I recently ran out of my all time favorite mattifying & touchup powder, Essence's all about matt, so I placed an order on Essence's website. For some reason, the Ulta website doesn't have the new The Velvets eyeshadow line and I was excited to try them out. I chose 01 fluffy clouds and 05 taupe secret.
A quick shoutout to for the Essence US website - a $15 free shipping minimum is great, they shipped quickly, and they threw in a free nail file! As always, I paid for everything myself and Essence has never heard of me.
As far as I can see, you can only buy the Essence The Velvets eyeshadow line on the Essence website in the US. I expected to be able to buy them on the Ulta website, but they aren't listed there.
Essence The Velvets packaging
- The Velvets eyeshadows come in clear acrylic compacts that are thin and easy to store
- I paid $2.49 each
- Each eyeshadow has 2.8 grams of product
- The main ingredients are talc, mica, and corn starch, followed by some other minerals like zinc, dimethicone, pigments, and the usual (and necessary) ingredients to keep everything sanitary and shelf stable
- The Velvets have a matte appearance in the pan and in swatches, but if you look up close they are NOT 100% MATTE! I'm guessing that due to mica being the second ingredient, there is some subtle sheen that shows through in some lights. They look matte on first application, but after a full day of wear or in direct sunlight, you might see some sheen.
- They have a cute quilted pattern stamped on the top
01 Fluffy Clouds is a matte very light white ivory. It leans a little yellow, but not nearly as yellow as Urban Decay Foxy. This shade is lighter than a traditional ivory, but isn't a pure crisp white. On very fair porcelain skin you may see some difference between this shade and a pure white, but on fair to medium to deep skin this will look straight up white. This shade is too light for me to use as an all over base eyeshadow shade but works nicely under the brow or in the inner corner/tearduct.
05 Taupe Secret is a matte light cool toned taupe. In my mind, Taupe Secret is like if Urban Decay Naked2 and Laura Mercier Cashmere had an eyeshadow baby - it is lighter and a little more mauve than Naked2 (but 90%+ similar in color), but is clearly more taupe brown than Cashmere. Again, this is such a light shade that the difference between Taupe Secret and Naked2 might not be as noticeable on warm toned fair skin or anyone much deeper in skintone than me. This shade works great for me as a subtle crease defining/blending color.
If you have medium to tan skin, taupe secret will probably be ashy and unflattering. Shade 06 mr. mocca-bean might be a more appropriate alternative depending on your skintone.
Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Hot Chocolate swatches
As a bonus, I wanted to pop in swatches of the Essence long lasting eye pencil in 02 hot chocolate. This liner seems like a standard issue retractable gel pencil eyeliner and the shade hot chocolate is a basic matte dark brown. It dries down matte and gives you a short amount of time to smudge. I have no complaints for the ~$1.50 I spent.
Overall thoughts on The Velvets:
- Affordable, matte eyeshadow options are hard to come by in this price range. Quite a few of these shades are exactly the type of basic shadows most people would use all the time. I would have also picked up Smooth Caramel and Mr. Mocca-bean if they had been in stock.
- Soft texture
- Easy to use
- Very good formula for the price, I can't think of a matte cool toned taupe I would rather have for less than $5.
- A little powdery and lacking the cling factor in the formula. I wouldn't expect any serious longevity without a primer. The swatches wipe off my hand very easily, but I did get a full work day's wear out of these with a primer.
- Lacks the smooth elegant formula of higher end mattes (like Urban Decay's or Laura Mercier's), but I don't expect that level of refinement for the price. I do prefer the formula of Wet N Wild's color icon eyeshadow single in Brulee to these, but the Wet N Wild singles line has no color range so they really aren't an alternative.