The first time I went, I picked up quite a haul and out of that, I found 3 must-have products.
I LOVE EXTREME VOLUME MASCARA 01 BLACK
This was the mascara I had read about on another blog. It's got a big brush, which I like, and it goes on like a dream. It both lengthens and thickens and I'd say it's just as good as the big animal-testing brand I replaced this mascara with. In fact, someone asked me if I was wearing falsies! It doesn't get better than that. There is some flaking after long wear, but nothing I can't handle. And the price for this amazingness? £2.80. It performs like it's worth ten times that amount.
LONG LASTING EYE PENCIL 01 BLACK FEVER
I like a retractable eyeliner. I find that those you have to sharpen are too harsh on my eyes. They are not soft enough and drag the skin. I always end up wasting most of them in the sharpener too as they always seem to break on me. Retractable eyeliners seem a lot harder to find than normal ones - I can't think why they're not all retractable - so I was thrilled to find this Essence one and then blown away by how good it is!
It's very black, super smooth to apply, it lasts all day and it does a perfect cat's eye flick. It doesn't have a single negative point. And did I mention it was £1.50? How can that even be possible? I'm on my second one of this now and I highly recommend it to anyone.
CLEAR LASH AND BROW GEL MASCARA
Another great product, this time to keep brows in place. It has a good brush and applies well but you have to be careful not to go over the top or it can leave your brows looking a bit crusty! I rate this higher than a Pixi brow gel I've got and it's a staple product for me.
The two pink gel-look polishes in the photo are very similar, with one being in 'the satin' collection. The shades are 34 Candy Love and 35 Engaged. They are both very pretty on but chip very easily. For that reason, I haven't worn them much but they're a nice budget buy.
The Out of Space Stories polish in 03 Space Glam is a different story. I seized on this as soon as I saw it. It's a purple with crazy gold gleam (doesn't really look like the photo above) and while it's not heavy-duty wear, it doesn't chip any more than my more expensive polishes. I love it. My 2 local Wilkos don't stock the full Out of Space Stories range, but they are on the website.
EYESHADOWS IN 03 ROSE FLAMINGO, 08 APRICOTTA, 11 TIFFUNNY, 18 ALL I NEED
These must be an old line because they aren't available in this packaging on Essence's or Wilko's website anymore, however all of the shades are for sale in the My Must Haves range. They're all really nice colours and very sparkly but I kind of gave up on them after a couple of goes as there was so much fall out. They're never going to be brilliant I don't think, but I've since got a better primer and brushes so I'm willing to try them again in the future.
STAY NATURAL CONCEALER 03 SOFT NUDE
This isn't the worst concealer I've ever used, but it's not the best either. It's a good liquid format and fairly good match for my pasty skin but it doesn't last a full, hard work day without going a bit crap.
Unfortunately the writing's worn off this as I've had it a while and it looks like the lip gloss packaging has changed since then, but this shade is no doubt still floating around in a different incarnation. It's quite sheer, very sparkly and my perfect shade but unfortunately not very long-lasting.
In summary, when I checked out Essence cosmetics, I found 3 must-have products in their mascara, eyeliner and brow gel. Coupled with their gorgeous Out of Space Stories nail polish range and there is more than enough to recommend this brand. Cheap, cheerful and fun with some surprisingly high-quality products.
N.B. Suitability for vegans: it looks like Essence use beeswax in their mascaras. I am hoping to get full details on which of the range is vegan and will update this post when I do.