make me want to spend the extra few dollars for it.
Scent: This scent claims to be Lavender with Chamomile undertones. Now, I’m not exactly a “nose” (French perfume developer) however I do know the scent of Lavendar (and Chamomile for that matter) and this is not it. Its pretty obvious to me that there is absolutely no real lavender used in this product (ingredient list read: fragrance). It smells like the foam that came with my Ariel Barbie Seahorse when I was 11. Wack. Everyone and their uncle knows lavender, so you won’t smell budget, you’ll smell cheap. The scent also lingers for a long time.
Performance: The soap works nicely. Nice lather, and nice feeling afterward, doesn’t dry out the skin.
Overall: I’m not going to throw it out the window, but I’m not going to purchase it again. The “lavender” that doesn’t smell like lavender is a huge turn-off, and I can get much cheaper liquid soap that works just as well. Even with a different scent I would still say its not budget enough.

Vanilla Coconut Conditioning Body Butter

Value: Good. The tub is a nice big size, and its packed to the hilt with body butter. Although the things we want to be working on us (sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut butter, and coconut milk) are not the first on the list, at least they’re before fragrance. Good amount of product for the price.
Presentation/Packaging: The tub is nice, and we’re a fan of being able to scoop out nice thick butter from a easy access container. Nice graphics, overall cute appearance.
Scent: Whoa!!! Offensive! Open the jar and take a whiff and you get assaulted by a strong chemically coconut scent. Personally I really disliked it a great deal, and I normally a big fan of coconut vanilla. The scent also leaves skin almost immediately, which in this case is a plus, while normally I would say I want a beautiful scent to linger.
Performance: Works pretty well. I think it does its job, conditions rough spots nicely. I do like it for rough heels and dry tootsies, although the smell was so offensive I was hesitant to try it anywhere above my ankles.
Overall: Like the butter, hate the scent. I would buy again in another scent.

Cucumber Melon Soothing Bath Gel

Value: Ok. As a body wash- Nice sized container, but, for the quality of the product I would say stick to drugstore brands, which are cheaper. To be used as a shaving lubricant- Great. Really made my skin super slick and the shaving process really nice, just a little goes a long way so as a alternative to shaving gel I would say this is a good value.
Presentation/Packaging: Cute, ok, whatever. Didn’t really do much for me, and the container is really hard plastic so squeezing is out (have to wait for the soap to drip down, borrrrring yawn)
Scent: Pleasant, sweet and refreshing. Your typical cucumber melon fragrance, You pretty much get what you expect with this one (which compared to the others is not a bad thing). However, the scent does not stay on your skin once you wash it off (good or bad depending on your preferences).
Performance: Works well. Lathers great, smells great in the shower, awesome lube for shaving. No freaky residue, and no dried out skin.
Overall: One of my favorites from the set. Although not a bargain for body wash, its surprising ability to replace shave gel makes it a budget winner in my book. I simply felt clean, which means it did its job.

Pineapple Mango Nourishing Body Lotion

Value: Fair. Ok sized bottle, but compared to like a huge thing of Vaseline body lotion with Shea Butter for $3 its not really that big of a bargain. Here the important ingredients are low on the ingredient list way after fragrance (good test of amount of product, since very little fragrance is used), where there the cacao seed butter is like third on the list with fragrance coming in next to last… ouch to Elf.
Presentation/Packaging: Average. Looks like Victoria Secrets Lotion packaging.
Scent: Ok. I think I’m forcing myself to like it, because I feel so critical I want to like something! Its fruity, and pineapple-y, but its also chemically…. The scent also fades within minutes.
Performance: Its got a pretty thin consistency, which means this size container won’t last long. It takes a lot to do the job, it feels nice, but you can feel it sitting on top of your skin. Didn’t really sink in. (Still prefer the Vaseline with Shea butter for 3 bucks, hands down)
Overall: I will finish the container in probably six months when I’m all out of my other lotions and desperate, but I will not repurchase this item.

Peony Petal Moisturizing Hand Cream:

Value: Wack. What you get isn’t worth the four dollars.
Presentation/Packaging: Boring, cute, whatever.
Scent: Smells EXACTLY like the pink soap you use to wash your hands in public bathrooms (aka, generic mass-produced floral scent). So unless you want to smell like you just showered in a Burger King or Great America bathroom sink, avoid this scent.
Performance: This hand lotion gave me a rash. I had to wash it off immediately to make the burning stop, so I can’t really tell you if it works or not.
Overall: Would never use this product. Although more expensive, the value of a good hand cream like L’Occitane Hand Cream is in the end more budget. You use less, the huge container lasts longer, and you’re getting a good quality product made with quality ingredients.

In conclusion
I have to say I’m not a fan of these products. The ingredient lists read like a laboratory experiment, and the texture and scents of the products really reflect lots of chemicals and high turnover, low production cost consumerism. The labels are misleading and promise all the beautiful all natural ingredients we crave, while in fact the amounts in the actual product are probably close to negligible. I don’t think they’re a bargain, and I really don’t recommend using them. Sorry if you’re disappointed, I was too! But seriously, bargain and budget in the beauty world especially means finding the best quality for the price, not just the cheapest.

Look for an upcoming review of e.l.f.'s brand new line of mineral makeup.

