Essence Soft Touch Mousse Concealer

I was checking out this concealer around the time it launched several times in the shops, but the lightest shade looked so dark and yellow that I always dismissed it as a good fit for me. Then I read a very bad review about it, so I decided to stay away from it completely, but I was sent this one a while ago. I expected a bad product based on reviews, but it's actually quite decent and excellent at hiding pores, just don't get it if you have dry or flaky skin.

Texture and finish: It's a mousse product, so soft and fluffy to the touch, but very matte on the skin. One of my first foundation was Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousse, which I loved, right until it started causing the worst flakes. This one has a very similar texture, except it's a bit less moussey and has no air bubbles inside. As the matte texture indicates, it's probably fantastic on oily skins, but on dry it will emphasize and possibly cause flakes. Due to being matte, it looks flat on the skin. Instead as concealer, I actually prefer to use it on my problematic areas with enlarged pores to hide them, so mostly around the nose. I hope you can see on the pictures how it hides pores, the pictures are big enough, just click on them.

I noticed it has a difficulty cooperating with different textures below. In fact, it performs the best just on bare skin, while with moisturising foundations it looks patchy and uneven as you can see on my nose bellow. On bare skin it just blends in almost seamlessly. The pictures above have no foundation as a base.

Coverage: The coverage surprised me at first because due to reviews, I expected very poor coverage, but it does cover at least a medium, though later as I checked the pictures, it looks like it covers less than my other concealers, even if I don't see in in person. It's a bit too sheer for my circles and you can spot that some redness peaks through. I haven't had any major spots to conceal, so I can't really say how it works on those, but I suspect it will emphasize dry skin around the spot and probably won't cover enough to hide all the redness.

Colour: I have the lightest shade called 10 Soft Beige. My friend exclaimed: "It's so yellow!" Well I've been testing the super yellow Revlon's Colorstay at the time, so I didn't find it that bad, though as you can see it does have a pronounced yellowness to it. Actually, on me the match really isn't that bad. It just kind of works for my skin tone and blends in nicely (on the pictures above there are no visible edges, so it really does blend in nicely). Considering how concerned I was in the shop, it turned out really well. My friend used it as well, she uses Healthy Mix 52-53 and it had a nice brightening effect on her because it was lighter than her skin.  

Staying power: Well, it's an Essence product, so don't expect much. While it stays long enough on parts where pores need concealing, under the eyes it tends to go patchy because it lacks moisture, so I can't say it wears all that well on that area. 

Packaging: Concealer comes in a mini glass pot with a plastic cover. It's big enough that you can easily scoop out the product with fingers.

Price and availability: I believe these are sold on all Essence stands and cost 3.29 €.

I would suggest this one to those with oily skin or those who're looking for a cheap pore disguising product, but don't expect too much from it in terms of coverage and staying power. Also bear in mind will emphasize flakes and I suggest applying it before foundation on bare skin. Personally I like it purely for the pore hiding effect and because it blends into the skin so nicely due to the mousse texture, but it's not that good for under eye circles and I wouldn't use it for that. Now that I'm thinking, I would actually call this "tinted pore minimising primer" because that's what it does best.

Have a great day!

*PR product

April Favourites

I really happy with these cream eyeshadows, Essence did such a great job. I bought both versions of the newly released cream stick eyeshadows from Essence and Catrice, and though both are really lovely, I find Essence ones better and these are the ones I've been using every day as a base for powder eyeshadows. The reason they appeal to me more is because they are less shimmery and have a more satin finish on the lids, plus they have a more waxy/firm texture, which helps them stick better to the skin and they look smoother on the lids. She's Got The Mauve is probably my favourite creamy eyeshadow so far because it has that something unique and such shades look really good with my colouring. It's a violet taupe shade, but not too cool and I tend to use it with most of my powder eyeshadows on top. 03 Light me up is a beige skin tone shade that is quite light and has a satin finish, so it should be nice for making very bright colours pop more, but I have yet to test it that way, as so far I've only used it with neutrals. These make my powder eyeshadows a lot more intense and make them last all day with minimal creasing. I'm big fan.

