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.
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.
Wedding season is upon us once again and this year I have a few weddings to go to myself. Picking nail polish for every member of your wedding party can be an issue. Between brides, bridesmaids, flower girls or just going as a guest can make choosing a shade difficult. Luckily, Essie’s six-piece collection has something for everyone.
Steal His Name
cheeky sheer peach
Steal His Name is a sheer peach that’s almost a jelly. It’s a pretty shade but a little too close to my skin tone for me to wear comfortably. I did two coats and probably wouldn’t add another.
lavish pink bouquet
Coming Together is basically the same formula as Steal His Name but a lot more pink. I also liked this one a lot more. It’s a great subtle shade for a bride.
Passport To Happiness
whispering spring green
I’ve never seen anyone wear green nail polish to a wedding but if anyone would it do it, it’s me. Unfortunately, I hated this formula. I did one coat, mainly because I didn’t want to deal with it for another one. It was gloopy and didn’t settle well at all. The photo is with an attempt to make it look presentable and that really didn’t go well which is too bad because I love the shade.
Between The Seats
romantic grey lilac
I literally had no notes for this one. Two coats went on perfectly for a shade with this much white and it’s such a classic nail polish for a wedding that you definitely can’t go wrong with it. I found it more on the whiter side than a grey lilac, but I don’t always get Essie’s shade descriptions.
deeply satisfying violet
We don’t get a ton of purple polishes to try out and I really love this shade. It’s pretty romantic if you want an alternative to pink or red. I could’ve gotten away with one coat but went with two for depth.
fierce terracotta rose
When I originally got this collection, this was the one I knew I’d fall in love with (the name didn’t hurt) and I was totally right. Two coats of this was perfection and it’s just such a stunning deep plummy rose. I’ll definitely be wearing this one to a wedding or two this summer.
With so many spring nail polish collections looking pretty similar, it’s always nice when we get a collection that stands out. And while Essie’s India inspired Resort collection might not technically be a spring collection, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air. There are only four shades in this collection and they’re mostly kind of on the pastel side or bordering on neon. Either way, they’re gorgeous!
Pretty much nothing about this spicy apricot marigold shade worked for me except the formula. But even that couldn’t save this too yellow shade for me. I’m sure it will look fantastic on someone but definitely not me.
I adore the colour of this mediative mint lime but unfortunately the formula didn’t live up to the gorgeousness. It was both thin and clumpy at the same time which made it really hard to get it to look presentable. I love it so much though that I’m probably willing to go through it again. Probably.
Essie calls this a silky sari pink and I just call it pretty. It’s a perfect bright pink for spring that could also work in the summer. I’m not usually a pink person, but I’m obsessed with this one.
Nama-Stay The Night
Oh look, another blue is my favourite. I’m sure no one is surprised but there’s just something about this energetic Goa blue that makes it stand out. The fact that one coat was almost perfect was a bonus.
I might have had issues with a couple of the shades but I really do love Essie’s Resort 2016 collection, which really, could’ve been spring collection part 2. I also love how totally different it is from the Bridal collection (post coming soon) which I received at the same time. If you want to brighten up your nails, you definitely have some options now.
We’ve been trying out quite a few spring nail polish collections lately and it seems that the only thing they have in common is that they’re not quite spring like. Essie’s six offerings have a couple that are perfect for spring and a couple that don’t quite belong but are gorgeous anyways. For spring, Essie’s Global Color Designer Rebecca Minkoff was inspired by Palm Beach and a ‘sunshine state of mind.’ We didn’t get a chance to try one of the polishes, Shades On, a really pretty purple but I’m going to grab it if I can ever find it in a store. I’ve been finding Essie’s formulas just keep getting better and there were a couple of one-coaters in this collection.
High Class Affair
With the exception of the Retro Revival collection, Essie has been killing it with their nudes lately and the blush nude of High Class Affair has a formula that’s perfection. I did two coats and a top coat and had zero issues at all. It’s also a really flattering nude for my skin tone.
Lounge Lover seems to be the most spring like of this collection to me. A bright pinky-peach, it’s really pretty. I had to use thicker coats for this one but generally didn’t have any issues.
Sunshine State Of Mind
I’m so not ready for orange nail polish yet, I thought for sure we were still a couple months away. But this ‘bright coral tangelo,’ looked a lot better in person and the formula was fairly typical for Essie, meaning two coats went on perfectly.
