Review: essence – Get Big! Lashes (Volume Curl Mascara)

I’m always on the lookout for my next favourite mascara as I’m forever pining for the perfection that is Covergirl’s LashBlast. Won’t flake, won’t smear, gives spectacular volume, bootblack.

Read on to find out how Essence fared in comparison.


Price, Availability & A Note on Drugstore Pricing in Korea

First off, you can get Essence locally here in Korea as it is being distributed by Lalavla. As far as I could see, Essence did not list Korea as an official retail partner, which I found a bit odd. Are they not aware that their products are being sold here?

Essence appears to be a German brand, with low price points, seemingly catering to younger women in their teens and twenties. If you look at the mascara tube, you’ll know what I mean – it’s all a bit garish and bright, with colours that only young teens would love. Well, aren’t they in luck, for I don’t care much about how the packaging looks as long as it is functional.

I don’t remember the exact price, but I do think it was KRW 6,000 or less (ca USD 5.50). This makes it extremely cheap for Korea, where most makeup is in the medium drugstore bracket and where you cannot find a regular mascara under KRW10,000-12,000.

To tell the truth, I sometimes miss those extremely cheap makeup brands you usually get in Western Europe – they’re great for impulse buys, act as a pick-me-up when I have had a bad day, or for when you just want to see how a certain colour looks on you without having to pay premium prices for proper makeup.

In Korea, Essence has filled this gap for me. although I prefer their sister brand, Catrice, in terms of both quality and marketing (Catrice is not available in Korea, though, so Essence will have to do for now).

Applicator and Pigmentation

The main reason I went for this mascara in the first place was its beautifully big, thick wand applicator. The bigger, the better for me! My lashes are very long but thin, so I love me some volume.

The formula was very black and not too wet, not too dry. Pro tip: Once your mascara dries out, try adding a few drops of (sterile) saline solution or eye drops. It applied easily and I enjoyed combing the wand through my lashes. I did wonder though, this wand might be a bit too large for smaller eyes – if this worked for you, do let me know.

Smudging and Flaking

Great price, wand, pigmentation and application. How could I not love this? Well, here’s where I tell you about the smudging and flaking. Unfortunately, this mascara did a whole lot of both, see above. I was not able to finish this mascara, that’s how terrible I looked at the end of each day. Panda eyes would have been a great look during my teenage years; now that I’m 30, this look no longer serves me well.

Final Thoughts

I will not be repurchasing this due to the aforementioned smudging and flaking. If these do not bother you, and you prefer more of a grungier, lived in look (many women do!), do give this one a try! I really enjoyed using it – it just did not deliver in terms of staying put for me personally.

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