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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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*