Essie ‘Luxe Effects Collection’ for Holiday 2011 (swatches & review)

*Final Birthday Giveaway ‘a-england’ ends soon! Full details here


Essie, you’re spoiling us….but in the best way possible! Hot on the heels of their spectacular Winter Collection, ‘Cocktail Bling’ (previously reviewed here), the brand is set to launch ‘Luxe Effects’, five multi-dimensional top coats, that can either be worn on their own for a hint of glamour, or layered over your favourite lacquer for all-out luxury. The following swatches are all with Deborah Lippmann’s 2-Second Nail Primer, as well as Essie’s All In One Base Coat. In order to showcase these fabulous varnishes to their fullest potential, the first set are all swatched alone with only one coat of the effect polish, with each subsequent set consisting of one coat of the effects polish over two coats each of  ‘Brooch The Subject’ (middle & pinkie fingers), and ‘Bobbing for Baubles’ (index & ring fingers) respectively. No additional top coat was applied.



‘Pure Pearlfection’ is an ethereal looking, silvery white pearlescent shimmer lacquer, in a medium viscosity suspension-like formula. Giving the look of a delicate gossamer veil draping your nails, this will add a sophisticated tone to any lacquer you choose, as though imbued with a layer of crushed pearl powder on top.


In sunlight, only the barest touch of sparkle can be seen, shyly peeking through and giving you a hint of gleam within.


Indirect light allows ‘Pure Pearlfection’ to cast a silvery aura, shimmering cooly along the nails.


It is in shaded lighting that the true pearl-like glow of this varnish comes into play, almost appearing to simmer on the surface.


A final view taken with flash catches the diamond like sparks given off by the ultra fine shimmer within this shade.


Sunlight appears to cast the very lightest dusting of sugar crystals atop the nails’ surface, giving them a rich gleam.


I love how indirect light looks like a sprinkling of stars spread across each shade, as regally cool as an wintry night.


When seen in shaded light, the two shades now seem to be gilded with the barest hint of frost, giving off a pearlescent vibe.


A final view taken with flash reflects off the myriad little prisms of light found swirling within ‘Pure Pearlfection’s’ core.



‘Shine Of The Times’….a FLAKIE!!!!  Need I say more?! Having only recently discovered how mesmerizing this type of top coat can be, I am thrilled that Essie created this beauty.  A rather thick, suspension-like formula, but paradoxically one that spreads very easily along the nails, it is filled with irregularly shaped iridescent, almost transparent flakes of colour, that almost magically transform everything they touch…simply HYPNOTIC!!


In sunlight, only slight flashes of a golden orange hue betray anything of what lies behind this unique lacquer.


Indirect light brings out every mysteriously glinting facet of ‘Shine Of The Times’, displaying several prismatic colours at once.


Shaded light appears to emphasize this lacquer’s ruddier tones, yet gives it the look of eerily glowing embers across your nails.


A final view taken with flash, couches the true effect of this lacquer in a subtle silence, although the glimmering surface displays hints of its fire.


Seen in sunlight, you would be forgiven in believing that swirls of sunfire were dancing upon the surface of your nails!


Indirect light appears to throw a milky veil over these shades, and yet the many shifting colours of ‘Shine Of The Times’ seem flaringly alive.


Shaded light takes the fiery glow of embers and strews them across your nails, all in vivid multi-coloured detail.


A final view taken with flash, highlights the more orange/pink tones that the flake particles emit



‘As Gold As It Gets’ is something so unique as far as top coats go; consisting of delicate golden ultra-fine glitter and irregularly shaped gold leaf flakes, the formula, while on the thick side, was of a medium viscosity that nevertheless applied easily, and was surprisingly smooth to the touch when dry.


Sunlight gives the most delicate gilded gleam across the nails, as though gently kissed by the sun.


Indirect light appears to pick out the subtle golden shards found swirling throughout ‘As Gold As It Gets’ and vividly highlights them.


Like sunspots that dance before your closed eyelids, shaded light meshes and unites all the intricate parts of this golden top coat.


A final view taken with flash takes the brilliance of the gold and drives it deeper into shadow, although enough hints of gleam still shine along the edges.


Sunlight not only casts a warm  simmering glow about these hues, but dons a delicate golden wash over the nails’ surface.


While indirect light takes the base shades into a cooler realm, the golden gleam of ‘As Gold As It Gets’ adds a beautiful warmth overall.


Shaded light makes the brilliance of this top coat positively seethe with light, and spotlights each individual golden flake…stunning!


A final view taken with flash, now appears to tamp everything down and coats the nails with an urban, yet sophisticated gleam.



