Filed In: Essie

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture opener


Taking things up a notch in the nail lacquer game, Essie has just launched Gel Couture, a new range of polishes (42 shades in total) that draw inspiration from the fashion industry and are ready to take you from ‘the atelier to the after-party‘. The first thing you’ll notice is the bottle with its unique twisty shape, a feature that is not only visually exciting but created to fit ergonomically in the palm of your hand (honestly, it’s such a ridiculously comfortable fit; makes you wonder how no one had already thought of it). The other innovation is the patent-pending swirl-stem brush, designed so that the polish flows smoothly down to the brush, without any nasty blobs coming down to spoil the party.

This 2-step system (polish + Gel Couture Top Coat) aims to offer up to 14 days of chip-free wear without the need for UV or LED lamps – in turn making these polishes easy to remove, with the shades arranged in four colour families:

  • Atelier – embodied by the neutrals
  • First Look – embodied by the pastels
  • Fashion Show – embodied by the brights
  • After Party – embodied by the deeps

For anyone who’s ever complained about the tiny size of Essie’s brushes, you can now rejoice: joining the ranks of some of my all-time favourite polish brushes (such as Dior, Guerlain and the new L’Oréal Vernis à L’Huile) the brush in this range has been given an upgrade as well. Wider than before and with rounded yet tapered bristles that splay perfectly along the nail, you need very little pressure to apply product evenly and effectively, making the job so much easier than before.

Essie Gel Couture

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie First View

Essie | Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture brush

Essie | Gel Couture (brush detail)

Essie Sheer Fantasy swatch

Sheer Fantasy | (Atelier) Sheerest baby pink with a hybrid crème-jelly formula that is definitely not meant to be opaque. Glossy, self-levelling and non-patchy, this is the perfect ‘palate cleanser’, and while I actually love the translucent effect at 2 coats, I gave it a third layer here to show the effect.

Coats: 3, thin + top coat


Essie Stitch by Stitch swatch

Stitch By Stitch | (Atelier) A soft bubblegum pink crème hue that applies in a buttery smooth way, showing good flow & coverage that leaves behind a glossy finish. Easy-peasy & oh-so-pretty, no?

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie First View swatch

First View | (Atelier) Cool-leaning baby blue filled with ultra refined prismatic shimmer, in a crème based formula that applies like a dream: even, excellent coverage and glossy at the finish.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie First View macro swatch

Essie Gel Couture | First View (detail)


Essie On The List swatch

On The List | (Fashion Show) A unique soft/hot coral hue in a crème-jelly hybrid formula that is pushing all the right buttons for me. Self-levelling, non-patchy, major colour saturation AND non-staining; this is DEFINITELY the epitome of what a Summer shade should be. Not to mention so much easier (and classier) to wear than neon. LOVE.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Beauty Marked swatch

Beauty Marked | (Fashion Show) A blue-based (cool-leaning) deep cerise red hue in a crème-jelly hybrid formula that has insane colour saturation, flow and coverage even with the very first coat. Self-levelling and über-glossy, it’s also relatively non-staining (for such an intense red), although I’d still suggest a base coat for those with porous nails.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Gala-Vanting swatch

Gala-Canting | (After Party) A deep berry/maroon hue in a crème formula that has hints of a jelly finish, making it not only self-levelling in application, but coming to a glossy finish as well. Beautiful flow & coverage, as well as non-staining upon removal, this shade makes nails look so elegant. BONUS: cloud reflections seen on my nails…proves how crazy glossy these shades are.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Surrounded by Studs swatch

Surrounded By Studs | (After Party) A deep navy that’s chock-full of ultra fine blue & teal shimmer, giving this shade depth and a unique new vibrancy. Self-levelling and with a perfect density-flow-to-coverage ratio, you also have the added bonus of it being non-staining upon removal. Pretty stunning, wouldn’t you agree? Plus it’s edgy without coming off as just plain old black….so much love.

Coats: 2 + top coat


Essie Surrounded by Studs macro swatch

Essie Gel Couture | Surrounded By Studs (detail)


Summed up: every single one of the shades I’ve tried thus far (I have several more in the works to show you) are nothing short of amazing. Essie has absolutely killed it with this new Gel Couture range and I have nothing but the best things to say about these lacquers. From the easy-to-hold bottle to the perfect way the brush fans out across the nail, I’ll agree with my colleague Karen who now calls these “yessie” (PS: check out her amazing swatches of the entire range here – plenty to drool over).

Essie Gel Couture (CAN $13.99) is available now at beauty destinations across Canada


Essie Gel Couture closer



Nail polish loveliness kindly provided/As always, all opinions are my own

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave opener


How do you celebrate a milestone? If you’re Essie, you do it with a glorious and uplifting happy yellow shade, give it a naughty name, then dress up the cap for good measure. Introducing … drumroll … Essie’s 1000th shade (1000 – how crazy is that?), Aim to Misbehave, limited edition and launching May 31 at all Essie retailers.

Essie Aim to Misbehave

I don’t own a lot of yellow shades, and off the top of my head I believe I have only one other Essie yellow, although it doesn’t come anywhere near the flecktastic glory of Aim to Misbehave. Created with Essie’s new ‘pearl technology’, this shade is an celebratory mix of sunshine & egg-yolk yellow that’s then crossed with ultra-bright gold — with a ton of incredibly fine pearly shimmer added for depth and just plain old FUN. It even has a happy, confetti-dotted cap (cute, am I right?). In other words, this little lovely has everything right going for it:

  • stellar formula: self-levelling application, excellent opacity, flow & coverage
  • non-streaky, non-patchy
  • unique and complex colour
  • ultra fine shimmer that lays down smoothly upon the nail
  • non-staining upon removal

All swatches: 2 coats + top coat


Essie Aim to Misbehave macro

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave cap

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration (cap detail)

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 1

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 2

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 3

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration

Essie Aim to Misbehave swatch 4

Essie | Aim to Misbehave, 1000th Shade Celebration


I have to hand it to Essie; they sure now how to get the party started and while yellow (whether it’s nail polish, makeup, or even clothing) is not something I wear all that often (as in basically never), once I applied Aim to Misbehave I literally did not want to take it off. Know why? It makes me happy. It’s crazy fun to look at. It’s so unique. All of the above. Even my Manigeek buddy agrees – this is one awesome shade, and so worth joining one’s collection.

So, spill: are we digging the yellow? let me know!


Essie Aim to Misbehave closer




Product sample kindly provided for my unbiased consideration

Essie | Bridal 2016 Collection

Essie Bridal 2016 opener


What makes the Essie Bridal 2016 Collection so interesting, is not only the fact that this is a colourful group, albeit in a muted & soft kind of way, but that the formula on each shade is really amazing and so easy to work with. Then again, with the way my mind works, the appeal could also be attributed to the rather risqué names; Essie, I didn’t know you had it in you – but I’m totally loving it!


Essie Bridal 2016

Essie | Bridal 2016 Collection

Essie Bridal 2016 macro

Essie | Bridal 2016 Collection

Essie Bridal 2016 2

Essie | Bridal 2016 Collection


Essie Between the Seats swatch

Between the Seats | A greyed-out lilac (dirty lilac?) that gives excellent coverage without streaking, even with the first coat – highly unusual for a shade in this colour group. Self-levelling, glossy and so totally in my white-loving wheelhouse (I’m going to absolutely wear this to death this Summer. Backup-worthy).

Coats: 2, plus top coat


Essie Coming Together swatch

Coming Together | A mid-sheer baby pink crème/hybrid jelly with that plush cushiony look, needing either ‘undies’ or three thin coats to reach full opacity (but it also has that ‘sea-glass’ translucency at 2 coats that I love). Super glossy natural finish.

Coats: 3 (thin), no top coat


Essie Passport to Happiness swatch

Passport to Happiness | Can you even deal with all of this gorgeousness? A milky seafoam green with ultra fine pearly green shimmer in a formula that can’t be beat. You can easily reach full opacity by loading up your brush – application is that effortless. Self-levelling, glossy and with no visible brush strokes at the finish (never mind what the macro swatch shot might show; this appears even to the naked eye). So much LOVE.

