A few weeks ago I attended the Essence forbidden garden event to celebrate the launch of their fall/winter collection. In true essence style there were lots of tasty treats and pretty makeup to put us all in a partying mood.
When it comes to affordable, usable cosmetics with fun packaging, the brand has delivered some real gems and whether you are experienced with makeup or just starting out, there are always products to suit your needs.
The new Velvet Eye Shadows are available in 9 shades ranging from matte and sheer to full-coverage. These fresh, light hues are not what you’d expect to see for fall but you can wear them alone or use deeper shade in the crease for more depth. The pigmentation is not as dramatic or intense as I like but I’ve found some nice blending, highlight and transition shades among the bunch. When you want to amp-up the glam, the regular single shadows (my personal fave) are infused with luminous shimmer and provide more color pay-off to brighten and accentuate. The shadows retail for $2.49 ea.
Two products I was quite excited to try are the I Love Color Intensifying Eye Shadow Base and the new Prettifying Lip Oil. I tested the base with some of the essence shadows and it did help boost vividness while creating a nice smooth surface for adhesion and long wear. In some cases the primer intensified sheer formulas from subtle to medium and from medium to full-coverage with a little layering. It retails for just $3.99.
The lightweight Lip Oil smells like delicious candy and is non-greasy. The main moisturizing ingredient is jojoba and the texture melts into lips with a hint of shine and no stickiness. The oil retails for $3.99 and is available in 3 subtle tints.
When the weather gets cooler our complexions may need a little enrichment which is where the Mosaic Blush comes in handy. To create a wind-kissed, rosy cheek the brand created two tri-color blends - Berry Connection and All You Need is Pink which is really more of a peach combo. These blushes are very soft and light so the pigmentation isn’t bold but they do provide a beautiful dusting of mild shimmer for a subtle glow. When I use these pigments for everyday wear I don’t really need highlighter unless I want more radiance and they provide a fresh pop of color. The blush retails for $3.99 ea.
The BB Beauty Balms have a basic lip gloss formulation and among the 6 moisturizing options there isn’t much color variation. If you like sheer hues go for the light colors and if you prefer a bit more tint, the brighter glosses like 05 Heartbreaker tend to stand-out more. The best thing about these lippies is the high-shine finish and the infusion of shea butter and vitamin E which helps nourish parched skin. They also smell quite good and retail for just $4.49 ea.
Highlighters have been a staple this year and the Pure Nude compact will maintain your gorgeous glow even on gloomy, cold afternoons. This baked powder provides the ideal amount of glow for daily life - not quite enough shimmer for an intense strobed effect yet not subtle enough to blend totally in and get lost. The texture isn’t very silky to the touch but that doesn’t really matter because the pigmentation is buildable and easy to blend for pretty illumination. It retails for $5.49 and definitely hold its own against other popular drugstore options.
Essence has also released a variety of 2-in-1 jumbo cream crayons. The pink shade below is lipstick and liner ($4.99) with sheer coverage and good glide. Although it doesn’t provide the solid lines you get from traditional lip liners, it does make defining and application quite easy. The deep brown and white shades are the 2-in-1 eyeliner-shadow duos ($4.49) but the creamy texture is very similar to the lip formula so they don’t resist smudging or set very well. Since the color rubs off easily and brown lipstick is on-trend, I’m going to use the chocolate hue on my lips instead. It also works as brow filler if you don’t rub it off. With this packaging what you see is what you get - there is no option of twisting the product up or down which makes capping and uncapping a bit precarious when it comes to smooshing the crayons.
I've tested a lot of makeup setting sprays, many of which work similarly whether they are higher-end or drugstore. I don’t usually need to set my makeup as thoroughly in the fall/winter months but for special events and summer it is a must! This spray smells similar to a few others on the market and although the nozzle occasionally distributes larger droplets, it dries fast and does seem to reinforce my makeup. You can pick it up for $4.99.
Essence is exclusively available at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada and can be found at Ulta Beauty in the U.S.