‘Set In Stones’ is a multi-levelled silver glitter top coat, in a thicker type formula, which somehow manages to flow rather smoothly along your nails.  Densely packed with fine silver glitter and larger hexagonal sequins, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy removal was.  While the surface was not glass smooth at the finish, neither was it too gritty – another bonus!


Seen in sunlight, each individual silvery speck seem to shine with its own little halo of light.


Indirect light gives ‘Set In Stones’ the semblance of the first twinkling stars of evening, before the light fades away.


Shaded light spotlights the glitter particles in sharp relief, while still managing to maintain an almost delicate demeanor.


A final view taken with flash focuses solely on the glitter of this top coat, but never comes off as gaudy.


Sunlight not only reflects beautifully off the silvery pieces,  but appears to compliment both base hues equally well.


When seen in indirect light, the overall effect is one of a deeper, cooler look, with each sequin beautifully framed within the base colours.


Shaded light gives ‘Set In Stones’ its most stellar countenance, rivalling the heavenly constellations in their patterns!


A final view taken with flash, not only lightens the overall base hues, but displays the silvery pattern of the glitter to its most brilliant effect.



‘A Cut Above’, a clear base that holds small glitter pieces and larger hexagonal sequins in a deep ballet-slipper pink hue, bears a similar formula to the rest of this collection and appears as densely packed as that of ‘Set In Stones’. Note by the ring finger, how much fuller a thicker coat makes the glitter look, while a thinner coat (index finger) yields a more delicate appearance. The surface seemed to be slightly more raised at the finish, and yet the particles all appeared to lay flat enough overall. Another bonus: fairly painless removal!


Sunlight casts a rosy hue across the nails’ surface and sets the pink glitter particles to gleaming brightly in the light.


Indirect light casts a dustier appearance to the pale rose colour of the glitter, and takes its shine down by several notches.


Shaded light sheds a new warmth to ‘A Cut Above’, and focuses your eye on each individual rosy glitter sequin.


A final view taken with flash gives the nails a blush of colour, delicately stained and brightly glimmering.


Sunlight reflects subtly off the slight hint of colour in this top coat, yet does not detract from the saturated hues of the base shades.


Indirect light takes the glitter particles and brings them to the fore, while the base hues now take on a lesser role.


Shaded light not only displays the pale pink wash of colour that ‘A Cut Above’ gives to the base hues, but shows off each sequin in exquisite detail.


A final view taken with flash interestingly enough gives just the right amount of dustiness and glimmer to keep all the colours unique and interesting.


Final thoughts: In my opinion, Essie’s foray in the effects top coat category, has been a huge success with this ‘Luxe Effects Collection’.  Each lacquer offers something new and different, and stays just this side of being too “blingy”, so that every look you create will be sure to look festive and/or urban cool. What I like most about these lacquers, is their versatility and how easy it is to change up any of your mani looks, in a sense multiplying your present nail polish stash. Available soon, this collection holds an “effect” for everyone looking to add a little “luxe” for the holidays…and beyond!





*Disclaimer:  Product samples were provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

65 Responses to Essie ‘Luxe Effects Collection’ for Holiday 2011 (swatches & review)

  1. beautiful! i cant wait to get those polishes some day

  2. Imani says:

    Are these your natural nails? No wraps or anything? If not what kind are they? And if so how do you get them so strong and healthy? I have weak peeling nails and it’s driving me crazy I made the transition from acrylics to natural a few years ago but I am starting to get frustrated with the breaking. Plus I am an artist and at any given time I can be dealing with strong chemicals and paints any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Imani! These are my natural nails; I have never worn gels, acrylics, or anything artificial on my nails. In my case, genetics has a lot to do with it, but I also moisturize like a fiend. My good friend Anna at has some excellent reviews written on complete nail care – I strongly urge you to read her posts as they are so informative! I would recommend that you keep your hands moisturized as often as you can, and at night especially, try to apply a thicker layer of a cuticle cream, such as Lush’s Lemony Flutter (the one I use). During the day, I really like the way Essie’s ‘Smooth Trick’ Deep Conditioning Cuticle Oil makes my nails/cuticles feel. Taking rosehip seed capsules (found at a health food store), along with ensuring you ingest plenty of Omega-3’s (such as found in salmon) will also go a long way to not only strengthening your nails, but improving your overall health as well as boosting your hair strength & shine! I hope this helps…let me know how it works out for you!

  3. Jeni says:

    I am so bummed I can’t find these ANYWHERE!

