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elf Play Beautifully Makeup Subscription Box Review – May 2016

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The E.L.F. Play Beautifully subscription box is a box full of E.L.F. Cosmetics products (stands for Eyes, Lips, Face)! This box ships every 8 weeks and promises a minimum of $40 of product in each box.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - packaging

I loved E.L.F. years ago, back when they were still pretty new, so I was really excited when their subscription opened up for more spots.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - packaging 2

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - all items

The Subscription Box: E.L.F. Play Beautifully

The Cost: $19.99/bi-monthly, plus $4.95 shipping.

The Products: Every box guarantees at least $40 of E.L.F. products!

Ships to: US & Canada

Check out all of our E.L.F Beauty Bundle reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 1

e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set – 2.02 fl oz, value: $3

This is a very popular product from E.L.F.’s line. It’s a makeup setting spray. I’ve actually owned this before and it works well! I was glad to see this included.

e.l.f. Mineral Infused Mascara – value: $3

I don’t think I’ve ever tried E.L.F.’s mascaras before. I really like this mascara! The formula doesn’t clump one bit and I got plenty of length from it.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 2

Here’s a close-up of the mascara brush. It did a great job helping with separation and length!

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 3

e.l.f. EX-tra Lip Gloss, Michael – value: $2

This lip gloss has a lot of color to it! This shade is also very pretty and would be flattering on lots of skin tones.

e.l.f. Makeup Remover Pen – value: $3

I didn’t think this would be a product I’d use, but then I realized this is just perfect for when your cat-eyes/eyeliner wings don’t quite match up! It’s also great for removing any mascara you may get on your face when applying (or if you sneeze/blink at the wrong time when applying!). This has definitely been handy to have in my makeup bag.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 4

Picture on the left is a close-up of the makeup remover pen, and the picture on the right is a swatch of the lip gloss.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 5

e.l.f. Powder Blush Palette in Light – value: $6

I’ve never tried their blushes before, and it turns out I like them. This palette has some really great colors! More pics below…

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 6

I like the colors a lot.  For a fair complexion, these colors are good all year-round. Some complexions may even be able to use the top right as a bronzer, though I personally felt it was a little warm-toned for what I like in my bronzers so it’ll just have to be a very warm blush!

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 7

These blushes have great pigmentation! They’re a little powdery, so when I used my brush to pick up pigment a lot of product came with it and there was some fallout.  That’s annoying, but not a deal breaker (especially at this price point). A little goes a very long way with these so start with a teeny tiny bit and buff it on your cheek until it’s blended! The color also lasted all day.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 8

The photo on the left features the mascara and blush in use – the lips aren’t E.L.F. in that photo FYO. Something happened with my photos of the E.L.F. gloss that day so I had to re-snap a pic for you; the picture on the right features the correct lip gloss!

I love the blush and the way it looks here (in both photos) – I’m wearing the shade on the bottom right of the palette. It lasted all day, too.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 9

e.l.f. Lip Definer & Shaper – value: $3

This is a lip pencil one one end and a highlighter on the other. I honestly don’t highlight my lips much except my cupid’s bow with my normal face highlighter (and it just takes a quick swipe – nothing I feel like I need a whole separate product for). The color of this lip liner is nice, but it smears easily and didn’t impress me.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator – value: $3

Yay! This lip exfoliator is one of their more popular items, and I’m happy to see it in this Beauty Bundle. It’s super convenient. All you do is clean your lips of any lip products and dampen them with water, and then scrub this stick on your lips in a circular motion! I love this because normal sugar scrubs work well but get messy, and I feel like as soon as I put some to my lips and start scrubbing, the product seems to not stay under my finger so I just think it takes some work. This is a great product.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 10

e.l.f. Pressed Mineral Bronzer – value: $5

This bronzer is okay – it’s very light. In fact, I really think it’d work best as a highlighter or eyeshadow. Bronzers are supposed to create the look of shadows/dimension on your face, and this is not a dark enough shade to do that even on my very pale self.

