Review & Swatches – Essence I ♥ Nude Collection {Eyes & Nails}

Essence I Love Nude Eyeshadow Nail Polish-1

I have been working like an absolute madwoman these past few days – mostly on blog-related things, plus I’ve started a few décor projects around the house.  Oh!  And nail polish racks – like the DIY ones you see on Pinterest?  Neal and I are going to build 1 (or 7) of them to hold all my nail polishes.  As for blog-related things – I’ve been approached by quite a few brands to collaborate on new campaigns, so I thought it was about time I created a media kit.  I’ll cover what a media kit is in my next ‘Blogging Tips For Beginner Bloggers’ post which will hopefully be up sometime next week, if you’re interested in reading my first blogging tips blog post, click here.

I also gave myself a stern talking-to on Saturday afternoon, and made some big decisions but more on that in another blog post.

Today we’re talking about the eyeshadows and nail polishes in the new ‘I ♥ Nude’ collection by Essence (plus I included a short review of the ‘Make Me Brow’ brow gel too).  If you would like to read my review & see swatches of the lipstick & lip gloss items in the collection, take a look at this blog post.  This is not a limited edition collection and all the ‘I ♥ Nude’ products will be part of the permanent collection.  Great news for those who don’t have money to spend on purchasing a lot of the collection items right now.  My bank account isn’t talking to me at the moment, mostly because I’ve been giving it shock therapy for the past few months.

Essence I Love Nude Eyeshadow

Let me start off by saying, it was the eyeshadows that convinced me to flick dollar bills (ok, Rand notes) at the Dis-Chem cashier.  I was standing in Dis-Chem and as I swatched ‘Crème Brûlée’ and ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’ I thought: “Dang it!  Mama needs MORE!”  So I added nail polishes, lipsticks, lip glosses, eyeshadows and a brow gel to my basket.  The Essence ‘I ♥ Nude’ eyeshadows retail for R 44,95 each at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.

Essence Creme Brulee Sweet Like Chocolate Coffee Bean Eyeshadow

These particular eyeshadows from the collection (available in 6 neutral shades) are baked eyeshadows, which means it’s not a milled powder that has been pressed, it’s actually a liquid that has been baked into solid form.  Typically you’ll get less talc (less fall-out) and more pigment when an eyeshadow has been baked.

I’ve tested these shadows with makeup brushes (synthetic & natural bristle brushes) and my fingertips and found using the fingers provides the most pigmentation in just one swipe.

Essence I Love Nude Eyeshadow Swatches

Crème Brûlée – A gorgeous light shimmery champagne shade with a slight pink undertone.  This eyeshadow feels super velvety and I must admit, the pigmentation is impressive (the swatch isn’t showing up that well in the photo above, but trust me, it’s really pigmented)!  This shade is perfect as a brow bone – or inner corner highlight, or will brighten up the eyes when applied all over the eyelid.  I have even used it as a face highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones and cupid’s bow – it gives you that J.Lo glow!

Sweet Like Chocolate – This is definitely my favourite shade, it is a beautiful shimmery caramel bronze shade.  This one feels just as velvety on the fingertips, deposits rich pigmentation and yet is super easy to blend.  This shade reminds me a lot of MAC Woodwinked but is less metallic / frosty, and more smooth & delicious.  Yep, you heard me…delicious!

Coffee Bean – My least favourite shade but only because it isn’t as pigmented as the other 2 shades.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shimmery rich brown shade that would be perfect for a smokey eye but it just doesn’t transfer that well onto the skin.  It’s also quite powdery and I experienced fall-out when I tried to blend it into the crease.  The swatch you see above was applied with my finger but swiped 3 or 4 times.  I now use it as a type of liquid liner – I spritz MAC Fix+ or the Woolworths Makeup Setting Spray on an angled eyeliner brush and then dip the brush into the eyeshadow, it creates a very unique dark shimmery liner.

Essence I Love Trends The Nudes Nail Polish Swatches

Essence also added new nail polishes to their permanent collection – they’re called the ‘I ♥ Trends’ polishes and features 2 sub-collections: ‘The Nudes’ and ‘The Pastels’.  I don’t recall seeing any of the pastels when I was at Dis-Chem a few weeks ago but when I saw these neutrals, it was love.  The Essence ‘I ♥ Trends’ nude nail polishes retail for R 32,95 each (super affordable, right?) at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.

Essence I Love Nude Nail Polish Swatches Baby Doll I'm Lost In You Hope For Love

Baby Doll – Current favourite nail polish right here!  This shade reminds me of my teenage years (which by the way feels like it was 100 years ago) because I used to rock a Sally Hansen nail polish that was similar to this shade ALL THE TIME.  It was my signature nail polish shade, and I loved it so much I even wore it to school (and got into a lot of trouble with ‘Juffrou Wichmann’).  Ok, enough with the trip down memory lane…  This is a stunning baby pink with golden shimmers, and when I posted an Instagram photo of this on my nails I described it as the perfect bridal nail polish shade.  The formula is also good, 2 layers will give you full opacity and no streaks.

