My first encounter with newly Philippine-distributed European cosmetic brand, Essence, was back in February for a post-Valentine’s date. I was looking for comfy flip-flops in SM MoA’s Deaprtment Store because of a shoe-selection faux pas (a.k.a. I was wearing heels that turned out to be too painful for Baywalk strolling), and did a quick stop by the cosmetics section out of habit. That’s when my eye caught sight of the Essence counter.
Confession time: It’s the first I’ve ever heard of this brand, but when I read user reviews, I found plenty of good comments to go around. The common thread that linked all those comments was about the affordability of the brand’s quality products. Naturally, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Packed with goodies
What item do I want to get? Aah… My million dollar question. I wasn’t in the market for anything in particular, especially because I just bought myself a brand new haul last month. In fact, I had to pass on purchasing anything from the counter at MoA in February because I already felt like I had too much loot. So what didn’t I have yet? Gel eyeliner, that’s what!
The Essence of it all in SM Makati
What’s fantastic is that Essence opened another makeup counter in SM Makati (and also SM Noth Edsa, according to the sales staff). Bliss! I was thrilled to find out that I didn’t have to go all the way to MoA for my fix. With fingers crossed, I am waiting for a counter to appear in SM Megamall.
Because of an event I had to attend near Fort Bonifacio, I finally found the time to drop by SM Makati yesterday. Sweating like crazy from the commute, I breathlessly came up to the Essence sales staff to inquire about the eyeliner. (Those counter ladies were quite nice and really helpful.) I swatched some on the back of my hand and tested out some concealer as well. The initial results were good, but I’ll save the full reviews for later.
Here’s the “Mini Haul” I got:
A 3-item mini haul totalling to PHP 487
Gel Liner Brush (PHP 109), Stay Natural Concealer Pen in Soft Nude (PHP 149), and Gel Eyeliner in Midnight in Paris (PHP 229).
The price range is around PHP 80 – PHP 300, and most products are in the PHP 150 – PHP 250 zone. Drugstore prices that are particularly impressive for imported products. Plus, it’s a good sign that I’m already plotting out my next purchase. (Next time I’m building a haul, I’m looking to try their Ready for Boarding Collection Lip and Cheek Cream in Beauty on Tour, a coral-pink shade that somehow reminds me of bright-looking Tarte blushes. That, and/or their Fruity Collection Blush Sorbet with its fine pearly pink shimmer and liquid-gel texture.)
Their newest collection
From this visit alone (and from all the swatching I did), I can tell you that I generally like their products. The only items I found to be lacking were their lipsticks that came off as too lightly pigmented for my liking. Think Maybelline’s Watershine Pure lipsticks, but less glossy. It took a lot of swipes to get the color to be well-defined, which makes me think of it as more like a heavily tinted lip balm than lipstick.
SM Makati actually has 2 Essence counters. The other counter (one of the photos at the top) has the big vanity mirror.
How I wish this brand was here when I was still in high school! I would’ve been all over this like crazy. It’s cheaper than Maybelline and they’ve got a good variety of cosmetics going on, in addition to having shades that range from bold to teen-friendly (i.e. light, subtle colors). Moms, if you’ve got teen daughters who are only just getting into makeup, get them age-appropriate cosmetics like these–though I’m not saying that older ladies can’t pull off this brand. Essence may be packaged a la girly-girl, but I’m willing to bet there’s something each lady will love.