Essence 2016 New Releases23:26
Provided for review
Essence have unleashed a slew of new releases on their stands nationwide and I was fortunate to be sent a lot of them to try out and share with you. Essence is a brand I enjoy and love to check out whenever I'm near one of their stands because they are testament that the old adage 'you get what you pay for' isn't always true, especially in the world of cosmetics! Their quality is often on par with far more expensive brands, particularly in the case of the powder products, but there are many other gems to be found among the range. Keep on scrolling to see if any of the new launches tickle your fancy!
I've been thrashing Essence's Shape Your Face Contouring Palette (read my review here) since I bought it a few months ago, so I was really excited to have a play with the new Light Up Your Face Luminizer Palette. At a wallet-friendly $8.95NZD, I think this is a great alternative to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette, which I also own. The shades are not dupes, although feel free to let me know if you'd like to see comparison swatches - this post already seemed a bit too jam-packed! But the general format is the same, excluding a mirror. The palette contains a satiny, flesh-toned powder with minimal sheen that's great as a subtle luminizing finishing powder; a pale champagne highlight (more sparkly than the comparable Hourglass shade) and a shimmering soft peachy-bronze that may work as a bronzer or highlighting blush depending on your complexion and preferences. All of them have excellent colour payoff, texture and lasting power and generally feel like a far more expensive formula than the price tag would suggest. I highly recommend picking this palette up!
Wearing all three shades in the Light Up Your Face Luminizer Palette along with Essence Silky Touch Blush in Secret It-Girl (discontinued).
The Matt Matt Matt Longlasting Lipglosses ($5.20NZD) are Essence's take on the liquid matte lipstick trend, although the formula is more akin to ColourPop's Ultra Satin lipsticks than a true liquid matte. The colour payoff was excellent on the two shades I tried (there are five in total) and they wore for five hours on me, during which time they were lightly drying. These smell SO good to me - sweet, almost like cake batter with a dash of vanilla essence. Admittedly I am a big fan of bakery scents and I enjoy fragrance in my cosmetics but if you're not that way inclined you may find the scent a bit much.
La Vie Est Belle is a very light cool-toned pink which applies evenly enough but grabs at every flake and flaw on your lips. It was oddly chunky too as if not all of the pigment had been blended properly during the manufacturing process. Girl of Today, a muted cerise pink, was much better and applied very well with no chunkiness. These have a whipped mousse-like texture that is easy to spread across the lips, not too dissimilar to NYX's Soft Matte Lip Creams.
Essence is a brand with a reputation for consistently putting out great mascaras, especially for their price point and I have many friends who swear by them. The new False Lashes Dramatic Volume Unlimited mascara and Rock 'n' Doll Crazy XXXL Volume mascara ($6.30NZD each) are my second and third forays into their mascara range respectively, I previously tried the Lash Princess Volume mascara which you can find my review for here. These two were consistent with my experience with the Lash Princess Volume mascara: they're inky black and do a great job of lifting and separating lashes. I experienced a small amount of under-eye smudging with both of them but no flaking or running.
Before & after The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited
I saw some volume and lengthening here without clumping, but I didn't feel it was very dramatic at all. For what it's worth though, my lashes are in particularly rough shape at the moment as my eyes have been dry & irritable throughout my pregnancy - it feels like I have grit in them all the time, which leads me to accidentally losing eyelashes trying to find the source of the grit. Ugh.
Before & after Rock 'n' Doll Crazy XXL Volume mascara
I'm not seeing any 'Crazy XXL volume' here, but my lashes are defined with some curl and the formula is somewhat buildable without clumping. I quite like the brush, which has long, thin bristles on one side to grab every lash. The underside of the brush is better suited for combing through afterwards to create more volume.
This is my first time trying one of Essence's eye pencils and I'm seriously impressed! There are six shades in the new Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil line and they're $4.50NZD a pop. I have the shade Rockin' Taupe, which is a richly pigmented cool taupe strewn with fine shimmer. It applies smoothly and can be smudged out but once it sets it lasts for positively ages - I didn't notice any creasing or fading when I wore it. I'm keen to try some of the darker shades now to see if they fare just as well.
I'm wearing Rockin' Taupe on the lower lashline here along with the LORAC Nude Skinny palette, Colourpop 3 and Sailor.