I’m Lost In You – This is a true nude nail polish shade with a slight peach undertone, and will suit most (if not all) skin tones.  It contains no shimmers but is so glossy it almost looks like you’ve already topped it off with a top coat.

Hope For Love – Another favourite, this is a very unique neutral pink shade that leans towards being a mauve.  I imagine most ladies will love this because it is such a universal shade – it’s neutral enough to be office-appropriate, it’s pink enough to be cute & girly, it’s unique enough to be fun, it’s warm enough to suit pale skin tones and it cool enough (in terms of tone) to look fab on medium to dark skin tones.  Ladies, if there’s a pink nail polish you NEED in your life, then this is it!

My only gripe with these nail polishes is that they have a very strong scent.  It almost smells like you walked into a tiny beauty salon where they’ve opened every single gel nail polish on the shelf.

Essence Make Me Brow Browny Brows

Next up we have the Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara in the shade ‘Browny Brows’.  When I first looked at the tester of this brow gel I immediately thought: “Aaaah, this is like the Benefit Gimme Brow.”  It’s a tinted eyebrow gel, which will help with colour, density and shape.  It contains tiny fibres (very similar to Gimme Brow from Benefit) that help fill in unwanted gaps, essentially beefing up sparse brows while looking natural.  If you’ve watched my makeup tutorial videos, then you will know my brows are basically non-existent and although I was impressed with ‘Make Me Brow’, it unfortunately wasn’t because it filled in any sparse areas.  The key to these brow gels that contain fibres is that you actually need to have brow hairs for the fibres to cling to.  If, like me, you don’t have a lot of hairs to work with, then this product might not do much for you unfortunately.

The shade ‘Browny Brows’ is the darkest of the 2 shades available and is quite an ashy medium brown shade.  I’ve always preferred brow products to be more ashy- or neutral-toned, as warm tones can make your brows look a bit radio-active.  The formula is also good, it keeps my brows in place (raise your hand if you also suffer from ‘droopy-brow-hair-syndrome’) for most of the day and doesn’t smudge or transfer.  I really like how small and slightly tapered the brush is, it makes shaping and defining the brow hairs a total breeze.  If you’re looking for a brow product that will keep unruly brow hairs in place, while adding a tiny bit of colour then definitely check the Essence ‘Make Me Brow’ gels out.  Even if you feel neither of the shades suit you perfectly, you can always layer it with your usual brow product.

All in all, I think the whole ‘I ♥ Nude’ collection deserves a slam dunk A+…especially because Essence products are so darn affordable!  We were at the shops this past weekend, Neal and I went to the movies (we watched Fast & Furious 7) and because I just couldn’t help myself, I picked up a little somethin’ somethin’ from Essence again.

Essence Quick & Easy Sponge Nail Caring Oil

I bought the ‘Quick & Easy Sponge Nail Caring Oil’ (it contains almond oil) and I’m obsessed.

P.S.  The Paul Walker tribute at the very end of the movie broke my heart.  I’m getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  *tries to swallow lump*



  1. Candice 28 April 2015 / 14:12

    Wow these look stunning! I bought the oil at Dischem this weekend and love it


    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:14

      It’s so different to any other nail care oils on the market – I love the packaging!

  2. Siobhan Hughes 28 April 2015 / 14:23

    You are enabling my shopping problem!
    After the lipstick and lipgloss I <3 Nudes post, I bought the purplely toned nude lipstick and the velvet rose matte lipgloss. Now i need the 2 lighter eyeshadows and that caring nail oil! Golly!
    I'm off to Cape Town for this long weekend, so trying to avoid any stores that carry Essence now so that I have money for my holiday hahaha.

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:15

      Haha!! You definitely need the nail caring oil – I can see it’s going to be a life saver during the dry Winter months ahead!

      I hope you had a lovely long weekend, Siobhan! ♥

  3. Sanet 28 April 2015 / 14:53

    Oh wow, I need the two lighter eyeshadows and the pink polish. 😀

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:16

      The eyeshadows are so beautiful!!

  4. Hannah 28 April 2015 / 15:14

    Ok, well I basically need everything from the collection. And I’ll add that nail oil to my basket as well. :)

    Very interested to read more about the big decision you mentioned at the start of the blog post. As long as it’s not something like you’re going to stop blogging, or something outrageous like that! XO

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:16

      You definitely need to add the nail oil, the packaging makes it so user-friendly too! 😉

      That ‘big decision’ blog post should be up later this week… x

  5. Rachel Marie 28 April 2015 / 15:31

    I’m loving essence products at the moment! Definitely need to try some of the polishes and eyeshadows!
    Rachel Coco

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:17

      I am impressed with the quality of the products, especially since they’re so affordable! :)

  6. Kim 28 April 2015 / 15:45

    Ohmigod, the Paul Walker tribute was soooo sad, I left the theatre crying like a baby!!!!

    On a happier note, I am getting the brow gel and the caramel eyeshadow. We’re on holiday so I can’t spend too much right now, but those two are top of my list.