    • Eugenia says:

      Are you serious? That’s just crazy..and frustrating. I don’t know where you’re located, so I can’t offer you any alternatives, but apart from Trade Secrets, both Target and Walmart carry Essie products, along with several chain drugstores, then there are some online sources (for example, you can search, and if all else fails, you can try emailing the company itself for more information. Hope this helps and good luck!

      • Jeni says:

        I am in Martinsburg, WV. Boo! lol I went to CVS, Walgreen, Target and Ulta and nothing. I may try Walmart but I hardly ever have luc finding anything there their beauty dept is a mess. I didn’t know trade secret sold essie hmm :) has nothing on their site and neither does Essie which is weird. Thanks for the suggestions.

      • Eugenia says:

        I really hate it when something like this happens…I feel your frustration, believe me! As to Walmart’s beauty department, it’s so sad that it’s always in that state – like a perpetual hurricane goes through it. Will send you some positive “finding” vibes!

      • Jeni says:

        Thanks, Ill let you know how it goes 😀 I hope I get my hands on them

      • Eugenia says:

        I’d like that! Hope you get your nails on them too, lol!!

      • Jeni says:

        Ahh success! I had to drive an hour and a half to get to it but alas I got to get a couple of these. (I was doing Christmas shopping and the mall in my city is the worst. Walmart is attached to it and it actually accounts for a mall store LOL) Cant wait to try them Pure Perfection and Shine on the Times. So excited! Woohoo! 😀

      • Eugenia says:

        That’s fabulous news, Jeni! I’m so happy for you! Now, the fun begins, right? Feel free to send me pics! Hugs!

  4. prysmatique says:

    I already bought Shine of the Times (What? My CVS actually stocked an Essie collection the same year it released, zomg!) but your swatches make me want to go back for Pure Pearlfection now. The super cute name doesn’t hurt either haha.

    Remember mee? I’m the girl who freaked out over you Nicki Minaj swatches <3

    • Eugenia says:

      Of course I remember you….love that name; “Prysmatique” (*giving it a French accent*)! Glad to hear that you were able to snag Shine of the Times (isn’t it incredible?!) and I’m flattered that you’re interested in Pure Pearlfection because of my swatches – thank you so much! And you’re right about the catchy name! :)

      • prysmatique says:

        Aw thank you <3 Yep, it's my own spin on prismatic because I'm all effervescent and rainbow&unicorn-y in person. I'm also the worst English major ever b/c my use of adjectives would make grammar nazis cringe haha. But you can call me Pryanka too – that's my name (:

        & yes, last night, I went and bought Pure Pearlfection too. After finals are over, I'm going to have fun swatching these and playing around with layering them. If you look at nailspshark in a week or so, you can check them out in their amateur glory

      • Eugenia says:

        No cringing required….I have found that language is meant to be used & to constantly evolve so, have fun with it!! I can’t wait to see what creations/combos you come up with; please feel free to even send me photos if you like at Tons of luck on your exams (my daughter’s last exam is tomorrow….then we can all breathe again, lol!)

      • prysmatique says:

        waitwait. FAIL! Nailspark* is what I meant D:

      • Eugenia says:

        Hahaha! Not to worry, I understood you even with the typo!

      • prysmatique says:

        thanks for the luck! I’ll send you an e-mail when I get to have some polish fun! I’m in hell (finals) till the 20th though so :( I hope your daughter aces that last exam though! Good luckk.

      • Eugenia says:

        Tons of luck to you as well, Pryanka (pretty name!)….as I tell my daughter before every exam, “break a pencil”!! Looking forward to seeing your pics!

  5. Molly D says:

    Shine of the Times is gorg and I love me some flakie goodness. However, if you’re anxious to get you hands on it, let me tell you- The Donmar overglaze by Nails Inc. is a dead-on dupe. I’m wearing it right now! As far as I know it’s only available in a set with a nice, but unremarkable blackened plum — which almost makes me wish I had waiting for the Essie! ….almost :)

    • Eugenia says:

      At least by picking up the Nails Inc. version, you also got the other shade with it, so it’s not so bad! For those who simply want the flakie top coat, then perhaps picking up Shine of the Times is a more cost effective option (the Nails Inc. duos can get a little pricey!). I appreciate you taking the time to tell me about the alternative…thanks!

  6. Tasha says:

    I am DYING to try these !! Thank you so much for getting all the swatches out- it must have taken you forever to do them! I think I need to buy the entire collection.. I am so excited :)

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Tasha…and you’re right; it may have taken longer than I hoped to swatch them all, but they were so worth it! I can’t wait for you to see these in person..let me know which ones you end up with!

