The 90’s have very clearly come back and Rebecca Minkoff (Essie’s Global Colour Designer) wanted to bring some of the iconic nail polish shades back with it. As someone who really discovered nail polish in the 90’s, I have some very specific colour memories. There had to be a vampy, blood red and a silver chrome. Those definitely didn’t make an appearance in this collection but the six shades that are here do make sense to me. We got to try three shades in the collection.
can you feel it? you’re totally picking up what this warm ivory with a dash of pink is putting down
To say this ivory was a complete pain to work with is an understatement. The only way I could get it to look even remotely passable was to apply two coats, let it completely dry and then add a third, plus a top coat. If you look at my ring finger in the photo, you can still see the wrinkles. And the pinholes. On top of that, I hate the shade. Love the name though.
hey, little misfit. those socks and this deep wine red with purple undertones are gonna take you higher.
This berry shade is the closest I’m going to get to a real vamp red but taking the 90’s out of it, this is a fantastic fall red. I got this coverage in one coat. Two would look amazing as well but I like the brightness you get in one.
Dressed To The Nineties
red carpet event? all you need are a plaid mini skirt, this dark purple with a green-blue shimmer and a rockstar attitude.
This is definitely a 90’s shade but maybe late 90’s and not the grunge era. Either way this shade is stunning. It photographs a little dark, even in natural light, but get it outside and in the sunlight and just watch the shimmer. Gorgeous. 1 coat was decent but two really brings out all the colours. I didn’t want to take this one off.
I’m really happy that we received Knee-high Life and Dressed To The Nineties to review. I could’ve definitely passed on Mix Taupe and tried As If! instead because that blue is absolutely 90’s. I might just have to pick that one up.
Inspired by all the sparkly, pretty pastel desserts of Paris, Essie’s summer collection fits right into that description and are some of the sweetest shades I’ve seen for hot weather. We received three of the six shades to try and while I still need to get my hands on S’il Vous Play, I do love these shades for summer. They’re so different from the typical neon polishes we get around this time of year. Unfortunately, Toronto is in the middle of a crazy humid heatwave and not all the shades cooperated.
Normally this ‘pastel Parisian blue’ would be my favourite of the bunch. I don’t know if it was the formula, my specific bottle or a combination that caused me to have major settling issues. I had to redo my ring finger three times before I could get it presentable enough for a photo. I’m betting on humidity being the culprit, so I’m hanging onto this bottle to try again later. Because it’s so, so pretty.
Fondant Of You
Lately, when I’m presented with an orange nail polish, my initial reaction is ‘another one?’ But this ‘shimmery apricot marmalade is so much nicer than I expected. Two thin coats were all I needed and while I saw more of the gold shimmer in the bottle than on my nails, I really like this for summer.
Baguette Me Not
This was the biggest surprise for me. This ‘pastel lilac macaron’ actually makes me think of french macarons and summertime. Two thin coats were perfect and it was a tiny bit patchy but settled down well. I’ve worn it out once and got a ton of comments about how pretty it is. Sold.
I wish I had the other half of the collection to try out but I’m really happy with the three I tried. Well, I will be if I can get Blue-la-la to cooperate.
This has really been the weirdest winter I can ever remember Toronto having. But even with the unseasonably warm days, I’m more than ready for the cold fronts to disappear. Luckily I have a bunch of spring nail polish collections to get me ready for spring. First up is CND Vinylux’s Rhythm & Blues collection. There are six creme shades that are almost all available in Shellac as well (Vinylux’s Splash Of Teal is replaced by Shimmering Shores for the Shellac collection). Vinylux cremes are consistently some of my favourites, so I was thrilled to get a collection full of them. Every single shade was also two really easy coats and with the Vinylux Top Coat, they all dried super fast. These shades aren’t all traditional spring but they’re definitely putting me in the right headspace for it.
Mambo Beat is a bright, slightly sheer coral. You could probably get complete opacity with more coats but I really liked the effect of two. This is a fantastic not quite red, not quite orange shade and can carry you into summer.
Shells In the Sand
This white-ish peach is the only formula I had any kind of issues with. It was a touch patchy but thicker coats and the top coat definitely helped.
The only notes I have for this bright berry shade are two coats, perfect. That pretty much says it all. This is definitely a spring polish I can get behind.
Sugar Cane is somewhere between a light pistachio and a lime shade. With a little too much yellow for me. The first coat was pretty patchy but the second one evened it out.
I really love this dark forest green. I was half expecting a one-coater here but the first coat was super sheer, luckily the second coat was perfect.
Splash Of Teal
I really wasn’t expecting to love this deep teal blue quite this much but I really, really love it. It’s a little brighter than the photo but Toronto’s natural light has been a pain lately. The formula was slightly runny but two coats went on perfectly. And no staining! For the entire collection.
I love trying new beauty brands, but I especially love finding new nail polish brands. Londontown is an American company with roots in the UK. The founder implemented her great-aunt’s botanical recipe in a nail care brand that’s not only vegan but 9-free. I received a number of Londontown products to try but I’m starting with the three Enhanced Colour Lakurs before I move on to the other nail care goodies. I had seriously varying results between the three shades but with 80+ polishes to pick from, there are quite a few more I’d like to try. As far as I can tell, if you want to buy these in Canada, the Shopping Channel is the only place to get them.
Londontown calls Tube Underground a ‘perfect dark chocolate cream,’ to which I say, nope. There is very little that’s brown about this shade, it’s really verging on black. I would actually like the shade a lot but the formula was a little thick and hard to spread. Two coats looked good but I would probably add a touch of thinner before I use this one again.
Where Tube Underground was too thick, Lady Luck’s dark burgundy formula was a touch on the thin side and actually got really runny which made it settle weirdly. Two coats got full opacity but I almost wish I could find the happy medium between Lady Luck and Tube Underground.
And then I did. I swear these polishes were starting to feel very Goldilocks and Buckingham Blue was just right. This deep navy looks a lot more blue in person and it was a one-coater. Pretty much everything about this shade was perfect. I love the formula and the colour and this is the one that makes me want to try more.
I’ve never replaced any nail product as much as Seche Vite. I use it so regularly that I have the refill bottle and the matching thinner. Nothing has ever matched it as a top coat for drying speed or the gorgeous shine it gives my manicures. Seche recently introduced Seche Vive, another quick drying top coat that gives an instant gel effect. So how does Vive stack up against Vite? Pretty well actually. Vive is slightly thicker and takes a tiny bit longer to dry (maybe an extra thirty seconds) but it gives off seriously shine that lasts for weeks.
I’ve used it on a bunch of different types of polishes; colours that chip quickly, ones that last a while on their own and ones that just don’t last. I’ve had major success with all of them. I wore a red polish that drives me crazy because I get so much tip wear with it and I went for two weeks with virtually zero change and a ton of shine. If I didn’t have nail growth at my nail beds, I could’ve left it on longer. The only drawback to Seche Vive that I’ve found, is even though you take it off with regular polish remover, it’s definitely more difficult to get off than Seche Vite.
If you have issues getting your polish to stay looking good and don’t want to go get a gel manicure, this is seriously the next best thing. I’m still loyal to my Seche Vite but this is my new backup.
I’m all over fall nail polish right now, it’s my favourite nail polish season after all but this year Ceramic Glaze isn’t releasing new shades for their fall and holiday collections. Instead, they’ve added a bunch of new core shades and we have a couple that fit right into fall anyways. Ceramic Glaze is only available at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Canada but if you’re stateside you might be able able to find similar shades with another similar brand. Those are all the clues you get.
I was honestly convinced that I had already tried this bright, hot pink shade but after a search through my archives, I couldn’t find it. I love this pink as a transitional shade, since Toronto still feels like it’s summer and not fall and some of us aren’t quite ready for cooler weather (I’m so ready though). Island Getaway was extremely runny, which led to pooling, which really wasn’t fun. But two coats were good for opacity, just be prepared for a ton of cleanup.
The formula for this dark berry was much better and there was a lot less cleanup involved. Two coats of this super pretty pink was perfect. It’s a really nice year round shade.
