Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some Initial Thoughts on Ellis Faas

Ellis Faas Cosmetics launched in the US at Bergdorf Goodman yesterday, and after reading various raves I had to do some reconnaissance! According to the Sales Associate I was only the second person to the counter so the display were quite pristine, despite the counter being tiny and tucked away in the corner next to Bulgari Skincare and behind T. Le Clerc. Shortly after I arrived, a very frustrated and seemingly angry woman from Women's Wear Daily approached the counter saying that she had an appointment with the line's PR person and had been walking around the cosmetics floor for over half an hour looking for the line and couldn't find it. The Bergdorfs beauty level is not that big so I don't understand the issue, but wanted to point out just where the counter is located lest anyone else struggle! (Interestingly, neither Ellis not the PR rep were there when the WWD writer showed up for her scheduled interview appointment--there was some debate as to whether they were at a meeting or outside "having a smoke". When Ellis did show up--in lovely makeup, by the way--she asked the writer if she should "just go through the motions" and began going through the line's concept, history, etc. It should be very interesting to read WWD's review of the line!). Back to the actual makeup...

All of the products are housed in long slender silver tubes with pointed caps intended to resemble bullets. The various liquid formulas flow through either a "showerhead," the line's name for a hard flocked sponge top applicator with several holes through which the product is dispensed, or an attached brush. The only product not dispensed this way is the Powder, which is a standard pressed powder cake. Ellis also makes a large cylindrical metal tube to house your various Ellis Fass products, though it's rather large and unweildy. It features a built in powder compact at the bottom since the pressed powder currently comes only in a plastic clamshell for packaging. The Holder would be lovely if your entire cosmetic collection consisted of only Ellis products or you needed a handy weapon with which to clobber someone over the head, but for makeup junkies like myself it's just impractical.

Ellis also makes a Skin Veil Foundation and Concealer. The foundation is light in texture and features minerals to illuminate. It contains sunscreen and the 8 shades are in the same bullet style tube, just fatter, and come with a refill. The concealer seemed light and silky but it was no match for my serious undereye circles. For those with minor imperfections to hide, this might be a good option. Ellis Faas will soon be coming out with a Skin Luminizer as well.

The Blush comes in four shades, my favorite being S302. It's a very, very pretty shimmery peachy pink and will likely be my next Ellis purchase (more on what I did get later!). I can definitely see it being one of those shades that works on nearly every woman. The blush blends right in and has good pigment for a liquid. The shimmer is not over the top, just gentle and fresh. A really lovely product.

The Powder comes in 3 shades which did feel nice and creamy and didn't look heavy when applied, but the fact that it doesn't come in a compact is a deterrent to me.

Ellis Eyes are some of the line's star products. These fluid eye shadows come in two different formulas, Creamy Eyes and Milky Eyes. Creamy Eyes is a slightly thicker textured cream and are smooth and velvety, glide on and and give you time to blend them before they dry. Once they had set on my hand I had difficulty removing them, even with the makeup remover provided! This is one long-wearing shadow! They are full coverage and are available in 7 shades, ranging from a light yellow beige to a red plum to a sooty charcoal. Ellis mentioned that her line is nearly shimmery free, and the only one of these shadows in which I could discern some shimmer was E109--a pretty shimmery vanilla. You can click on all of the swatch pictures to enlarge them.

Milky Eyes are more translucent in texture. I would not describe them as sheer or unpigmented, merely more transparent, akin to stained glass. The shades in this collection are more vivid, yet can be blended down to a stain or gentle wash of color. The texture is lighter, spreads easier, and can be layered for inensity or to combine shades. I used two "coats" of the the shade I purchased (E209- a light beigey peach) to achieve my desired effect.

Ellis also makes a Mascara in brown and black and an Eyeliner in brown and black. The liner, like the shadows, transform from a liquid to a powder and feature a nice applicator brush.

The other standout in the line are the lip products, in 3 formulations: Creamy, Milky and Glazed. Creamy Lips are dispensed through the aforementioned showerhead component and are full coverage but with a soft and velvety feel. They don't feel drying in the least and I can see them blotting down nicely. The pinky-nude L108 would be my top choice. Milky Lips are lighter in texture than Creamy Lips and a bit less pigmented, but not quite a gloss. Thicker than a stain and thinner than a lipstick, the product is very unique and comfortable to wear. I chose L207 for myself, a natural my-lips-but-better shade similar to Laura Mercier Nude Lips. Last is Glazed Lips, a sheer, wet looking non-sticky gloss. L308 is a sheer nude brown that I really liked. All of the formulations come in 9 shades, but the line's standout and most publicized is Ellis Red, which comes in all 3 formulas. This shade is designed to be a universal, versatile red that is supposedly flattering on all women.

