I haven’t reviewed anything from Essence Cosmetics in a while even though I have some firm favorites from the brand. when I saw the new Crystal Power eyeshadow palette at Clicks recently I was so drawn to the shades and knew instantly that I wanted to pick it up. There were only two of the palettes left on the shelf and I’m so glad I managed to nab one. Usually when new items from Essence or Catrice launch in South Africa they are sold out for weeks, sometimes even months. There were other new releases on the Essence shelf too, such as mascara, primer, powders, lipsticks, blush, among others. I resisted the urge to buy everything and only bought the Crystal Power Eyeshadow and Blush & Highlighter palette.
I’ve noticed that crystals/gemstones have become a rather trendy theme in the makeup world. From the Colourpop So Jaded palette to the Wet n Wild Crystal Collection, Becca Rose Quartz highlighters, Huda Beauty Obsessions palettes, Smashbox Crystalized collection, Pixi Rose Quartz products among others, all of which are inspired/based around the crystal/gemstones trend. I was very excited to see Essence doing something similar at a more affordable price point.
Both palettes are housed in cardboard packaging and includes a good quality mirror. The packaging is straight forward and nothing special really, but for the price you cannot complain. Because the palettes are cardboard it’s easy to travel with as it’s not too bulky. It’s easy to store and doesn’t take up much space. I love that both palettes has shade names printed on them. It’s really nifty and something I can appreciate.
Crystal Power Eyeshadow Palette (ZAR R129.95) This palette contains 9 shades in total, 1 matte and 8 shimmers. The shimmer shades are quite pretty and I think Essence included so many shimmers purposely, so as to fit the “crystal” theme of this palette.
I’ve swathed each row from left to right. In the first row we have:
1. Never Give Up applied really nicely with a brush and the consistency was creamy and well pigmented
2. Sparkle All Day was a softer formula and crumbled when applied with a dense flat brush. It applies better with my finger but isn’t as pigmented as some of the other shades
3. Good Vibes Only is one of favorite shades from this palette. The formula is denser than some other shades so you need to use a dense flat brush or your finger. It applies beautifully and the color is gorgeous, albeit it a bit lighter on the lids than it is in the pan
4. Reach For The Stars is another one of my favorites. Like Good Vibes Only it is also a denser formula. It has a bit of a duochrome shift and reminds me of the duochrome shade in the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette, although that one is more intense. This shade needs a couple layers to “pop” and is better applied with your finger. It can also be used wet for extra intensity. I applied it to my lid and by mistake got it on my black eyeliner and actually really loved how it looked! It made my black eyeliner look so pretty with hits of green and blue glitter. Apply it over black eyeliner (that’s still a little wet) to see what I mean. It can also be applied over black cream eyeshadow to give a similar effect. I absolutely love using it that way! Don’t apply too much product though, rather go in with a little bit and built it up from there. I find that pressing the product onto the black cream shadow gives the best effect. You could use a brush but use a light hand so the black shadow or liner still peeks through
5. Make It Happen is a warm toned reddish color that is very nicely pigmented. It’s the only matte in the palette and I was surprised by the performance to be honest. Sure it’s a bit powdery, has fall out and if you aren’t blending properly it can skip, resulting in some patchiness or unevenness. However, I think this might well be the best matte eyeshadow that I’ve ever tried from Essence to date. It blends so much better than the other matte Essence eyeshadows I’ve tried in the past. I do think it’s too warm to suit the rest of the shades in this palette, but luckily it can be blended/sheered out to make it less intense. I really, really wish they included at least two more (lighter matte) transition shades. If you want to create a full look with this palette by layering matte shades you will have difficulty doing so because there is only one matte. You can totally use the shimmer shades as transition colors if that’s what you like, but most people I know prefer matte transition shades in the crease, me included
6. Love Yourself is yet another one of my favorite shades. Again is a bit denser than Sparkle All Day. It’s a beautiful peachy shade that I like to apply all over my lid. It looks really pretty when applied in a sheer layer for everyday. I use my finger to apply a sheer layer, added some mascara and I was good to go. To deepen my look I applied the (matte) shade Make It Happen in my crease and finished it off with winged liner. I have to say this shade really suited my complexion very well. It’s really pretty on darker skin and it isn’t overly shimmery which is great
7. Chase Your Dreams looks like a soft silvery lilac shade but it’s more silver than lilac. It’s a pretty shade but on it’s own it’s a bit too frosty for my liking so I use it as a bit of a topper shade in the centre of my lid. The same as with some shades, this one is a denser formula
8. I’ve Got The Power is pretty too but was on the crumblier side and had to be applied with my finger. It does look pretty on the lower lash line though but I wish it was one or two shades deeper
9. Believe In Yourself is a tricky shade because it is a cream formula, though not too creamy. You need a few layers for this shade to show up (I did 3 layers for the swatch) and because it’s cream it can sometimes lift the shadows you already have on your lids a little bit. It’s best to use this shade as a topper – gently pressing and rolling it onto the lid. It can also be used as an inner corner or brow highlighter. The shade is very similar to the cream shade in the Crystal Power Blush And Highlighter palette so I’m not sure why they put it in this palette. If you buy both palettes you can just use the highlighter shade in the blush palette as an eyeshadow topper. It’s more glittery anyway so would look a lot more reflective. It would have been great if this shade was replaced with a neutral matte transition shade
Overall I really like the shades Good Vibes Only, Reach For The Stars and Love Yourself. Some shades are a lot denser/stiff in the pans than others which makes the formula feel drier and thinner. Chase Your Dreams and Sparkle All Day crumbles in the pan when being used but is softer. All of the shades has different amounts of fall out but I do my eyeshadow first so I just wipe away any fall out before applying my face makeup. I also noticed some flaking with some shades but for the price I cannot complain, especially since the mirror is actually really nice!
