NEW Essence: Lights of Orient | Review & Swatches + My First Dupe


Paul and I took a little trip to the V&A Waterfront the other day. I don’t often go there, and if I do I never have time to really walk and look around. This time, we made it a day and it’s safe to say that it is the most overwhelming mall- ever. I mean, I spend most of my life in Canal Walk, which is already pretty huge, but there’s something about the V&A Waterfront that reminds me of a labyrinth. There were so many shops that I had never actually walked into before (in South Africa, at least), like H&M and Zara, and they are huge. Huge is probably an understatement for the double-story H&M that I got lost in.

(Can we just take a moment to mourn all of the money that I threw at the cashier in H&M…)

During this hefty shopping trip, to say the least, I walked into Clicks and I was pretty surprised to see that Essence’s latest trend edition was out! I had seen this on their website, but I never really knew when it would be available as I was in Clicks just a few days before that and it was not there. It was clearly just released because nothing was sold out (yet) and it almost looked untouched. Knowing how fast these trend editions fly off of the shelves, I grabbed everything that I thought I’d want, which includes the eyeshadow palette, matte lipsticks and nail polishes.

Let’s get right to it then, shall we?

Lights of Orient


I was quite attracted to this trend edition as it almost reminds me a little bit of when I lived in Dubai, which makes me quite nostalgic. The Arabian-theme is pretty unique and I can imagine these products looking gorgeous on all of the Princess Jasmines and Aladdins out there (unlike me, I’m a Snow White kind of girl). The names of all the products are also according to theme, which you will read more about below, and that’s something Essence never ever ever fails on.

Here’s what Essence has to say:

“Oriental beauty express! Let essence take you on an exciting journey into the world of 1001 arabian nights with the new trend edition “lights of orient”. Dive into the oriental culture and mesmerize your spots with unique looks, that visualise the mysticism occident.

Deep black eyeliner and golden highlights recall the warmness of the arabian sun. And a true treasure of colours reveals itself in the combination of cream, gold, copper and various nuances of red. The beautiful bronzer in an oriental design with a matt bronzing texture and shimmering golden powder in the center becomes a sparkling star. Golden body tattoos are particularly eye-catching on tanned skin. The body splash with a warm, floral fragrance provides a boost of freshness on hot, sunny days.

Essence loves… arabian nights!”

There are quite a few products in the trend edition, but once again a handful of them are left out in South Africa, like this blush, eyeliner pen and blush brush (sad face!). However, we still managed to get the eyeshadow palette, bronzers, eyebrow shapers, highlighter stick, matte lipsticks, nail polishes, body & cuticle tattoos, and the oriental body splash!

Lights of Orient

we ♥ arabian nights – This eyeshadow palette features six different shades, five shimmery and one matte. I swatched them in Clicks before buying the entire palette, as I know that some of the trend editions aren’t the most amazing quality (like some of the shades in The Little X-Mas Factory eyeshadow palette which you can read here). Each shade appeared to be very pigmented and I was impressed with the colour payoff when swatched with my finger. The palette also comes with an amazing, large mirror, which I love, and a small duo-applicator. You can see the swatches below…


Lights of Orient

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the bottom row is just a darker version of the top row. That’s not a bad thing, I suppose, as you can use that to your advantage when adding some depth to your makeup look. The shade on the bottom right is the only matte shade in this palette, and it is quite dry-ish compared to the rest of the shades. I would recommend using your finger or perhaps a damp brush when applying the eyeshadows as they don’t do very well with a brush. I definitely don’t recommend using the duo-applicator that comes with the palette, as it hardly picks up any product and the actual brush has extremely stiff bristles (it just scratches the surfaces of the eyeshadow).

