I know, I know…I’m a little bit late to the party with this collection, and I really wanted to publish this blog post last week (or even the week before) already but you know how it goes: Life can sometimes get in the way at the most inconvenient of times!
Anyway, so today we’re taking a look at the latest limited edition collection from essence called ‘Lights Of Orient’ (available at Clicks). I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the products I managed to get my hands on, plus some swatches. You’re probably wondering why there’s no makeup look included in this blog post (especially since I mentioned in this review blog post that I would try to include a makeup look when reviewing makeup collections on the blog). Well, as it turns out…the eyeshadow palette in this collection was disappointing, and dare I say a little bit infuriating too! But more about that a bit later…
I had high hopes for this limited edition collection, mainly because essence has really impressed me with their trend editions lately (especially when you consider the price you pay per item). I initially loved the shades of mauves and purples in the collection, with black and gold accents – it really is very eye catching!
Was the ‘Lights Of Orient’ collection a hit or a miss for me? Let’s see…
LIGHTS OF ORIENT EYESHADOW PALETTE || R84,95
Let me just start off my saying I really tried my best to make the eyeshadows in this palette work – and created 4 different types of eyeshadow looks on separate occasions to include in this blog post (the end-result each time looked like a 4-year old did my makeup). I can describe my experience as follows: It’s like that one time you dated a douchebag. The first time he insulted you, you took it on the chin and decided give him a second chance. But the next time he said something that made you doubt yourself, you stood up and said: “That’s it! We’re done, pal!”
I know it sounds very dramatic, but when my ears start to feel hot (because of something or someone) then you know it’s about to go down. And this palette made my ears go red hot. Each time I used it, the palette made me doubt my own makeup application skills (and that’s not okay). But after thinking about it after the fourth attempt – I knew my skills had nothing to do with it. I use other makeup products on a daily basis, and they work just fine…
The eyeshadow shades look beautiful in the pan – there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But they are really difficult to work with – pigmentation is incredibly disappointing, and the only eyeshadow that has fairly decent colour pay-off is the coppery gold (bottom left). The berry-toned shades are dry and require layer upon layer to eventually show up on my skin (the swatches you see above, were built up…a lot, as in, many layers). The shimmery shades aren’t shimmery / metallic enough, and they left me feeling unimpressed. The dark brown shade (bottom right) is dry, patchy, and just doesn’t have the intensity that one would expect from an eyeshadow that dark in colour. The eyeshadows also have a lot of kick-up (which in my opinion wastes product) and the darker shades have a lot of fall-out too.
When I use an eyeshadow palette, I expect each shade to hold its own, and remain true to colour when blended with another shade. Unfortunately all the eyeshadows in this palette kind of blend into one another (not in a good way) and create a muddy mess. Two words: “Nee, dankie”.
P.S. What do you think of my new way of doing swatches? I think the hearts are kinda cute…
LIGHTS OF ORIENT BRONZER || R63,50
I was VERY much looking forward to testing out this bronzer, because 1. I don’t think I’ve ever tested an essence bronzer that I didn’t like; and 2. I have been looking for a new bronzing powder for quite some time. There are many different types of bronzers on the market these days (some with a rather hefty price tag) BUT it can be challenging to find the right shade. Most bronzers are a bit too warm-toned for me – and I prefer something that is more on the neutral side (especially since I have a neutral to cool undertone). I was pleasantly surprised by the shade ’01 Sunkissed Beauty’, which is the lighter shade of the 2 bronzers in the collection. As it turns out, it is the perfect shade to bronze up my light complexion because it doesn’t have a strong orange undertone. Because of this, I can use it as a type of bronzer/contour combo product on the days I don’t have a lot of time to spend applying a ton of different products.
As far as consistency goes, it’s buildable (so it’s not too pigmented from the get-go) and super blendable. The embossed design is beautiful, and it contains a small circular ‘highlighting’ shade in the middle. I added inverted commas, because to me it’s not a true highlighting shade – there is some shimmer in there, but not enough to make a heck of a lot of difference to the overall matte finish of this bronzer. This particular mid-tone bronzing shade also doubles up as a great transition shade in the crease of the eye. The silky-matte formula ensures that ‘Sunkissed Beauty’ looks as natural as possible on lighter skin tones. Love!
