I'd heard the hype surrounding Essence cosmetics and their UK launch in Wilkinsons' stores, so I thought I should do a haul of a selection of their eye products- a good way to assess a new make-up brand I feel. Overall, I haven't been that impressed- there are some gems in amongst the items I purchased; but also some really quite poor products. I hope this post helps you with what to try if you haven't experienced Essence UK before.
First, let's take the mascaras. I've never thought coloured mascaras would suit me; but I really like the blue of this Colour Flash Volume Mascara 02 (£3). Despite what it looks like on the wand; on my already quite dark lashes, it is not too intense at all and really enhances my blue eyes. If I don't want to wear much eyeshadow, this would be good as the statement element of my eye make-up. Alternatively, i've been wearing it over my black mascara. It just adds a subtle hint of blue (mainly to the tips of my lashes) and serves to brighten and enhance my eyes. If you've got blue eyes, this is a handy make-up bag addition for just £3.
Next up is their Maximum Volume Mascara (£2.80). This black mascara has quite a unique wand, with prominent thin spikes on each side. This really helps to separate the lashes and stop clumping. It makes my lashes longer and fuller, which is all I really want from a mascara. For £2.80, this rivals a lot of my more pricier mascaras, and is definitely one I would re-purchase.
Finally, I tried the Lash Curler Mascara (£3.30). I didn't get this product at all. The concept is that you are supposed to twist a section on the lid/holder as you apply (actually very tricky to do) and the wand will rotate to curl and lengthen your lashes. My wand didn't rotate, and the mascara was average at best.
I also picked up a selection of their eyeliners. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog will know that i'm not great at applying eyeliner properly; but I can tell a good one from a bad one in terms of pigment and 'waterproof-ness'.
The first three eyeliners I tried are all supposed to be waterproof. This didn't work so well- they all rubbed off of the back of my hand easily just by licking my finger. The only one which took a little bit of extra rubbing to remove final remnants was the black Essence Gel Eye Pencil 01 (£2.30). I liked this as it is much softer and creamier than a pencil since it is a gel in pencil form. I also tried the light brown Essence Gel Eye Pencil 06 (£2.30 and too light for me) version of this- the formula was again easy to work with; but it had no staying power. These are the middle two swatches.
The top swatch is the felt-tip style black Essence Eyeliner Pen 01 (£2.80). It has no staying power at all, and bleeds easily, yet has a strong and dramatic black pigment level. I'm not a fan of this one sadly.
I did, however, really like the Big Bright Eyes Jumbo Pencil 01 (£2.00) which is the bottom swatch. It's a good budget alternative to Benefit's version- there's really no difference in terms of performance. You can apply it to the inner corners of your eyes, or under your brow bone as it's a highlighter. I've also been applying it to my bottom lash waterline and it works well in making my eyes look bigger and brighter this way.
Now, onto the eyeshadows. The quality and pigment level of Essence UK's eyeshadows are not the same across the board. Some are really poor and some are great.
I adore the 3D eyeshadows. I tried Essence 3D Eyeshadow 11 (£2.80). The quality here is great for such a bargain price, and is one I now reach for in my make-up back over much pricier brands. Each contains two shades that you can wear together or separately. I've been using them separately, and they are highly-pigmented, easy to blend shimmering metallics. I love how smooth and silky they are to apply.
I wasn't as keen on their single eyeshadows. I found Essence Eyeshadow 72 (£2.00 and a turquoise blue) quite chalky and needing quite a few coats to get any powerful colour pay-off.
I also wasn't impressed at all with the Essence Smokey Eyes Set 01 (£.2.80). This had terrible fall-out, was very chalky and not a pleasure to apply at all.
Although, I did find the Essence All About Nudes (£3.50) palette shades much easier to work with. Two of them, on my very fair skin, don't pick up well in the swatch image; but the six shimmering shades were silky to apply and are reasonably pigmented. They blend well too. It in no way rivals the quality of the likes of the Urban Decay Naked palettes in terms of pigment and blendability; but this is a good budget alternative for a tenth of the price.
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