You definitely need to use an eyeshadow primer to get these shadows to last a decent amount of time. They fade within a few hours of wear, especially if you have oily or creasy eyelids. I applied the shade Love Yourself on my lid and because I have slightly hooded eyes it started creasing a bit, so I definitely think you need a good eyeshadow primer to keep everything in place. For some of the shimmers – if you apply them to your lid (with your finger or a brush) and blend out the edges with too much pressure or with a bigger brush, the base pigment of the shade starts blending away and you’re left with specks of shimmer here and there which isn’t very flattering. I highly recommend a glitter primer for the shimmers or a good eyeshadow primer that you know and trust.
The shades names are adorable and the pan sizes are pretty decent too. You can create only a few looks with this palette alone though. If you want to create say ten different eye looks I’m afraid it won’t do. There’s only so much you can do with one matte shade, you know what I mean? You will definitely need to use another palette with matte transition shades to aid this palette in being used to it’s full potential.
With all these con’s, I still really like this palette. If you’re looking for shades you can use as toppers over other shadows or just some pretty shimmer shades in these colors and you don’t want to spend over R200, this is the palette for you.
Crystal Blush & Highlighter Palette (ZAR R129.95)This palette is vegan and contains 4 shades that are inspired by gemstones. At the back of the palette it reads “4 blush and highlighter shades” insinuating that the pink shades can be used as both blush and/highlighter.
The first shade, Glowing Energy is my favorite in this palette because it has the least amount of glitter. I’m not crazy about glittery highlighters at all. When swatched it looks flaky and a bit underwhelming but it’s better on the skin. Less is more with this product, I find.
The shades Superpower and Inner Happiness are pretty but they look awful as blush. The glitters accentuates texture and just doesn’t sit well on my skin. Don’t get me wrong, they do have such pretty base colors that gives the cheeks a beautiful blush, but it’s just too glittery. Superpower is better used as highlighter albeit more glittery than Glowing Energy. I sometimes mix Superpower and Glowing Energy because if I’m not wearing foundation and bronzer, Glowing Energy looks just a tad too light. When mixed with Superpower it looks better though I still prefer the less glittery option – Glowing Energy.
Shine Bright is a cream shade that doesn’t have a base color to it and is just glitter. The formula isn’t too waxy nor too oily. It kinda feels a little bit like putty. They did a great job with this formula that’s for sure! In fact, I found this product to be a really good dupe for the Fenty Diamond Bomb in How Many Karats, although it’s a tad less smooth and not as pigmented. You need a few layers to build the intensity as desired. It’s more icy on the skin than the Fenty but it’s still a really good dupe. From afar it looks like a wet sheen, much like the Fenty. Up close though it’s just glitter and because it’s silvery white it looks bad on dark skin. I mean if you have darker skin and you like it that’s great, but for me personally I dislike the way it looks on me up close. I prefer to use it as an eyeshadow topper. I really hope Essence creates some matte blush shades in this formula though, because I really do like it!
Overall I’d have to say I like the eyeshadow palette more, just because I won’t reach for this blush/highlighter palette often. Sure it’s pretty in it’s own way but I have other blush and highlighters from the drugstore I prefer over it. I’m just not crazy about all the glitter in this palette. It’s a bit overkill in my opinion. If you are into shimmers and glitters or if you had your eye on the Fenty Diamond Bomb but couldn’t bring yourself to pay R899+ , this might be the palette for you. It’s R129.95, a fraction of the Fenty. Even if you purchase it just for the Fenty dupe, it’s still way more affordable.
I purchased both of these palettes from Clicks in store. Both of them were R129.95 but I saw them on Dischem online for R119 here. Not bad at all. What do you guys think of these palettes? Will you be adding them to your collection?