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog, Luzanne.


    • Kim 28 April 2015 / 15:46

      Oh and maybe that nail caring oil sponge thing too! 😀

      • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:18

        Trust me, you need it in your life!!

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:18

      So, so sad… Whenever I think of the ending of that movie, it just makes me so sad… :(

      I hope you’re having a great holiday, Kim!

  7. Talitha ❤ 28 April 2015 / 15:51

    WAAAAANT! That Im Lost In You nail polish is the only one that I probs won’t pick up but I want everything else. >swoon<

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:19

      Haha! That’s what I like to hear, Talitha! 😉

  8. Geraldine 28 April 2015 / 16:49

    I just love your photos, you make everything look so damn good! 😉

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:19

      Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment, Geraldine. 😀

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:20

      I’m so happy it’s a permanent collection too!

      Thank you for taking the time to check in on the blog, Abby. :)

  9. Nthombi Maluleka 28 April 2015 / 17:08

    Nail polish rack? Please show us photos, I want to see!!!!

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:20

      I will post photos once the little project is done, might also do a little DIY blog post… 😉

  10. farzana 28 April 2015 / 17:52

    Sounds like that Make Me Brow is exactly what my chaotic brows need! ❤

  11. Roxy 28 April 2015 / 19:06

    Im adding these and the lipsticks to my birthday wish list, Im a student so dont have a lot of money to spend on makeup but these I really want. Thank you for introducing me to the world of beauty and makeup, Luzanne.


    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:21

      Aaaaah, you’re so welcome, Roxy! :)

  12. Anina 29 April 2015 / 09:00

    Jippie! Dis wonderlik hoe my makeup sakkie eweskielik in die laaste ses maande net hopeloos te klein geraak het….mmmm…..
    Eks al op voornaam terme met die dames by Dischem. :-)

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:22

      LOL! Dankie vir hierdie comment, jy het sopas ‘n groot glimlag op my gesig gesit! 😀 ♥

  13. Simone Cameron 29 April 2015 / 12:01

    From my ugly cry and sniffing on the Dove post…to loud LOL’ing on this post! ‘Mama needs more’….no Luzanne…I am sure mama does NOT NEED MORE! he he

    I love those nail polish shades. I didn’t see those over the weekend when I went to do a quick stop at Dischem.

    I use the Essence clear brow gel, but I must say it’s pretty useless…better at neatening up my flyaway hair around the top of my ears. Any recommendation for a good brow gel…and any good brow pencils I can try out? I use my Stila eyeshadow from the Soul palette. The dark brown one, seems to be better than my essence brow kit, but feel guilty using eye shadow to fix my brows. he he

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:29


      I saw the pastels at Dis-Chem this past weekend but managed to keep myself in check. Didn’t buy a single thing!! I deserve a pat on the back for that… 😀

      I also wasn’t a fan of the Essence brow gel (the one in the clear packaging with blue writing?), it made my brows feel crunchy… You better not get this tinted brow gel then either because it’s even more lightweight than the original. It keeps my droopy brows in place, but if you have VERY unruly brows then you might be better off checking out the Eylure Brow Control & Shape Gel – amazing stuff! You’ll find it at Dis-Chem (not Clicks). In terms of brow pencils, you can check out the L’Oreal Super Liner Brow Artist in either ‘Brunette’ or ‘Dark Brunette’. It’s my favourite drugstore brow pencil… If you can spend a bit more, then check out the MAC Brow Pencils (the twist-up ones).

  14. Sibahle 29 April 2015 / 14:27

    I love the Baby Doll nail polish and will be buying one next time I go shopping.The Paul Walker tribute also made me so sad. I had no idea it would be so emotional.

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:31

      Gosh, that Paul Walker tribute really upset me… I dreamt of him 2 or 3 times after watching the movie. Not sure why it upset my so much, but I feel so sad when I think about him. :(

  15. Tjoppie 29 April 2015 / 14:27

    Love the Hope for Love colour!

  16. Tyler Leigh 30 April 2015 / 08:13

    I just got some of their Autumn range and I am so excited to play. They really are coming out with stunning stuff!

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:32

      I had a look at the blush from the Hello Autumn range and aaaaaaalmost bought it but then put it back on the shelf because I own way too many blushes. Their collections are so fun, I love it!

  17. Abigail 2 May 2015 / 09:11

    Live the look of the nail colours! How long do they last before chipping? Thats my biggest grind with nailpolish!

    • Luzanne 4 May 2015 / 16:35

      Hhhmmmm…depends what type of person you are. All nail polishes tend to last longer on me (compared to fellow beauty bloggers & friends) because I usually don’t grab at things, I take care not to use my nails to open things or peel price tags off etc. I also don’t really type with the tips of my fingers, I like to use the flat side of my fingers to ensure I don’t continuously tap on the tips of my nails. The Essence nail polishes don’t last as long as Essie or Morgan Taylor, I would say I get about 3 to 4 days’ wear out of a mani before it starts to chip. I can get away with 5 to 7 days with Essie or MT. :)

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