If this dark plum shade looks familiar to you, it’s because it’s very similar to OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark. Like, almost exact. But I wore this one for a week with basically no chips or tip wear and it’s definitely on my favourites list for fall. That said, this one needs a top coat, it really needs that glossy finish. The first coat of this one was very patchy but the second was perfect.
Forever In Love
This was the last of the four polishes I tried and I really didn’t think anything could top Raisin Biscotti for me in terms of favourites. This gorgeous burgundy just screams ‘fall shade’ and I could’ve gotten away with one coat but did two for depth. I still can’t decide if Raisin Biscotti or Forever In Love won as my favourite but I’m already trying to decide how I can wear both at once.
I’m always a little hesitant when nail polish companies release ‘healthy’ collections. Let’s be honest, nails don’t really breathe and if you’re using acetone to remove your polish then you’re basically reversing any good effects you might get. But it’s a healthy nail polish is a trend right now and tons of lines are popping up everywhere. Also, I love base and top coats probably more than I love nail polish and I haven’t found a one-step polish that made me willing to give them up for a while. Until I tried Quo By Orly’s Breathable Nail Treatment + Color. If you’re not in Canada, Orly’s Breathable is exactly the same stateside but the bottles look a tiny bit different.
The Breathable treatment is filled with Argan Oil, Vitamin B5 and Vitamin C; all to promote hydration, heal damaged nails and let oxygen into them while you’re wearing polish. I’m lucky enough to have really strong, healthy nails that don’t peel or chip often, so I’m the wrong person to ask about if this polish makes nails stronger. I will say that none of them broke while I was wearing the polish though. This is a one-step polish, you don’t use base or top coats and I had similar experiences will nearly all the shades I tried. They went on like a dream and while the brush is fairly massive, there was a slight angle on it that made it easier to apply to my narrow nail beds. Also, this polish dries fast and shiny. I was probably most surprised by the amount of shine I got without a top coat. Also, a lack of top coat made these super easy to take off with regular polish remover and not one stained. Now that all the information is out of the way, let’s take a look at the shades I tried. All of the photos are two coats without base or top coat. I’m using the shade descriptions from the Orly version.
Peach Nude Crème
I’m not a fan of nudes but this formula really impressed me considering it was an all-in-one. I did have slight bubbling but Toronto was crazy humid when I was swatching these, so I’m blaming weather.
This one seemed thicker than the others, almost chunky but it dried down fine and was really pretty. I’m blaming weather again for the slight bubbling on my pinky.
Happy And Healthy
Pastel Coral Creme
Orly calls this coral, I call it bubblegum so we can agree to disagree. This was the only one that had slight patchiness but it evened out while it was drying.
Pastel Mint Creme
Fresh Start was basically perfect. Everything about it worked and I wore it for a week straight with zero tip wear and it stayed shiny! Plus I’m used to mint greens being a little chalky and this one isn’t.
Stronger Than Ever
Ruby Red/Gold Shimmer
When I applied the first coat of Stronger Than Ever it was so sheer that I was worried about how many coats I’d have to do for opacity. Turns out the second coat did the job. This is going to be stunning for the holiday season. It was also much easier to take off than a lot of other microglitters.
Deep Wine Creme
I love love love this shade for fall. I could’ve gotten away with one coat of this but two just looked a little better. One coat also had tip wear fairly quickly while two didn’t have any. My brush was faulty for this one but I was able to work around it for the most part.
Deep Plum Creme
We don’t get a ton of purple polish around here but I do generally like them and I love this one. It went on perfectly and it’s a great shade for fall.
Iris Purple Creme
I didn’t fully realize how much I love this shade until I saw how the photo of it turned out. Do you see all the shine? You get all with all the shades but it really stands out with Feeling Free. The first coat went on very sheer but the second turned it into this perfect, gorgeous purple. By far my favourite shade of the eight I tried.
