3INA Cosmetics opened their Covent Garden store last year – in fact, they might be approaching their first anniversary as I write this. I was drawn to 3INA on first seeing their packaging: they set off every pleasure centre in my brain that likes bold, graphic packaging and strong colour. Imagine Sephora and Pantone had a baby together: it would be 3INA.
Nice packaging is all very well, but what’s inside the box? I bought The Intense Lipstick (302), The Metallic Eyeshadow (505), The Pencil Eyeshadow (102) and The Definition Mascara to find out.
The mascara, I can’t yet tell you about. On the day I shopped at 3INA one I was feeling virtuously LOW on mascara – a rare and pleasurable emotion. Then three unsolicited mascaras came into my life at once, and so I’m working through those before opening the 3INA one.
The eyeshadows however, I can tell you about. I love them both.
Pencil eyeshadows and eye sticks have been my favourite mediums for eye colour for some time now. I love a bit of creamy, smudgy, blurry mess around my eye, and I like to put my make-up on with super-human speed, as this allows more time for reading, or lounging about in general.
So the The Pencil Eyeshadow (102) is a perfect, 10/10 product for me. I love the dreamy, watery green. I like it when it’s freshly applied in a flattering halo, I like it when it’s more worn in and messy as the night goes on, and I’m especially fond of it the morning after, when my night has been so good that I’ve slept in my make-up. A ghostly remnant of this colour around my eyes can look quite directional with a bit of tweaking.
Neat freaks could of course achieve precise and well-groomed effects with this pencil, and you don’t have to sleep in it – it breaks down and comes off very nicely with a make-up remover or cleansing oil. It costs £6.95 and performs as well as pencils that cost twice that.
I went for the The Metallic Eyeshadow (505) as I’ve recently acquired quite a lot of pink lurex at a recent sample sale and I felt like playing with match-matchy make-up. The texture is excellent, the shadow goes on smoothly and blends well. It seems to me to be more dramatic on the hand than on the eye, making it actually quite a versatile shadow, easy to build up or tone down according to mood. It costs £6.95 and in a blind testing, I would guess it’s from a more expensive line.
And finally the The Intense Lipstick (302). Swiped on my wrist it looks very red: it’s not red. It’s a super-dramatic hot pink: a dense drench of colour that adds an excellent touch of slightly ironic over-kill when you’ve accidentally played it too nice and pretty with your look. It costs £7.95 and is worth every penny.
3INA – Scored!
Great Name? 2.5/5 Not when you’re buying in store, but, whilst collecting the links for this post, I discovered that there are names online. My lipstick is called Fandango Pink – knowing this at the point of browsing would absolutely have encouraged me to buy it. So 5 for the names themselves; 0 for them only appearing in floating text online equals a scrupulous 2.5 out of 5
Effective? 5/5 Brilliant quality, especially at this price-point
Packaging? 5/5 What’s not to like? Understated, but those flashes of colour encourage you to collect more boxes, to add more colour. I like that kind of subtle retail encouragement.
Scent? Not applicable. It would be for 3INA skincare, but not for make-up.
Price? 5/5 Most things are (well under) a tenner. Price-wise, I’d say they’re competing with Bourjois (although without the 3-for2 boost that Bourjois via Boots often offers).
Will I re-purchase? Absolutely. I’ll have a browse next time I’m near to their Covent Garden store, and I’ll be amazed if I’m able to leave without buying.
Visit the 3INA store at 6 James Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8BH or browse their products online
Find out more about 3INA in this article. I was particularly interested to see the involvement of New Look founder Tom Singh: a man I credit with bringing affordable cashmere to the British high street back in the ’90s. 3INA seem to me to be a similarly inspired mix of quality, fashion sensibility and affordability.