For some reason I get sent a lot of mascaras, pretty much all of them regular formulas which just drop unannounced into my mail box and I'm not a fan of them, but most of the time I spend testing those, which means that when I return to my favourites I'm always astounded at how much better they are. This goes especially for this mascara, which is brilliant compared to a great majority of mascaras in my stash. It's super volumising, lengthening, doesn't smudge, flake, the brush isn't as clumsy, it's cheap and it keeps the eyelashes curled all day. Truly a winner in my books. 

For quite a while I've been sticking to my more muted blushes, but with all of the gorgeous spring weather (not including the past few snowy days.), I had to dig up a peachy-pink blush and I picked this one. It's peachier than for example Nars' Deep Throat and Orgasm, but less coral than Coralista, so a nice in between shade that has quite a brightening, cute effect. The texture of it is unreal, it's the smoothest blush I've tried in my life, it's super pigmented and lasts pretty much all day on the cheeks. TheBalm truly has some of the most impressive powder products.

I've actually worn this shade every day in March, though I didn't include it in my favourites, because I wanted to introduce it first in a New in post, but it was on my cheeks a lot also in April. It's such an easy shade to wear, a lot easier than other similar peachy-apricot toned blushes, which tend to be bright hence limit your lipstick choices, but this doesn't since it's a muted version of the shade. It swatches very light, a lot lighter than the colour in the pan might mislead you, but it shows up well on my cheeks. It also has a subtle illuminating effect, giving that fresh, healthy look.

I've been a fan of these for quite a while, but I've only recently upgraded my modest collection. These two were my favourite shades I picked up. 02 Sweetheart is a cute, girly medium pink, a shade that is new to me, even though I considering it almost like a classic-stereotypical lip colour shade. 06 a Girl's Dream is my favourite out of the two. It's a medium muted red shade and it's very much in the style of shades I've been wearing recently, like Golden Rose Velvet lipstick in 12. These are creamy, but not overly so and apply nicely on the lips. 

I've never included this is my monthly favourites, but I should have a long time ago because this is my perfect nude. Every time I wear it, I just think to myself - yup, this is the one. It's a simple light peachy-pink-beige shade, yet one that is so hard to find and believe me I've tried many nude lipsticks before I switched to more bright, darker shades a few years ago. The formula is wonderful, very smooth and nicely pigmented. It's a bit more creamy looking on the lips that their other matte lipsticks, but at such a light shade that's a good thing. If you're a fan of Mac's Peach Blossom and Patisserie give this one a try as well.

I have my trusted selection of lip colours that I know I can rely on them looking good with everything and just that they are easy to wear. This one is among them. It's a medium peachy-rosy-brown shade that will probably look more rosy on medium skin tones, but it's a nice neutral shade with a twist on me. These matte lip creams are very light and not the most pigmented ones, but comfortable to wear.

I said in my review that this is the best lip cream I tried. It could just be this shade that performs so well, but it really stands out among lip creams. The formula is creamy, super pigmented, applies evenly with no sheer patches, smells like After Eight and dries to a velvet matte finish after about 10 minutes. It lasts so well on the lips and wears off nicely too. Adoring is a deep burgundy shade, so not the most spring appropriate colour and I have been dying to get a couple more nude-ish shades, which I almost ordered them a few times, but I keep stopping at the checkout because they aren't the cheapest. 

L'OREAL PROFESIONNEL Série Expert Absolut Repair Lipidium
It's been quite a while since I found a decent hair mask/conditioner. I've tried a few last year, but none impressed me so much that I'd consider repurchasing it and now this one did. I have very demanding hair, it's not only dry, but also very thick and coarse, so a lot of hair treatments fail at making a difference and truly nourish my hair. I won't say it's as good as for example Joico Intense Hydrator, but it's good enough and it's not too expensive.

