Luxe Lips for Less - Essence Lipsticks

by 11:14 AM 4 comments

 I wanted to write about some products that you guys, the everyday public, have access to. I know that a lot of brands I use as a makeup artist are not ones that you are familiar with and probably most of you would have no idea where to even start looking when it came to it. So while I will still absolutely share my favourite pro products, I thought perhaps a common topic would be talking about "drugstore brands".

Lets start with Essence, shall we? I had a few products sent to me for review and I purchased a few myself so that I could get a really good, comprehensive feel for the products. Today we are going to focus on the lipsticks.

First things first, the packaging. I actually really like it. Considering the price point of about $3.95 for the product, I'll admit that I expected shoddy packaging. The tubes are actually really well constructed. They are lightweight yet not cheap feeling. They don't lose their lid in your handbag and I dropped these so many times on my tile floor and not even a crack. I love that the colour of the tube is actually an accurate reflection of the colour of the product in the stick, as you can see for yourself with the clear window in the middle which I also think is a great touch and breaks up what would be a solid block of colour otherwise. 
L-R Look At Me, Sparkling Miracle, More to Love, All About Cupcake, Funky Funky, Creamy Nude
The colours. In the tubes they look amazing but often the colour payoff is not what I wanted from the product. That said, in the interest of fairness, this brand is clearly marketing at teenagers and an opaque lipstick for a young teen is overwhelming so I think the choice to make the majority of these lipsticks sheer was for that reason, which makes compete sense. I personally want a lipstick that has maximum colour payoff and opacity for minimum amount of product. That's a sign of a great lipstick - a little goes a long way. That said, I do have a favourite from this collection that I will be adding to my kit. Can you guess which one?
I did a quick swatch up my arm just to check out the vibrancy and I had to use a fair bit of product to get this kind of colour build up. Let's just jump straight into the individual breakdowns of each one shall we?

This is All About Cupcake. One of the things that I loved about all of the lipsticks they apply so smoothly and this one along with Creamy Nude have a creamy, almost glossy finish which is really nice. This one in particular is extremely moisturising and not overly pigmented which actually means that it's a colour that's really wearable for everyday use and most occasions. A really solid, go-to shade.

More to Love is really sheer with micro glitter throughout. Again, a really moisturising product, but to me the complete lack of opacity makes me compare this more to a lip tint then a lipstick. That said, once you take into consideration the intended audience of this product and the price point, it's still a solid product and adds a touch of colour while not being overwhelming.

Sparkling Miracle sits between the previous two in opacity. As you can see, it's a little more then a tint but certainly not something that could be considered a solid colour by any means. I love the way this one looks in the tube the gold micro glitter looks amazing but when on the lips, translates in a really subtle, yet flattering way.

I think I was most disappointed with Funky Funky. I really wanted it to be a fun colour without being crazy. But I think they perhaps erred on the side of caution a little too much here. The grape tone with the dense glitter packed into it that you can see really does not come across on the lips at all. At most, it's a sheerest balm look with a slight purple tint. The glitter is mostly what you get here, which to be honest seems a little childish. I think they've really missed the mark on this one.

This one. This one I love. It's Creamy Nude and by far the superstar of the products I have. I mentioned earlier that as a pro, I look for lipsticks who have intense pigmentation and colour payoff which minimal product used. This is what you get from this. I've been searching for a great nude lipstick for a while now and I find that they actually are either a touch too cool or too warm. This one is interesting. It's complimentary on my skin tone which is pale and also extremely flattering on my best friend who has a Korean heritage so it's actually quite universal which is another thing that I want from a product - why carry more then one if you don't have to? I love the opacity, the creaminess, the moisturising feeling it gives. It's not a product that will dry out on your lips leaving them a yucky mess. I know we've all seen people with drying lipsticks where it's obvious that their lips are dry and a little flaky and it's really not attractive.

This is another one that left me wondering what they were thinking with Look At Me. I can't really fathom a time when a frosty bronze lipstick that would not seem out of place in a soapie alongside some big hair and terrible acting would be a popular colour choice for a teenager. I understand purple, pink, red, glitter but not brown. And certainly not frosty, 90s tragic brown. I mean, it translates from the tube to the lips, there's mid level opacity but the frost, the colour. I just don't understand.
So to sum it up - a mostly solid collection (that I've seen) a couple of duds but that happens in most collections really. Really, really impressed by Creamy Nude and I quite like All About Cupcake. Probably that's personal preference because I'm not huge on glitter on lips, never really had been. I do see that More to Love and Sparkling Miracle will be popular with their intended audience. Funky Funky will be embraced by those not bold enough for too much colour on their lips but wanting to move from a sparkly gloss to a lipstick. I really, honestly do not see that Look At Me is going to have to many takers beyond some older ladies who think daytime tv glam is all the rage - all the time.
Price point on these are great. You can't go too wrong with a $4 lipstick, really. An excellent way to introduce the next generation of makeup lovers to lipstick without throwing them in headfirst and causing traumatic repercussions later on down the track.
Essence lipsticks are available at Priceline and I believe Target here in Australia. Like I said earlier, some of these were sent for review and some I picked up myself in the interest of a fair and honest review.
Next up, I'll be reviewing their lipliners and we will see how much of a difference it makes to how the lipsticks look.


Makeup Artist

I am a fully qualified makeup artist who is internationally published, and I have worked with and been mentored by some of the very best in the business! Now I'm ready to share my tips and tricks, answer your questions and most importantly, help you make every makeup moment a memorable one.


  1. Oh I bought a few of these lipsticks, but sadly they didn't work for me. They're cute and the pigmentation is nice...but they also made my lips peel :(

  2. They made your lips peel? As in full on peeling, or flakey? Was it a reaction to the products? I find sometimes a lipstick on clients with dry lips will make that fact more obvious and make it seem flakey. I usually assess the lips first thing and treat as needed. Paw Paw ointment and also Rose Bud salve is awesome for keeping lips soft.

  3. Thanks for the awesome reviews :) Perhaps going to get some lipsticks soon myself.. Love drugstore products such as these, especially lipsticks!

  4. Thanks for this helpful review! It spurred me to buy both the Nude & All About Cupcake lippies. I love the second so much, it's so subtle and the right tint for my lips as I don't like deep colours on my face ;) the nude did make my lips chap, but I also use lots of Vaseline butter to make them smoother at night.