ETUDE HOUSE is a very popular South Korean cosmetics brand mainly known for their cute packaging and affordable assortment of colour beauty products. Owned by Amore Pacific, the brand has been expanding its global outreach and can be considered one of Korea’s makeup giants. It’s been a year or two since Etude House first launched their Play 101 series which gained much fame from their versatility. A single pencil was no longer limited as an eyeliner – it doubled as an eyeshadow, a concealer, a lip liner, a blush… basically anything and everything. Using a similar formula, Etude House has launched their Play 101 Blending Pencils to compliment the best-selling Play 101.
Disclaimer: As part of Etude House’s Global Pink Bird Program, I was sent the following products for review consideration; however, as always, all opinions expressed are unbiased, genuine, and my own.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Pink Bird Program, it is a blogger and influencer program where Etude House sends a box each month to highlight their newest launch. The Pink Box of July features the newly launched Play 101 Blending Pencil Sweet Box which is a collaboration with Dear My Universe, a Korean fashion brand popular among Korean girls.
- Play 101 Blending Pencil in #5
- Play 101 Blending Pencil in #20
- Universe Bag
The Universe Bag is a navy blue drawstring pouch with a heart-shaped planet embroidery on the front. The material itself feels sturdy and will definitely hold some weight without deforming. For the purpose of this review, I will be focusing on the ETUDE HOUSE Blending Pencils in shades #5 and #20.
The entire Play 101 Blending Pencil Collection features 25 toned-down moody colours for eye, cheek, and lip.
There are four textures:
- Creamy: like soft cream, it delivers smooth drawing and natural blending. Useful for eye base, contouring and shading, concealer, or eyebrows. (SHADES 2-10, 14, 15)
- Jewel: it delivers a twinkling effect with pearls. May be used as eye shadow, highlighter, or lower eye makeup depending on the colour. (SHADES 1, 11-13)
- Velvet: the velvet-soft matte texture delivers soft and clear application and delicate colours. Useful as blusher and for gradient lips. (SHADES 18-20, 22-25)
- Jelly: it delivers a dewy and glossy finish to make fuller lips and can be used as a blusher to apply on the cheeks and other wider parts of your face. (SHADES 16, 17, 21)
You can think of shades 1-14 to be geared towards eyes, contouring and brows whereas 16-25 are red-tones mainly for the lips and cheeks. Shade 15 is unique and doubles as a concealer or to blur the lip lines before applying a lip shade on top.
These pencils claim to be smudge-free with long-lasting adherence (except Jelly textures). These sticks are housed in a lightweight plastic tube with a twist-up mechanism. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a built-in sharpener similar to the original Play 101 Pencils (or Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayons); however, since these are blending pencils, a sharp tip isn’t that important.
They retail for $9.80 USD each and are currently on sale at www.etudehouse.com for $6.86 USD.
Each pencil weighs 14g and contain 1.1g / 0.04 oz (shades 1-14) or 0.9g / 0.03 oz (shades 15-25) of product.
For comparison, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks and NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks contain 0.05 oz of product retailing at several times the price.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram (takaraboxx) , you must know I adore eyeshadow sticks. Someday I will collect every single shade – I love them that much. They’re convenient, effortless, and perfect on-the-go. If you aren’t a morning person and you find yourself rushing out the door, I would definitely purchase at least one. It’s great to apply all over the lids then blend with your finger. When I saw Etude House launching these Blending Pencils, I was beyond thrilled. I have high expectations of eyeshadow sticks because I’ve tried so many. It feels tough to base my thoughts on the entire collection based on one shade and one texture alone, but I have tried ETUDE HOUSE in the past and their formulas were quite consistent.
Shade #5 is a creamy matte warm brown. It reminds me of milk chocolate with some splashes of orange. Application was easy – it glides on the lids without tugging on the skin. The formula tends to dry more quickly than other cream shadows I’ve tried so your play time is somewhat limited. If you tend to pack on all different eye colour sticks then blend it at the end, you may find blending the shades together more difficult. When applying this, I put 2-3 strokes on the lid then blend it immediately with my finger for a flawless gradient.
What I love about EH Play 101 Blending Pencil is how it dries very matte yet doesn’t crease. The texture is very similar to an eyeshadow base and allows any other powder shadow you apply on top to really adhere to the lids and enhance their colour. I’d love some lighter neutral shades to use as an eyeshadow base – #5 is a tad too orange for my skin tone.
This shade in particular lasted 4.5 hours before fading with a tinted remnant after a 9 hour day. I have noticed though that if you really pack on the colour, once it sets, it doesn’t budge. Water alone won’t wash off the colour.
Shade #20 is a matte/velvet tomato red that actually looks very similar to the nail shade “Espadrilles” by Chanel with tints of orange. There was some tugging on the lips when applying the lip pencil but it went on fairly evenly. The rounded edges and small tip made precise application a breeze. The formula tends to be on the drier side and I would highly recommend exfoliating your lips before applying the lip colour as it tends to settle into the lines and dry areas.
If you don’t eat or drink, the lip colour can last several hours; but it definitely fades after a meal.
In all, I am impressed with the Etude House eye colour shade in #5; however, I would have liked more from the lip product. If you decide to try out this line, I recommend the eye shades (1-14). I think the Jelly texture lip products would have suited me more as I prefer glossy natural lips; nevertheless, shade #20 is a very pigmented and matte alternative.
– Kelly (takaraboxx)
3 thoughts on “ETUDE HOUSE Play 101 Blending Pencil Review”
What fun to read a review about products from Etude House! A few summers ago I was in Seoul for a couple of weeks and there was an Etude House a block away from where we were staying. I went there every other day, practically and bought all kinds of things as they were quite inexpensive. It would be so awesome if they started opening stores here in Canada!
Ohh!! I’d love to visit Korea sometime in the near future. Would love to walk around the different shops and cafes and try all their local foods. It would definitely be so amazing if they opened a store in Canada!
kelly! I can’t believe they are currently priced at under $7. I love the idea of the concealer and have yet to explore this line. Your lips and lip swatches look amazing!