essence reviews

Have you ever noticed it? When you watch a good movie, read a good book, listen to a good song or do anything that touches you, it remains with you for some time. You can’t just forget it as soon as it is over. It stays with you, tinges of it still colouring your mind. You keep ruminating, regurgitating, reminscing. It just stays with you like an old favorite song you hum to unconsciously, uncontrollably. You think of it just because you like to.
And you know what? People are like that too.
—  People stay
7 Thoughts on Girls Trip

We haven’t hung in five years. I miss you guys. We need a girls trip. Let’s do this!” - Ryan Pierce

Ryan Pierce has managed to achieve both the perfect marriage and the perfect career but what she wants most is to reconnect with her best girlfriends. When presented with a opportunity to attend and speak at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Ryan believes this is perfect opportunity to reunite the Flossy Posse. When Ryan, gossip columnist Sasha, recently-divorced Lisa and spitfire Dina make their way down to New Orleans, neither their friendship nor the Big Easy will ever be the same.

Girls Trip written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Olivier and directed by Malcolm D. Lee debuted on July 21, 2017 and as of August, 6, 2017 has grossed $85.4 million dollars. The film features Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish and reunites Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as college friends, Ryan, Dina, Lisa and Sasha. While attending the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, the four members of the Flossy Posse are forced to nurse old wounds of the past while confronting the reality of their present in order to preserve their friendship for the future. Last night I purchased my ticket to see Girls Trip and dare I say it was one of the best films I have seen in quite some time. For those of you who have not seen Girls Trip I demand that you stop what you’re doing and drive to the nearest movie theater. No matter your age (never mind; this is definitely not a film for the kiddies), no matter your color…grab up your girlfriends or your guy friends and go see this film! Below I will share my seven thoughts in regards to the movie. I should also point out there will be spoilers. You have been warned…

  1. May I just say that we have four beautiful, extremely talented black women on film together. I don’t know why this excites me so much! Actually…now that I think about it…I do know why this excites me. For too long we have been told that women, especially black women simply are not bankable when it comes to the box office. The majority of our successful shows on television involve black women, i.e. Kerry Washington (Scandal), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Tracee Ellis Ross (Blackish), etc so there is no reason why this should not translate to the big screen. Coming on the heels of the super successful Wonder Woman film and last year’s Hidden Figures, Girls Trip has proven again just how wrong it is to assume that women cannot get butts in the seat at movie theaters because this film is performing very well at box offices across the country. What I hope is that the producers and executives in Hollywood are taking note. We need more films made by women, written by women, directed by women, featuring women made for women. No more excuses!
  2. “If you are going to come along with us please refrain from saying things like “preach” or “go girl”, or any other colloquialism that you may have looked up on a urban dictionary.” Well…someone finally said it! At the risk of starting a debate about cultural appropriation, I was so happy to hear this line in the film because while Elizabeth is not being mean-spirited or racist when she uses urban vernacular, what Ryan is pointing out is when white women often use those words, they are often lauded for it because it’s seen as cute and funny. However, oftentimes when black women use those very words, terms like ‘ghetto’ are often bandied about and honestly that is not fair. At the end of the day, these four black women, for better or for worst, are human beings no matter what words they use, how they use those words, how they choose to wear their hair or how their bodies look and that should be celebrated.   
  3. Set It Off is one of my favorite films and when Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Sasha (Queen Latifah) exchanged that very knowing look in the club while wearing dark sunglasses and multi-colored wigs, I nearly jumped right out of my seat. 
  4. In this post Lemonade world we are living in, I reckon we will see more media starring made by black women made for black women. While this films does an amazing job of celebrating black women, another thing I noticed was how this film explores how black women celebrate black men, even when black men neglect or outright refuse to celebrate them. When Ryan’s husband, Spencer Pierce steps outside of their marriage to engage in an affair with another woman, Ryan bends over backwards to defend his actions to her friends while suppressing her true emotions in regards to his infidelity. Ryan is willing to forsake her own happiness and integrity in order to protect her marriage but Spencer is unwilling to meet her halfway.
  5. Several of my female friends have attended Essence Music Festival but admittedly I did not know much about the goings-on at the festival until seeing this film. Essence Music Festival looks like a blast and I hope this film makes the festival even bigger. I also love the setting of New Orleans because it’s in located in the South yet it’s such a thriving black city. I love that we are seeing so much media being filmed and set in New Orleans because there’s something positively magical about that place.  
  6. While all of our actresses are doing amazing work in this film, the MVP Award goes to Tiffany Haddish. My knowledge of who Tiffany Haddish, prior to seeing the film was her interview with Jimmy Kimmel. I found her charming and hilarious and so relatable and I found myself falling instantly in love with her. The character of Dina, if you take her surface level, is an outspoken party girl who is that one friend we have who is always down to get into shenanigans. However, Dina was the one who was really holding these women together. As she mentioned in the film, it is so easy to just see her as the “fun one” but there’s many layers to her and whether we admit it or not, we all need a Dina in our lives. Tiffany Haddish is does comedy well and I hope the industry embraces her because after reading about her troubled history prior to making it big, this beautiful woman definitely deserves her happy ending.  
  7. As mentioned above, this film is a celebration of black women. I also found this film to be a celebration of blackness. The main reason I wanted to see this film was because I have grown weary of the limitations within black films. For decades we have seen black female characters in film portrayed as slaves, maids, nannies, prostitutes, abused women, crackheads and the sassy sidekick to countless white female characters. It’s not that those roles aren’t important or something to be ashamed of, it’s just awesome to see a film about four black women who just want to have fun. Sitting in that theater, it felt so good to see these four black female women doing things on-screen we are so accustomed to seeing white men and women do. Our women get messy drunk. They have sex. They go clubbing. They wear impeccable fashions. They have witty banter. And yes, there are arguments and infidelities and betrayal but those things are just another part of who these women are. Black women suffering has been a narrative we have seen way too much of (thank you Tyler Perry) so maybe we have finally reached a time where we can finally see black women happy, even if they don’t have men in their lives. 

