Essie 2012 Repstyle Collection – ‘Repstyle’ & ‘Snake it up’

Essie Repstyle (opener)


Maybe a little late coming to the party, but Essie has jumped onto one of the latest nail polish trends: magnetic lacquer. First launched during Toronto’s Fashion Week this past October, Essie has released their ‘2012 Repstyle Collection’ – 6 shimmering jewel toned magnetic shades. Today, I’m reviewing 2 of the more wearable hues, the namesake colour ‘Repstyle’ – a glimmering dusty taupe, and ‘Snake it up’ – a deep midnight beauty.

Now for the hard part … as a beauty blogger, my responsibility is to present as accurate a picture as I can of the products I review, and while anyone can put down an item, it takes a little extra work to find something positive, as I had to do with these 2 polishes. What made this so difficult, was that I truly admire this brand and have never been let down before, but as the saying goes “I cannot tell a lie” … read on to find out more.

Al swatches are with Essie’s All In One Base Coat and No Chips Aheaad Top Coat

Essie Repstyle

Essie ‘Repstyle’ & ‘Snake it up’

A quick note on applying magnetic lacquers: after base coat, begin by applying one layer of polish to all nails – let dry a couple of minutes, then working one nail at a time, apply a second thin layer and immediately position the magnet over the nail for a few seconds to create the pattern. Finish with a layer of top coat, if desired.

I found that thin layers delivered the best results and showed up the pattern more distinctly, although the magnet was tricky to work with since it doesn’t come with a guide (tab) to help in the proper placement or in keeping it at an even distance from the nail surface – you have to try and hold it steady while ensuring it doesn’t touch the freshly applied polish. The pattern seems to take longer to develop than other magnetic lacquers I’ve tried, needing a minimum of 30-45 seconds before anything appeared.

Essie Repstyle magnetic cap

removable outer cap bearing the magnet

Essie Repstyle (shade)


Repstyle – is an odd mix of taupe, some silver and touches of copper, in a rather paradoxically semi-sheer formula that also happens to lean somewhat thick-ish, with a frosty finish (already off to a bad start …) You need to pay attention to your application, as this finish is quite prone to visible brush strokes, but I was totally surprised by the glossy finish at the end. The reptile pattern that emerges here, is a platinum silver against the taupe/bronze base. Coats applied: 2

Essie Repstyle swatch

Essie ‘Repstyle’

Essie Repstyle swatch 2

Essie ‘Repstyle’

Essie Snake it up


Snake it up – with a better flowing formula and application than that of ‘Repstyle’, this is a gorgeous mix of midnight navy and tungsten steel; in fact, I absolutely loved how this looked without the pattern/magnetic effect. Self-levelling and requiring less effort in application re: brush strokes, once again I was amazed by the super glossy natural finish at the end – top coat is almost redundant here, although I wouldn’t skip base coat as you could experience some light staining. The reptile pattern that emerges is of a blackened navy against a steely blue base. Coats applied: 2

Essie Snake it up swatch

Essie ‘Snake it up’

Essie Snake it up swatch 2

Essie ‘Snake it up’

Essie Snake it up (with OPI magnet)


Since I was less than impressed with the magnets that came with these 2 shades, I wondered if changing the magnet would yield better results; after having experienced great results with the OPI magnets from the Skyfall Magnetic Lacquers Collection (previously reviewed here) I was disappointed to see that they were ineffective here. Moral of the story: these Essie polishes were definitely created to be used with their included magnets, so any issues are obviously a mix of the formula + the magnets themselves.

Essie stickers

How cute are these Essie stickers? I don’t want to use/waste them!


Final thoughts: It pains me to say this, but Essie, these lacquers – for the most part – are a fail for me. ‘Repstyle’ is a shade that needed a touch more bronze perhaps to make it modern – not this old biddy frosty taupe. The fact that the magnets produce less than stellar results, makes me wonder why I would want to bother, although a case can be made for anyone who wants to experience a more subdued version of the reptile pattern (I’m looking for something positive here, ok?). ‘Snake it up’ is an absolutely gorgeous shade and had the magnet worked more effectively, I’d say it would be a total hit. As it is, I think that the brand needs to go back to the drawing board on these … but I have faith that if anyone can do it, Essie’s R&D team can. Best I can say, folks …

Essie Repstyle (closer)




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

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