Monday, 11 April 2016

Review | 3INA Cosmetics: First Impressions

The first time I stepped into 3INA, I was drawn by the bright and open space that they had created. I didn't look at the store name before I walked in - I only went in because the interior appealed to me (and the make up, of course).

The way that their products were displayed really reminded me of KIKO Cosmetics, but I knew it couldn't be - the store for KIKO was just across the road. So what was this new fresh and open space?

A sales assistant came up to me:
"Welcome to Mina! We're new here, and just opened about three weeks ago. Can I help you today?" 
She was sweet, and very friendly. I took a quick browse, but soon found something that I could not quite understand...

Why did both their logo and packaging remind me so much of the Korean brand 3 Concept Eyes, also known as 3CE? In case you aren't aware, the 3CE logo is formed by a black triangle, with the 3CE letters aligned within it. Put off by the idea that they were trying to mimic another brand that already has a good reputation and amazing products, I quickly left the store. I don't tend to purchase a product unless I find some credible reviews singing praises about them!

Seeing the similarity?
However, over the next few days, the wide range of products and their colour range had my mind on constant day dream. As I happened to be in Covent Garden for a meeting that week, I decided to step in and give them another chance; after all, it's the products that do the talking, no matter how similar their packaging seems to 3CE and their product shelves remind you of KIKO.

So, after much browsing and occasional help from the sales assistants (one of whom asked me the weirdest, most irrelevant questions), I headed home with a small 3INA bag of goodies totalling £19.83. Not cheap, but similar to a Revlon purchase at Boots.

So what was inside?

A nail polish, their matte lipstick, and an eyeshadow.

The products come housed in sturdy cardboard boxes that have a very 'recycled' feel to it... grainy to the touch, I would've expected a better material for their outer packaging.

The lipstick and eye shadow both come in lightweight, matte black packaging that click in place when opening and closing. My only gripe is that it feels cheap because it is so lightweight... However, if you travel a lot, this could be just what you need - you could take the whole range on holiday with no worries about luggage being overweight!

You will have also noticed that the lid of the nail polish removes to reveal the typical cylindrical handle of the nail polish brush. I personally have no issues with this, but it may get annoying for those who prefer square shaped brush handles. With this design, you could solve a common nail storage problem by painting the square lid so you can see what colour it is, within the sea of your nail polish collection!

3INA Nail polish (£4.95) in shade 158
Metallic deep brown with iridescent flecks of bronze running throughout.

Note: You must remove the square lid in order for you to open the nail polish.

I have to say, it was incredibly easy to test the nail polishes in store. With such a large range of colours, you would think it wouldn't be possible to test out all the colours... BUT they have a very simple and effective system in place - just take a piece of magic tape, stick it to your hand (or arm if you want to test out a large number of colours) and swatch directly onto the tape. Just be aware that it doesn't smear onto your clothes or bags before it dries, and it works out perfectly. I took the opportunity to stick tape over my nail and paint it, to see roughly how it would look, and it was actually a very easy way to decide whether or not it suited me!

I wore two coats of this nail polish with a base and top coat for a week to see how it would fare. By the third day, the nail polish had begun to chip along the tips of my nails, and by the fourth it was a lost cause. I kept it on for the full week, but only less than half remained on my nails by the end. The week after, I used two coats of a Revlon nail polish with the same base and top coats - it lasted four days before it chipped, and by the end of the week, I still had over half on. 

I love the colour, but I think I will be sticking to Revlon and Barry M polishes unless I can find a base and top coat combination that works with 3INA polishes.

3INA Matte lipstick (£7.95)in shade 411
What can only be described as a nude pink. Slightly pinker and lighter than MAC's Velvet Teddy.

As you can see, I already managed to chip the lipstick *cries*. This is because the bullet does not wind down any further than it appears in the photo above. You have to be incredibly careful when you take off or replace the lipstick lid - the chipped lipstick left inside the lid then gets smeared all along the outside of the lipstick when you clip the lid back on... It gets very messy if you aren't careful, so it can be a pain for those of us who tend to be in a rush.

I'm not actually sure how much product you get, since it is not listed on the lipstick itself, or on the cardboard packaging it came in. On a side note, the twist up mechanism on the lipstick itself is not very smooth. It takes some work to twist up compared to some of the other drug store lipsticks in my collection (of about 50+), but I love the cut of the bullet - it seems to have the perfect slanted angle that makes for easier application.