This ‘lush grove green’ didn’t make any sense to me for spring until I read Rebecca Minkoff’s inspiration for the collection. This is such a gorgeous shade though and I had full opacity in one coat. I was fully expecting this one to stain and it didn’t. I’m going to be using Off Tropic a lot but probably not until fall.
Pool Side Service
Another one-coater, Pool Side Service is a ‘refreshing cerulean blue.’ I couldn’t photograph how stunning this shade is in person. It’s more on the teal side for me and I’m completely in love with it. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a polish quite like it before.
The shades may not make a ton of sense for spring but this is definitely a winner of a collection.
Essie has released hundreds of nail polish shades since their launch in 1981 but unfortunately, a lot of them are limited edition or have been discontinued. Since Essie fans have been begging for them to bring back certain shades, they decided to release Retro Revival, six of the most popular Essie polishes ever. We have almost the whole collection, we’re just missing Starry Starry Night, which is probably the most sought after polish in the collection. I’ve never tried any of these shades before so I was pretty excited to get started.
Bikini With A Martini
Bikini With A Martini first launched in 2006. This frosted iridescent pink is pretty sheer and required three coats to get even a little opacity. It looks good regardless of how many coats you use. If you’re piling it on though, you need to be careful of pooling.
This sheer glittery bronze has silver glitter in it and comes from 2005. This one is also three coats but has a better reaction to more coats. Unfortunately, I’m just not a fan of the colour.
Birthday Suit is part of the original collection from 1981. Essie calls it a ‘cheeky, delicate nude.’ I just call it a complete pain to work with. There were pooling issues, settling issues and it took over an hour to dry, even with a good coat of Seche Vite over it. Just getting it to look presentable enough for a photo took way too much work. Luckily this was the exception of the collection.
Essie calls Cabana Boy an ‘ultra-cool pearly white,’ but I think it tends to lean on the grey side, with a hint of blue. Originally released in 2005, Cabana Boy had the best formula of all the light shades and is just gorgeous on. I might have to stock up on this one, I love it that much.
Life Of The Party
Life Of The Party is my favourite of the collection. This one is from 2002 and might be my favourite Essie red ever. A ‘pinot noir pearl,’ it stands out from most typical red shades and the formulation is pretty much perfect. I only did a second coat because I wanted it to stand out more and I’m completely obsessed with this one.
I really wish Essie had released more colour into their Retro Revival collection, Life Of The Party and Starry Starry Night just don’t seem to be enough. And while Essie is pretty well known for their neutral shades, the only one I’ll reach for again is Cabana Boy. That said, I love the idea behind this collection and hope they continue to bring back more shades.
Happy New Year! We have a ton of new stuff coming up but for our first Mani Monday of the year we’re looking back at our favourite nail polish shades from 2015.
Essie: With The Band
There were quite a few Essie shades that I loved a lot this year, Bell-Bottom Blues and Groove Is In The Heart almost made this list; but With The Band is probably one of my favourites shades of red polish ever. The formula is fantastic and the colour is just a little off from a ‘classic’ red. Essie’s entire fall collection is probably my collection of the year.
Nails Inc x Alice + Olivia: Next To Nothing
I’m generally not a fan of nude nail polish and there are other shades in the Nails Inc. x Alice + Olivia F/W 2015 set that are more in my comfort zone but Next To Nothing is basically my ideal nude. I’ve been using it sparingly because I have a mini sized bottle but if I’m ever going to reach for a nude polish, it’ll be this one.
I swear I’m not picking this shade because it has my name on it. At least not fully. When Julep released their June collection and had shades named Alyssa and Steph, I was pretty excited. But when I tried the Alyssa polish and it was basically the summer shade I would’ve picked for myself, well, the excitement level went way up. Plus you get full coverage with one coat and it’s a creme. I’ve already gone through half the bottle.
CND Vinylux: Couture Covet
I loved the fall nail polish collections the most this year and CND Vinylux’s Contradictions collection had a lot of great shades. Couture Covet was one of standouts for me. For one thing, it’s hard to find a great, dark teal and for another the formula was outstanding enough that I didn’t let the little bit of staining stop me from using it repeatedly.
Trust Fund Beauty: Denim With Diamonds
It takes a lot for me to be blown away by a shade of nail polish; but when I did the Trust Fund Beauty Battle Of The Blues, I couldn’t get over Denim With Diamonds. This shade is so stunning in person, I got a ridiculous amount of compliments on it. One coat gets you full coverage of this shimmery deep blue and I’m pretty much completely obsessed with this shade.
It was so hard to narrow down my favourites of 2015. What was your favourite nail polish last year?