Coats: 2, plus top coat

Essie Passport to Happiness swatch macro

Essie | Passport to Happiness (detail), Bridal 2016 Collection


Essie Groom Service swatch

Groom Service | (this name…perfection!) A soft violet/lavender with blueish undertones but it’s a shade that will work on both cool and warm complexions equally. The formula is that crème/jelly hybrid that Essie does so well, with amazing coverage from the first coat (provided your brush is decently loaded up, that is). Glossy, plush, and smoothly applying.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Essie Steal His Name swatch

Steal His Name | A sheerish peachy/pink hue in that same lush crème/jelly hybrid formula, that will definitely need either ‘undies’ or at least 3 coats for opacity. I can see this as the perfect flower girl shade, no? I can also see this as a ‘sandwich-ing’ type of shade (where you apply some type of glitter polish in between two layers). Warm leaning, this is the palest peach I have in my collection and I [surprisingly] absolutely love it!

Coats: 3 (thin), no top coat


Essie Mrs Always-Right swatch

Mrs Always-Right | Certainly can’t argue with this name, that’s for sure! Described as a ‘terracotta rose’, the formula here is nothing short of pure perfection: colour-saturated and with excellent opacity even with the first coat, self-levelling and glossy at the finish. Theres a vintage vibe to this crème hue that really appeals to me, and the best part? Non-staining upon removal. Sidebar note: my very first lipstick was in this shade – a colour I remember my grandmother describing as ‘rotten apple’, which actually sounds a lot better in Greek!

Coats: 2, plus top coat


I’m not always a pastel kind of girl, maybe because past iterations have always left much to be desired application-wise. That being said, Essie has done something to their formula which has basically eliminated that frustrating factor, and I for one couldn’t be happier. This collection surprised me; each and every shade is something I want to wear a lot of. I’m even going to say it here: Passport to Happiness is THE Summer shade and Between the Seats is probably the most unique white I’ve ever worn. Sadly, this is a limited edition collection, so I wouldn’t wait too long to pick up any faves.

The Essie Bridal 2016 Collection is available in salons. Find more info on the brand via

Essie Bridal 2016 closer



Product samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration

Essie | Resort 2016 Collection

Essie Resort 2016 opener


The Essie Resort 2016 Collection has effectively captured the exotic hues of India in just 4 bottles, and then made all that colour so absolutely wearable. With warmer weather within ‘touching distance’, my usual tendency for all shades moody becomes temporarily shelved and I get the urge to sport more vivid hues (I do love a more colourful pedi, especially for the beach. Now I just need to actually get to said beach). After all, one must give the season its proper welcome, wouldn’t you agree?

Essie Resort 2016

Essie | Resort 2016 Collection


Essie Delhi Dance swatch

Delhi Dance | A warm-leaning Barbie/bubblegum pink hue that seems to straddle the border with neon territory, but somehow still manages to stick to a less electric state. There was some patchiness with the first coat but that becomes 100% opaque by the second. Self-Levelling and glossy, this is one of the brighter pinks I’ve ever worn and which I actually love against my skin tone (and I never, EVER wear pink).

Coats: 2, plus top coat


Essie Going Guru swatch

Going Guru | My love of mint green is so totally vindicated by this beauty; vivid without leaning obnoxious, the yellow undertones in the base make this one of the warmer shades in this colour group that I’ve seen. A slightly thinner formula than the rest but which still applies easily & without any pooling at the cuticles, perfect coverage is reached by the second layer. Self-levelling and glossy at the finish to round things off. PS: one of the best names for nail polish EVER.

Coats: 2, plus top coat


Essie Taj-Ma-Haul swatch

Taj-Ma-Haul | Quite possibly one of the most perfectly executed apricot shades I’ve ever come across, there’s also a natural warmth to this hue that will make it so wearable by a broad range of skin tones (the yellow undertone in the base somehow manages to not clash with my skin – sorcery, I tell you). The formula is a crème/jelly hybrid and has the typical bouncy effect you see with this genre, but it also leaves behind a plush, cushiony look along with a super glossy finish.