Eau de parfum
I've always love this fragrance, but spring is finally here and I feel like this fragrance was just made for this season, even though it's kind of a classic office scent in a sense that's it's very inoffensive and easy to wear for any occasion. It is quite a fresh scent, a clean, and sophisticated one, though it does have a bit of a tropical-green vibe. Notes are cactus flower, pink freesia, jasmine, rose buds, warm woods and cedar

Eau de parfum
This is one of my favourite fragrances ever, so you know what I did? I saved it like crazy. I saved a fragrance that costs 15 €. It has gone off. Well a bit, but that weird stuffy note is definitely present when I spray it. So I dedicated myself to using it up, while it still at least develops the same as new. It's a fragrance that's more suited for cold months and it's very sweet. It opens with a sweet syrupy combination which is considerably toned down by amber, woods and musk making it a more sensual candy scent that I consider more grown up than the rest of my "candy selection" and it's not a classic vanilla cupcake scent. Notes: Top: clementine blossom, black currant, nectarine. Heart notes: wild orchid, orange blossom. Base notes: soft musk, amber, precious woods.

Have a great day!

Budget Cream Eyeshadows: Catrice Stylo Eyeshadow Pen and Essence 2 in 1 Eye Shadow & Liner

Both Essence and Catrice released their version of cream eyeshadow's in a pen/stick form and while Catrice's come in a very similar shape to Kiko's famous stick eyeshadows, Essence's come in a jumbo pen form. I'm a big fan of eyeshadows in this format and I use them all the time as a base for powder eyeshadows to intensify them, make them stick on better and last longer. I trialled both Essences and Catrice's in the shop a few times before I decided to purchase them and both really impressed me with their staying power. I grabbed two of each and I was focusing more on shades I don't own yet, but I did take one shade that's similar to my other ones to compare and see if we have a dupe situation on our hands.

Catrice Stylo Eyeshadow Pen

Texture: These are very siliconey-smooth, which makes the application and blending very easy. While the pigmentation isn't as intense as at Kiko's, in terms of how the texture feels, both formulas are very similar. Both of my shades have shimmer in them, which means they might affect how even the colour looks on the lids, especially as the eyeshadows start to wear off. The colour can gather around shimmer parts and it's not quite as even  looking as at Essence's versions which are more satin on the lids. This is only a problem when they are worn on their own.

020 G'Old Mc Donald 

020 is a champagne gold shade with a shimmery finish. It can be used as an intense inner corner highlight since it's a pale shade. Shimmer particles are quite large, so it doesn't look as smooth and nice applied on its own, but as a base it's great.

040 Brown to Earth 

040 is a brown bronze shade that is similar to Kiko's 06 Golden Bronze, but a touch more muted. However, if you're looking for a similar, cheaper shade, this is a very decent dupe shade. It's great as a base and looks better on its own on the lids than G'Old McDonald, but it doesn't look as smooth as Essence's versions. The shade is a classic and it's a standard colour in almost every cream eyeshadow range (Kiko's 06, Maybelline On and on Bronze, Essence 01 go bro'nze to name a few), so it's what I call a safe bet colour. 

Staying power: With a powder eyeshadow they last all day with no problem. They can crease if the eyeshadow on top is very buttery, but it's not that bad. On their own they will crease at the end of the day, but only little on normal eyelids and the colour will last at least 10 hours.

Packaging: It's very similar to Kiko's with the twist up design, but the product doesn't go back in soon because the base apparently snaps off, so you need to manually push it back in.

Price and availability: I got mine in Müller for 4.29 €.

Essence 2 in 1 Eye Shadow & Liner

Texture: These are slightly more compact or waxy than Catrice's or Kiko's and Golden Rose's, but still very smooth to apply and they blend so well with fingers and brushes. Pigmentation is great, but not as intense as at Kiko's, though you can build up the colour.

03 light me up

03 is a light milky beige with a satin, slightly shimmery finish. It's a simple shade for an everyday look, but I don't like to wear it on its own because I prefer more defining colours. It works as a neutral shade that intensifies other colours, like bright ones.

06 she's got the mauve 

06 is a taupe violet shade, a muted mauve. This is by far my favourite shade, probably out of all cream eyeshadows I own, just because it works so well with my colouring. 