LIGHTS OF ORIENT MATT LIPSTICK || R47,95
I’m sure that by now most of you know that I’m not the biggest fan of matte lipsticks, I find that most of the time they’re just too drying on my lips. Fortunately this lipstick called ’03 The Sultan’s Daughter’ doesn’t have a strong matte finish, I’d say it’s more of a satin-matte finish. It feels very comfortable on the lips, and applies like a dream – very evenly, with no tugging / pulling. This rose pink shade is will suit most skin tones, and I really like that even though it’s on the bolder side of the nude-y pink lipstick spectrum, it’s still quite wearable. You can wear it as a pop of colour on the lips with a subtle eyeshadow look, or to complement a darker smoky eye look. One would expect a matte finish lipstick to be a tad longer lasting compared to a normal creme / glossy finish lipstick, but I found ‘The Sultan’s Daughter’ lasts just as long as most of my other lipstick products.
LIGHTS OF ORIENT HIGHLIGHTER STICK || R76,95
Really like this one! Who doesn’t love a youthful, glowy complexion? Am I right…or am I right? ’01 Golden Gate To Orient’ is a champagne illuminator in creamy crayon form. During the colder months I prefer using liquid / cream highlighters as I find they melt into the complexion, and have a skin-like finish. Just swipe the chubby crayon onto dampened makeup sponge, and blend it seamlessly for a healthy, dewy sheen. I prefer applying ‘Golden Gate To Orient’ with a dampened makeup sponge and not directly from the stick as I find the latter sometimes disrupts the foundation / concealer layers underneath. You can also use your fingers to apply a cream highlighter to the cheekbones, but remember to dab (not rub) to blend it out. I love that the formula is buildable, so you can apply 1 layer for a super natural glow, or build it up for a poppin’ shimmery highlight. I can see this specific champagne shade being very flattering on fair to medium skin tones, and what I like most about it is that although it’s a very glow highlighter, it doesn’t contain chunky glitter particles (it looks smooth and natural on the skin).
LIGHTS OF ORIENT EYEBROW SHAPER || R47,95
This is a product that I would personally never purchase on a whim, because I’m very picky when it comes to brow products. The pencil is dual-sided with a cool-toned brown waxy pencil on one end, and a blending sponge on the other (when you pull out the sponge side, you’ll find a little sharpener too). I have personally never used a sponge tip to blend out a brow pencil – I can see why they included it (to soften the overall brow look and blend out any harsh lines) BUT I do think adding a spoolie brush instead of the sponge tip would have been a better idea. I like that essence also included a sharpener, because the pencil does wear down to a little stub quite quickly (since it is so waxy). I have the darker of the 2 brow pencils in the collection called ’02 Oriental Beauty’. The colour is a tiny bit too cool-toned for me personally, and I found it actually looked a like a dark grey on my brows. I usually prefer a neutral brown with just a touch if warmth for my brows, as the natural undertone of my hair does contain a little bit of auburn. For the price, I think it’s a decent brow product in terms of pigmentation but it’s unfortunately not smudge-proof, nor is it very longlasting.
The above watches (from left to right): ‘Sunkissed Beauty’ bronzer, ‘Golden Gate To Orient’ highlighter stick, ‘The Sultan’s Daughter’ lipstick, and ‘Oriental Beauty’ brow shaper.
LIGHTS OF ORIENT NAIL POLISHES || R38,95 each
Golden Gate To Orient – A beautiful gold chrome shade, easy to apply and not too over the top! I love a good gold, but often times they’re too yellow-toned for me – this one is the perfect cool-toned gold (almost like a white gold). essence nail polishes don’t usually last very long on my nails, and because of that I don’t own that many of their polishes. This one unfortunately started to chip after the second day.
The Sultan’s Daughter – I think this shade is my favourite, it’s a stunning mauve-y nude creme (almost like a grey-toned rose) and contains no shimmer. This particular shade will suit all skin tones – it will be a nice light nude on darker skin tones, and more of a dark nude pink on fair to light skin tones. I’ve worn this nail polish twice during the past few weeks and I find it lasts for about 3 days before starting to chip at the tips.
Princess Jasmine’s Choice – What a unique little nail polish! It’s a metallic purple with silver shimmers, absolutely perfect for the colder Winter months ahead. It dries down to a semi-matte finish (but I applied a glossy top coat for the swatch photo you see above) and lasted for about 2 days before I saw some minor chipping.
As a matter of interest – the collection items featured in this review blog post were sent to me by essence South Africa. It just goes to show that I’ll always provide you with an honest review – to me, it really doesn’t matter if a brand sent a product to me or if I bought it with my own money. At the end of the day, I have a responsibility to my blog readers and I take that very seriously.
The essence ‘Lights Of Orient’ collection was a bit of a mixed bag for me, some products were good and others left me feeling ‘meh’ – let’s hold thumbs we’ll see an improvement with the next limited edition collection!