*See the update on the shades at the bottom of the post.
I picked up the Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup as well as the primer a while ago and I’ve been testing both thoroughly the last few weeks. This foundation and primer are both brand new from Essence and I am happy to report that these items are now available in South Africa as well. The Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Primer review will be up on Friday so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup
Product: The Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup is a medium to high coverage dewy/glowy foundation enriched with vitamin B3, B5, E and cranberry water to give you a healthy glow and a radiant complexion.
Packaging: The foundation is packaged in a heavy, good quality glass bottle with a handy pump mechanism. I think Essence deserves full marks for the quality packaging, especially if you look at the super affordable pricing.
Formula: The foundation has a medium thickness liquid consistency that is easily applied to the skin.
Coverage: The Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup claims to have medium to full coverage on the bottle. I have found over the last few weeks that one layer of foundation will only give you light coverage. With two or more layers you are definitely able to achieve medium to fuller coverage and the foundation is completely buildable without becoming cakey. Layering the product to this degree unfortunately means that you will use a lot of product to achieve your desired coverage level.
Finish: The foundation dries quickly* and makes your skin feels smooth and velvety. Funny enough, although this is technically a dewy/glowy foundation it dries more matte on my skin with a lovely subtle sheen on the high points of my cheeks etc. I think it might have dried more matte because I have such dry skin and I am not sure of how it will behave on oilier skin.
Application Tools: The Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup applies equally well with fingers, a beauty blender or a foundation brush.
Does the foundation oxidize? Yes, unfortunately the foundation oxidizes a little bit within minutes after application. It is relatively mild though and not a total deal breaker for me.
Wear with the Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Primer: As mentioned in the introduction I purchased the Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Primer as well with the idea of pairing it with this foundation. I will elaborate more in the blogpost on Friday as to the issues I experienced with this primer. For me personally, this combination just didn’t work at all. In short: the foundation didn’t ‘settle’ or dry down* on top of this primer and broke up around my nose and chin area after only an hour of wear resulting in a very patchy appearance. As the foundation was so ‘unsettled’ I completely disrupted the makeup when I attempted to apply blusher and bronzer. If this was not bad enough already the product also severely settled into fine lines and pores.
Wear with other primers: My go-to skin preparation before any foundation application is Benefit’s Porefessional in the areas where I require pore reduction and then I spray my face generously with Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (honestly, it is the best setting spray ever!). This routine gives me the very best results whenever I apply foundation as it dramatically reduces pore appearance and makes my makeup last all day without the need for powder or touch-ups. The Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup wore so much better on top of this combination. It dried down quickly, didn’t cling to dry patches or make my T-zone oily. The foundation wears relatively well during the day, but becomes a bit patchy and worn-off after 7-8-hours. Adding blusher and bronzer when I applied my makeup in the morning didn’t upset or move the foundation around. It doesn’t work too well around the eye-area as it still settled in the fine lines, so best to avoid it and only use your under-eye concealer in that area.
Wear without primer: The foundation also performed very well when I used no primers or setting sprays. It dried down in minutes and lasted well throughout the day. It didn’t overly settled in my pores and fine lines, but it definitely became a little more oily and patchy on my forehead and around my nose after about 5-6-hours of wear. Even though it is perfectly fine to use without any primers, I definitely preferred it with my normal priming routine as I feel it brings out the best in the Essence Fresh and Fit Awake Makeup.
Shades: There are unfortunately only 4 shades available, all of which are fairly light. I find this a bit disappointing as the lightest shade is an ashy paper white (i.e I really do not know who will be able to pull that shade off) and was way too light even for my very fair skin. I think it will be superb if they can expand the shade range a bit more to accommodate a broader range of skintones. I purchased and used the shade 20 Fresh Nude which upon was a pretty good match for my skintone.
What did I think? I actually really liked this foundation. Definitely not in combination with the Fresh and Fit Awake Primer, but on its own or with other primers it wore well and looked fresh and radiant for most of the day. It is definitely not an Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation by a long shot, but considering it retails for only a R110 I think it is pretty good value for money and the only pity is the very limited shade range.
Will I purchase this product again? I will forever be hung up on my beloved Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place foundation, but if all my other favourites were off the table I would definitely have repurchased this foundation.
*Shade Update: Thank you for listening, Essence!