Staying power: These last comparably to Catrice's, so all day with a powder eyeshadow on top, but also quite well without, again they will last all day and with less creasing than Catrice. They look better at the end of the day than Catrice because they don't contain so much shimmer, especially She's got the Mauve looks fab at the end of the day.

Packaging: A jumbo twist up pen with a cap that clicks therefore ensures that the product won't dry out fast. Great packaging and it's commendable of Essence that they decided on a twist up instead of having to sharpen it.

Price and availability: I got them in Müller for 2.99 €.

Reviews of: Maybelline On and On Bronze, Golden Rose Eyeshadow Crayon 14, Kiko 06 Golden Bronze and Kiko 38 Golden Taupe.

While both versions are truly fantastic cream eyeshadows (Cosnova did a great job, though we should already fear when they'd be discontinued), I find Essence the winner in this little battle. Essence's look smoother on the lids, since they aren't as shimmery and they last better on the lids. The shade ranges are different enough that there aren't many dupes between the two, exceptions are Catrice 040 Brown to Earth - Essence 01 go bro'nze and possibly Catrice 51 shades of grey - Essence 05 I'm blue (Excellent swatches of both ranges here and here). What else can I say other than I'm impressed. 

Have a great day!

Essence Velvet Stick 02 Peony Star

Originally I wasn't going to pick up any of these, mostly because I've seen on German blogs how different the colours are compared to the pictures from press releases and they weren't actually matte. I've seen swatches of these and I really didn't like this shade because it looked too grey, but when I was standing in front of the stand, the colour of the packaging looked so promising that  had to take it (by the way there weren't any testers for these when I was there). While it doesn't look as grey on me than on some I've seen, it's still a much cooler shade than the packaging indicates, so I'm really undecided if this is a good colour for me or not.

Texture: It's very similar to that LE lipstick pen from the Wake Up, Spring collection. It's waxy, but still silicone-y smooth and it applies nicely without tugging, however it's not super pigmented like some pencils from other brands like Maybelline and Golden Rose. These are semi-matte, so a creamy type of matte that doesn't look chalky or dry.

Colour: Peony Star is a cool pinky-mauve shade that is quite light and it's very close to my natural lip colour, just a touch cooler and a bit more grey. I'm still undecided about this one. It drains my face of colour, but it's not as terrible as for example Essence Plum Cake liner. 

Staying power: It's from Essence, so it's not terribly impressive. While that LE from Wake Up Spring was finally a step up, this one is again very average as is the norm for Essence lip products. I get can get a few hours of wear proving I don't eat or drink, otherwise it just wipes off.

Reviews: Cool Nude, Plum Cake and Satin Mauve (old formula). 

Packaging: A jumbo pen that needs to be sharpened. It fits the classic Essence sharpener.

Price and availability: I got mine in Müller for 2.19 €.

There are better formulas than these. Yes, these are cheap, but so are Golden Rose's and those are really good. The formula is nice and comfortable to wear, but it could be improved with some more pigmentation and lasting power, actually I would just use the same formula that they have in their Longlasting Lipliners - those have a great velvet matte finish and nice pigmentation. Peony Star is the type of shade that should look warmer on darker, warmer skins than mine, but I've seen a lot of swatches and on most it looks cool and a bit greyish. I'm thinking about getting Luminous Rosewood from the Glossy range that might fit me better.

Have a great day!

My Favourite Nail Polishes

In all my years of blogging, I've never done a proper post dedicated to my favourite nail polishes, but I've had it planned for quite a while. I can't say I boast with a massive collection, they all fit into one not yet full drawer and every nail polish purchase is carefully considered, so I don't tend to buy them the first time I see them. I often say that pretty much all nail polishes last forever on my nails and the reason for that is because I have very strong, hard, healthy nails, though Seche Vite also contributes to lasting power, a fact I noticed since I stopped using base and top coats (no particular reason apart from laziness and saving on products), but this means that I don't really care what brands I buy. I have quite a lot of Essies (whole collection here), which I could call my favourites, but I only buy them when they are 50 % off and to be fair, I only care about colours and not the formulas in general. So this is more a post about my favourite nail polish shades and those who might be searching for information on how long they last on the nails won't find this too helpful. These are the types of shades I gravitate towards and I rarely go out of my comfort zone, for example, I really don't like yellow on the nails, not even light pastels.