Overall, it’s a decent palette and, although I prefer nudes (you know what I mean!) and I don’t actually know when I will ever use it, I will make an effort to incorporate some of the shades into my future makeup. I am not very risque with my eye makeup and I question whether or not the shades will suit me, but if these shades are up your alley then I say go for it! I would say that your eye makeup could last (almost) your whole work/school day. The recommended retail price is R84.95 and you can find it at Clicks stores. You better hurry though, these will probably disappear before you know it!

Lights of Orient

belly dancing queen Lipstick (LEFT)- This was the first lipstick that I picked up. In my head, I was thinking autumn, autumn, autumn because, you know, autumn (need I say more?). Essence describes it as a “trendy oxblood” shade, but as you can see it’s significantly lighter. When I got home I was admiring all of my shopping and it occurred to me that I most definitely do have a shade similar, if not the same, as this one. Manic Panic has a range of High Voltage Lethal Lipsticks and I have Kiss of Death (I mentioned it in this blogmas post), which I bought from AnonaMiss Beauty Emporium for R205. If you didn’t already know, AnonaMiss is the official South African distributor of the vegan brand, Manic Panic (view their product catalog here) where you can find semi-permanent hair dyes in the most insane colours and otherworldly lipsticks (think green and blue), among other things. After looking at the swatches below, you will see that the two lipsticks are extremely similar. Have I found my first dupe???

the sultan’s daughter Lipstick (RIGHT)- I’ll be honest, I didn’t initially buy this lipstick. In fact, I went back to Clicks a few days later and bought it. I don’t know why I didn’t buy it in the first place, but I have it now and that’s all that matters. I am in love with muted pink shades, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on it. Essence describes it as a “warm rosewood” shade and I’m not going to pretend that I have any basic knowledge on shades, but Google says its pretty close, so we’ll stick to that description.

Lights of Orient

The lipsticks come in a super cool slim tube, which I am quite fond of. They aren’t extremely long-lasting and definitely aren’t transfer-proof, so you can expect to apply it every once in a while and after eating. I would say that they are matte lipsticks (semi-matte if you want) and so they exaggerate every nook and cranny, as a lot of matte lipsticks do. I really do like them and I will be wearing The Sultan’s Daughter quite often. As for Belly Dancing Queen, I think that I will first grab Kiss of Death. You can get these at Clicks stores for the recommended retail price of R47,95. There is one more shade in this collection, Princess Jasmine’s Choice, which is an “intensive purple“.


Lights of Orient

belly dancing queen Nail Polish (LEFT)- With the same name as one of the lipsticks, I assume that this is the matching nail polish! The colour is a deep red that, once again, will be great for autumn. I would recommend applying two thick coats if you really want to show off the intensity of this shade and also applying a top coat, like the Essence Quick Dry Top Coat (R34,95).

the sultan’s daughter (RIGHT)- Again, this seems to be the nail polish that matches the above-mentioned lipstick. I like this one a lot as I don’t have a similar shade in my collection! I would recommend applying two thick coats to get the full effect of the nail polish, and applying a top coat like the one mentioned above.


Lights of Orient

The colours in the Lights of Orient collection are all really beautiful! Besides the two that I have got, there are two more nail polishes which both have a more metallic effect- a golden shade called “golden gate to orient” and a purple shade called “princess jasmine’s choice” (matching the lipstick). The two that I have do not have a metallic effect at all.  The applicators are standard and traditional (not flat like The Gel Nail Polish ones). Essence always gets it right with their nail polishes (like, literally always) and the same applies for this time around too! The recommended retail price for these is R38,95 and you can find them at Clicks stores.

So that’s my take on the products that I chose to buy from this trend edition. Overall, I think that it is really nice. What’s great is that these products are all student-friendly, meaning that the prices are not over-the-top at all!

That reminds me, being a student and all I kind of understand the struggle of not being able to afford a lot of expensive things. I am thinking of creating a “student-friendly” category which will feature all of the posts that will appeal to students on a budget. What do you think? Let me know!

Have you tried any of the Lights of Orient products? If not, do you want to? If yes, what are you most keen on trying? Talk to me in the comment section below!



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