Read our review of Bare Escentuals bareMinerals makeup. >>
Find out if e.l.f nail polish is a hit or miss. >>
Get more beauty tips and advice from the Budget Beauty Babe >>

Our Project Runway Faves: Episode 4.1

Forget Tim and Heidi - here at The Budget Babe, we have our own opinion about who should have won the runway competition in the Season 4 premiere episode of every fashionista's favorite reality TV show, Project Runway - and that would be Chris, a self-taught freelance Costume Designer in New York City with a client list that includes Cirque du Soleil, Madonna and Thierry Mugler.

According to his bio on the Project Runway website, Chris' favorite designer is Dior - and it certainly shows in the elegant, high-drama royal purple evening gown which he created for the first challenge. It's simply stunning, and we could easily see someone like Halle Berry rockin' this gorgeous creation on the red-carpet.

But what do you think? Who's your fave designer so far? (We do realize the third episode aired last night, but we're trying to catch up - so bear with us, we'll get to the other episodes soon!)

Victoria's Secret: Yea or Nay?

We were kinda surprised to learn that Victoria's Secret ranked second among retailers who recorded the highest online apparel and accessories purchases in July, according to a September 2007 article in Women's Wear Daily. The average amount spent per buyer: $177.74

Then again, we knew more than a few hardcore Victoria's Secret catalog shoppers back in college - the kind who would pour over each new issue then gleefully proceed to order half the store. We preferred to dissect the models in vain hope of finding some imperfection (we didn't find any) and pointing out obvious photoshoppage to anyone within earshot.

Still, we heart Vicky S, and so we'd have to say it's a "Yea" - but honestly their stuff isn't exactly cheap and it can be kinda hit or miss in terms of quality. Except, that is, when it comes to their panties (and their bras, according to my sister). LOVE the 5 for $25 deals. Also love how colorful, girly and naughty their brick-n-mortar stores always felt when we were mere teen mall rats.

Overall, we have a feeling that Victoria's real "Secret" is that they've mastered the art of selling the ultimate female fantasy. When you have flawless angels peddling your wares, does the product even matter? And in all fairness, what girl doesn't adore cute lingerie and loungewear? Heck, we know we do!

Oh, and the one time we ordered from the catalog, we ended up returning half the items because they were ill-fitting and didn't look anything like the photos. No, we weren't expecting to look like Heidi Klum, we just wanted an elegant, luxurious pair of silk jammies. Sadly, the set we purchased was anything but.

However, we are more than willing to give them another try - especially with the big pajama sale they have going on right now. So feel free to share any and all thoughts, and if anyone has had a great experience shopping the VS website, let us know!!

Featured above: We're loving these Thermal long jane pajamas in houndstooth on sale for $39.50, PLUS get a free pair of slippers with code PJSLIPPER ...great gift idea!

Win Cool Stuff: I Love Blocks Contest

UPDATE: And the winner of our "I Love Blocks Contest" is......MARIKO!! Congratulations Mariko, and thanks to everyone who participated. Check back daily cuz we have more cool contests coming soon!

Win this bracelet

PLEASE NOTE: This contest has ended.

Drum roll please...

We're proud to announce our very first Budget Babe giveaway! Tell us your favorite accessory in the comment section below and one, lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive a free handmade Power Bracelet (shown above) from I Love Blocks!

I Love Blocks is a quirky-cool collection of unique jewelry with a modern, indie edge created by the talented designer Irina Blok. The Power Bracelet, one of her best-selling items, is made from shrink plastic (yup, shrinky dinks!), coated with polish for durability, and connected with sterling silver rings and toggle clasp. Retail value: $35

Be sure to use a valid email address and include info(at) in your address book so we can contact you if you're the winner. Comments must be posted by 11:59 a.m. on December 4 to be eligible to win. The winner will be announced on December 5.

P.S. Special thanks to jewelry maker Irina Blok for making this contest possible!

Mariah Carey's New Perfume

Upon seeing the new M by Mariah perfume ad, we marveled at it's mediocrity. Not because we have anything against Mariah Carey (we are in awe of her incredible voice and have been huge fans of her music since the early '90s) but because the photoshoppage is cheesy and has a low-budget feel.

However, we read an interesting tidbit about the thought process behind the ad and it kinda helped us see it in a new light: According to Eyeshadow Government, the ad - which pictures the songstress cradled along a lake's surface below a glowing sunset, her hair damp and curving - is an allusion to French post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau's 1897 masterpiece, The Sleeping Gypsy.

The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897 by Henri Rousseau. Oil on canvas, 51" x 6' 7"

Now we know what you're thinking - at first glance, it's hard to see any resemblance between the two images. But knowing a bit more about Rousseau and the meaning behind The Sleeping Gypsy brings the similarities into focus: The subject of his painting is a musician, a traveler, a wanderer, a dreamer. At the same time, she is an outcast with no clear social standing. She slumbers beneath the stars, vulnerable and exposed.

Sure, Mariah's professional career has been wildly successful, but you can guess where we're going with this - Considering Mariah's personal struggle for acceptance and search for self (The Emancipation of Mimi comes to mind), one can easily see how she might relate to the poetic message of this particular piece of art.

Rousseau himself was also somewhat misunderstood (what artist isn't, right?) and criticized throughout his career for a perceived lack of talent - and yet he had a huge influence on painters who followed him, including Picasso, and today his work hangs in some of the greatest art museums in the world.

Personally we've always enjoyed Rousseau's strange and wonderful paintings that allow imagination to trump reality, and creativity to surpass technique. And we'll continue to admire Miss Carey for her talent and willingness to so openly expose her emotions through her music. (But don't count on us to buy the perfume!)

Shop M by Mariah at Elizabeth Arden >>