  7. Loodie says:

    OH HECK YES!!!! Sorry for yelling, but it was seriously necessary. I am so excited for the flakies!!!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Hahahaha! Somehow, I knew the flakie would get under your skin! YOU will no doubt, be busy spreading its love on everything you own, am I right?! Can’t wait to see it on you! xox

  8. Melanie says:

    I hope that I can find this beautys in Switzerland, thank you for the wonderfull swatches.

  9. Kara says:

    I’m loving the look of the last two glitters! And also the flakie. I’ve never tried one before, but I really should get my hands on one! Thanks for the review!

  10. Eugenia! I literally squealed out loud with glee when I saw the title for this post. Your swatches are amazing, and showcase each facet of the polishes in the collection so beautifully. Now I’m even more excited to get my hands on this collection once it becomes available. ^_^

    • Eugenia says:

      Rie, I was thinking about the awesome swatches you will be sure to produce when you get your creative hands on these beauties! I can’t wait to see! Thanks for the luv!!

  11. Lissette says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been waiting to see of they are worth it. I missed out on the Sally Hansen flackie. But I am so getting shine of the times, set in stones, and as gold as it gets. I can’t wait!

    • Eugenia says:

      You’re so welcome, Lissette….I’m really glad that you’ll be able to have your own flakie, since you weren’t able to get the Sally Hansen – yay!!

  12. Amy says:

    Would “Shine of the Times” be a near-dupe of Nubar “Nubar 2010”??? I’m sitting here w/Nubar 2010 on a beautiful brown tone (Barielle “Cowl of the Wild”) b/c, for the season, the orange gold glow of Nubar 2010 on brown is perfect. The Nubar is pricey – have to order online. I just saw the Essie holiday line at Target here in the States this week. Soooo much cheaper than obtaining the Nubar 2010. Do you think it’s a dupe?

    • Eugenia says:

      Here’s the thing; while I don’t own the Nubar, I’ve heard (and seen online) that it is practically identical to the Sally Hansen (which I do own). From the bottle, the differences between the Sally Hansen and the Essie are negligible; perhaps the Essie’s base is a touch less “yellow” and murky, but I can give you a more accurate picture once I test them out side by side. Personally, if they are very similar, it may be worthwhile for you to get Shine Of The Times just the same, to have as a back up, especially if its something you really enjoy playing with! I’ll update this comment once I swatch them together!

  13. Julia says:

    Oh wow, you were right, I’m so in love with these. Especially As Gold As It Gets! Small flakies and fine glitter, eep! And the silver and pink effects! And the flakie! I’m wearing out the exclamation point on my keyboard! I love that Essie put all of these great effects in one (hopefully) very accessible, reasonably priced collection. Typically great polishes like these are hard to find or expensive or both (tracking down flakies or paying for Deborah Lippmann, etc.). Good on Essie, bad on my pocketbook!

    • Eugenia says:

      On the plus side, at least Essie polishes aren’t priced out of the stratosphere, and as these are effects top coats, you can justify your purchase by the many combinations you will create :) As to your exclamation point, we seem to have the same affliction; I notice that mine has been showing major signs of wear & tear as well! :)

  14. Latoya says:

    I have been eagerly awaiting a review on these top coats, so that you so much Eugenia! I’m glad it was your post I’ve seen first :) I’m not a huge ‘effect top coat’ person typically, but these are quite nice! I’m pleased to see there is a flakie available, so those who haven’t yet tried (LIZ!) will finally get there chance. I never even saw Hidden Treasure kicking around, and then I heard the mania about it and managed to snag one for myself. I doubt I’ll pick up another since I use that one so infrequently as it is, but I’m happy for everyone else :) I’m surprized at the one I like best here – A Cut Above is just gorgeous, but not normally my type/shade. It just looks SO luxe, I gotta have it!!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Toya my friend….and I’m glad that you managed to snag the Sally Hansen; I almost passed it up, but something made me buy it when I chanced upon it. If not, I’d be frothing at the mouth for the Essie version…which is drop-dead amazing, in any case! Can’t wait to hear about your reaction to these when you see them in person…keep me posted!

  15. D... says:

    *Gasp, sigh,faint & thud*…what, what happened? I was, I was looking at your blog and then I was on the floor. They’re all so gorgeous, I must see in person. Your natural nails are so gorgeous by the way. Love-love-love!!!!!