e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Burnt Plum – value: $3

This is a very pretty shade of eyeshadow, but I have to give it a thumbs down because I could barely get any pigment from it. In the swatch photo here, it’s swatched on top but I had to rub my finger on the surface a million times and keep swiping and that sheer, barely-there swatch is all I got. It applied much better with a primer on my lids, but it still just wasn’t easy to work with.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 11

e.l.f. Contouring Brush – value: $6

Here’s what E.L.F. says about this brush on their site:

“This brush is specifically designed for advanced makeup application to help achieve professional looks. The densely packed hair and structured shape achieves flawless dimension along the cheekbones, forehead, and jawline for targeted contouring. Perfect for using with pressed or loose bronzer powder, liquids, and creams to create beautiful sculpting all over the face.”

I think they described this brush’s design and purpose very well, and I felt it performed well, too.

e.l.f. Mascara Primer – value: $3

This primer is alright. I’ve used better. Below is a photo comparing the E.L.F. mascara with and without the primer so you can see how it changes results.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 12

Here, the eye on the left has the primer + mascara on it, and the eye on the right just has the mascara. I can definitely notice a difference. I think the eye on the left looks like the lashes are longer and fuller.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 13

And here is a look with the blush (the shade on the bottom right corner again), lip gloss (again), mascara + lash primer, eyeshadow, and the bronzer used as a highlighter.

ELF BEAUTY BUNDLE MAY 2016 - items 14

And here’s a closer look. I ended up really liking the look of the eyeshadow – very natural and subtle, and the color was pretty. It was hard to work with, but I’m thinking I’ll keep working with it.

Verdict: The first thing I want to let you know is that this review is getting to you late because I’ve had to deal with E.L.F.’s customer service… When I first opened my bundle, the only items included were the first items in this review… the blush palette, lip gloss, mascara, setting spray, and makeup remover pen. When I added up the value, I knew something was missing from the box because it didn’t add up anywhere near the guaranteed $40. Customer Service emailed me back quickly, apologized, and said they’d send an entire new, complete bundle! So I even got some extra products out of it, and that response is exactly what I’d hope for from CS in a situation like this.

All in all, I had fun trying all these products from E.L.F.! There were some new-to-me products as well as some of E.L.F.’s most popular/best products (like the setting spray and lip exfoliator).  The value adds up to exactly $40.

With both the box and my experience with customer service, I’m happy!

What do you think about the E.L.F. Beauy Bundle?

Written by Haley Faye

Haley Faye

Haley Faye first discovered Beauty Army and Birchbox in 2012 and instantly fell hard and fast for the world of subscription boxes. Over the years of writing for MSA she has found many subscriptions to fuel her addiction, but her favorites include fashion, geeky, beauty, and mom/baby boxes to share with her son.
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. Can anyone tell me how the actual 8 weeks work? Is it 8 weeks from your original order date. Or is on a steady bi-monthly rotation? Like January, March, May, July and so forth?
    Thank you in advance!

  2. I had the same experience with this recent box in terms of the products I received when it first shipped. Something must have been going on in their warehouse, because I received the exact same products you did in the 1st shipment, and after contacting CS they replied right away & sent me a 2nd full box too! The free items were a nice treat. 🙂 However, I thought it was interesting both boxes were shipped completely unsealed.

  3. The Baked Eyeshadow is AMAZING when you put it on WET! Dip your brush in a dab of water, drop the water droplet onto the eyeshadow palette until it becomes watercolor like and then apply it like you are applying paint! It dries nicely and stays put all day and it’s a lot darker. Somewhere on their website it said it is for wet and that’s when I started doing that and it totally rocks!

  4. e.l.f. has quite a few of my favorites. (When I actually have to purchase mascara, I get their 3-in-1. I also love their eyelid primer, primer powder, and foundations.) Their beauty bundle was my first beauty subscription box, but I ended up canceling after a few months because you really do end up filling out your makeup collection on the cheap. I was getting so much makeup it was overwhelming.