So why no pictures of the items I picked out for myself? After all the time I spent playing and swatching and sampling and choosing, I go to pay and the Sales Associates realizes that none of the items (save for the Ellis Holder) have been entered into the store's computer system and thus they could not be purchased! Bergdorfs really dropped the ball on this one! The store launched a line and made it so that customers can't actually buy it! The Sales Associate took down my credit card and shipping information and they are supposedly shipping my items to me today. I will be sure to post a follow up when I receive them but in the meantime I'm looking forward!

The line's biggest downside is the pricing. The line is, in my opinion, exceptionally (and rather unnecessarily) expensive, especially since some of the items cost quite a bit more than when you convert the overseas pricing into USD. If I'm happy with my new Milky Lips and Milky Eyes, I would go back for the blush and likely a Creamy Lips, but it's not a line to which I can afford to really develop a strong addiction or sizable collection. When I was at the counter, a woman (a tourist and without prior knowledge of the line) came by to play with the eye and lip products, and asked the Sales Associate the pricing to which the answer was "everything is $36." The shopper then opted to add the foundation, concealer, and a few other items to her haul, not realizing that the $36 was only for the eye and lip products she was eyeing when she asked (nor did I at the time). Since we could not be properly rung up and were not given totals, this poor woman is going to find herself back in Pennsylvania with a $500 bill and not know why! Oy!

Here are the prices:
Ellis Holder- $35
Skin Veil Foundation- $65
Skin Veil Concealer- (not listed but I believe $45)
Blush- $40
Powder- $25 (no compact provided)
Creamy Eyes- $36
Milky Eyes- $36
Mascara- $34
Eyeliner- $36
Creamy Lips- $36
Milky Lips- $36
Glazed Lips- $36

The Sales Associate I worked with, Claudia Pinto, was extremely nice and helpful. She apologized any time I was kept waiting, when she went to work with another customer and when the register wouldn't scan the items. She allowed me to play and never hovered or put pressure on me to purchase anything and was happy to offer advice and suggestions. She is also knowledgeable about the line, the products and the shades. I called today to confirm that the products were shipped and that there were no issues and she not only remembered me by name, but let me know that she had already shipped the items and ran my credit card info through the shredder. That, to me, is top-notch customer service. If you'd like to order through her, her number is (212)872-8713. I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever and receive nothing from posting this or her contact information. She was just a very helpful Sales Associate and nice person with whom to deal.

If you've tried the line I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for additional products to try!Oh, and here are some quick iPhone pictures of swatches and products. The lighting in Bergdorfs is notoriously yellow and bad (why on earth you'd but beauty level in a basement is beyond me) but hopefully they can provide some additional guidance.
Top row: Glazed Lips 308, Milky Lips 207, Creamy Eyes 108
Center: Milky Lips 208
Bottom row: Milky Eyes 206, Milky Eyes 109, Blush S302
Top row: Milky Eyes 206, Glazed Lips 308
Middle row: Milky Eyes 109, Milky Lips 208, Milky Lips 207
Bottom row: Blush S302, Creamy Eyes 108


  1. I was lucky enough to be invited to a network event last month where she Ellis herself, hosted a private viewing of the collection. There are some gorgeous shades amongst the products and something to suit every skintone but like you I think it's overpriced. I may treat myself to one or two shades but I need to see them all again in person when it launches in the UK next month.

    Hmm I must get round to finishing my write up on the range.

  2. Thanks for the detailed review of your account. I'm so jealous you live near BG! I think I'm going to pass on this line mainly because I'm not so keen about the packaging or the high price.

    Loved reading this article though!

  3. Hi, Vex! I can't wait to read your write up!

    Lina, yup, my office is just a few blocks away from BG. Ellis Faas is the kind of line I wouldn't buy without trying first--the stuff is just too expensive if you end up not liking it!

  4. Thanks for the detailed review. It sounds interesting, but yet another elusive only-in-NYC line. I'll have to wait until I get back to the city before I can invest so much, and even them I'm not entirely sure the products are unique enough to justify the price. I can't wait to read you upcoming review on the things you did buy. And by the way, you must be a very patient customer to leave without your beauty purchases!

  5. Hi, Amy! I'm also eager to find out whether the items I purchased justify the high prices! Hopefully I'll have them by Tuesday. I have a thing about obscure products and lines--the more "under the radar" they are, the more I want to try them! I love your site, by the way!



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