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As fun as makeup can be, the launches we excitedly wait for, the makeup we use on a daily basis, and the products we rely on for our favourite looks are often encapsulated by a heavily corporate and all-too-serious nature that is so much of the cosmetics industry. Essence Cosmetics made a conscious choice to keep fun at the forefront when the brand launched in 2001. Since Essence’s inception, a small team has worked nonstop to expand from Germany (its home country) to over 50 other countries between Europe, the United States, and Canada.

Established over so much of the world, Essence is one of those brands that we all know when we see it. Its instantly recognisable, simplistic, all lower-case logo is stamped across each of their classic packages, some no-nonsense, letting the products show through and speak for themselves. Others are decorated with bold colours and fonts, like the brand’s Lash Princess False Lash Mascara that went viral in 2017. You see some products and can’t help but feel comforted by timeless staples every makeup lover needs, while others like the brand's plumping lip glosses and Disney-themed collections incite a specific nostalgia. All shoppers are covered, even if some have a limited budget and desire to build a complete makeup collection. Whether one is looking for enough products to create a full face of natural makeup, or another is ready to experiment with an editorial look, Essence's unique formulations provide every option. Products range from makeup for the eyes, lips and face, to skincare, and nail polishes and press-ons.

Having won many beauty awards, Essence has established itself as a consistently dominating force, with ethics in place to back the products that keep customers coming back. As beauty consumers become more conscious of their thoughts and actions around product manufacturing laws and social and political company ethos, Essence positions itself as a brand that every beauty enthusiast can feel good about giving their purchasing power to; proclaiming that “love doesn’t know any gender”, Essence proudly supports diversity, equality, and freedom, creating a world where everyone can make beauty fun. The brand stocks an, at first glance, rainbow gradient lip gloss that, when applied, changes colour to match each person’s natural lip tone, along with mix and match face jewels to add dimension and shine to any makeup look. Encouraging individual self-expression is how the brand celebrates pride all year round and treats the LGBTQIA+ community as a permanent part of their own, rather than a temporary accessory to help drive sales during the month of June.

Essence’s contracts with their clients state that they must manufacture products in compliance with European Union law, which strictly prohibits testing on animals. While we’re beginning to see many other brands moving toward this, Essence is one of the few of its kind to be doing so beside brands that share the same online and in-store retailers. Genuinely happy to follow these guidelines, the brand boasts about its cruelty-free status at the top of their Instagram with a bunny emoji and the words “NO animal testing”. For a brand that prioritizes making makeup fun, they’re wise to not engage with animal testing, the least fun part of the cosmetics industry.

Essence champions that beauty is being who you are, who you want to be, and having fun while doing it. They think real beauty with a story is inspiring and they recognize that everyone deserves to create their own stories with their products. With cherished relationships in place with organizations making a meaningful difference, Essence consistently donates their products. Operation PROM helps low-income students attend their proms by providing free prom dresses and tuxedo rentals and donates clothing and school supplies to students who are sick, homeless, or live in shelters. Dress For Success, another recipient of Essence’s products, promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools. Essence’s contributions extend to Feeding America and Family-to-Family, organizations that work to relieve hunger and poverty.

Every brand has a story and each one can be easy to overlook when we’re just trying to buy the makeup we want. Whether we’re aware of it or not, beauty is about so much more than a brand’s products. In Essence’s case, beauty is about creating products that are fun to begin with and furthering that fun by ensuring they fall into the hands of people who will joyfully create. It’s Essence’s own uniquely beautiful story that inspires the same in their customers.


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