By the way, this nails wheel from Tedi is supper strange and it made nail polish swatches all crinkly, so ignore that. The ones I got before in the pink packaging where fine, but these with a black cardboard label are just bad.

I talk about this one a lot and it's one of the best nude nail polishes ever, certainly as far as the formula is concerned. It's such a pretty nude shade with a cool undertone that makes my hands looks so polished. Against my fair complexion it's more like a modern, slightly darker nude, but on light-medium skin it's the perfect nude. It's one of those new gel effect formula ones, so it's super smooth, fully opaque, easy to apply, non-streaky and has a great glossy finish. It's also the most borrowed nail polish in my collection.

The perfect modern taupe shade which has a considerable amount of lilac tones in it. It's another gel formula one, but thicker than most such textures.

Let's ignore the whole colour changing effect here because I can't get it to work, instead let's focus on the colour. It's a medium, slightly taupe grey that just works so well with my skin tone. I call it a pretty, "weird neutral", not a classic nail polish colour, but one that somehow just works and looks great on the nails. It's a sheer, classic formula, so it needs at least three coats.

This used to be my favourite nail polish of all-time and I still love it, but I there are other shades I like more. It's a brightened coral-pink and on the very rare coral shades that doesn't look orange on my nails. The formula is amazing because it's super smooth and even.

My only proper classic red. It's blue toned, so it looks very sophisticated and professional, it also has a bit of that retro feel. A true classic that everyone should own, by that I mean the colour, though the formula of this shade is lovely too (to be fair a great majority of reds perform well).

A warm medium pink that just has that something extra special. The formula is like at Cute as a Button, so super pigmented, basically a one coater and you can easily get it right with one swipe of the brush due to a smooth formula. 

My favourite nail polish for colder months. It's a perfect mix of warm purple and deep red, which I find so pretty. People say it's not that unique, but I tend to gravitate towards such colours and I haven't found a proper dupe.

The absolute perfect proper vampy nail polish. It's a stunning plum-burgundy shade that looks almost black in certain lights, but you can mostly easily see the reddish-purple hue of it because it has a jelly finish. 

I have pretty decent collection of mint green nail polishes including the famous Mint Candy Apple, but a great majority have a very difficult formula to work with. This Kiko one has by far the best formula out of all such shades I've tried. It's a bit more green than Mint Candy Apple and not as bright, so it's like a muted version of the shade, which I find prettier. The formula is smooth and requires two coats for a nice, even application. 

Bahama Mama is my favourite autumn/winter shade and this is my favourite spring/summer shade. It's a white base with a touch of sky blue in it and it has that tiny bit of greyness to it, which makes it so special. The formula is quite sheer and light for a pastel nail polish, so I need two-three coats for an even opaque finish. I think it's being discontinued at the moment because L'Oreal changed their nail polishes, so you can find it for 30 % off.

I used to have this nail polish by Essence called Deep Blue Sea, which was my favourite for a long time, but it was discontinued. Well, this is its dupe. Night Club is a navy blue with light blue frost and it's like an off-black, since the base itself is very dark, but the blue reflection makes it more interesting. 

As far as glitter nail polishes go, I'm very picky and their removal process is not exactly what I'd describe my favourite chore, but this shade is so stunningly gorgeous. It's like crushed diamonds on the nails and it's super glamorous looking. It's not a unique shade and there are quite a few dupes (Illamasqua Trilliant and P2 Sand Style polish 070 Pretty to name a few). It last forever on the nails, which is not that surprising for glitter.

This was love at first sight. I've been searching for something like this for a long time and it's kind of my dream glitter nail polish because I love bronze. It contains bronze particles that come in two sizes, small glitter and large hexagons. It's more of a top coat with medium dense shimmer, which you can build up. Of course, it is the type of nail polish that is excruciatingly hard to remove, but it's worth it.

