Budget beauty brand Essence (or essence to be absolutely correct) send me a few bits to play with from their Limited Edition range called Come To Town and some of the newest additions to the rest of their range. Come To Town was for christmas... but it is still on the essence stand in my local... sigh.
The nail varnishes are as always great quality for very little spends (€1.79 - €1.99) with shades, finishes and textures to suit all tastes. Colour intensity is great and you generally get full coverage with 2 thin coats which dry quicker than you'd think from a budget brand. The nude colours may need an extra coat just to make it fully opaque.
essence Come To Town quattro eyeshadow 01 MAKE A WISH is a lovely little quad for €3.49, metallic, shimmer colours that are soft and buttery to touch with excellent pigmentation. The swatches you see on my fingers are a double swipe across the pans, no swirling or hard scrubbing, just two softish swipes. Lovely. The Silver and Gold are the stand out colours here and the darkest green would look lovely as an eyeliner. I don't have the right colour eyes or skintone for the lightest green though...
essence Metal Glam Eyeshadow singles are lovely in the pan and feel buttery soft, but it is a pain to get it onto the brush and near impossible to get it to show up like it does in the pan. I'd skip these unless you are willing to wet these to get a good intensity. The eye-shadows that are not really floating my boat though are the 3D Shadow Duos. Pretty to look at and beautifully presented in the pan, these are hard. H.A.R.D. I really struggled to get the above swatch. I have 2 other colours and they are the same. Its a pity because these are so pretty... but in the pan only.
essence Long Lasting Lipsticks (€ XX) come in a mix of matte and satin shades with great pigmentation and a lovely feeling formula. 14 Adorable Matte! is a classic Red with a leaning to the pink side. Pretty, bright and super comfortable on the lip, the formula doesn't dry my already tender lips out and it doesn't sit in flaky patches. Its not completely Matte, but this means that it wears evenly and sticks around for a good 3 hours. The lid clicks closed with a solid CLICK so its safe enough to chuck in the pocket in my bag. I like Adorable Matte!
The "matching" Lipliner (14 Femme Fatale) is a proper tomato red. But it is more red than Adorable Matte! Lipstick and not a perfect perfect match. But its soft, sharpens easily and gives a proper matte finish if you choose to fill in your lips with this, but it wears off quickly in the center of your lips, so beware. It does make a great base for lipstick and its cheap as chips.
A winner and new to the range are the Liquid Ink Eyeliners. One shade: Black. Two finishes: Matte and High Shine. Price: €2.89 SCORE!
A proper brush with bristles means that essence listened to their customers and went back to the brush as opposed to the sponge thing that they used to have. Yay!
Liquid Ink High Shine eyeliner is nice. It is easy to work with, and the finish is high shine but ti takes a wee while to dry, so try not to blink too vigorously after applying otherwise you will end up with black lines on your eyelid in places you don;t want black lines. Perfect for wet look liner though as the finish stays shiny after its dried. Only thing is it isn't waterproof. This will run and the threat of tears. And its not for a rainy day in Ireland. But it does wash off easily.
Liquid Ink Matte Eyeliner is the Winner though, it dries to its matte effect fairly quickly, and it stays matte. Even after an eye-watering-inducing onion chopping session, this was un-smudged, un-budged and still matte. I was very impressed. However, this means its a pain in the hoop to remove. You WILL need to use an oil (I like coconut oil, I always have it in the house) and you WILL need to take your time getting it off.
To show how waterproof the Matte Liner is I ran it under a tap of warm water and gave it a rub with my fingers and it didn't budge. I had to go get a cloth (my kitchen microfibre one was handy) and even after a half hearted scrub (middle pic) it was still there... after a proper scrubity scrub, and hot water you can see its STILL there in the last pic. I needed soap on the cloth to get rid of it completely. But I used coconut oil and a warm wet facecloth to get it off my eyes and it worked fine, but I did need to massage it in well to get the liner to break down.
My MOST favourite is the essence silky touch blush in 08 Autumn Peach. Silky is the exact word to use for this blush as it is soft and silky when you run your fingers in the pan. This warm peachy colour is a perfect match for me. Its not too pink and its not too orange, it just gives a lovely colour to my cheeks. You do need a soft touch with this as it it quite pigmented and a brush picks up a hell of a lot of the colour. I prefer to use clean fingers with this and blend it into my cheeks gently. There is a very very slight shimmer which catches the light (the very little winter light) quite nicely and gives a lovely glow to my skin. I do like this and I will go out and get a spare.
essence has a good few gems lurking on the stand if you have one close, and even if the product doesn't suit you it didn't cost a fortune and if you lose it you know its not going to break the bank if you want to replace it. And they are well worth checking out as they have a good few dupes for more expensive brands...
**Samples gratefully received, opinions my own