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

36 Responses to Essie 2012 Repstyle Collection – ‘Repstyle’ & ‘Snake it up’

  1. Stella McFarland says:

    Essie is my favorite polish on the market. I have always been more than pleased with the results of their products. HOWEVER, I have to say, I feel VERY let down by this product. Most of my disappointment stems from the fact that this is from Essie! I feel like they cut corners on the manufacturing end of this product to save a couple bucks. If they would have put forth the amount of resources into the polish itself as they did into the marketing of the product, it would be a wonderful item. Shame on you Essie. Will be returning polish and contacting mfgr.

    • Eugenia says:

      I can understand your frustration, Stella, because I had higher expectations for these magnetic polishes as well and while I did have a bit of success, it was still a far cry from what I wanted. That being said, I’ve read other bloggers’ experience with these polishes, and they actually swear by them so who knows? Maybe it’s a question of trial & error? I’ll be giving them another try … maybe you might want to as well!

  2. Gen says:

    Me and my sister just bought the shade snake it up and were so disappointed!! It was really difficult to make even one nail look crisp. I’m wondering if I put a magnet inside the cap if it will help achieve the design easier and better.. I really like the shade but I’m considering taking it back bc the main purpose of this polish is a complete fail, which is disappointing bc I figured Essie would’ve made these as good if not better than the OPI magnetic polishes. I guess I should’ve read the reviews first before buying

    • Eugenia says:

      I was very disappointed with the 2 that I tried as well; as a long time fan of Essie, I was expecting something that would work so much better, but I guess even this brand is allowed a fail every once in a while. Not sure if adding an extra magnet will help – you can try varying the thickness of the coats of polish, or the placement of the magnet to see if that yields better results. Barring that, then you should definitely return it – no sense in holding on to something you’re not happy with.

  3. MAlmost30 says:

    Please please please try again. These are awesome and only take seconds but you have to get close as possible to the nail. So a second coat to one nail and then the magnet as close as possible and wala, it’s really fantastic…repeat after each second coat. I was uber impressed but took a few tries, at first turned out like yours and took a while. The trick is to get really close to the wet nail! Promise!!!

    • Eugenia says:

      LOL …after that impassioned plea, how can I not try again? Thanks for the comment and info – I’ll be definitely giving them another try and hope for the best!

  4. Karen Amorim says:

    Too… brush strokey :(
    No more words, i guess, hee.

  5. Jane says:

    I found I really had to shake the bottle really well before it snaked

    • Eugenia says:

      Does that mean your pattern emerged clearly after that? Cause if so, I don’t mind giving it another shot — would love to know if I could salvage something from these…

  6. MariJo says:

    Awwww… I’m sorry these were a fail. It looks like the design would have been really pretty if they worked well. I love these two shades.

    • Eugenia says:

      I know….I was looking forward to this design too, especially since I was a touch disappointed with the less than stellar results of the Nails In.c fishnet pattern. Oh well….

  7. Julia says:

    Oh, too bad :(. You know that I LOVE Essie, plus the theme of this collection and the white caps are super cute, so it’s unfortunate that the magnetic part doesn’t work better. I just saw a display a few days ago and was highly tempted because the collection is so cute, but the price put me off. Plus, I have to say that there has been SO MUCH magnetic polish this past year and I’m sick of it! I think it’s cool, but it’s also kind of a pain to use. So I STILL haven’t worn any of my magnetic polishes as manicures! Same thing happened with flakies and with crackle…I got bored of it and ended up hardly wearing any of my OMG This is the New Hot Thing! polishes at all. I see from the other comments that most of us seem to agree about not loving magnetics. At least in five years if I want some magnetic polish I’ll have some in my stash :).

    • Eugenia says:

      Yeah….it was disappointing for me too, but I’m already looking ahead to what Essie holds in the future (some interesting stuff coming in January!). I totally hear you about your apathy towards magnetics (and crackle) but I’m not over flakies just yet, lol! Love your line at the end of your comment…how practical and forward thinking!

  8. Hey Eugenia, just wondering – did the Essie stickers come with your logo or is it your watermark you added later? I guess the sticker was the part that intrigued me the most :) LOL How big is this decal sheet? Does it come with the collection or did you get from company directly as a ‘thank-you’ or something? :) Thanks for a great review, it always helps to see the truth on how new products perform! I’m a fan of Essie and this little hiccup won’t disappoint me in their products overall..

    • Eugenia says:

      Hi Lilliana! As to the sticker sheet, it’s roughly 2/3 the size of a sheet of paper and I added my logo/watermark – been having major issues with property theft, so now I have to watermark everything. I believe this sheet was sent to me as a gesture of appreciation – fairly certain it won’t be making an appearance in the market any time soon…sorry! :( Happy to hear that you enjoyed my review and that you won’t let this little setback turn you away from what it for the most part, an amazing brand!

  9. Sandi says:

    I just saw these at my local drug store last week and tried it on because I’m very skeptical about these magnetic polishes, and got the same results as you. Shitty magnet :( The best magnetic polishes that worked for me are the first nails inc ones that came out…

  10. olivia says:

    I like Essie chrome polish but I find their regular polishes hard to work with since they are a bit on the watery side compared to others.

    I am a total klutz with the magnets and if I bought Essie’s I would think I was a complete failure. Glad to see it is Essie’s fault.

    • Eugenia says:

      Many people have a harder time with Essie’s brush, since it’s rather narrow, but I personally love the control it affords you. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a watery texture all that often, although there have been a few shades where that quality definitely stood out. As to the magnets, I was beginning to doubt my nail polish applying abilities and thought that it must have been me doing something wrong, but after several attempts trying various methods, still no success so yeah, good to know the fault didn’t lie with me, lol!

  11. Thanks for sharing your honest review! I was planning to get some of this collection. After seeing/reading this, I’ll let them pass. Big disappointment :(

    • Eugenia says:

      You’re welcome and I agree…huge disappointment. Personally, I expected better, maybe because Essie has always come through with a stellar product. Oh well….

  12. Laura says:

    So surprised that Essie is jumping on this bandwagon now. I actually have the magnetic polish from Nails Inc and I think the magnet for that was pretty effective. My current nail colour is flaking off so maybe I’ll bring it back out, I actually forgot I had it! haha.

    • Eugenia says:

      I’m not sure why Essie only brought out this effect now either, but I guess they must know what they’re doing! One good thing that came out of this post, is that it reminded you to go play with your magnetic polish again!

  13. aeronluna says:

    Magnetic Polishes are ones I avoid. I bought one a few months ago from the Sally Hansen line and was so disappointed. There was not much I would say about the produce that was positive. Other than the fact the my local BX actual carried something that was in trend and not six months late

    • Eugenia says:

      See? You did find a positive, lol! People in general, were never all that impressed with magnetic polishes other than an initial excitement — that quickly died when these types of lacquers failed to meet everyone’s expectations. Here’s to looking forward to the next new trend!

  14. Wow, talk about a little late to the party Essie haha. Kind of over the trend myself too Big Sis-I find most of them didn’t end up looking nice enough. Oh wells!

    • Eugenia says:

      Yeah…not sure why both Essie and OPI decided to do magnetics so long after everyone else; to be honest, the OPI versions are actually really good, but these? Not so much. Then again, maybe it’s just me….. what can I say Lil Sis; we can always look forward to newer & better things from Essie!

  15. beachgal says:

    I am not a big magnetic fan. I keep being surprised at some of the bigger polish companies coming into the market so late into the game with theirs like OPI with their recent in the past mo. Skyfall magnetics and the Essie ones too. I find the colors for all the magenetics kind of blend together. There are not that many hues that can be done. The shades have to be somehow shaded or muddied to hide the particles that get pushed by the magnet. I do like the quilting pattern on these but it’s fussy to do everyone has said who I have talked to who bought one. I won’t be spending $11 for any of them and probably would not spend $5 if they went on clearance somewhere!

    • Eugenia says:

      It’s an effect that sometimes falls short of our expectations, to be sure; it’s always a letdown when you can’t achieve the same results seen in editorial ads and I wanted my readers to understand what they’d be getting with these. And another thing, is that you’re right about the cost – anything is too much when the product performs poorly.

  16. Amanda says:

    I appreciate your honest review of these two polishes. And I’m disappointed that the Skyfall magnets didn’t work. I’d kinda like to see ‘Snake it Up’ without the magnetic effect.

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Perhaps I got a bad batch, or maybe my skills aren’t good enough to make these work; both facts that I should have added in my review, although since it’s not my first time with magnetic polishes & that I have been painting my nails a loooooooong time now, I tend to think that the fault lies elsewhere. Snake it up is a truly stunning shade and I believe I’ll take you up on that and show it without the effect – thanks again!

  17. Maribeth says:

    I’m not a huge magnetic fan anyway, so this is no big loss to me. I love that you have the ability to write an honest review, citing this products fails and all, and still make it sound so eloquent 😉 We won’t hold this against you, Essie! Hahah we know that they are fantastic,even without these!

    • Eugenia says:

      Awww….thanks so much for your words, Maribeth; I was torn and feeling so guilty for having to rain on this parade, but I would have thought that with their extensive resources, Essie would never have released anything subpar like this into the market place. Oh well, one lousy product does not a company make; their quality speaks for itself and I won’t be judging them on this either – glad you support them as well!

  18. Linda says:

    I was looking forward to these after seeing them in magazines, but if YOU can’t make them look good with your excellent skills, I sure as heck won’t be able to. Thank you for this post!

    • Eugenia says:

      Awww, Linda…thanks for the vote of confidence, lol! I so totally did not expect these to crash & burn like that; ‘Snake it up’ is truly a gorgeous shade and I’ll be more than happy to wear it again — without the magnetic effect. Still, way too much effort for little results :( :( :( Maybe someone else will have better luck than I did in applying them…

What are your thoughts, beautiful?