I'm a little sad to see Essence's previous blush range discontinued as I really like the Silky Touch Blush I have (Secret It-Girl) but although it's a good blush, I have to admit that the formula of the new Satin Touch blush is an improvement. While the Silky Touch Blush was prone to kicking up excess powder in the compact, this isn't a problem with the Satin Touch Blush ($5.65NZD) and it's still as pigmented and blendable as ever. I have the shade Satin Coral, which is a warm, light coral with very subtle gold sheen. There are two other shades in the Satin formula and a further three in the alternate Matt Touch Blush range.
Here I'm wearing Satin Coral with ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter and TheBodyNeeds Define Me!
This is my new obsession. I know words like 'obsessed' are abused and overused in the beauty world, but honestly, a medium-full coverage foundation that lasts all day and melds beautifully with the skin for under $10NZD? Essence have nailed it with the Camouflage 2 in 1 Makeup & Concealer and at $8.55NZD I am buying back ups.
I have combination-oily skin, erring on the milder side of oily and I occasionally have issues with some foundation formulas breaking down around my nose, t-zone and chin during wear but I didn't experience this with Camouflage. It faded evenly, didn't settle into fine lines, crack or oxidise in odd ways and it was easy to remove at the end of the day. Now as far as the 2 in 1 concealer claim goes, I think that's really going to depend on your preference! I personally like to spot conceal and highlight with concealer, so it's not something I would skip.
The downside to this foundation is that the shade range is extremely limited, there are only three! Ivory Beige, which is the one I have, is the lightest and it's a pretty good match for me (for comparison purposes, other foundations that match me are Estee Lauder Double Wear 1N1 Ivory Nude, Estee Lauder Perfectionist 1C1 Cool Bone, ZA True White Liquid Foundation OC0W, MAC NC15, Bobbi Brown Skin Nourishing Glow Foundation Porcelain and Maybelline Superstay 24H Light Beige).
Left to right: Bare skin, foundation only, complete makeup (including concealer)
Essence have a lot of liquid eyeliners in their offerings but I unfortunately haven't found one I like yet! The Rock 'n' Doll Duo Stylist ($5.65NZD) has an interesting applicator with a rounded tip that can be used to create polka dots. Rather than this feature making this a 'duo stylist' though, I found it limited my ability to draw a steady line for simple eyeliner, let alone a wing, and this was further hindered by it tugging and skipping when layered over eyeshadow. It's an interesting gimmick, but I'll stick to my regular felt tip eyeliners!
Moving back to the lip product category, we have the Matt Matt Matt lipsticks ($5.20NZD). There are seven shades in this formula and each is capped with a colour co-ordinated translucent lid. They smell like something I can't quite place: sweet, mildly fruity but artificial; I want to say childrens scented nail polish, like the tiny fruit-scented, pencil-shaped Ferity nail polishes that you could buy in the nineties. The colour payoff is semi-opaque with a matte finish and they wear incredibly well - it was seven and a half hours before they began to look pretty faded and sad on me. I found them clingy but not drying during that time. I like these much better than the previous matte lipstick formula, which looked grainy and had too much slip. Nice improvement, Essence!
Perfect Match is a warm nude with mostly opaque coverage while Purple Power is not in fact purple, but a rich berry. It was sheerer than Perfect Match but mostly evened out with a little more patience.
Essence The Gel Nail Polish - Pretty Cool Life, 3 coats
Nail polish is how I first became aware of Essence as a brand - I know I'm pretty slack on the nail polish reviews these days, but it used to be far more of a focus in blogging and in life! I'd read European nail blogs, covet their Essence Trend Editions (I still wish we got more of the Trend Editions here but some is better than none!) and snatch up the few that popped up in blog sales and destashes. My favourites are still the original Nail Art Twins duos, especially Chuck and Blair (#chairforeverxoxo) but I digress...
The Gel Nail Polish formula seems to have replaced the regular nail polish line, because nail trends dictate that we must have Gel All The Things and it's pretty decent. It's on the thicker side but easy to manipulate and build up - I used three coats but could have gotten away with two. It dries with a lovely shine and doesn't need a lamp to cure. There are twenty-nine shades of The Gel Nail Polish and they're hard to resist at just $3.60NZD each.
Where to buy:
- Selected Farmers stores (NZ)
- Pricewise Direct (NZ)