Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Essence Haul! Choose Me!, Where is the Party?, Midnight in Paris, Mystic Lemon, Starlight

On a day I went for a browse around missing the sport of shopping recently. I went to Target, roamed around and eventually headed for the cosmetics area which led me to a stunning surprise find!: a shelf full of Essence cosmetics! I had never seen this brand in Australia but I had got used to seeing it on various European blogs such as Nea's Fashioned in Finland. 

What I Bought
  • Eyeshadow in Mystic Lemon (labelled as holographic) $3.95
  • Eyeshadow in Starlight (sparkling effect) $3.95
  • Gel Eyeliner in Midnight in Paris $5.50
  • Colour & Go nail polish in Where is the Party? $2.95
  • Colour & Go nail polish in Choose Me! $2.95
The Product and Results

First up, there is something up with the labelling. I've searched the net a bit and found that the nail polish Where is the party? is supposed to be holographic though that's not stated on the bottle. On top of that the eyeshadow Mystic Lemon is labelled as holographic. I'm putting this aside for now and I'll clear up the fuss at the end of this review.

Let's start with the gel eyeliner! The shade I got is actually pretty much pure matte black and the name Midnight in Paris is a bit decorative considering the standard shade. At the store I found it in a brown and a purple but that was the extent of the range they had. The liner is packaged in a glass base with plastic lid which is good.

Soft consistency. Dip and scrap excess with your brush.
The gel liner is a nice consistency. It's very soft and smooth and pretty easy to work with. The claim is that they are waterproof; was this true? I tested this out - a shower would do the trick. To be fair I think the shower would be an exaggerated situation which proved too much for the eyeliner creating a panda eye effect though the majority of the liner stayed put. But they wear all day, dry fast, apply opaquely. They transfer a bit in the crease and lower lid but if used a little on the lashline and if you have eyes that 'open out' then this can be generally avoided. They are hard to take off so a good waterproof makeup remover is needed. At $5.50 they are a bargain. Application works best with a very thin stiff brush rather than an angle liner to get a clear smooth line. (Swatch below)

With the eyeshadows it's a different story.

Mystic Lemon is a creamy slightly frosty yellow cream. The formula isn't great. Building up coverage is hard and the pigment floats on your skin which is not a flattering look when worn. That also makes it look like a matte rather than shimmery and is really powdery to apply. It wears badly and melts as you wear it without the saviour of primer though even that may not be enough. 

The finish is rather flat and this is where the holographic comes in. Where is the holo? I couldn't figure out what they were talking about but in my opinion there is NO holographic pigment/finish/'effect' (as they call it on the back) in any way. For an eyeshadow this is pretty flat so it's far from being holo. Below you can see how it applies dry, on TFSI and on Maybelline's version of shadestick.

Swatches (w/ flash): Top- Gel liner, Eyeshadow rows are top to bottom- no base, TFSI, Maybelline Cool effect Midnight Chill, Left column- Top layer of Starlight, Middle column- bottom layer of Starlight, Right column- Mystic Lemon

The next eyeshadow was Starlight. This would have to be another disappointment. The formula suffers just like Mystic Lemon. It's powdery with little coverage, doesn't apply well, seems to mattify to some extent, and floats on your eye. 
Ditch at top right of eyeshadow showing the 2 layers
To add to that although it appears to be sparkly this is not entirely true as it's one of those shadows that has a top layer of sparkle and underneath it's supposed to be some sort of metallic grey/silver shade (which isn't the case because it's powdery). Even the sparkle dissolves when brushed so it's decorative rather than practical - a huge shame. I think the packaging for these monos are nice anyway.

On the other end of the spectrum there's the nail polish. As we continue with this holo theme Where is the Party is the suspected holo (as had been discussed by other bloggers). It's not labelled as such so I didn't expect or know any of this before I bought this but my impression was "wow, a nice multichrome!". I swatched it at the store and yes, confirmed that it was a duo/multichrome. It's still nice but don't expect anything more than it is!

Choose Me! is a great buy and I'd compare it to OPI's Austintatious that was recently launched but a more overt and flirtatious version with a volley of sparks going through it. It's a great bluish green.

The coverage for both polishes is good. Choose Me! get decent coverage in 2 coats without streaks and Where is the Party was rather thick covering in 1 coat slightly streaky. The bottles are tiny! But for the price that's fair value. They claim to be quick drying but I beg to differ: the drying time is average like most nail polishes so it doesn't go in the category of 'quick'.

One last thing: You could call this a huge warning, both a downside and an upside (and this is just a theory). Essence being a northern hemisphere based brand seems to work against Australia/southern hemisphere seasons meaning we are about 7-9 months behind (or at least that's where the collection currently available is at). Essence releases a limited edition collection roughly every 1-2 months. Depending on how patient you are, if you are not patient you're in for a huge wait! On the other hand this gives you time to scope out the new seasons collection and decide what you want to get as well as see how they've rated with everyone else! (Or this could well be a test run. We'll have to see what happens in the shops)

Would I buy these products again?
Overall Essence is a hit and miss brand. If you're up for buying unique or interesting polishes that are in season Essence is a great brand to peruse, and if you pick the right ones. Generally stay away from the eyeshadows especially without swatching and when swatching swatch it on skin, not fingertips. The gel liner is an absolute must if you are wanting a great quality item. My advice would be to try before you buy if possible and go for something bright as you try each of the product lines. If you succeed in choosing, the prices are worth it. For me I wouldn't mind making a thoughtful stab in the dark and would welcome trying out more!

Essence can be bought in selected Australian Target Stores, Priceline in Melbourne and is planned to be rolled out throughout Priceline stores.

Love Porcelaine.


  1. Damn those eyeshadows seem awful, but I still want to race down to my local Target and see if they carry the line :)

  2. Haha! I wouldn't be running too fast. I checked out some of the local Targets around my place. Two out of three have them. There is another place I should try out but unfortunately it's no guarantee. I'm not sure what the reason is. It could be that they are progressively putting them in and some stores may have been inadvertently delayed or they are trialling it. I hope you do find them but STAY AWAY FROM THE EYESHADOW!

  3. O.o the eyeshadow sounds strange.

    Still, pretty polishes! :D Gel liner sounds great too!
    Can't wait for your bb reviews! :D

  4. @ Cacau: Oh yes, I'll try to do them soon. Maybe one today or tomorrow. Do you get Essence where you are?

  5. I agree Essence are fairly hit and miss. But when they do release something pretty darn good, it's hard not to be thrilled with it because of how inexpensive their products are. The holographic label on Mystic Lemon is completely misleading - but I guess it was expecting too much to find a truly holographic eyeshadow for $3.50!

    1. I love their limited edition collections. They've almost always bring something really cool and new. Their nail polishes tend to be good but their eyeshadows are almost always bad. Every time I swatch them they are very chalky!


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