Hello fellow nailoholics! Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a couple of weeks. My poor laptop had to go in for repairs and after two weeks of being poked and prodded by experts it is still not behaving itself.
To make up for my absence, I have a mega post full of nail polish and makeup that are brand new to the UK market. On Sunday I spent the day at my first ever cosmetics launch for bloggers and I am still giddy with excitement.
Essence is an established European budget makeup brand, based in Germany, with the widest range of products I have ever seen, and now they have arrived in the UK. The majority of their products are made in Europe. Essence does not test their products on animals and they have very strict controls regarding ingredients. Essence products are already available from retail stands in Manchester Arndale and London Westfield shopping centres, and will be sold in all branches of Wilko from July (very exciting for me because Bolton has a large Wilko store).
I took my Mum to the launch with me and we had an incredible girly afternoon. As soon as we arrived we were given bulging goodie bags and shown to tables piled high with products for us to try out. We watched a short presentation and then we were shown to a large stand of products, just like you would get in a store, and told to help ourselves to anything and everything that we wanted to try, all free of charge.
At first it felt very strange, almost like stealing, and I limited myself just to some nail care products and a few polishes. Even the more experienced bloggers seemed to be a little overwhelmed by this “take anything you like” system. As the afternoon went on, every time a product was getting low on the stand, Essence staff would instantly refill it. They were incredibly helpful and friendly, answering questions and recommending products. After a few hours, everybody had forgotten their initial trepidation about helping themselves and had bags bulging with makeup.
We were provided with yummy food and unlimited hot and cold drinks, then we were all taken to the new Essence stand in the middle of the Arndale shopping centre, where we were given another goodie bag and posed for some photos. The Essence stand at the Arndale even has a giant nail polish bottle made entirely out of bottles of nail polish!
I ended up with so much stuff that I’ll be trying out Essence products for months. I’m not exaggerating. Here are some of the things I came home with:
Essence produces lots of nail care products, including at least four types of cuticle conditioner, a few types of cuticle remover, nail hardeners, strengtheners, conditioners, files and buffers. These are the nail care products I picked up - less than a third of the full nail care range. I’ll be trying these out over the coming months and I will let you know the results.
The range of colours and finishes of nail polish from Essence is incredible! Even for a premium priced brand the range would be impressive, but all of these polishes retail at £1.59 - £1.79 a bottle. I love the cute Colour & Go bottles. They have plastic caps which exactly match the polish shade inside, even the shimmery and glittery ones. This will make it super easy to find the right shade if you store your polishes in drawers or boxes. I was pleased to find that they don't have the unpleasant chemical smell that many budget polishes have. I picked up a whole bunch of these and it's still only a tiny fraction of the shades available.
The Effect and Special Effect polishes are an assortment of unusual glitters and toppers that all look really pretty. I picked up a selection but there are loads more available. They also have a range of pretty pastel polishes called Nail Candies that contain hardener and conditioner and smell sweet and fruity. I will be doing some swatches, reviews and nail art with the Essence polishes very soon!
Essence have their own home gel nail system called Gel Nails At Home, which involves using a peel off base coat, any ordinary Essence nail polish, followed by a gel top coat (available in clear and several different glittery finishes). I even got a free USB mini UV lamp for curing the gel! Essence claims that Gel Nails At Home stay looking good for up to ten days. Unfortunately I forgot to pick up the primer and cleanser, so I won’t be able to try this out until I have been back into Manchester to buy some.
Essence has a really wide variety of nail art decorations, stickers, pens, jars of embellishments (caviar beads, flocking, glitters), stamping plates, stamping polish, nail art brushes and tools. They even have ‘design your own’ nail stickers. They also have transfer paper in a selection of designs and transfer liquid – I can’t wait to try these out! I'm also very excited about the Magnetic Top Coat and pattern magnets which work over any polish.
Essence also sells Express Dry Drops and Express Dry Spray to speed up nail polish drying times. I picked up both of these and I'll be trying them out when I do my nails tonight.
I also got a selection of makeup in the goodie bags. I will be swatching and reviewing some of it soon alongside my usual nail art posts.
Check out some of the Essence products coming to your local Wilko store in July!