Christmas came early, everyone! Essence recently released their limited edition Christmas collection, and I must admit: This is their most impressive collection to date. The packaging is so much more luxe than one would expect, and yet the price point is still incredibly affordable. I posted a photo on Instagram about 2 weeks ago after Essence South Africa sent me a very generous parcel, and it seems a lot of people loved the packaging as much as I do. I decided to wait until the collection officially launched in-store before posting this review, because I wanted to get my hands on the rest of the collection items to be able to do a full in-depth review of the whole collection.
Eeeeek! I know I was supposed to load this blog post last week, but I wasn’t happy with one of the photographs and didn’t want to upload something I wasn’t 100% happy with. I flew down to Cape Town very early on Thursday morning (to attend a beauty event for MAC on Thursday, and a launch event for Smashbox on Friday), so I didn’t have time to retake the photo to post the review last week. Anyway, I’m back today with the blog post for you. Let’s take a peek at the collection, shall we?
First up we have the products that stood out to me the most – the adorable nail polishes. I’ve seen some people compare the packaging of the Merry Berry nail polishes to the Dior State Of Gold Holiday 2015 collection polishes, and I can see the similarity, especially with the golden bauble-shaped lids. All the nail polish shades in the Merry Berry collection are definitely staples for Autumn and Winter.
In terms of formula of the nail polishes, I didn’t have any issues with streakiness or lack of pigmentation. I was quite impressed and could get away with 2 thin coats for full opacity.
♥ Red Rocks (R 38,50) – A vibrant strawberry red shade with a strong pink undertone. This one also stole my heart, it’s very bright and is perfect for the Summer months ahead. ‘Red Rocks’ will suit all skin tones, from very fair to very deep skin tones.
♥ Pink & Perfect (R 38,50) – A dark raspberry shade, I can see this looking stunning on all skin tones. If you love Essie Bahama Mama but can’t afford to spend R 120,00 on a nail polish, then I suggest you get your hands on this one.
♥ Purple With Purpose (R 38,50) – My favourite polish in the collection, it’s a metallic violet with beautiful pink shimmers. When the light catches it, it looks absolutely stunning! Trust me, the above photo doesn’t do it any justice.
♥ The Masked Ball (R 38,50) – A rich purple creme shade that looks almost black under certain lights, it’s the perfect vampy shade for Autumn and Winter.
♥ I Love My Golden Pumps (R 38,50) – A golden glitter top coat, it contains various sizes of gold flecks. It almost looks like tiny pieces of torn gold foil. I really like that it dries quickly and doesn’t add too much texture on top of the nail.
♥ I Love My Golden Pumps (R 63,50) – There is nothing I love more than an embossed powder product, and the stars on this highlighter are just so festive! Sometimes drugstore powder products can be a little bit too chalky, but it’s definitely not the case with this one from Essence. The formula is very smooth and buttery, it almost melts into the skin (in a good way). It has a very subtle golden shimmer that is most suitable for light skin tones (it looks stunning on pale skin). ‘I Love My Golden Pumps’ highlighter looks similar to theBalm’s ‘Mary-Lou Manizer’ but it’s not a 100% dupe, Mary-Lou is a bit more yellow in tone, whereas ‘I Love My Golden Pumps’ is more champagne in tone.
♥ The Perfect Dress (R 38,50) – A beautiful shimmery taupe shade with a cool undertone. I found this eyeshadow to be quite sheer, and as a result it didn’t swatch as well as the other eyeshadow in the collection. I have worn ‘The Perfect Dress’ as an all over lid colour, and I think it’s best for those quick & casual makeup looks. Use a dense eyeshadow brush like the CALA 312 Large Shading Brush or the CALA 505 Shading Brush to pack the colour on the lid.
♥ The Masked Ball (R 38,50) – A deep shimmery purple shade with a cool undertone. This eyeshadow swatched very well, and wears just as well without fading or creasing. Granted, not everyone likes to wear a shimmery purple eye makeup look but ‘The Masked Ball’ is fortunately not too bright. Wear this with a matte taupe that has a cool / purple undertone (something like the Essence I Heart Nude Eyeshadow in ‘My Favorite Tauping’ or ‘Tease’ in the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette) to make it a bit more wearable.
Top Tip: Remember, purple eyeshadows make brown eyes pop (especially if you have hazel flecks). Shades of purple usually flatter brown irises, plus it makes the whites of the eyes look brighter as well.
Next up we have the 3 lipsticks in the collection – these give good colour payoff, but are not very longlasting. With a retail price of R 44,50 they’re most definitely a bargain.
♥ Red Rocks (R 44,50) – A bright cherry red shade with a satin finish. Essence did a great job with the pigmentation of this lipstick, one swipe and you’ll be good to go! It feels nice & creamy on the lips, and lasts for +- 4 hours on my lips.
♥ Pink & Perfect (R 44,50) – A deep berry shade with a pink undertone and a satin finish, very similar to the ‘Pink & Perfect’ nail polish. Pigmentation is spot on, and it feels comfortable on the lips. Longevity is isn’t too bad, and I found it started to fade after about 3 hours.
♥ Let The Berrytales Begin (R 44,50) – One would think this is a very dark & vampy lipstick, and in some ways it is, BUT it’s also very sheer. The colour is absolutely stunning, it reminds me a lot of MAC Nightmoth lip liner but unfortunately the pigmentation is just not there. If you are prone to dry lips, then I suggest you stay away from this shade as it will most definitely accentuate any uneven textures on the lips. Because this shade is so difficult to wear (it’s near impossible to get an even layer on the lips, unless you apply 10 layers), I’ve only really worn it once around the house for testing purposes. The formula is quite waxy, and so I find it fades quite quickly as well.
♥ The Merry Berry Hair Fragrance (R 67,50) – Such an interesting product, it’s a leave-in conditioner and scented hair mist all wrapped in one. The mist itself contains very subtle shimmers but to be honest, they’re hardly noticeable. As for the scent, I would describe is as fruity with a warm sugary base (like a vanilla cupcake topped with a fresh slice of kiwi fruit). If you click on the image above (it will open up in a larger size), you’ll be able to see the little gold shimmers floating around in the bottle.
♥ Scented Gold Dust Powder (R 67,50) – I adore the vintage look of the bottle, it looks like a shiny golden bauble with a purple mesh atomizer pump. The packaging doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy, it actually feels quite heavy and luxurious – well done, Essence, for creating such a beautiful product on a budget. When you squeeze the atomizer balloon, it sprays a thin layer of vanilla-scented powder with flecks of golden shimmer onto the skin. I imagine this product will look stunning on medium to dark skin tones, especially now during Summer. Spritz this onto the high points of your body i.e. shoulders, collarbone and décolletage to accentuate those features.
I love that Essence created a purple and pink inspired Christmas collection, instead of the typical red and green we often see during this time of the year. If you are looking for stocking filler ideas, the Essence Merry Berry collection is an abundance of festive fun. Essence, you have truly outdone yourself! You can get your hands on the Merry Berry Collection at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores nationwide.
Speaking of Christmas…I’ll be posting 4 or 5 Christmas Gift Guide blog post during the next few days – so be sure to check in on the blog! If all goes well, I will also be uploading my ‘LUSH Christmas 2015 Haul’ video to my YouTube channel tonight (which means it will hopefully be live tomorrow morning).