Hopefully if you have not seen Girls Trip, I hope my thoughts on this amazing film give you cause to purchase a ticket to go see it. This film is important in more ways than I can enumerate. This film filled me with such joy in a time where it’s so easy to feel hopeless. What this film affirmed for me is life is too short for us to let ourselves define ourselves by what others think or us so let’s get out there and live life to the fullest. And what better way to live than with your best girlfriends (or guy friends) there along for the ride!


Today I am recommending a less well-known but waaay awesome brand: PRIMERA. This is a green-product line released by the big boss AmorePacific, said to utilise the energy plants produce when spurting their sprouts in the important growth phase to help human skin regain its glow and youth. None of the products (that I’ve tried so far, all in the photos) have alcohol in them, and they are suitable for all skin types.

I must say, after using the Organic Water + Emulsion and the Super Sprout Cream I wasn’t all that wow’ed by Primera. I’m all for recycling and being green, but there was just nothing amazing about this ‘sprout energy’ stuff. However, when I tried the Miracle Seed Essence made mainly from Lotus Seed Extract, I thought ‘wow this is just the thing I need…and everyone should have this!’. The essence is a clear watery texture and comes with 100% pure cotton pads. Initially I was doubtful whether it would do anything (it looks like a super expensive toner). But after using it for 3 weeks, magic happened…

I had major breakouts when I started using this; it was so bad that I stopped using most of my previous products due to stinging sensations. When I started this I tested it firstly on my eye area, which is usually very sensitive. It passed the test easy (I even used a bit too much and a bit got on my eyeball…it didn’t sting). After only 1 week my breakouts healed and scabbed over. After 3 weeks my skin tone brightened (not whitened) and I started getting heaps of compliments from friends. My acne marks started fading, and no new acne popped up (except that one I got from eating spicy food in 3 consecutive days). My skin is oily, so I gave my friend with sensitive combo-dry skin a test patch, and she fell in love. Now she’s ordered a bottle for herself!

In terms of price I see most websites sell it for $40-$50usd, and one standard bottle is 150ml. Now I know it’s pricey, and the instructions actually say this is a ‘30 day treatment’ essence and the cottons are like 6cm x 8cm. However, the way I use it is cut the cotton and pour the essence on it as a toner first, before pouring a few drops on my hands to pat it in as an actual serum. One bottle has actually lasted me over 90 days!