I can’t stress enough how impressed I am by this collection. There are still a couple shades I wouldn’t mind trying but I really hope they add a ton of shades to this line because this is the only one-step polish I’ve tried that I’d actually wear on a regular basis. It takes a lot for me to get obsessed with a new kind of polish but I literally didn’t want to stop wearing this line.
Fall is my happy place as far as nail polish goes and I’m so happy that we receive fall collections when it’s still summer. First up is OPI’s Washington DC fall/winter collection. There are twelve shades in this collection plus three more ‘limited edition’ Kerry Washington shades. The Scandal star is OPI’s creative ambassador this year and her shades are pretty great. We have a lot of colours to get through, so let’s get started.
Pale To The Chief
So nearly nude, it’s almost scandalous.
I’m not a huge fan of nude polish but I actually like this one quite a bit. The formula is a little tricky though, I did two coats but I waited a good couple minutes between each one. If you don’t, you risk squishiness and patchiness and settling issues. Be patient with this one and it’ll pay off.
Never A Dulles Moment
A curry yellow seen on airport and fashion week runways.
I’m not a fan of yellow in pretty much anything so yellow polish isn’t my thing. As far as tricky yellow formulas go, this one wasn’t too bad. It was actually pretty similar to Pale To The Chief. This was two coats with a little patchiness and slight settling issues. I felt like I had painted my nails with mustard but the few people who saw me wearing it, loved it on me.
Yank My Doodle
Get a tawny copper mani and call it macaroni
This terracotta shade was relatively easy to work with, the first shade went on very sheer but the second made it perfect. This one is just ok for me. I don’t hate it but I probably won’t wear it again either.
Freedom Of Peach
Wearing this creamy peach is your fashion right
This dusty peach was a one-coater! I had zero issues with it and I actually ended up loving it when I was expecting to hate it. I might be completely over orange nail polish but this one just felt a bit different.
Squeaker Of The House
A chocolate brown so yummy, it crosses party lines
Squeaker Of The House went on perfectly in two coats and looks like milk chocolate. It’s pretty much everything I want in a brown polish.
Shh…It’s Top Secret
A deep, deep brown so dark, it’s incognito
OPI is calling this one brown, so there must be some in there but all I see is black. And I’m ok with that. I coat of this one was good, two was better and a top coat makes it stunning. I love Lincoln Park After Dark for an almost black and this one might be even better.
A commanding red with real Oval Office power
1 coat of this pink learning red was great but two is gorgeous. It’s such a great transitional shade between summer and fall and I wore this one for a week without much tip wear. It does stain though. Badly.
OPI By Popular Vote
It’s a landslide victory! This cool apple red is a real winner.
Does this look a little similar to Madam President? Yes, yes it does. This one was a one-coater though and a touch more of a traditional red.
We The Female
You’re hereby authorized to wear this empowering garnet
Two coats of this oxblood red is just perfect. I love this shade for fall.
CIA = Color Is Awesome
A smart, dusky blue for secret agent fashionistas
I was expecting to love this deep teal blue but I really didn’t think I would love it this much. It doesn’t hurt that the formula was flawless and this is a one-coater. Staining was minimal. This is one of my favourites from the collection, if not my actual favourite.
Stay Off The Lawn!!
Don’t trespass on this deep, lush green
Clearly blue and green polishes are my favourites because there’s going to be a lot of gushing going on between this one and CIA = Color is Awesome. Like CIA, this one was a perfect one-coater only in forest green this time. It’s just perfect.
Suzi – The First Lady Of Nails
Command the political scene in this chic olive green.
This olive green was unexpected for me until I realized it could also be considered military green, in which case it makes perfect sense. The first coat of this one was very sheer but two was perfect. I really like this shade and don’t have a lot like it in my collection.
Kerry Washington Shades
Inside The ISABALLETway
Washington’s movers-andshakers vie for this caramel crème
Named for Kerry Washington’s daughter, this light brown had a great formula. Two coats were perfect but you can get away with one if you really have to.
Accomplished stateswomen love this plum with capital flair
This plum shade is so, so pretty. Unfortunately, it’s also patchy. Two coats mostly evened it out and if I was patient enough I might’ve done a third to even it out even more. But I love this shade enough that I didn’t need it completely perfect.