I own a few E.L.F. Studio lipsticks, and these look the most similar to 3INA's design. Compared to those, 3INA's lipsticks feel a lot lighter and subsquently less sturdy - interesting, since E.L.F.'s lipstick cost me a grand total of £3.50!

Slightly pinker and lighter than MAC's Matte Velvet Teddy

3INA's matte formula is creamy, pigmented, and paraben free. However, there is a scent, so those who prefer otherwise should steer clear. It does drag on application and settles into the lip creases, but with prep work (I love Lush's Mint Julips) and a good lip balm, it becomes easier to apply. Alternatively, you could use a lip primer and lip brush. If you don't like to spend time preparing your lips, then you may need to steer clear of this range due to it's drier matte formula. In terms of longevity, I think the drying formula meant that it clung to the lips longer than expected.

MAC's Matte Velvet Teddy is creamier and glides on a lot easier than 3INA's product. It is also less drying. However, this is half the price and if you're willing to do the work, you can make it work!

Eye shadow (£6.95) in shade 104
A shimmery champagne gold, eye shadow that looks more yellow in the pan than on the skin.

I had a very hard time choosing a colour to take home with me - they had a really exciting range of neutrals, and although they all looked relatively normal on the shelf, they all swatched beautifully and I just couldn't make up my mind!

Eventually, I picked out shade 104 - a champagne gold, shimmery eye shadow. I loved the way it provided an evident shimmer, but the colour itself was not overpowering. Some golden shades tend to make me look aged. When testing this out, it was great worn alone without primer for a natural fresh look, or worn over other darker neutrals to add an extra layer of shimmer on top. It also looked great on the inner corners of the eyes, or under the eyes for the aegyo sal look.

This was my favourite purchase out of the three. The eye shadow is pigmented, velvety, and it blends out so easily! The shimmers are evident but in no way are they chunky. Compared to some of the chunkier Urban Decay shimmer shadows (Dust, Sidecar, Snatch...), I would probably reach for 3INA's instead. For longevity however, definitely use a good primer to ensure it lasts the day.

Trying out these three products has been a great way to introduce myself to the brand. My overall impression is that their nail polish range has a great variety of colours, but this can currently be bettered by Barry M's reliable, good quality, and lower cost range. Unless there is a colour that really stands out to me, I probably would not purchase any more 3INA polishes. Lipstick-wise, I liked the shade I purchased, but am unlikely to purchase more due to the lip preparation required. However, I would like to try out their liquid lipsticks in the future. And finally, I will definitely be returning to take a look at some of their darker neutral eye shadows - I just can't get enough of the velvety formula!

Have you tried 3INA products? What else should I try?


  1. Did you get to try out their foundation? They've opened two stores in Melbourne, Australia, and I was thinking of trying out a few items for the blog, especially a foundation as I'm on the hunt for an olive-neutral undertone and most drugstore brands just don't cater to this type of skin colour. Do they let you take a sample home to test how it looks on your skin?

    The eyeshadow looks gorgeous and I love your description of them, I think I may have to try those out too! If you were to go back and pick up more items, what would you get?

    Stephii Mattea xo

  2. Love your review! :) Want to take a visit to the London store soon as I still haven't been. Did you find there a lot of fallout with the eyeshadow? x

  3. I visited the Southland store in Melbourne.
    I bought one of the Matte Lipsticks (#405) which is a good everyday dusty rose colour. I found it thick and creamy, not overly drying. I was also annoyed at the bullet not going all the way into the tube. AUD $14.95
    My second trip was to try out one of the Lipstick colours (#103) and see if they fared better. Can confirm the bullet doesn't peep over the top of the tube! Easier to apply but still quite thick and creamy. AUD $9.95

  4. I bought yesterday a nail polish a bronze coloured eyeliner and a taupe eyeshadow.
    I'm really impressed by the eyeshadow as you said is very velvety and it works perfectly. The eyeliner iS perfect long lasting, easy to apply..A good choice.
    I'M not so happy with the nail polish.
    First of all the brush is too small and it takes some tries to obtain a good uniform coat.
    SECOND it takes too long to dry above all after the second coat: to be fair for the same price I will stick with the Kiko Power Pro nail polish easy to use and definitely quicker to dry.
    Anyway I felt in love with the eyeshadows. :)

  5. I'm in love with the colour 301 as its is a dupe for mac kinda sexy! The formula is quite comfortable as well. Luckily i got them when they are 30% off so i only paid $10aud for each lipstick. Would definitely try out more colours in the future!


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