I have a not-so-secret love for Essence as a brand. They're cheap, cheerful and their products are often a lot better than I'd expect for the price. So when I was in the Netherlands for a visit and saw these beauties practically staring at me in the shop shouting 'Try us, try us. We're only 2 euro's each!' I couldn't resist and snagged two of them. I ended up with a dusty pink aptly named 'Velvet Rose' and a bright raspberry colour called 'Smooth Berry'. I don't think Essence is sold at all in the UK, but it is in other European countries such as The Netherlands and Germany, and I believe it's also sold in some drugstores throughout North America.
|Stay Matt's doe foot applicator|
Packaging wise, there's not much to it. I like that you can see the colour through the glass surroundings, okay so it's not the most posh looking lipcolour out there but for the price I don't think you can expect much more than this. I like the doe foot applicator, which has my preference over most other applicators I've seen because it's easier to work with. I have noticed that it's easy to get too much product on the applicator, resulting in the colours bleeding from the lips.
Essence promises 'A silky lip cream for a soft matte finish.' Does it live up to its expectations? Lets see and find out.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the tube was a very strong toffee like smell. Now, I'm well known for having the most crappy nose in the history of noses, so if I think something smells quite strongly, it's probably a pretty pungeant smell. I personally don't mind the warm, sweet smelling odour, but I can imagine it would put some people off.
The second thing I noticed is that the consistency is definitely very creamy, it feels very smooth on the lips. Matte colours can often make chapped lips stand out even more and can be a bit drying, but I had no problem with these lip creams. For some reason though, Smooth Berry -which is the darker colour- goes on a bit gloopier and is a bit harder to apply than Velvet Rose. The colour definitely bleeds if you're not careful, whereas Velvet Rose applies like a dream. I don't even have to look in the mirror when I put Velvet Rose on my lips, but Smooth Berry definitely needs some more TLC. Anyway, let's see what the swatches look like!
|Smooth Berry above, Velvet Rose bottom|
As you can see, both swatches are extremely pigmented. this was swatched with only one swipe over my arm. Velvet Rose seems to be a little bit more matte than Smooth Berry, and you can also see a little bit of bleeding happening already. I had a hard time photographing Smooth Berry correctly, it seems like my camera won't pick up on it's actual colour. In real life, it's a gorgeous deep raspberry shade whereas in the swatches it looks red!
Velvet Rose Swatches:
|Velvet Rose lipswatch|
Oh my, I think I'm a little bit in love with Velvet Rose! For me, it's the perfect polished 'my lips but better' colour that I could easily wear every day with almost anything. On the day where I took the pictures, my lips were quite chapped and since these are matte creams I was afraid they would make them even more prominent. I don't think that happened though. Colour me impressed, this lip cream is amazing! I was wearing this without a lip liner, just bare lips with Velvet Rose on top.
Smooth Berry Swatches:
|Smooth Berry lipswatch|
|Full face swatch Smooth Berry|
Now, Smooth Berry needs a lot more patience and a lot more precision. As you can see, the colour started bleeding on me, so it might be best to use a lip pencil under this. I am rather fond of the colour, which is a very vibrant, almost raspberry shade. The pigmentation is also brilliant, and the wear is very smooth and non drying. I personally don't really mind that it makes my skin looks even more pale, but I can see how others might not like that. It is however, a bit fussy, and I don't like fuss. Especially not with lipcolours. Because if I'm honest about myself, I'm far too lazy to worry all the time about whether I need to reapply or see whether it's bleeding again or not. Maybe I'll need to go lighter on the application, see if that helps.
In the end, they are both gorgeous lipcolours, although I wouldn't exactly class them as matte. Both lip creams have more of a satin finish. The products wear for a pretty long time, up to four hours. The darker colour -Smooth Berry- definitely stains the lips, which increases the wearing time even more. I personally think the Essence Stay Matt lip creams are great. Not just because they're cheap and kinda good for the price, but because they are actually very good products. If you can get your hands on them, definitely check them out!