Essance Taupe Secret & Almost Peachy Velvet Eyeshadows Review+Swatches

Essence has jumped on the matte shadow trend with their new The Velvets range of eyeshadows. According to Essence, The Velvets are "soft, long-lasting velvety textured shadows" that "glide onto lids comfortably and can be easily blended, built or varied in intensity ranging from sheer to full coverage." Available in 8 shades, these affordable eyeshadows sell for just $2.49 ($4.10AUD). I picked up two - Almost Peachy, and Taupe Secret - a few weeks back at Priceline. Essence is cruelty free.
I can't help but be disappointed by the quality of The Velvets' packaging. I intended to take better photos, but couldn't because the packaging is just wrecked. These shadows come in round, clear acryllic compacts with the product name written in a cute black font. Flip them over, and you'll find a silver label offering the shade name and number, as well as an ingredient list. Unfortunately, these shadows were taped shut, leaving a sticky residue on both sides of the packaging. My attempts to remove the residual stickiness caused most of the lettering to rub off along with it. It's a bad scene. On the plus side, packaging does seem quite sturdy.
I've had mixed experiences with Essence eyeshadows in the past, but so far I'm liking The Velvets! These powder shadows had a cute knit pattern embossed into them when they were brand new, though the design disappeared after just a couple of uses (as to be expected!). Both Taupe Secret and Almost Peachy have soft, smooth textures that make them easy to pick up and blend. The softness of these shadows does cause some excess kick up in the pan, and in the case of Taupe Secret, a couple specks of fall out. When worn over a primer, Essence's The Velvets eyeshadows last around 6 hours before they start to crease on me. Fading hasn't been an issue, and both shades remain true to color all day long.

[Almost Peachy, Taupe Secret]

Almost Peachy is a pale, warm, peach tinged nude with a matte finish. Though my swatch looks slightly chalky, it actually looks quite smooth on the eyelid - a case of poor swatch, but good performance. Almost Peachy doesn't have particularly strong pigmentation, but it can be built up with an extra layer. If you're quite fair like me, you'll love Almost Peachy as an all over, barely there eyeshadow. I was hoping that Almost Peachy would be a dupe to Urban Decay's Foxy from the Naked2 Palette, but unfortunately, they aren't very close - Foxy is much more yellow based.

Taupe Secret is a slightly cool toned taupe with a satin matte finish. A couple specks of shimmer are visible in the pan, but they don't seem to transfer onto the eye - at least I've never noticed them. Taupe Secret has much stronger payoff than Almost Peachy, it offers medium pigmentation that can be built up or sheered out, per your preference. Taupe Secret is quite similar to Urban Decay's Tease, but it's slightly more grey toned. This cool leaning taupe makes an excellent crease color for me, so I reach for it very often! 
While The Velvets aren't groundbreaking, they are a solid eyeshadow, especially considering the price! Both shades that I've tested offer decent pigmentation and wear time, and have easy to work with formulas. While I don't think I'll be picking up any more of Essence's The Velvets (none of the other shades speak to me), I do recommend them to beauty beginners that need a couple cheap, good quality eyeshadows in their arsenal.

Talc, Mica, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Zinc Stearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Lauroyl Lysine, Tin Oxide, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sorbic Acid, Ci 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

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