I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get your hand’s on Essence makeup products in little old Scotland. I’m sure I once saw them in Superdrug (the Dundee branch perhaps?) but their stand mysteriously disappeared. Wilko isn’t a store I’m familiar with but their online shop is full of all the latest Essence releases and I couldn’t resist making an order to find out, once and for all, if the hype surrounding this brand is justified.
Essence is a cruelty-free brand, with tiny price tags, cute packaging and a huge fan base. I’ve read so many reviews about their products, however, as they are not as accessible to me as other ‘drugstore’ brands, I’ve passed up the opportunity to try them time and time again, until now. Wilko currently has over 400 Essence products available online, so what made its way into my basket?
Let’s start with the All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder | £3. The first thing I noticed about this powder was how silky and buttery it felt. Often powders that retail for such an affordable price are chalky and dusty, but the texture of this powder is extremely smooth and it blends like a dream. The translucent powder doesn’t leave any visible white cast and instantly gives the skin a porcelain matte finish. I like to use my loose Vichy Setting Powder to lock in my under-eye concealer, but it’s not travel-friendly whatsoever, so this is perfect for popping in my handbag and touching up any shiny patches. I think I actually prefer this so my trusty Rimmel Stay Matte Powder, which has been a holy grail product of mine for years now.
At only £1, I couldn’t resist picking up at least one of the three Satin Touch Blushes available. The packaging is similar to the setting powder and comes with a lovely design printed on top of the powder. At a glance, I’d never guess this was just a pound. Satin Coral is a warm peach which is very richly pigmented (see swatch below) – seriously, the colour payoff is no joke so go in lightly! The blush isn’t glittery or overly shimmery but still gives your cheeks a beautiful glow.
The My Must Haves Highlighter in 01 Let it Glow | £1.50 is tiny in comparison. It fits inside a a compact along with a range or eyeshadows, lip powders, bronzers and blushes that can be customised to suit your style. I’m a huge fan of creating custom palettes, so I love that Essence have embraced this trend. That being said, Let it Glow is probably the most disappointing product out of my haul. It makes for a perfectly nice inner corner eye highlighter, but it’s nothing spectacular and, dare I say it, completely out-shined by my favourite product…
The Eye & Face Palette in 01 Glow For It | £4 is absolutely beautiful. I will have no problem wearing every single shade, there are no duds in this palette. The eyeshadows are richly pigmented and apply flawlessly. They are easy to blend and play around with, plus, they are surprising long wearing with very little fall-out. Glow For It is perfect for pale skin tones, the highlighter is a beautiful pale gold that I reach for more than my Colour Pop ones and the pretty pink blush applies as if it were baked. The swatches below are from one gentle swipe, I barely pressed down at all. The formula surpasses the majority of my Makeup Revolution, MUA, Lottie London, Rimmel and Maybelline palettes without even trying.
I have very dry and sensitive lips so I’m a little dubious when trying drugstore lip products. This the first lip oil I’ve ever tried and, once again, I was really impressed with this product. The Prettifying Lip Oil in 01 Care for You Honey | £2 isn’t sticky, slimy or greasy. It feels comfortable, lightweight and nourishing. It contains jojoba oil that leaves lips feeling soft and kissable. It’s moisturising and makes lips look glossy and fuller. The lip oil is also available in ‘First Help Pinky’ (a subtle raspberry pink tint) and SOS My Heart (a strawberry red gloss).
The Instant Matt Makeup Setting Spray | £3/50ml is a great dupe for my NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray (£7/60ml). In fact, I actually prefer it as the sprayer on it gives a light all-over spritz that applies more evenly. It does exactly what it says on the side of the bottle: mattifies the skin and prolongs the stay of your makeup. It doesn’t leave skin tight or uncomfortable as some matte finish sprays often do and works perfectly together with the matt powder. It doesn’t keep my makeup in place quite as long as my beloved Urban Decay All Nighter, but it definitely helps slow down my makeup fading or melting off my face, depending on the weather.
Finally, we have two mascaras, the new Volume Stylist 18H Lash Extension Mascara which retails for only £3 (yes, you read that right) and the False Lashes Mascara for £2.80. Both mascaras have similar wands; long skinny; which make them perfect for perfecting my lower lashes with minimal mess. For £3 (or less) you can’t go wrong with these mascaras. I will be reviewing a £25 mascara on the blog soon (I know, I judge myself too) and I actually prefer using these two! Yes, they need layering and it takes a little longer to get my lashes just right, but I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase these again. My favourite is Lash Stylist, it contains lengthening fibres that add volume and give my lashes a flirty appearance, not too dissimilar from the effect Roller Lash gives.
I am over the moon with my Wilko order. Essence really didn’t disappoint and was definitely worth the wait. The lip oil and Eye & Face palette were my two favourite purchases, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I’m so surprised by the quality of the products I tried, their price points really do put other beauty brands to shame!
What are your favourite Essence products?
To shop the entire Essence Cosmetics collection at Wilko click here.