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Everyone knows that spring is the season for new beginnings. For me, it’s embracing the fact that I’m (rapidly) approaching 30 and that slathering heavy makeup all over my face should be a mistake of the past. Ever since I entered into eating disorder recovery almost two years ago, I’ve been on a mission to promote a healthy lifestyle and natural beauty– you know, the kind that proudly lets your unique imperfections shine and doesn’t rely on photoshop technology. So, when I decided to snatch up a bunch of new makeup for spring, I landed on Essence. Not only is Essence’s entire cosmetics line affordable (seriously, my entire drugstore spring makeup haul is valued around $30), but their brand mission is to watch their fans sparkle by building a community of fun, confident, and bold women who aren’t afraid to be themselves.
My motto this spring is “less is more,” since pastel colors don’t pair well with heavy eye makeup and dark metallic tones. Hence, you’ll see me wearing lots of highlighters, sheer eye shadows, and bright lip products this season– and probably well into summer, too. Keep reading for a full recap of must-have products from this drugstore spring makeup haul. Oh, and be sure to head all the way down to the bottom of this post for information about Essence’s new Watch Me Sparkle contest! If you like New York City, you won’t want to miss it!
1. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence The Gel Nail Polish in Pretty Cool Life (83), $1.99
Before going on my cruise around the Western Caribbean, I wanted a nail polish color that would a) last and b) look good with my colorful wardrobe of bright sundresses. I landed on Essence The Gel Nail Polish in Pretty Cool Life. These polishes are $2 each, and their formula provides incredible gel shine with no lamp (or manicurist) required. You can also combine the polish with The Gel Nail Polish Base Coat and The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat for ultra long-lasting wear. I used all three, and more than a week later, my nails were still going strong and completely chip-free. Oh, and the best part? This line isn’t tested on animals.
2. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence All I Need Concealer Palette, $10
I highly recommend this one, y’all! I pretty much live in CC Cream during the Florida spring and summer, so to help my skin breathe without looking spotty, I’ve been using the All I Need Concealer Palette, which includes five different colors for a variety of skin tone combinations. Because the texture is creamy and powdery, you can easily whip up a custom shade to suit your skin tone by mixing a particular combination of colors together. According to the backside of the package, pink and yellow help reduce dark circles under the eyes, green neutralizes redness, and both the lighter and darker beige shades have a mattifying effect.
3-4. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence Lash and Brow Gel Mascara, $2.99 and Make Me Brow Duo Eyebrow Powder, $3.49
As you can see in the below photo, my natural eyebrows aren’t, well, even. Ever since I was little, I’ve had a scar on my right brow that permanently mis-shapes and mis-matches my eyebrows. Hence, a drugstore spring makeup haul wouldn’t be complete without quality brow products.
Since it’s so hard to find an exact brow powder match, I love that the Essence Duo Eyebrow Powder allows you to create the perfect color by mixing and matching the two brown shades. You can experiment with both darker and lighter shades, which is nice in the spring and summer when skin tans and hair highlights come into play. As for the texture, the product is soft and glides on smoothly with a brush, making it easy to fill in all the small gaps and emphasize the brows. And as for the price, while other DIY brow kits retail for between $20-$50, this keeper is under $8 and comes in two different shade duos– one for brunettes and darker hair and one for blondes and redheads.
The Lash and Brow Gel Mascara tames all the unruly hairs and molds your brows and lashes back into perfect shape. With or without makeup, I literally never leave the house without running some through my brows. Just because I like a more natural brow look, I prefer the clear color, but Essence also sells colored brow gels, as well. For more of my tips on how to perfect your brows, click here!
5. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, $4.49
Hello, spring highlights! The Pure Nude Highlighter is amazing for adding natural luminescence and gorgeous glow to your cheeks, temples, and brow bone– and it’s under $5! The formula is “baked” (and also not tested on animals), so it applies smoothly while the light texture blends easily for a natural finish.
6. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence Eye Contouring Pencil, $3.49
I’ve literally never heard of eye contouring before, so naturally my attention was drawn to this product. The super versatile, dual-sided eye pencil comes in two colors (I used 02-Chocolate Meets Vanilla), and it can be used as a liner, eyeshadow, or highlighter, making it easy to contour the eyes. For a step-by-step guide to contouring eyes and lips, check out this article here! The technique is surprisingly easy and really does make your eyes appear bigger!
7. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence The False Lashes Mascara Extreme Volume & Curl, $4.99
My go-to eye makeup is light on the shadow/liners/highlighters and heavy on the mascara. I just love the way mascara makes my dark brown eyes pop. Paired with an eyelash curler, this Extreme Volume and Curl Mascara gives the appearance of false lashes without the hassle (and the sticky glue) of actually wearing falsies.
8-9. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence Matt Matt Matt Lipstick in Pink Up Your Life (04) and Purple Power (07), $3.99
I take a massive amount of pride in my extensive lipstick collection. I’ve tried brands on brands worth of lip products over the past few years, and in my experience, price is never an accurate indicator of quality. I prefer a lipstick that’s affordable, long-lasting, and doesn’t dry out my lips over a high-end designer dud any day. Essence Matt Matt Matt lipstick meets all three of my requirements and costs under $4. My current favorite shades are Pink Up Your Life, which is the ultimate Barbie Pink for spring, and Purple Power, which can be applied lightly for a springtime violet color or darker for a more intense blackberry shade that’s perfect for fall and winter.
10. Drugstore Spring Makeup Haul: Essence Volume On Plumping Lipgloss, $2.99
As mentioned above, Essence Volume On Plumping Lipgloss is a great counterpart of the Matt Matt Matt lipstick line. Plump up! menthol Ingredients give this new lipgloss a visible volume effect, and the featherlight formula can also be applied as a topcoat on top of any lipstick. Plus, it tastes great and is available in three shades. The one I used is called Perfectly Dressed (03).
Watch Me Sparkle Contest Details
Lastly, as promised, I wanted to share the details of the Essence Watch Me Sparkle contest! Essence wants all of us to have (and take) the chance to sparkle in our every day lives, so they’ve created a campaign to remind everyone to slow down and make the most out of life. So how do you enter? Check out @essencemakeup each week on Instagram to answer their prompt questions for a chance to win a trip to New York City. Plus, winner or no winner, you could also get featured across the Essence social media channels! Eight winners will be selected overall, and each one will be invited to a 2-3 day beauty workshop in the Big Apple. Check out the infographic below for more information!
Have you tried Essence products before? What did you think? And what would you like to see in my next drugstore makeup haul?