The team over at e.l.f. cosmetics have been watching the beauty community agonize over the beauty of all things glittery and shiny. Liquid metallics are everywhere right now, from lipstick to highlight – and the brands at every price level are creating incredible metallic liquid eyeshadow formulas that are as arresting as they are fun to play with. e.l.f.’s Metallic Molten Liquid Eyeshadow ($4) is clamoring to be the budget-friendly option.
You may be familiar with some of the other products that are similar to the Liquid Molten Eyeshadows, but good luck finding them cheaper.
There are lots of products competing in the “OMG LIQUID SHINY” rush of 2017. Competing Liquid Metallic Eyeshadow Products include:
- Makeup Forever Starlit Liquid, $24
- Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow, $24
- Urban Decay Liquid Moondust, $24
- The Estee Edit Liquid Metal, $24
- Milk Makeup Eye Pigment, $24
- Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, $39
All of these products are creamy and metallic with extremely high shimmer – some have a little sparkle to them, as well. You can’t help but notice that the most popular price on the planet for liquid eyeshadows is $24. That seems really, really high to me – especially for one tube of eyeshadow in one color.
L-R: Liquid Gold, Brushes Copper, Rose Gold, Cool Steel
I bought four of the six colors available in the Aqua Beauty Molten Liquid Eyeshadow line. The available shades are:
- Liquid Gold
- Brushed Copper
- Molten Bronze
- Mocha Metal
- Rose Gold
- Cool Steel
The first thing you need to know about these liquid eyeshadows is that they are glitter-free. There is only shimmer in this formula – no sparkle. So, if you’re looking for a dupe for a glittery, delicious liquid shadow, this isn’t it. Urban Decay’s Moondust Liquid Eyeshadows, for example, have similar levels of metallic shimmer, but the UD shadows have a healthy dose of matching glitter.
Brushed copper diffused halo eye.
These colors are fine. As far as the range goes, there’s definitely a lot of metal-colored shades which should be expected. (“Molten,” etc.) That being said… I’ve got gripes.
Liquid Gold is more like a metallic canary yellow, Brushed Copper and Rose Gold are nearly identical, and Cool Steel is more of a dark lavender color than a steel shade. Also, where is the liquid silver? This collection seriously needs some more cool, bright shades. It could also use a bit more metallic.
These are an extremely shimmery formula, but not a very reflective formula. They are more pigmented than they are metallic, which still makes them totally wearable, but also makes them less competitive with that list of $24 makeup products up there.
Typically, liquid eyeshadows – like liquid lipsticks – dry down. In fact, Stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow dries own almost too fast. Blending before it sets can be a challenge. The e.l.f. Molten Liquid Eyeshadows thankfully do not dry down to fast, so there’s plenty of time to blend them out before they mostly set. I wouldn’t go rubbing your eyes or anything, but they will mostly stay put for a few hours.
Once they set, try not to mess with them too much because you can create fallout from eyeshadow that is already on your eye. e.l.f. recommends using this as an all-over lid base for other shadows. I admittedly haven’t tried this, but I wonder if setting these shadows with other metallic powder shadows would be as impressive as it seems like it would be.
Neutral gray in crease with Cool Steel all over the lid. Look at the fallout from blending!
These liquid eyeshadows have an interesting feature that I haven’t experienced before. They have a cooling sensation which you can feel when you apply them to your skin. It feels almost like aloe vera when you have a sunburn, except without the sunburn. (Unless you have a sunburn.) I’m not sure if this is to emphasize the fact that water is the main ingredient in these liquid shadows, otherwise the point of the cooling effect is totally lost on me.
Speaking of blending them out before they set, these blend beautifully. In fact, they blend out so sheer that you have to be kind of careful to focus your blending brush only on the outer edges of the shadow area, otherwise you’ll lose almost all of your reflective metallic effect. On the plus side, these could totally be used as a sheer wash of shimmer over the lid, or even as a liquid highlight for the face.
Neutral gray in the crease with Brushed Copper patted over the lid.
As far as longevity goes, these aren’t anything to write home about. They last for about two to three hours then fade and eventually just look like old, used up makeup on your face at the end of the day. Not necessarily disappointing, but not groundbreaking in the least.
Packaging, Price, & Value
A $4 liquid eyeshadow is kind of a hard thing to criticize, to be honest. e.l.f. is notorious for giving me “giddy new-purchase syndrome” where I just love that everything is so affordable and end up looking at products through rose-colored glasses. This leads me to trying eye makeup from everywhere. I’m a sucker for inexpensive eyeshadows and these are no exception. I want these cheapies to work and be perfect. Everything is in place and set for a makeup miracle. It even comes in cute packaging! I mean, once you take it out of the typical ugly drugstore makeup box.
The plastic tube is clear and the cap is a pretty metallic turquoise. The Aqua Beauty line likely has these blue caps to, once again, remind us that there is luscious, hydrating, life-giving goddamn water in these things and that’s natural AF. Names are located on stickers at the bottom of the tube, and “e.l.f.” is the only text decoration anywhere on the packaging. It’s nice, minimalist, easy to store, and smart.
Each tube is equipped with a doe-foot applicator that is really annoying to use on your eyelids. Nothing is more upsetting that mushing around your eyelid skin with a blunt, flocked object – especially when you already have existing shadow put down. I think the best way to use these is also the most sanitary: smudge some product onto a palette or the back of your hand and use a flat, synthetic brush to pat it onto your eyelid.
Neutral gray in the crease with Brushed Copper patted over the lid.
Now we arrive at the counter-point for all of my own arguments: they are 1/6th the price of most of this product’s competitors. The value is kind of really great… as long as you’re not looking for a highly reflective, metallic eyeshadow and instead want a really pretty, shimmery, soft-focus metallic liquid eyeshadow. If that’s your bag, this is your product – but them all ASAP because you are going to love them.
e.l.f. Aqua Beauty Molten Liquid Eyeshadow Swatches
All of these swatches were done in natural daylight with minimal correction.
All Shades Together
All Shades Together, Blended Out
Review Conclusion: Are e.l.f. Molten Liquid Shadows Worth It?
I’m split 60/40 with these, and my vote is yes. These are worth… $4. $4! I spent $16 on everything in this post because I waited for a free shipping sale. You can buy all six of the Molten Liquid Eyeshadow shades for the same price as one of the prestige products.
As far as whether or not they’re worth it based on their performance, I’m torn. On one hand, these aren’t bad makeup products. They are convenient, pretty, don’t smell gross, and generally improve the appearance of my eyelids. On the other hand, they are not metallic, not long-wearing (which also isn’t a claim they made but is something I look for in these kinds of products).
Where to Buy
- e.lf. Cosmetics, $4 (+ $4.95 shipping)
- Target, $4 (+ min. $4 shipping)
- Ulta, $4 (+ $5.95 shipping)
- Walmart, $4 (+ $5.99 shipping)