I love when Essence brings out a new collection and this one gave me a good chuckle. Released for Valentine’s Day, the collection Valentine – Who Cares? is based on female friendship and girl power in the face of the Hallmark holiday. Okay, it may be aimed at younger girls but it’s a good message and the underlying point is that the products are good.
I know many people who blatantly claim to ignore Essence because of its garish marketing towards teenage girls. Okay, I’m not a fan of it either and these products are never going to be mistaken for Chanel but they’re cheap, cheerful and most importantly, good products!
When I first received the collection, I was slightly underwhelmed. Nothing stood out to me bar the nails and I have gels on at the moment so I couldn’t even wear them. When I started to use the products, my opinion changed. There are some real winners here.
First up is the product most will probably gravitate towards. These are the Essence Smokey Eyeshadow Sticks in 01 Love is in the Air – Don’t Breathe! and 02 l.o.v.e. blah blah blah. These are retractable eyeshadow pens that are said to be easy to apply and blend. Love is in the Air is a metallic beige and l.o.v.e. is a shimmering khaki.
I don’t usually go for cream shadow products at all but I know many people are obsessed with shadow pencils from more prestigious brands. Giving these a go, I was incredibly impressed. They blend seamlessly over the eye – I simply drew on my lids straight from the bullet and used a dense brush to buff the edges, the colours are subtle yet pretty and the wear time was good too. I did start to get a little creasing towards the end of the day but that is why I usually avoid cream products. It was a little lived-in looking but not gross and greasy. It is definitely something you can overlook.
If you’re a fan of shadow pencils from more expensive brands, for €3.09 a piece I think you need to give these a go! So perfect for those mornings you want to look put together but have little time.
The next thing I tried out was the Essence Smokey Cream Kajal in 01 Sisters Before Misters. Despite being a massive eyeliner fan, I have never tried any form of kajal before. To be honest, the look of them simply terrifies me! Yet I put my big girl boots on and gave this baby a go for the sake of the review.
This is simply a black shade and it takes a little layering to reach maximum intensity on your waterline. However, as you rub it along your lashline, it sort of gathers in your bottom lashes creating this perfect smokey eye look. I don’t mean it looks like your eyeliner smudged all over your face. I mean, it looks like a subtle Kate Moss-esque smokey eye. I am obsessed with the effect of this kajal and am kicking myself that I didn’t try one earlier!
Feel no fear and pick one of these up for the ideal I-woke-up-like-this rock chick look that only costs €2.49!
The next product was another that I was very hesitant to try. This is the Essence Translucent Fixing Powder in 01 Guys Allowed, NOT! I had a bad experience with an Essence setting powder before which was extremely chalky, left a white cast on my face and made my skin look dry and desert-like so I did not have high hopes for this one.
Much like the stunning highlighter that Essence released as part of their Merry Berry Christmas collection, this powder features an embossed design. This one is of an array of stars and hearts and isn’t engraved as deep as the one on the highlighter. I used this power once before taking this photo and as you can see, so much of the pattern has already worn away.
The powder itself is actually very finely milled and sets the face invisibly. I feel it leaves skin looking a little airbrushed too as it seems to blur imperfections slightly. While I do need to top it up throughout the day (which I always do, regardless of which powder I’m using!) I didn’t find myself getting as shiny and oily as I do sometimes when using other, more expensive, drugstore powders. For €3.79, this is worth picking up to try – you may be pleasantly surprised!
I feel like in every Essence collection, there is one gimmicky product that is aimed at that young teen audience and for me, the Essence Face and Body Tattoo Stamp in 01 Sisters Before Misters is just that. There will never be a time where I want to stamp an infinity symbol on myself and my tattoo artist fiance nearly hit the roof when he saw this claiming it is what is wrong with the world today.
Bearing in mind that this is aimed at teenage best friends and not twenty six year old cynics with real tattoos, this is actually a fine product. The stamp turns out dark and precise. If I were a teenager, I would probably love this for stamping all over my school copy books. It costs €2.49.
Something that definitely intrigued me were the Essence False Lashes in 02…Bad Girls Go Everywhere. I don’t recall ever seeing a lash like this – wispy on the inside yet so dark and full on the outside. I needed them on my eyes ASAP.
Sadly, we did not get along very well. The lash band is quite rigid and difficult to apply and they’re so thick and full on the outside that they look hilarious. I would be intrigued to try the other set released as part of this collection as they look more natural and I have had good experiences with Essence lashes in the past but you’re best avoiding these.
They retail for €3.79.
The final product I was sent were the Essence Click & Go Nails in 01 Fly Off Cupid! I have been getting gel nails since before Christmas but before then, I was always looking for false ones just like these. Pointy claw nails are so in yet they were hard to find in false nail form. I ended up forking out something stupid like twelve quid for a House of Holland set several months back and I wasn’t even crazy about the colour. These black ones with red undersides are gorgeous and so glossy looking.
As I already mentioned, I have gel nails on so haven’t tried them yet. They are self adhesive though and super sticky as I realised when I took them out of the box! The one down side is that you only get the twelve that you see in the picture so sizing is pretty limited. For €3.79, however, they’re worth a go!
The collection also features another pair of lashes in 01 Good Girls go to Heaven which add volume but are less dramatic, two liquid lipsticks in 01 Crew Love is True Love – a red and 02 I’m Not Into Roses – a purple (€3.79). four nail varnishes in latex and metallic finishes in stunning colours (€2.29 -I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for those!) and a fragrance called Rebel Queen (€3.50) which contains tangerine, candy apple and pear top notes with a sandalwood, musk and licorice base.
In this photo (and the close-up of the lashes), I am wearing Love is In The Air – Don’t Breathe on the inner portion of my eye with l.o.v.e. blah blah blah on the outer corner and buffed underneath the eye. I also used the kajal on my waterline and those lashes! I’m wearing the setting powder too although obviously you can’t see it.
This collection will be in stores from mid January to mid February so may even be out now.
Is there anything here that caught your eye?
Disclaimer: This collection was sent to me as a PR sample. I am under no obligation to mention the products on my blog and it does not affect my opinion of them in any way.
No affiliate links were used.