5 Of The Best Essence Cosmetics Products

So if you’ve been reading Makeup Tips for a while you probably know about my long lasting love for Essence Cosmetics. The European beauty brand is filled with hundreds of great products at super affordable prices, some of which are staples in my daily makeup bag. Trying to choose just one of my favourite products, never-lone just five of them is like picking a favourite child, but after much consideration here are five of my favourite Essence products that you MUST try. 

Essence Eyebrow Stylist Kit

This is one of my all-time favourite eyebrow products and beats out so many high-end brands. I tried this on a whim and don’t regret it one bit, the colours are cool-toned (no need to worry about orange brows!) and the powders have just the right amount of pigment so you don’t overdo it. This is a staple in my makeup bag and for the price you simply cannot go wrong.

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Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask, $24.50

When it’s 10:30pm and you just got home from a long day of work, then GMAT prep and you just want your face off so you can go to bed. Enter yet another foaming cleanser!

This mask applies as a pink goo straight over your makeup, then turns into foam over time. I’m giggling through this entire video because it feels like Pop Rocks on your face in a great way. This was a fun one to test for sure.

However, you’ll notice this video cuts out abruptly without me finishing my ~cleansing ritual~. This is because I got some of the foam in my eyeballs mid rinse and lord have mercy did it burn. I also totally knocked down my phone while in full panic mode over my stinging eyes, straight into the sink. The phone survived despite me not having a water resistant model, bless up. Why would you make a cleanser that foams and is not eye safe?! Foam inherently gets everywhere! This is why my normal mode of makeup removal involves cotton and either an oil based remover, a micellar water, or both - then obvi my eye makeup remover and a final rinse with an essence (currently using Vichy Aqualia Thermal Hydrating Water, $24). Controlled removal and no dripping of either soap or melting foundation into the eyeballs!

This was fun but…maybe it’s another pre-shower cleanser? Then at least if you get some foam accidentally in your eyes, you can flush them out in the shower.


Lo and behold, today’s post is a non-sponsored, no-ads Innisfree Serum recommendations post! I’ve emptied both bottles and plan on repurchasing, so even though a lot of other bloggers have already talked about them - especially the famous green bottle - I thought they are worth praising. Let’s quickly get into why they’re so lovable!

Green Tea Seed Serum: Consistently one of the brand’s global best-sellers, I think what sets this serum apart from its competitors is the feeling of ‘pure’ you get from using the product. The packaging is cute and convenient, and all Innisfree bottles in S.Korea can be taken back to the store for recycling. Its biggest advantage is that it is light-weight and super watery, so when you use it it’s not ‘wow’ or anything, but it’s comfortable enough to wear day and night. I recommend it for oily-combo skin, particularly during spring and summer. It absorbs quickly and feels almost as if your face is clean and you’re not wearing anything. Be careful not to use too much though, because it can get a bit sticky if you layer on too much without giving it time to dry. Additionally, this product doesn’t claim to be alcohol-free, so if your skin is sensitive to alcohol in products, you may want to try the Soybean essence instead.

Soybean Energy Essence EX: Alright, so while I praised the Green Tea serum, I must say I didn’t fall in love with it the same way I fell in love with this Soybean essence. This product is just so gentle and hydrating.

For those who have read my previous post on Primera’s products, you guys know I had a period of time where I had really severe hormonal acne and sensitive oily skin. Most products didn’t work for me and I had to stop using all my existing products, except this Soybean essence. Of course, it didn’t do for me what the Primera essence did (ie. stop all the inflamation and clear up my skin) but it was the single product I could actually use without experiencing pain during the time I was suffering from acne and looking for a new product. I would recommend this to anyone who has sensitive skin or suffer from acne. However, it is a little thicker than the watery Green Tea serum (the texture is a bit like egg white) so those who have oily skin may want to put this in storage and wait a bit during summer. It is definitely the best moisturising essence for autumn and winter!