    It’s definitely a subscription I recommend for anyone wanting to fill out a collection or who wants to try out e.l.f.’s products.

  5. I honestly have so much of their stuff, it’s not worth getting the box, but I agree with the lip exfoliator! It’s probably one of my favorite products. I’ve actually had pretty good experiences with their customer service. Twice I had to contact them because they ran out of some of the products I had bought, so I was worried I wouldn’t get the free gift (the first time I had actually forgotten to reapply the code after I had brought the price back up over the minimum). Both times they got right back to me and let me know they would make sure I got the gift. The last shipment was a little disappointing because it took a really long time to ship and when it got here it was missing several items, many of them part of the gift package (again they went out of stock between when I purchased and when it was sent). This time I didn’t even have to contact them though (wasn’t even going to bother tbh); the day after the box arrived I got an email with a $10 off code, no minimum purchase or anything, as an apology. Since the only missing thing I had actually paid for was $2, I basically got $8 free, which is a lot in E.L.F. land. Pretty nice. My only quibble is that a lot of times I will put something in my basket, only to go check out an hour later and be told it was sold out. Or items don’t come for the same reason (they never charge you for that, but still disappointing if you were looking forward to it). But still, over all I love ELF and am super happy I caught wind of them from bloggers!

  6. I buy ELF’s brushes and am pretty happy with them. Also their lippies are okay but I haven’t tried anything else. Not sure if this is really such a good deal since you are getting charged the full retail value of the items. I’d rather have a say in what my color selections are if I’m paying regular price.
    Wonder why they don’t throw in something extra? I get a 20% discount at my drugstore and their Elf selection is huge.
    I think they need to up their game on this- but hey- girl you look BEAUTIFUL in your photos!

    • It’s $25.00 for $40.00 worth of items.

      • Oh geeze-so sorry! I misread the pricing and for some dumb reason thought you meant 2 payments of $19.99- THEN- your box arrives. Ok then this a great deal! After reading the comments on the baked eyeshadow I’m anxious to try some. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

  7. I have one of their baked blushes and a palette of their baked eyeshadows and had the same issues with pigment – they don’t work well at all dry. The eyeshadows work better wet, definitely.

  8. I have several of their baked palettes and agree with the others that you need to wet the applicator and then they work amazing, it’s my favorite eye shadow

  9. I’ve always loved e.l.f. and for me, the huge added bonus is that they’re cruelty-free and supported by PETA. A box with products I’ll use with no animals suffering. Win-win!

  10. Whatever makeup or clothing you review, you always look gorgeous! I always look forward to your reviews, whether the box is applicable to me or not!

  11. Try the Baked Eyeshafow with a damp brush. A lot of baked products perform better that way, though I do not have experience with this product.

  12. I used to love the makeup remover pens for getting rid of stray mascara and/or eyeshadow fallout but I found they dried out too fast for my liking. I’ve since been using the Julep ones, which I occasionally add on to my monthly box for pretty cheap.

  13. I am not a fan of e.l.f. but I am a fan of you. Your reviews are great and I love the pictures.

  14. I’d almost forgotten about e.l.f.! They were my favorite in college, and I still prefer the makeup setting spray and their 3-in-1 mascara to much higher-end products. One thing I’d recommend is applying the eyeshadow with a damp brush. I have 2 of their baked eyeshadow palettes and all of the shades are almost unnoticeable – until you apply with a damp brush, and then they’re pretty darn pigmented. I’m even lazier than that and drip a single drop of water onto each color I wanted to use & applied with my fingers.

  15. Good gracious, you are just gorgeous! What a perfect model for makeup! On a different, unhappy note, I have had horrid experiences with e.l.f. customer service and will never, ever spend money with them again. They were either incompetent or just enjoyed messing with me. Either way, this pale girl spends her money elsewhere! The products look great on you, however!

  16. You’re so pretty with or without makeup 🙂

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