As we speed through the final weeks of summer, I’m putting the new Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette to the test. Do you need this in your collection? Let’s see about that!
Hello there! Goodness do I have an addiction to eyeshadow palettes — especially when they come from the drugstore.
I just love the thrill of discovering something great that miraculously doesn’t cost a small fortune. And, when it comes to makeup from the drugstore, Essence Cosmetics is definitely up there among the most affordable lines of all.
Meet the Essence Ola Rio Eyeshadow Palette
I discovered this palette while shopping somewhere I don’t normally shop: Meijer. Much to my delight, I was over the moon to discover that Meijer carries rows and rows of drugstore makeup brands – going much further than your standard grocery store.
On the Essence front, they had a whole selection of eyeshadow palettes to choose from but I was most drawn to the burgundy shades of the Ola Rio palette and just had to snatch it up.
What You Get:
Tucked inside the Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette you will find a nine-pan palette with a mixed variety of textures.
Top Row (Left to Right)
- Matte White
- Shimmery Soft Sand
- Shimmery Soft Yellow
- Shimmery Neutral Brown
- Metallic Copper
Bottom Row (Left to Right)
- Matte Beige
- Shimmery Champagne Gold
- Matte Deep Burgundy
- Metallic Deep Plum
In covering the basics, let’s get right down to discussing the Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette’s pigmentation. Eyeing this in the store, the colors were absolutely exquisite but we all know that doesn’t necessarily transfer to actual use.
The good news? These shades are pretty great — albeit a touch inconsistent. Particularly the lighter shimmer shades were a bit difficult to build on the eyes. The matte burgundy and metallic shades, though? Phenomenal!
Included in the palette is a pretty nice mixture of matte, metallic and shimmer shades. What I found, though, is that the shimmery shades are much more chalky/powdery than the others. To better show you what I mean there, take a look at the below picture to see how these shades compare after use:
As you can see, the lighter shimmer shades have a much more dusty appearance than the other shadows in the palette.
They’re still workable shades, but this is something I did want to raise attention on as you’ll have to be careful with fallout. I also highly recommend using a tacky eyeshadow primer (I like this one from Wet n Wild) to help the shadows stay put on the eye.
The matte and metallic shades I adore, though. They have a very smooth texture that applies evenly on the eye with minimal work on your part. (Which is always a good thing for me who is so NOT a morning person.)
Essence Ola Rio Eyeshadow Palette Swatches
Wear Time in Heat and Humidity
With the help of an eyeshadow primer, these shadows DO have an incredible amount of wear time. As I’ve bounced around and run all over town in the last few weeks, I’ve been mighty impressed with just how well these shadows perform in the heat and humidity. They honestly last as long as my beloved NARS shadows, which is quite impressive considering they’re a small fraction of the price.
Application and Blendability
With a color selection reminiscent of a summer sunset, it makes sense that you’d want to use the Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette to create beautiful gradients on your eyelids…which obviously means a lot of blending.
Despite the somewhat inconsistent texture quality between the shades, they do all manage to apply and blend out very easily. If I had to name the biggest drawback of the palette as a whole, I’d say that it is lacking a solid crease/blending shade. (It would be great if they added that as a tenth shade!)
As such, I get around that by laying the matte beige all over my lid before starting in the crease with the deeper matte burgundy or copper shade. That way I can start layering and building the shadows in a way that will blend out with that beautiful gradient I’m looking for.
All-in-all, I’m impressed by the Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette! Trying this also peaked my interest in the brand again as as whole, and I see a trip back to Meijer or Ulta in my future to test out more of the brand’s offerings.
While I do love my higher-end shadows, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that you don’t have to drop the big bucks to get a good eyeshadow palette anymore. The drugstore brands are certainly upping their game and this Ola Rio palette in particular is a knock out.
I love that the color selection includes shades that are very usable, but also somewhat different than the standard neutral palettes out there. This definitely brings something fun and exciting to the table and I absolutely recommend it if you’re on the hunt for your next palette.
The Essence Ola Rio Eyeshadow Palette Rundown:
- 9-Pan Palette
- Sunset inspired color selection
- Mixture of mattes, shimmers and metallic shades
- Price is $9.99
- Available online at Ulta and the Essence Makeup website. In store at Meijer and other participating drugstore retailers.
- Certified cruelty-free
- Cardboard packaging with mirror enclosed
- The burgundy and plum tones make the palette standout from the pack of neutral out there
- Great pigmentation
- Easy application and blending
- Shadows that last all day long – even in heat and humidity
- Affordably priced
- Includes a full-sized mirror
- A couple of the shimmery shades are chalky
- Lacks a great blending, transitional shade
- Limited availability online.
Overall Grade: B+
Hands down, I would give this palette an A if it DID include a transitional neutral brown for blending. If they added that in as a tenth shade, it would make the Essence Ola Rio eyeshadow palette damn near perfect. Yes, I am able to pull that in from other shadow palettes or even by using a bronzer…but it just would’ve been a great finishing touch here.
Beyond that, though? This palette is really great. I have absolutely no idea how Essence managed to pack so much into this – including a full-sized mirror – and keep the price under $10. Pretty remarkable, I must say!
Interested in learning about more Essence Makeup? Check out this post where I talk about one of the best lipstick formulas I’ve ever discovered!
Shop the Post
Essence Ola Rio Eyeshadow Palette ($9.99)
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This palette is so pretty! The colors would work beautifully for fall looks, too! x