A silver-grey shade with a metallic-frosty effect that looks so great on the nails. It's very pigmented and though Models Own suggests applying 2-3 layers, I find one works best, but that also means it doesn't last as long, though applying more, can make it streaky because it's frosty. 

This was the best effect topper ever. I say was because as far I know it was discontinued, but I don't know if Essence maybe made the same one under a different name. It doesn't look like much in the bottle, but over a black base, this creates a fantastic space/galaxy effect.

Another space nail polish. It's a limited edition shade, but it's not that old, so it's very possible it's still sold. It's a navy with holographic glitter that imitates a starry sky. It applies quite sheer for the first coat, but two-three give you full coverage. 

Be Berry Now is like Bahama Mama's rosier and lighter cousin. It's one of those warm purple-pink shades that I love and definitely less purple on the nails than how it appears in the bottle, which I actually really like. It been discontinued a while back, but one of the new shades called 10 True Love is a supposed dupe.

My favourite proper nude nail polish. It's just perfect for my skin tone and the formula is amazing for such a shade. Unfortunately it was a limited edition, but you can still find it on Fragrance Direct for a very affordable price.

By the way, I have a swatch gallery where I have a collection of my reviewed nail polishes. It's at the end of the page. 

Have a great day!

Essence Longlasting Lipliners 02 Sweetheart, 06 A Girl's Dream, 07 Plum Cake and 10 Berry on my Mind

Admittedly I was never a big fan of Essence lip products. To me staying power is one the most important characteristics and Essence kinda just can't quite manage to take that step forward and create a proper longlasting product, no matter how many they name that way. Strangely, their sister brand Catrice doesn't seem to have such problems, but as much as unimpressed I'm with Essence lip products, their Longlasting lipliners are some of my favourite lip pencils. I've had 03 Yummy Berry and 05 Lovely Frappuccino in my collection for about a year now and I've finally added some more colours. I got shades 02 Sweetheart, 06 A Girl's Dream, 07 Plum Cake and 10 Berry on my Mind. The latter is the newest shade added in the latest line update.

Texture: Although these are still creamy, the texture is less soft than at their "original" regular lipliners (they changed the formula last year and based on my experience with one shade, the change is substantial) which is a good thing because it means a higher level of precision, but because these can't be sharpened, once they are blunt, the edges aren't super sharp any more. The formula is closer to a lipstick than a lip liner, they apply nicely without dragging and aren't drying, though they aren't moisturising either.

02 Sweetheart

Sweetheart is a medium Barbie pink. I haven't got a single shade like it in my collection. Everything I have is either peachier or more muted than this, so I can't compare it to anything, but it's super cute on the lips.

06 A Girl's Dream

A Girl's Dream is a muted warm red. It's a nice shade to combine with Golden Rose Velvet Matte lipstick 12 and all other similar shades. This is my favourite to wear on its own.

07 Plum Cake

Plum Cake is a medium greyish mauve-violet shade. While I knew there is a 99% chance this will look bad on my skin tone, I actually didn't think it'd be this tragic. I strongly suspected this shade will look cooler and greyer on me than on majority of others, but this is corpse grey on me. I really don't think it suits me and Lovely Frappuccino is my ultimate 90's style shade instead. Check here how different Plum Cake looks on my fellow blogger Taya.

10 Berry on my Mind

10 Berry on my mind is a medium muted plum shade. It's a lot lighter on the lips than the packaging might indicate. I thought it'll be a nice deep burgundy budget lip liner based on the press release pictures, but it's way to light to combine it with proper vampy shades. 

Staying power is decent. It's nothing special, but these outlast all other Essence lip products. It doesn't really survive eating that well, but drinking doesn't wipe it off completely.

Price and availability: These are super cheap at 1.59 € per piece. I got mine in Müller. They are a great way to test if a certain type of colour suits you and I hope Essence continues to add new shades.

Have a great day!