Essence is a popular brand across Europe and America, but hasn’t quite made it in the UK just yet. Despite being readily available in Wilko, not many people seem to have heard of it, or if they have, they assume it’s Wilko’s own brand and therefore probably not very good. I decided that Essence needed a chance to prove itself.
Obviously I can’t test the entire range, and we do have a smaller range to choose from in the UK anyway, but hopefully this can give some insight into what is worth buying from Essence and what’s not!
The Insta Perfect foundation is new to Essence, and is a buildable liquid that goes on pretty sheer, but can be made into medium-full coverage depending on how much you put on. I have this in the palest shade, which is #10 Cool Porcelain, but it is actually too pale for me, for once in my life. It has a nice finish and blends out beautifully. It mixes well with other foundations too.
Another foundation is the Camouflage 2in1. This is also shade #10, but is Ivory Beige rather than Cool Porcelain and is therefore a few shades darker than my skintone, despite being the palest shade. Their shade range definitely needs improving. The foundation itself has a full coverage finish and doesn’t look cakey on the skin at all. This is possibly discontinued in the UK, as it’s no longer on the Wilko site.
Another possible discontinued product is the Camouflage concealer. This was my favourite concealer; I even have a back-up in my drawer. I have the palest shade, which is #5 Ivory which is the perfect shade for under my eyes. It’s full coverage and has a demi-matte finish and worth picking up if you still can.
Speaking of concealer, I have the Camouflage Matt concealer in the shade 10. Again, the lightest shade (I’m not sure what they did with #5). This is a little bit yellow toned but has the same great coverage as the old formula and dries down quicker and more matte, so you do need to work fast. The Mosiac blushes are pretty to look at and also really pigmented, so you definitely need a light hand when using them. I recommend using them with a fluffier brush rather than a dense one so it’s easier to blend out.
I was really intrigued to try out the Luminous Matte bronzer – how can something be luminous and matte? Well, I don’t think they can because the finish is definitely more matte than anything, but it isn’t as dull-looking as a standard bronzer. It’s difficult to explain! It’s a little too warm for my complexion but I can make it work when I’m wearing a full-glam look and if I use a light hand. It blends out nicely and looks pretty on the skin! The Sun Club bronzer is unfortunately too dark for me to use, but it is a nice formula. It blends out nicely and has a good amount of pigment. It’s easy to correct with powder if you go too far (like I did)!
he Metal Shock cream eyeshadows (not pictured, sorry!) are a popular product with people wanting to find a dupe for the Stila Shimmer/Glitter & Glow eyeshadows! I have two shades – Supernova (the green) and Stars and Stores (rose gold). The green is definitely more muted and less shiny, but the Stars and Stories shade is almost metallic-looking and so shimmery! It’s very pigmented, whereas Supernova is a little patchy. However, both shades last really well and don’t transfer or crease throughout the day.
For eye primer, I have the I Love Colour Intensifying Eye Base, which again is pink-toned. It does need setting with a skintone shade or powder before you blend on top of it but once you do that, it grips the eyeshadow really well and doesn’t crease all day. The eyeshadow looks more vibrant and intense!
The Essence eyeshadow palettes (they’re just released a lot of them) and although they’re not amazing, they’re pretty great for a budget option, or for giving to a younger makeup lover. Everything works, builds up and blends nicely and there’s a lot to choose from. There are so many mascaras in Essence’s line-up, but I love the most popular ones – the Lash Princess False Lash Effect and I ♥ Extreme Crazy Volume. I’ve never found a mascara that actually makes my thin lashes look like false lashes, but these mascaras provide quite a lot of volume and length. It layers up nicely with two coats, but by the third it looks a little heavy and clumpy. Great budget mascaras!
Make Me Brow is an attempt at a Gimme Brow dupe. It has the same small spoolie and tinted gel as well as the little fibres in to make your brows look more voluminous. I actually enjoy using this a lot; not quite as nice as Benefit’s option but quite close and about 80% cheaper. I would like a slightly smaller spoolie and it would be perfect.
I really like the ultra last lipstick formula, which is a satin finish. It’s pigmented with one swipe and lasts really well, even when you eat and drink. I have the shade 07 Undress Your Lips.
A new love is the Get Your Glitter On lip toppers. They make your lips really shiny and gorgeous, but don’t last a really long time if you eat and drink throughout the day. The glitter is quite chunky but isn’t uncomfortable on the lips.
Finally, the Shine Shine Shine lipglosses are a really nice formula. They’re not a pigmented gloss, but they are really shiny and pretty on the lips and aren’t too sticky. There’s a lot of shades to choose from, too!