Essie – ‘Armed and Ready’ Spring 2012 (swatches, comparisons & review)
I have a total fascination with moody, intricate hues that absolutely refuse to be categorized, and when Essie released ‘Armed and Ready’ for spring 2012, I confess that I went totally nuts for this beauty … I mean, just look at it! This colour is “military chic” at its utmost, a perfect counterpoint to all the pretty pastels that surface as soon as the weather turns warm.
While ‘Armed and Ready’ calls to mind loaded weapons, what I thought of as soon as I had the bottle in my hand, was an image far older – something more in line like this ancient Greek battle helmet (above), which seems to echo all of this lacquer’s gorgeously swirling colours.
‘Armed and Ready’ is a mystery; what at first looks like a deep olive hue begins to morph and shift with the light: burnished bronze, khaki green, and even hints of concrete grey thrown into the mix, along with all that ultra fine golden shimmer at its core that adds such incredible depth and movement. The formula is somewhat of a paradox as well; easy flowing – but a touch thick, very self-levelling – but with some initial patchiness, which meant that I applied 3 coats as thinly as I could, in order to achieve a perfectly “uniform” (ha!) look. I did not expect the ridiculously high gloss shine, as in my experience, shimmery shades tend to dry more satiny. All swatches are with Essie’s All In One Base Coat and No Chips Ahead Top Coat.
in sunlight – view 2
in sunlight – view 3
From the early promotional photos I saw, I would have sworn that ‘Armed and Ready’ was Essie’s version of Dior’s ‘Exquis’ (previously reviewed here), but then Estée Lauder’s ‘Metallic Sage’ (previously reviewed here) also came to mind, so naturally I had to see them against each other. The following swatches are all: index finger – ‘Metallic Sage’, middle & pinkie fingers – ‘Armed and Ready’, ring finger – ‘Exquis’. Here’s how they compared:
- Metallic Sage – the sheerest formula, the greenest-hued of the three
- Exquis – best coverage, needing only 2 coats for full coverage, but lightest hued/taupe leanings
- Armed and Ready – thickest formula, deepest in tone, glossiest
I was also sure that ‘Armed and Ready’ was basically a shimmery version of ‘Power Clutch’ (previously reviewed here), but once again, that wasn’t completely accurate; while the deep grey/green undertone appears to be the same in both lacquers, the bronze shimmer of ‘Armed and Ready’ elevates it to a whole new level of colour. The following swatches are: index & ring fingers – ‘Power Clutch’, middle & pinkie fingers – ‘Armed and Ready’, and the breakdown of how ‘Power Clutch’ compared:
- easier flowing formula, with a slightly thinner viscosity
- perfectly opaque at 2 coats (did 3 to keep it consistent with ‘Armed and Ready’)
- even glossier, but without that gorgeous shimmer
- appears more greyer toned when placed next to ‘Armed and Ready’
Final thoughts: No doubt about it, ‘Armed and Ready’ is a truly unique shade, and while there were a few issues upon the initial application, all was easily resolved, leaving nothing but an ultra-rich, glorious & original colour behind … so totally worth it! While this is not what one would term a warm weather shade, I can still see it working all year round, with the shimmer being picked up by the light and reflecting some sophisticated sparkle in the summer, then deepening in tone and working beautifully with winter’s more sobering palette. What can I say? I totally “surrender” to this beauty … (cheesy, I know – couldn’t resist!)
*Disclaimer: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration