Essence Cosmetics absolutely killed it with their ‘Merry Berry’ collection towards the end of last year, and I was hoping the new limited edition collection called ‘Happy Girls Are Pretty’ collection would be no different. When I first received the press release of the collection, my heart skipped a beat. As mentioned in this blog post, if there was ever a makeup collection made just for me, then it’s this one. Pastels, hearts, shimmer, and neutrals…what more could a girl ask for in a makeup collection?
I love the message behind the collection: “Happy girls are pretty.” And it’s so true! I also love the cute names of all the products: ‘Live, Laugh, Love And Repeat’ … ‘Enjoy The Little Things’ … ‘Happiness Is Following Your Heart’.
Essence South Africa sent me the blush, contour set, 1 eyeshadow palette, and nail file about 2 weeks ago. Then a couple of days after that I popped in to Clicks to purchase most of the other products in the collection. I wanted to do a proper in-depth review for you because I’m sure most people would love to purchase every single item in the collection (it’s just so darn pretty), but some might not be sure which items are really worth it. That’s what I’m here for – I test the products, give you my recommendations, and that will hopefully save you a bit of cash.
Essence products are very affordable and even though the quality can sometimes be a bit of a hit and miss, you can’t deny that when it comes to the cuteness factor, they almost always come up on top.
I love the look of the eyeshadow palettes – they feature an adorable ball of wool / yarn design, with the piece of yarn shaping the word ‘Knit’ towards the end of the palette. This is so unique and it fits perfectly with the theme of the collection, as the knitted design pops up in the blush as well. For such dinky, and compact palettes, I like how decently sized the pans are. I highly recommend you apply an eyeshadow primer as a base for the shadows, as it will intensify the pigmentation and make the shimmery shades pop a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, the eyeshadows have good pigmentation, but I always use an eyeshadow primer to up the vibrancy of any eyeshadow and to prevent creasing. The swatches you see below are with NO eyeshadow primer, but I applied 2 layers of each.
Happiness Is…Following Your Heart Eyeshadow Palette ♥ R67,50
Ya’ll know I love a good neutral / nude eyeshadow palette, and so I was definitely drawn to this one first. The shades are absolutely beautiful, and are perfect for all seasons. The first eyeshadow is a matte off-white shade that works nicely as a browbone or inner corner highlight. The rest of the shades in the palette are shimmery, but the darker shades actually pass as satin shades and can definitely be used in the crease without making the whole eye makeup look too shimmery. The second shade is a subtle champagne, the third is a cool-toned gold shimmer, the fourth is a warm bronze, and the fifth shade is a stunning chocolate brown with burgundy and silver flecks of shimmer. The shadows are so velvety and smooth, and do not require much blending – they really are a pleasure to work with.
Happiness Is…Seeing Your Smile Eyeshadow Palette ♥ R67,50
The shade selection of this palette reminds me of a butterfly, or a ballerina. All the eyeshadows in this little palette contains shimmer, but some have a satin finish whereas others have a more intense shimmery finish. I like the palette, but I’ll be honest: I prefer the more neutral palette I mentioned above. I find most of the shades in this specific palette are more highlight-y type shades, and I can’t really imagine creating a complete eye makeup look using just this palette (the purple-grey shade is the darkest, and yet I don’t think it’s pigmented enough to be used as a crease colour). Most of the colours blend into each other (because they are so similar), and so it’s difficult to create a defined eye makeup look with the palette alone.
Happy Girls Are Pretty Nail Polishes ♥ R34,95 each
I was SO impressed with the nail polishes in this collection! When I first saw swatches on Instagram and on the web, I knew that I had to invest in at least 3 of the 6 shades. I always like to research swatches of collections because I tend to get a little bit too excited when it comes to adorable collections with beautiful shades. Anyway, so from the swatches I knew that I wanted to pick up the 2 matte shades and the girly pink shade. I actually also wanted to buy the chocolate brown shimmer polish, but I managed to stay calm and reel it in.
Ok, so the swatches you see above are 2 thin coats each – the formula of all 3 nail polishes were great, not streaky and definitely not sheer. Oh, and I love that the matte nail polishes dry really, really fast but as with most matte polishes, they don’t last as long on the nails (mine chipped after 2 or 3 days unfortunately). Let’s get to the cutie patootie nail polish shades I picked up, shall we?
Enjoy The Little Things – Aaaaaaaaargh, I love this shade so much! I can definitely see myself finishing the whole bottle, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve only ever finished one nail polish in my life. This is a gorgeous matte frosted off-white shade, and it reminds me so much of Essie ‘Wrap Me Up’ from the Cashmere Mattes collection (but it’s way more beautiful). This is the perfect wedding manicure shade, especially if you’re looking for something that is very unique. The swatch you see above does it no justice, so I suggest you head to Clicks and pick this up – it’ll be the best R34,95 you’ll ever spend!
Happy Girls Rock – Another favourite, this is a stunning frosted matte muted grey polish. But it’s not just any ol’ grey, oh no, this has a purple undertone with silver, peach and turquoise shimmers. I know the words ‘shimmer’ and ‘matte’ in the same description might sound rather confusing, but the end result is magical. This shade and ‘Enjoy The Little Things’ both remind me of a unicorn, no idea why…but I’m just putting it out there. Trust me, you need this in your life!
Just Happy! – This is a beautiful glossy mauve-y pink shade, perfect for any occasion – work, play, job interview, first date, party, and even a wedding. I’m currently wearing Essie ‘Just Stitched’ on my nails (with a glossy topcoat), but as soon as it starts to chip I’ll be painting my nails with this little polish. I think it’ll also look really nice with a matte topcoat, so I might give that a go!
Top Tip: Remember, matte nail polishes double up as normal nail polishes too – just add a glossy top coat. ‘Happy Girls Rock’ looks particularly stunning with a glossy top coat, almost like a hologram nail polish.
You Sweeten My Day Multi Colour Blush ♥ R57,95
If there was one product in the collection I absolutely had to have, it’s this beauty. I was so excited the first time I laid eyes on the blush because the embossed knit pattern design is just so eye-catching. The sweater pattern is a light cool-toned pink highlight shade, while the heart in the middle is more of a darker warm-toned pink shade. This blush is definitely more suited for pale and lighter skin tones, especially since the outer part of the blush is so light and sheer (it’s not really shimmery, it just gives the skin a hint of sheen). Most of the pigmentation in this blush comes from the heart design in the middle, which isn’t saying much because the more you blend, the more it sheers out. It looks pigmented when you first apply it to the skin, but as soon as you start blending it disappears. It sounds weird, I know, but that’s unfortunately my experience with this blush. I wouldn’t classify it as a blush, this is more of a pink-toned highlighter to me (even when you mix both shades together). The swatches you see below have been layered and built up, just so that you can actually see what the shades look like.
This blush definitely needs something to stick to, so if you are someone who likes to skip the foundation and just apply a powder blush, then I don’t think this blush will show up on your cheeks at all. If I’m honest, this blush left me wanting more. More pigmentation, more intensity, more shimmer – I would have really loved this blush if it had just a little bit more oomph! If you’re quite light in skin tone and you’re looking for a very natural highlighting shade, then this product might interest you. But if you’re looking for a full-on blush, then I’d give this a miss.
Happy Girls Are Pretty Contouring Set ♥ R63,50
When I first saw the contour & highlighter duo I was a little bit apprehensive, I thought the contour shade looked a bit too dark, and a bit too warm for my skin tone. I also thought the highlighter was going to be one of those chalky matte highlighters, with some serious fall-out. Turns out, I ate some humble pie because this little duo is very impressive! The contour shade is actually pretty darn perfect, it’s not too warm-toned and not that cool-toned…so it can be used as a contour-bronzer-hybrid type product. Pigmentation is very good, and it blends out like an absolute dream.
The highlight shade is a winner as well, it’s a beautiful creamy champagne shade with a slight yellow undertone and a satin finish. There are shimmers in there, but they’re not too over-the-top. They just give the skin a gorgeous airbrushed glow. The texture isn’t chalky at all (there is a tiny bit of fall-out though), and feels soft and velvety on the fingertips. Apply this highlighter on the areas of your face you want to accentuate i.e. cupid’s bow (to make your lips appear larger), high points of the cheeks (to lift those cheekbones), tip of the nose (to make your nose appear a bit smaller and more pointed). It’s not an intense highlight like for example theBalm ‘Mary-Lou Manizer’ but it definitely gives the skin a subtle glow. I think it’s safe to say I am in love with this little palette!
Top Tip: You can most definitely also use these shades as eyeshadows – use the contour shade to deepen & define the crease, and the highlighter to brighten up the lid or highlight the brow bone.
Live, Laugh, Love And Repeat Lipbalm ♥ R44,95
Aaaaand…we have a winner! When I first bought this, I thought it would be a sheer neutral pink balm (the packaging says “Sheer Lipbalm”) but boy, was I wrong! This is definitely a lipstick, no doubt about it. And I honestly think this is one of the most beautiful and most comfortable lipsticks I have ever owned. And for that price point, I’m inclined to go back to Clicks to get my hands on a backup. Here’s what I love about it: It feels like a balm, but it has the pigmentation of a lipstick. It doesn’t feel thick of heavy on the lips, it’s not sticky, and it adds hydration to the lips. This particular shade is the perfect everyday mauve pink – definitely a ‘my-lips-but-better-shade’, and I think it will be suitable for most skin tones as well. I also like the scent of this, it smells slightly fruity but isn’t overpowering at all.
Happy Girls Are Pretty 2-in-1 Nail File ♥ R34,95
I don’t really have that much to say about this, because well…it’s a nail file. The one side is a bit more textured than the other side, and what I like about it is that the textured side isn’t too rough. But, once again, I’ll be honest: If you’re in the market for a new nail file, rather get the original Essence 4-in-1 nail file (R29,95). It’s longer in length, and you can use it to shorten, buff, smoothen and polish your nails. It’s the ONLY nail file I use, and it’s been a staple in my manicure routine for years now.
Ultra Slim Eye Pencil ♥ R38,95
These twist-up eye pencils are also sure-fire winners in the collection – they’re smooth, creamy and have good lasting power. The packaging and micro tip reminds me a lot of the Hourglass Mechanical Gel Eye Liner, but the formula is slightly drier than the Hourglass pencils. What I really like about the super slim design is that it’s perfect for more precise work around the waterline or upper lash line. The flat top is genius for the waterline, as it is quite small and fits perfectly on either your upper or lower waterline plus it glides on fairly easily in these areas.
The Choco Side Of Life – This is a rich chocolate brown shade with a matte finish. I like to apply this shade to my upper or lower lash line but I try to keep it away from my waterline since it does contain Carmine. Carmine is a red dye that is sometimes used in makeup products, which can cause eye irritation and itchiness. My eyes are very sensitive, I just have to look at certain eye pencils / eyeshadows and my eyeballs will be bloodshot with the blink of an eye (pun intended). So I try to steer clear from using most brown eyeliners in my tightline and waterline, because we all know red + blue = brown. Carmine is also not vegetarian / vegan friendly, as it’s extracted from crushed up shellfish. It is a lovely little pencil, nonetheless, and I find the fine tip to be very user friendly (so much easier to work with compared to thick, bulky eyeliner pencils).
Happy Girls Rock – Similar to the grey nail polish (both have the same name), this is a matte steel grey shade with a blue undertone. It’s surprisingly very pigmented, and the soft texture glides across skin, producing a smooth, even line of colour. It’s semi-opaque in a single line, but is also buildable to fully opaque colour in two layers. I didn’t have much trouble with wear, but it does start to fade after about 6 hours. I think these pencils are great for precision work, so you can really get between lashes for a lusher, thicker lash line. I like to use this shade with more cool-toned eye makeup looks (greys, purples, taupes), and I find it brightens up the eyes very nicely since it has a blue undertone.
All in all, I really enjoyed playing around with the new ‘Happy Girls Are Pretty’ collection, which is exclusive to Clicks stores nationwide. If you were to ask me which of the products I would recommend you, here is my list:
♥ Happiness Is…Following Your Heart Eyeshadow Palette
♥ Happy Girls Are Pretty Contouring Set
♥ Live, Laugh, Love And Repeat Lipbalm
♥ Enjoy The Little Things Nail Polish
♥ Happy Girls Rock Nail Polish
Which of the products mentioned above tickle your fancy?