Essence Cosmetics: Slayin’ Or Playin’?

Hello my fishies!

Welcome to another Slayin’  or Playin’ ! I haven’t done one of these in a while, and I finally decided on a brand – essence cosmetics!

This brand came to Canada in 2012, and honestly, nobody really talked about it.  I randomly spotted a stand in the drugstore and what really drew me was their $1 nail polishes. I wasn’t a huge makeup junkie back then, but over time, essence has not failed to surprise me with their affordable prices, and sometimes odd makeup products.

One note is that essence loves to do multiple limited edition campaigns – sometimes they reach North America, other times they don’t. I have included some LE items here because I am not sure how long they are available elsewhere – whenever I spot LE items I snag them up because my drugstores take those displays down super fast.

I’ve broken down the brand according to face, eyes and nails!




Now I don’t own their foundation, which is a relatively new product. Can you guess why? Essence being a European brand, I assume is the reason behind why their foundations only come in 3 shades…and those 3 shades cater literally only to pale skinned folks (LAME). I do however, own their Blush up! blush, as well as their color correcting stick in green. The stick isn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but for the off-days where I have noticeable redness on my face, it does the job. Be careful blending, because it can blend away into nothing. The blush is not as great as I thought – it’s got lovely pigmentation, but its just a little powdery and scratchy to work with. You’ll notice the 2 “hidden gems” highlighters – these were part of a limited edition campaign and honestly, I need to chuck these. They are an odd spongey, moussey texture, and smell completely awful. Not to mention the pigmentation is non-existent. I bought these thinking they’d swatch beautifully but nope. They’re a dud.

*I did leave out one product still in my collection and that’s their colorIcon Bronzer. Now, if you are pale/fair skinned you will love that bronzer. I just found that it didn’t do much for my skintone, and when applied heavily, came off orange. So coloured girls beware!



Eyeliner: Essence makes the best drugstore eyeliners EVER. My all time favourite is the STAYS no matter what liner, and the eyeliner pen in waterproof being my next go to. These liners dont’ bleed, have amazing staying power, dry down matte and are so easily to apply. I personally love felt tip eyeliners, so I gravitated towards these immediately. You could give the others a try since they’re so inexpensive (less than $4 CAD), but really I stick to the 2 I mentioned above. I also love the GEL eye pencil; I have mine in a midnight blue.

Mascara: Now, I have owned a couple of their mascaras, and to be honest, they’re all duds. Why? They tend to dry out quickly and flake while on. It’s not the greatest formula in the world. I will admit I was drawn to the packaging of the “forbidden volume” mascara tube, and while I haven’t tried it out, I’m not that hopeful.

Brows: You all know it..I love the make me brow. Go out and buy it! It’s $4 and a dupe for the benefit Gimme Brow. Enough said.



In a nutshell – their stick eyeshadow formula is on point. Nothing has disappointed me thus far, with their STAYS all day sticks being my favourite. The Big bright eyes sticks are also wonderful, and I want to say they’re pretty nice dupes for the ABH brow lifter? Or definer – the brow pencil for highlighting the brow bone. Skip the singles and any liquid/mousse shadows – the shadow is powdery and has little pigmentation.




I am sure you can tell that I love their lipsticks. I probably have every single shade in their Long Lasting Lipstick line, as well as 2 of their Long Lasting Nudes. I am not the biggest fan of their original lipstick formula (pictured here top right), but I remember being enamoured at how comfortable these $3 lipsticks were. A new addition is their liquid lipstick line (bottom right) and I have to say I am impressed. Pigmentation is on point, and these aren’t trying to be a matte, so you get a beautiful creamy finish. Tati on Youtube did a really great review on these, so check it out if you’re curious. Not pictured here are their newer Sheer n’ Shine lipsticks – these are good if you literally want just a flush of colour with some shine (I own 2 of those lipsticks). All in all, their lipsticks are a win from me. One side note, because these are budget lipsticks, the longevity is next to nothing. Keep that in mind!

Lip liners:


I own every essence lipliner. They are life.
Creamy, long lasting, pigmented and comfortable. Under $3 CAD. Shade range is a little lacking, but I find I can make it work.

Go out and buy them!



I probably own next to every colour in essence’s nail polish line. Like I said, their nail polishes is what drew me the most to the brand – you’ll notice the smaller, older packaging. When these first landed, they were $1 a piece. What a steal! They’ve gone up in price and changed packaging, but these nail polishes still remain close to my heart. I haven’t shown you my entire collection, but I would say I own probably 30 essence polishes (I am a hoarder). Go out and find a colour you like, and try it ! You won’t be disappointed. These don’t chip that easily, last a decent amount of time, and are not patchy or goopy. Pretty decent formula, given the price. Try them out!


Overall: This brand is SLAYIN’ ! If you couldn’t tell, I friggin love this brand, and I love how affordable they are. Please give essence a try if you haven’t already – not everything is a hit, but man, some items are gold. It’s for sure one of my favourite drugstore brands.

Hope you liked this edition of Slayin or Playin ! Let me know in the comments down below if you have any brand requests!!


Until next time,



PS- don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Bloglovin


4 thoughts on “Essence Cosmetics: Slayin’ Or Playin’?

  1. Great post! :/ I think Essence is such an underrated brand but offer a lot. I love GimmeBrow and their lipliners. I was living in Austria over the summer and they’re a German based company so Essence was everywhere which is where I picked some stuff up but now I wish I had more lol! Is it a popular brand easy to find in Canada? (I’m heading up to Canada in October and will try to pick some more up because it’s hard to find here in the US)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you 🙂 Yes! It is sooo underrated. Yeah, I personally think for Western Canada where I am, you can go into any Shoppers Drug Mart and find them. I feel like Eastern Canada always has us beat and the selections always better, so you should be able to find some!


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