I get asked all the time how I keep my nails looking great and to be honest it’s mostly luck and good genes. But there are a few products I use almost religiously. These are my Most Wanted Mani Essentials.
Essie First Base Base Coat
I’ve used quite a few base coats in my time and I always go back to Essie’s. I’ve been using First Base for a few months now and I love how smooth it makes my nails and how strong it keeps them. It also helps your nail polish stick, which makes for a longer lasting manicure.
CND Solar Oil
I’m not a huge fan of greasy cuticle oils but Solar Oil absorbs almost instantly, smells delicious and keeps my cuticles looking good.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Dry Skin Hand Cream
Pretty nails don’t look as great if your hands look really dry and a good hand cream can help with that. L’Occitane’s line of hand creams include shea butter which make my hands feel extremely soft and hydrated and I love that it doesn’t wash off when you wash your hands.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This is probably my favourite nail product of all time. People seem to have a love or hate relationship with Seche Vite but I’m definitely in the love camp. It dries my nails in under a minute and leaves them glossy for days. I take this with me when I’m going to a nail place for a manicure and if they ever decided to discontinue it, I’d probably stockpile enough for the rest of my life.
Formula X For Sephora Delete Nail Polish Remover
I change my nail polish pretty much every day so it’s important I have a good nail polish remover that doesn’t kill my nails. Delete by Formula X gets everything off (even glitter) without scrubbing or tugging. I love the pump formula because you end up using less and it locks so it’s hard to spill.
What are your favourite nail products?
Fall is usually my favourite time of year for nail polish collections, I love the darker, warmer shades. Usually though, I love a couple shades from a collection, not the entire thing. Essie’s rock’n’roll royalty inspired collection is everything I want in a fall collection. The formula for this collection is a tiny bit thicker than their usual thin formula which made it really easy for almost all of these shades to be one-coaters.
Color Binge isn’t a classic red, it has too much orange in it, but it’s a great fall shade that would be a great base for halloween nail art.
With The Band
Essie calls With The Band a ‘toasted spice burgundy’ and while I’m not a huge fan of red polish, I fell in love with this one with the first brush stroke. This could’ve been one coat but I went with two to even it out a bit.
In The Lobby
In The Lobby really makes me think of the 90’s. An ‘exotic cinnamon plum,’ this shade is competely on trend and a fantastic shade for fall.
I don’t know if I would’ve ever picked up this molten bronze shade on my own but it’s really pretty in the sunlight and had full coverage with one coat.
Frock ‘N Roll
Frock ‘N Roll is described as a ‘shimmering rich espresso’ but it leans toward the black side. There’s a lot going on with the shimmer as well, I saw reds and golds and probably missed other shades. This one was also one coat.
To the surprise of no one, I knew Bell-Bottom Blues would be my favourite shade just by looking at the bottle. But I was completely unprepared for how gorgeous this indigo shade is. One coat looked great but two is spectacular.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve loved an entire collection so much to the point where I didn’t want to take any of these polishes off. I really liked the thicker formula and might have to stock up on a couple of these in case I run out.
When summer hits my nail polish choices definitely change and I tend to pick blues, greens and whites. Luckily Essie seems to be along the page because their summer collection has two blues and a white. And while this is the last of our Essie reviews until fall; like the other recent collections, this one doesn’t disappoint.
To be honest, my favourite while nail polish is Essie’s Blanc and nothing has ever lived up to it. The formula of Private Weekend was really good for a white and was almost a one coater but the shimmer that you can see in the bottle only looked like dirty white on my nails. I actually prefer the photo to how it looked in person.
Essie calls Chillato a ‘frozen cream pistachio,’ I call it a pastel yellow with some green in it. The formula was a little chalky but two coats were perfect. It’s not a shade that looks good on me but it’s a great summer colour.
Peach Side Babe
If you’re looking for a peach nail polish, I haven’t found one better than Peach Side Babe. it’s the truest peach I’ve tried so far with just enough pink in it.
Sunset Sneaks is one of my favourite shades from the summer collection. Essie calls it a ‘bright cushy crimson’ but I found it had a lot of coral to it which gives it a much more summery feel than red does.
Saltwater Happy is what I think of when I think of summer nail polish. This light blue creme was a one coater and I love that it didn’t have any shimmer to it.
Another one coater, Pret-A-Surfer was my other favourite shade of the collection. This marine blue had a touch of violet in it and just stands out from all my pastels and neons. This will definitely carry me into fall.