    • Eugenia says:

      D, my friend, you better be all right…don’t make me hop on a plane & fly out to take care of you know, you hear?! Lol!! They truly are gorgeous, and thanks for your compliments towards my nails…you’re such a “peach”!!! :)

      • D... says:

        I’m OK, but maybe I should start having an oxygen tank handy before I read your posts. I have to hunt these down. There is just something about these flakies that I need to investigate. I love the dark base with the flakies on top, they make me think of a black hole with impossible holes of light punched through them. It’s so interesting.

      • Eugenia says:

        “Oxygen tank”…..I fell off my chair laughing with that one! D, you have the soul of a poet, do you know that?! Love your description and now I can’t wait until you get your flakie!! xox

      • D... says:

        I’m hoping to find it tomorrow. I am not sure if it’s available yet at my nail store (teehee I have a special place). But I’ve been so naughty lately, I have acquired five polishes over the past three days. But the flakies are important, they add such a wonderful dimension to my existing stock. I am wondering how they would look over glitter. Sounds crazy but in an interesting way.

        I love the thought of having the soul of a poet. It’s so much better than the soul of a software engineer…at least from what I’ve seen so far.

  16. Shimmer says:

    Yaaaaay! I need them all. I’m sure I have a ton of things that are similar to them (a few remind me of the Creative Nail Design Effects line), however because Essie usually doesn’t do this type of polish, it is totally necessary to own them- ALL OF THEM!! :) <<evil smile

    • Eugenia says:

      Love your evil smile….lol!! As I don’t own any CND lacquers, let alone their Effects line of polishes, I couldn’t say how similar the Essie set is, but you’re 100% correct when you say that this is a departure for Essie and let me tell you, they sure nailed it! Can’t wait to see your creations, oh mighty combo queen!!

  17. Favorite: Pure Pearlfection + Cut Above! MUST-HAVE to top scream colors so create beautiful effects! Glad that essie is doing these sparkly stuffs :DDD

  18. Love these swatches! A Cut Above is just so pretty! Reminds me of deborah lippmann’s some enchanted evening.
    And your nails are looking fabulous! :) What nail care products do you use?

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you so much! You’re right; ‘A Cut Above’ does resemble the Lippmann in some ways, doesn’t it?! As to my nail care, I try to always keep my hands well moisturized, especially before bed, and at any given time, I’ll have a number of balms and cuticle creams that I plough through; I’m always testing something or other, and right now, i don’t have a personal favourite, although I must say that Lush’s Lemony Flutter really, really agrees with me! I should mention that genetics have quite a lot to do with the state of my nails as well (I can’t take all the credit, now can I?!) :)

  19. Oh dear god in heaven, I’m in trouble. Everything except the first for me!!!

    • I am most excited for the flakie. I’ve never come across one before. (Do they not sell them in Toronto??? So weird!) Fabulous swatches, Eugenia!

      • Eugenia says:

        Thanks, Liz! It’s so weird; why can’t we find all these fabulous flakies here in this grand country of ours? You’d almost think that Montreal and Toronto are on the moon, for Pete’s sake! I’m just grateful that Essie not only is filling that gap, but is available here as well! Let me know what you end up with!

    • Eugenia says:

      On the plus side, the fact that they’re effects “top coats”, means you’re not exactly duplicating anything in your collection, and are in fact able to create completely new looks with any & all of your existing polishes! Have I convinced you yet? LOL!!!

      • I was already convinced by the swatches. :) And yes, that was my thought exactly! I am going to cut down on buying similar shades of NPs but these top coats are exactly what’s needed to make a limited collection more interesting. Good for Essie!

        And so odd this lack of flakies in Canada!!! Glad it wasn’t just me being stupid and not looking somewhere obvious!

      • Eugenia says:

        ….then we’ve been stupid and not looking in the obvious places together, lol! Seriously, while I’ve seen flakies on other people’s blogs, the first one I personally held was Sally Hansen’s Hidden Treasure that was quickly released last year, and just as quickly disappeared. I had even forgotten about it until this past Halloween when I created that mani. Now….I’m hooked! They are just so incredibly lovely to work with! I can’t wait til you get yours, Liz!

  20. laura says:

    Beautiful swatches! *flails* I can’t wait for these to hit stores!

  21. Great swatches! I think “As Gold As It Gets” could be a dupe to CND 24K sparkle, which I know you couldn’t get by itself. This is a much better option!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! I don’t own the CND (I don’t even know where to find them here!!!), but all I know is that I don’t have anything like this in my collection, and this makes everything look so elegant!

  22. olivia says:

    I want the flakie!

  23. Amazing swatches, you are always so thorough!!! What a fun collection :)

What are your thoughts, beautiful?