So I’m not actually a huge fan of this brand, not in terms of mascara anyway but both of these were on sale so I bought them to try them and honestly I’m pretty happy with my purchase. For less than €2,50 I got a mascara and a topcoat. The mascara promises XXXL volume and it does sort of deliver, it’s not chunky either, adding the topcoat really makes the lashes stand out and altogether I don’t regret giving these a chance.

UNDER HYPED: Essence Eyebrow Stylist Set

Essence Eyebrow Stylist Set Review. Brows are my favourite feature to accentuate, they frame the whole face so get them wrong and you’re screwed, get them right and you’re makeup will fall straight into place. I’ve tried thousands of brow products and whilst I prefer the precision that pencils give sometimes nothing beats the softness of a powder. Essence Eyebrow Stylist Set contains my all time favourite brow powders and for the price you simply can’t go wrong. The powders are perfect, not too soft, not too dry and contain the perfect amount of pigment. They blend so easily, stay in place and give a super natural result. Lastly, the powders are cool toned, I’m not a fan of warm toned brow products and I think unless you’re a warm brown or a redhead they aren’t the slightest bit flattering so I couldn’t be more pleased about the fact that these are cool toned brow powders available at the drugstore. I don’t care much for the stencils or the brush included, but the powders (and the price) are amazing. PS: Originally there was only one shade available that only matched those with dark hair but now there’s a shade for blondes too!

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anonymous asked:

every fandom does it but it is something to think about that the only reviews so far that aren't "bitter and pointless" are ones written by harries. just because they're rolling stone and billboard doesn't meant they're not written by people who are already big fans... those writers probably fought to be the one who got to review it. i would be more inclined to support these reviews if there was at least 1 line of constructive criticism... nothing is ever perfect

i don’t know how you expect me to respond to this tbh. you clearly have your own view on it, and it’s totally fine by me :) i can only tell you what’s mine take on reviews. and in general, in their very essence, i think reviews are pointless. i don’t really care about them tbh. cause every review is subjective, the author shares their opinion, i can agree with them or not, but my subjectivity isn’t any different than theirs. the only thing that can be truly assessed is the quality of journalism, if it’s badly written, if they have their facts straight, etc. the thing that bothers me most in reviewers is snobbery (it’s like their occupational disease), so i don’t mind when a reviewer is being enthusiastic about something, i mind much more when they’re being pretentious pricks :)

and btw, the variety’s review of harry’s la show (which in my opinion is the best one - as of the best quality) def wasn’t written by a harrie

Essence Lip Liner Swatches

Essence Lip Liners top to bottom: 01 Soft Rose, 03 Hot Chocolate, 04 Honey Bun, 05 Soft Berry, 06 Satin Mauve, 07 Cute Pink, 08 Red Blush, 10 Femme Fatale, 11 In the Nude

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Everyone seems to be getting a “transitioning into fall” mani, but since there’s already a blanket over my bed, I am omitting the transition and going right to catch the fall spirit in my nails. I love it even if it is super simple! Please don’t mind the flakies on the skin, they just get everywhere.

I am also using this post to start a new blog series, the mini-reviews! I don’t have as much time as I used to, but I still want to share my finds with you. So, Mini Review #1: Essence polishes. I love them for their formula, their wide brush and most importantly, because they are 5-free. And they are cheap. Essence is definitely the top brand in my polish stash. Here you can see two coats of Walk on the Wild Side (a green shade I usually gravitate to when the colder months arrive) with another two coats of Night in Vegas (a fiery flakie topper). Oh, shiny!

Essence Tribal Summer Makeup Trend Edition Review

Essence Tribal Summer Trend Edition Collection

The Essence Tribal Summer Trend Edition Collection is a summer themed trend edition which is currently available at select Target stores across Australia.

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The Whitening Story (plus New Laneige White Plus Renew Products and BB Cushion!)

If you’ve never lived in Asia, you might find it odd that “whitening” is a big thing in skincare here. It frequently out-sells color cosmetics and other skincare lines for many of the brands.

One thing you need to understand is that “whitening” in Asia generally doesn’t carry the same stigma that it does in the West. It doesn’t stem from the same concept as some Western skincare brands in the early parts of the 20th century, where “white skin” was associated with superiority and women of color were often sold skin-lightening products and encouraged to change their appearance.