“Liv” In The Gray
This edgy, sophisticated dark gray makes a strong federal case.
This one-coater gray is another one of my favourites. It’s so gorgeous and a nice little change from black and brown.
Obviously I’m not going to like every shade in a collection this big but this is hands down my favourite OPI collection in a very long time.
The polish shade choices this summer have been kind of odd to me. I’m not seeing a ton of neon and there have been some very unexpected releases but OPI’s Retro Summer collection has us definitely in a summer kind of mood. Almost all the shades took a couple minutes to settle properly and some didn’t quite get there but there are some really pretty colours in here.
What’s The Double Scoop?
Rumor has it this summer-fun pink is taken…by me!
This super pretty pink was perfect in two coats. And while this one didn’t have settling issues, it pooled a lot, so be careful around your cuticles. Luckily, it doesn’t stain.
Flip Flops & Crop Tops
The perfect bright pink to go with all your summer
I’m kind of obsessed with this bright pink shade. I mean, I’ve seen it before, but I still love it. This one was perfect in one coat and it did take a minute to settle properly. I’m going to be using this one a lot.
Towel Me About It
This flirty, sunny yellow speaks volumes on style.
At first glance, this polish really reminds me of that banana penicillin I had as a kid, and I kind of can’t get past that. But this is actually a really good yellow polish. Or it would’ve been if I could’ve gotten it to settle and dry properly. I’d might try this one again when it’s less humid because it’s the first yellow I haven’t instantly hated in a long time.
I’m Getting A Tan-gerine
Warm up to this a-peeling, citrusy orange.
It’s too bad this shade is a tad too yellow for me because the formula was pretty good. It was patchy on the first coat but that evened out on the second. Definitely not for me.
An orange-red so hot, it’s off the charts.
I would just like to say, I’m so sick of orange nail polish I’d be happy to never see one again. That said SPF XXX went on in two coats like a dream. Zero issues, it settled perfectly and it’s actually a great shade.
Sailing & Nailing
A light, breezy blue to charm your first mate.
And here we have love at first sight in a nail polish. This is everything I want in a summer polish. It’s bright and pretty and two coats went on flawlessly.
We’re mostly used to seeing neon polishes for summer and this year Essie has turned our expectations around. With no neons in sight, this Antigua inspired collection is strangely perfect for summer. I used Essie All In One base coat and Seche Vite top coat for all the swatches.
Sweet Cream White
I almost got away with one coat for this one. A WHITE. But it was a touch patchy so I went with two. Essie’s Blanc has been my go to white for years but Coconut Cove might actually replace it for me. It’s not a true white, but the formula is flawless and it looks so great on.
Bright Ruby Berry
This bright pink was one perfect coat. I don’t really have much more to say about it, other than I wish it was just a tiny bit more pink and less red. Other than that, gorgeous.
Scorching Hot Lava Red
This red has a ton of orange in it, making it perfect for summer. This formula was kind of interesting. It went on really well but opacity kind of hovered somewhere between two and three coats depending on the thickness of the coat and each nail was somewhere between the two. I loved this one way more than I expected to.
Iridescent crystalline turquoise
Lately I feel like there’s always a shade in each collection that I want to love but something goes very wrong. With this collection it’s Viva Antigua!. It’s gorgeous, it’s a one-coater and it has a nice, thin formula. But something went a little crazy when a couple of my nails were drying. Some were perfect (top two) but the bottom two, well…they never really settled. Maybe it was the humidity, but something just didn’t go right. I love this mermaid-y shade enough that I’ll definitely be trying again.
Loot The Booty
Blue sapphire pavé
One medium-thick coat of this blue was enough for full opacity and a lot of depth. And it’s stunning in the sunlight. I don’t generally expect a shade like this for summer but I’m completely in love with it.
Black gold and crushed onyx
I can’t get over how gorgeous this shade is. Black gold and crushed onyx is a perfect description and it just sparkles like you have actual jewels on your nails. So great for a summer night out. One coat is fine for this one but you’ll be amazed at what you get if you do two.