Tuesday, 13 June 2017

New In Primark Beauty...Is it actually any good?

I've actually been a bit of an advocate for Primark/Penney's beauty products for a while now. It's come a long way in the last few years but certain parts of the collection have always been good. One of their mascaras was my go-to for a long time as it had good hold and was quite subtle and natural. I knew others who wanted more curl, volume and drama but I'll go for subtle over clumpy any day and at a little over a euro, it was hard to beat the price. Similarly, I've liked their brushes a lot since the overhaul of the line in the past year or two. They are at a really good price point and are pretty damn good even by if measured against the standards of more expensive brushes. Oh, and they did a lipmarker (seems like it's no longer for sale, sadly) that DID NOT BUDGE and was great for doing a perfect gradient lip with a dark center inside the lips.

Considering the prices and the fact that they are cruelty free (as far as my research has told me), there aren't many brands that can compete with this level of cheap and cheerful on the Irish market. However, I've also had enough disappointments to be wary (the nail polishes are dire but, then, so are most super-cheap polishes and the nail polish removers, meanwhile, are actually quite good). All this considered, I am always keen to try their new and more interesting launches.

Their new sheet masks, for example, had me intrigued, especially as I'm a bit of a connoisseur. I was actually meant to test them out when they first launched but the samples got lost in the post and then I wasn't physically in a store until after the press day but I finally got my hands on some and I had a lot of thoughts and feelings after trying them out.

1. They're actually made in Korea which is nice to see and makes me immediately trust them more. Too often western brands copy the "idea" of k-beauty products but seem to have actually no idea what they're doing.

2. The packaging, however, is similar to Sephora's sheet mask line and I can't help but wonder why. Larger, rectangular packs are standard in Korea and most western brands following the trend have stuck with this. I can't tell if the choice to copy Sephora is a marketing thing to make them seem more appealing, if they are made in the same place (if so, drastically different price points) or if there is some other reason. Having tried one of the Sephora masks before I can say that both seemed to drip with essence less. They also have less space for the additional essence that most sheet masks leave behind and I which I schmear all over my arms and neck after using the mask...Maybe it's a cost cutting thing?

3. At €1.50, the price point pretty much matches the Korean standard and makes me happy. The idea behind Korean skincare and sheet masks, in particular, is that it should be affordable and you should be able to mask several times a week. Most western brands, however, jack the prices up (and the quality isn't even as good) - I'm looking at you, Garnier.

4. The mask itself is not made out of the highest quality material. It's definitely the kind I've seen from more western-focused versions before. It's stiffer and less pliable. As a result, it feels less comfortable to wear and I feel like it's less effective as it isn't molded to the shape of my face and really getting that essence in all over my skin. But, as I say, I've seen this before and it's not terrible, just less good.

5. It smells nice, if a little strong.

6. The size is quite good, not too big or small - even if the less pliable nature of the material used takes away from this somewhat.

All things considered, the masks are pretty good. The price and ease of access are two big pluses but the quality of the product could be better. I'd definitely use them again but I'll probably still reach for my Korean masks first - especially as the Asian supermarket where I often get groceries sells Korean sheet masks at Korean prices.

The lip scrub that I picked up, however, is a real revelation. I don't know when it launched or if it was recently but I love it. First of all, again, the price is great, at €1.50. Secondly, the stick/tube format is brilliant. My lip scrub before now has been a big, unruly tub of the stuff from Lush and, while I like it, I always felt like I made a mess when using it and that the application didn't work so well. I'd get a bit on my finger and rub it across my lips but it would fall off my finger when I moved it and just wasn't that effective. This Primark one, however, is super-handy. It's encased in a balm that smells great and once you apply a few layers, the grain of the scrub starts to come through with it. This is nice as the lubrication makes it gentler on your skin but it also means the product goes on directly without wandering away. The stick format makes it easy to direct and use. I've been using it a good bit and I'm already a fan.

Finally, these Unicorn make-up brushes were all over the gaff when they were first launched and, I'll admit, I mostly bought them because they were cute. However, I do really like their brushes in general. Having tried them over the weekend, I'll say that they're probably not as good as some others from Primark that I've used but - at 9 quid for 5 good brushes - they ain't half bad, either. Admittedly, I didn't try the foundation brush as I'm currently using a cushion foundation but I liked the powder brush and fan brush quite a bit. Both could probably be more densely packed but the looser packing of the bristles meant that they gave the very natural look that I favour, particularly the fan brush for the highlight. The eyeshadow brushes were grand, the flatter brush worked well for laying down a base colour and the blending brush did a nice job but, again, could have been more densely packed and a bit fluffier. Basically, if you're seriously into make-up, these brushes might let you down but if you want brushes that do a decent job, look cute and don't cost a lot, they work well.

Ultimately, these new bits reaffirmed my thoughts on Primark Beauty: it's inexpensive and decent. They make beauty trends accessible to everyone, no matter the budget, and are getting better all the time but for experts or professionals, they will probably always leave a little to be desired - I guess that's just a case of getting what you pay for. As I'm not a professional, a lot of their stuff suits me just fine. Plus, my new brushes look damn cute on my dressing table and isn't that all that really matters at the end of the day...?








(These items were purchased with a voucher gifted to me during the recent Primark press day. All opinions, however, are my own and I was not paid to review these products.)


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