Many East Asians ARE very fair-skinned to begin with, and culturally, we grew up associating porcelain skin with unblemished beauty and well-preserved youthfulness. So if you ask many women here, it’s more about achieving (or mimicking) pristine, perfectly-preserved skin that looks like it has never been exposed to any photo-aging and environmental damage, than about emulating other races. (That’s why you’ll see most women here buying sun creams and foundations with as high an SPF factor as we can find.)

Ironically, in modern days, a tan, golden appearance is more associated with Western ideals and pop culture!

Long-winded story aside, the 2 powerhouses where the most popular whitening ranges originate are Japan and South Korea. And every Spring, we usually see a bumper crop of new whitening products launched.

The latest “thing” among many of the whitening ranges this year are groups of active ingredients that work together to treat 3 forms of discolorations. Redness (flushed skin, capillaries), darkness (melanin), and sallowness (poor circulation etc). Japanese brand Shiseido’s new White Lucent serum promises the same as Laneige, although the pricing and ingredients used to achieve those vary slightly.

Laneige introduces 3 new products that contain the new “melano-crusher” complex.

  1. The updated White Plus Renew Original Essence (S$76 for 40ml): the serum contains the highest concentration of the whitening complex and is used day and night before moisturizer and sunblock. 
  2. The White Plus Renew Capsule Sleeping Pack (S$42 for a pack of 16): These fun little portable vacuum-sealed pods contain a white cream suspended in a clear gel. Open one, mix up the cream and gel using the spatula that comes in the box, and apply in place of moisturizer twice a week as an intensive treatment before bed.
  3. BB Cushion SPF50 PA+++ (S$65 per box with 1 case and 2 stamp pads): The latest iteration of the super-popular BB cushions (portable little stamp-pads soaked in a lightweight BB cream) come in 6 shades; the 4 above, plus 2 darker shades for tanned skins. The texture and finish is dewy, with light to medium coverage depending how you apply it (pat for higher coverage, rub for lower coverage). The new version give the same glowy perfected skin finish as the Soothing BB Cushion, but includes the new whitening complex for added skincare benefits. 

My favorite out of the 3? It’s hard to say since I haven’t had a lot of time to try each of them, but here are my first impressions.

  • Essence: Very fresh and soothing to use; the ingredients and the science behind it sounds promising, but I’ll have to use it for a longer period of time to say if it can really repair and sooth the skin as well as promised, but so far so good!
  • Capsule Sleeping Pack: Super fun, and feels extremely soothing and luxe on the skin, but I have to say a single capsule easily contains enough product for 2-3 uses, so it’s a bit of a waste unless you’re traveling and want something portable. You can try to use some and store the opened capsule in the fridge for another day, but I probably won’t recommend that because some ingredients can degrade with air exposure, so you won’t really be getting maximum efficacy if you do that. Great as a special treat before special occasions though!
  • BB cushion: I don’t need to say all that much about this; it’s a huge hit in Asia because of the amount of coverage it gives, and how convenient it is. (A multi-purpose skincare-slash-base with SPF50 PA+++, in a portable compact so you can touch up through the day; no brainer for all the lazy girls who’d rather sleep in than apply serum, lotion, sunblock, primer, foundation, etc). I do have to say this is better for normal to drier skins, as it doesn’t really “set”, and can rub off on oilier skins. 

Shade reference: (this is an approximation, so do make sure you test it out and check in daylight before purchasing!)

NC15/NC20 - 13

NW15 - 14

NW20/NC25 - 21 (this I can guarantee cos it’s my shade!)

NW25/NC30 - 23

NW30-35/NC35-37 - 31

NW40/NC42 - 33

The shades are quite forgiving, but I’d say if in doubt, go one shade darker. If you go lighter, you might get a white cast that’s more obvious because of the high SPF. And I do have to say the shade range isn’t quite large enough for women with darker skins, even though 6 shades is pretty impressive compared to most Korean/Japanese brands which carry about 2-3 colors max in their BB ranges.