Essence: My Must Haves Eyeshadow | Review & Swatches

Customized eyeshadow palettes have been a huge trend lately. Many well-known brands have jumped on the bandwagon with this one, including Colourpop with their Pressed Powder Shadows, Anastasia Beverly Hills with their “Build A Palette” Eyeshadow Singles, and NYX with their Pro Shadows. Who can blame them? There appears to be a demand for personalized eyeshadow palettes, and it makes complete sense. More often than not, there are always two or three shades in an eyeshadow palette that we hardly ever touch because they’re too bright, too ashy or just unflattering. The fact that Essence has picked up on this trend doesn’t surprise me. They are constantly pumping out new products featuring some of the latest high-end beauty trends for a fraction of the price

The My Must Haves eyeshadows and palettes are part of Essence’s yearly permanent range update. There are currently two palettes, a four-pan and an eight-pan palette, and twenty different eyeshadows. First of all, the pans are not magnetic (maybe only slightly). You cannot pop them into one of those fancy magnetic palettes because these will not stay in place and quite possibly make a huge mess. Instead, these safely click into the My Must Haves palette. They are easy to insert into the palette and easy to remove from the palette- no struggle. I don’t know if these will fit into a different palette, like the NYX ones, but I doubt it. The eyeshadows have a transparent lid and the pans are packaged in a cardboard sleeve

Top to bottom: 02 All I Need; 07 Mauvie-Time!; 08 Peach-Party; and 11 Stay In Coral Bay.

The first four are in the nude/peach category (the shades that I always turn to whenever I do my makeup). 02 All I need, 08 Peach-Party!, and 11 Stay In Coral Bay are all shimmery shades, whereas 07 Mauvie-Time! is a matte shade. They are all pretty chalky, but there are a few that I love and a few that I don’t. I always turn to All I Need and Mauvie-Time!, as they are both pigmented and look beautiful on my eyes. I usually use Mauvie-Time! in my crease and it blends well when I use my purple Real Techniques Deluxe Crease brush. I use my pink Essence Eyeshadow brush to apply All I Need all over my lid, and it works beautifully. Peach-Party was a huge anti-climax for me, as well as Stay In Coral Bay. Both of them are so messy and they lack pigmentation when using a brush. I have to use my finger or wet the pink Essence eyeshadow brush to get some colour. I was very disappointed in those two, especially Peach-Party! because it is such a stunning shade

I have been using Essence’s All About Nudes eyeshadow palette for a while now. You get eight nude shades (some matte, some shimmery) and they work really well for the most part. I do believe that it is a better buy than these My Must Haves eyeshadows (apart from Mauvie-Time!, still love that one). Chances are, I’ll be sticking to that palette. 

Essence: My Must Haves Palette & Eyeshadow

Top to bottom: 12 Want A Mint?; 14 Purple Clouds; 15 Have a N’ice Day; and 16 Dare To Wear.

These are shades that I would never have bought on my own, but my mom surprised me with them and I am glad that she did (they remind me of winter or mermaids). I am not very experimental with eyeshadow because I can go from princess to punched-in-face very quickly. In fact, I tried using the red shades from the SwiitchBeauty #SLAYSFORDAYS eyeshadow palette and I looked sick (in a bad way). I feel like that has something to do with my very pale skin, but its probably because I have a lack of skills in this department. 12 Want A Mint? and 15 Have A N’ice Day are both shimmery shades, whereas 14 Purple Clouds and 16 Dare To Wear are matte. I did notice that these are also chalky and messy, and some of them lack pigmentation. I think that 12 Want A Mint? is beautiful (I am crazy about mint), and so is 15 Have A N’ice Day, but they are almost invisible on my skin. The only way that I can use those two is by wetting my pink Essence eyeshadow brush. 14 Purple Clouds has some pigmentation, but this one is very chalky. 16 Dare To Wear is also very pigmented, but it is chalky and patchy

There is hardly a difference in price between the two palettes: R34,95 for the four-pan and R44,95 for the eight-pan! I would recommend buying the four-pan palette if you travel around with your makeup or if you prefer to store everything in a makeup bag. The eyeshadows are all R34,95. I have read a few complaints about this because it would cost one R139,80 to fill a four-pan palette or R279,60 to fill an eight-pan with Essence eyeshadows (no offence, Essence). At first I thought that people were being too fussy (I mean, how much lower do they need to go with the price of their eyeshadows?), but I absolutely agree now. Unfortunately these eyeshadows didn’t impress me (R300+ later) so, if you’re about to go grab a few shades, please swatch the testers first. As your typical beauty blogger would say: these are definitely a hit-and-miss. You can find these at Dis-Chem stores, Clicks stores/online and on Takealot.

I do understand that eyeshadows can look very different on different skin tones, so everything that I have said refers to my own skin tone (which happens to be very pale/ghostly), so take this review with a pinch of salt. I do believe that Essence does need to work on catering to people with darker skin tones too, as they are very well-loved here in South Africa. I could be wrong, but I think that there is a gap in the South African drugstore market for makeup that suits darker skin tones (ironic, right?), but that’s something I’m not qualified to talk about.

What did you think of the My Must Haves eyeshadows?


  1. July 6, 2017 / 7:33 AM

    Great post Kaylyn…I have been reluctant to get the shadows and wont be thanks to the review.Also yes you are right,drugstore brands need to start extending their shade range for woman of colour

    • July 6, 2017 / 8:35 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to read it! You could always swatch them in-store, but the quality vs the price just doesn’t make it worth it, in my opinion. I’m glad you agree. x

  2. July 15, 2017 / 6:38 PM

    Ooh your swatches are AMAZING! I found some of the shades to have way better pigmentation than others, even though they have the same ingredients. It just goes to show that you have to have have to swatch it first. And with so many shades, it is so difficult to choose!

    • July 16, 2017 / 9:13 AM

      Thank you, Rayne! Yes, some of them are great and others are non-existent. Definitely swatch first- avoid disappointment! x

  3. Samantha
    January 31, 2018 / 12:45 PM

    Thanks for the review on Mauvie-time. I just bought it yesterday without swatching it and wanted a dupe for my Mac Quarry which is almost finished. I wanted to review it before committing to it so thanks!

    • February 1, 2018 / 6:00 PM

      You’re welcome! I love that shade, I hope you do too. x

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