Where has this brand been all my life?
It’s been popular in Germany for the last 15ish years but I only started seeing it in Ulta a few months ago. To be honest I completely overlooked it; how could a brand this cheap make anything worth buying?
That’s the part I still haven’t figured out. Over the last few months, I’ve acquired a moderate amount of this stuff yet somehow managed to spend basically no money on it. I’m not kidding about the cheap; there isn’t anything on their website over $10, plus they offer free shipping over $15, and I’ve had coupons for both orders I’ve placed. The last order I placed was massive, and I spent $23. A lot of that order was for my niece; her makeup collection is a bit thin and she’s obsessed with really bold highlighters, so I grabbed a few things for her to try. I also picked up some clearance things for myself, because why not. It’s all cruelty-free, and they also have vegan and gluten-free options.
The thing about this brand is that it’s not just cheap shit; I’ve liked everything I’ve tried. Some of it isn’t the best quality, but when I’m spending $1.24 for blotting papers I don’t expect them to be life-changing, and they’re definitely really good for the money. I stocked up on these while they’re on sale, and I’ve found a few other favorites that I’ll be repurchasing until I die or they’re discontinued, whichever comes first.
My god Essence, what sorcery is this?!
These are so. Freaking. Good. Let’s start with the packaging: totes adorbs and doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. The brush for the Volume version is… interesting… but it does a really good job at separating my lashes so I avoid the clumpy spider look. For me, the formula is a bit wet when it’s first opened, but I wave the brush around like a lunatic and it dries out to the consistency I like. I have watery, sensitive eyes and this formula doesn’t burn or make my eyes water, and at the end of the day it’s not flaky and doesn’t transfer to my lower lashline. I haven’t had a good cry while wearing it yet, but I have high hopes.
Longlasting Lipstick in 06 Barely There, $0.99
Yes, this stuff is 99 cents. CENTS PEOPLE! Even at the regular price of $2.99, it’s an absolute steal. The packaging is a bit thin but still doesn’t feel flimsy; I’d have no problem tossing this in my purse (i.e. “The Abyss”) because I’m confident it’s not going to crack and the top isn’t going to fall off. I love that they stamped an “E” in the actual product. It’s an extra little detail that makes it look like a far more expensive product. And this color, wow. It’s so pretty, just a little pinker than my actual lip color. It brightens up my face without being obnoxious and is one of my favorite nudes. The formula goes on smoothly and you can build up the opacity, and it really does last a long time. You’ll need to reapply after eating as it’s not transfer-proof or matte, but sometimes I like a slightly more moisturizing lipstick with a satin finish, and this is my jam.
Pure NUDE Highlighter in 01 Be My Highlight, $4.49
BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY.
I mean, um, this is good.
If you’re anything like me and spend the bulk of your free time watching beauty videos on YouTube or reading beauty blogs, you’ve definitely heard about/seen this. Even big “influencers” with private jets swear by this highlighter. I like more of a natural glow than a glitter or “can you see this from space?” sheen. I’m in my 30s; I’m past the point of wanting a poppin’ highlight, and this gives me the subtle glow I look for. It blends nicely so I don’t have a shiny stripe on my face and doesn’t emphasize any of the texture from my craterous pores, and it lasts all day. What more could I possibly want from a highlight?
Satin Touch Blush in 20 Satin Love, $2.99
This is a more recent favorite, as I’ve only been using it for a week or so, but I love it. I’m not much of a blush person since I have naturally rosy cheeks, but when I’m wearing a more full coverage foundation I tend to look a little washed out if there isn’t something else on my face. This blush looks like my natural rosiness and gives a slight glow so unless I’m going to an event I can skip the highlight entirely. Again, the packaging doesn’t feel cheap and the geometric pattern is so cute. It’s easy to apply, blends well and sticks around, even on my oily skin.
Last but most certainly not least…
All About Eyeshadow in 01 Bronze, $5.49
Yes, Virginia, there is an eyeshadow palette for under $6.
This palette is one of the few I own that I can get a complete eye look out of, from setting my primer to a liner color. The formula is a bit dry and powdery so I get some fallout, but nothing out of the ordinary. I haven’t had any problems with blending or creasing, even on my oily lids in the heat, and the colors are so beautiful. I have green eyes and love me some bronze shadows. The packaging is sturdy enough to bring on my next misadventure, and I can create a bunch of different looks so I won’t feel bored. They have several other palettes like this and I’ll likely pick up at least one more the next time I have a coupon.
So that’s it for Essence. If you’ve tried anything not listed here or have any recommendations let me know in the comments!