Coats: 2, plus top coat


Essie Nama-Stay the Night swatch

Nama-Stay The Night | There’s only one way to describe this: OMG. An intensely colour saturated cerulean blue, this shade is perfection in every way: flow, density, coverage, opacity, glossiness, and self-levelling finish. You can basically get away with 1 coat – it’s THAT pigmented, but 2 give it a more lustrous tone. Bonus: non staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, plus top coat


To summarize: Essie has basically killed it with this Resort 2016 Collection. For those looking to wear a bit more colour but who tend to shy away from anything overly-bright, then look no further. My favourites have got to be Going Guru and Nama-Stay The Night, although Taj-Ma-Haul is speaking to me quite strongly as well. I’m even planning on wearing the heck out of Delhi Dance as a pedi choice once sandal season hits. One last thing: this cozy collection has THE BEST NAMES ever!

The Essie Resort 2016 Collection will be available as of March 29th at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix stores, spas and salons across Canada. Find more information on the range via

Essie Resort 2016 closer



Press samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration

Essie | Winter & Luxe Effects 2015 Collections

Essie Winter & Luxe Effects 2015 opener


Back in August, I was privileged to have been given both the Winter 2015 and Luxe Effects 2015 collections but as we were still in the grip of summertime heat, I was in no position to really appreciate the inspiration behind these shades. Fast forward to right now with winter fully upon us, and I’m totally loving these beauties. Yes, I like to be seasonally appropriate that way. Sometimes.

With the bottles of both collections arrayed in front of me, I was inspired to create a combination post, and something about the tones of the Luxe Effects shades made it so easy, helping to make my limited nail art skills appear that much more intricate. As a self-professed colour-purist (and mega glitter-avoider), no one was more surprised than me to find how much FUN I had. It might be time for me to rethink my stance on glitter.


Essie Luxe Effects 2015

Essie | Luxe Effects 2015 Collection


Essie Peak Show swatch

Peak Show | A white-based icy pink crème hue in a formula that shows good density and flow. Since the first coat will probably be a touch patchy, I suggest 3 thin layers for a perfectly even & opaque finish. Confession: this is my absolutely fave way to wear pink (and yes, I’m somewhat obsessed with any variation of white nail polish).

Coats: 3 (thin) plus top coat


Essie Virgin Snow swatch

Virgin Snow | If clouds had a baby with lilacs, this is the colour they’d produce (as weird as that sounds, I stand by it). A similar formula to Peak Show but with better opacity, this is is a blue-leaning baby lilac hue with grey undertones – the entire combination seeming somehow muddied up, and just so.damn.beautiful. It’s really like looking at a twilit sky reflecting on pristine snow (totally waxing poetic here). Love x billion for this shade.

Coats: 2 plus top coat


Essie Frilling Me Softly swatch

Frilling Me Softly | (over Virgin Snow) A clear base filled with silver bar and hexagonal glitter pieces (small, medium & large). As each brush stroke pulls out quite a healthy scoop of glitter, there’s no fishing around needed, although you may need to nudge some bar glitter into place if it passes the nail’s free edge. Of course, I just had to mattify things as well – which is in fact my fave way of wearing glitter, as a matte coat makes everything look more modern and makes any glitter pieces stand out uniquely.

Coats: 1 (no top coat)

Essie Frilling Me Softly swatch matte

Essie | Frilling Me Softly over Virgin Snow (matte)


Essie Altitude Attitude swatch

Altitude Attitude | A colour-saturated watermelon red hue with magenta undertones in a crème-jelly hybrid formula. Amazing flow & density, making application a breeze and leaves behind an über-glossy finish that really doesn’t even need top coat (see the difference: my ring finger has no top coat added). As there is a stain potential, don’t skip on base coat first.

Coats: 2 plus top coat (except ring finger)


Essie Tassel Shaker swatch

Tassel Shaker | (over Altitude Attitude) A clear base filled with copper, gold and bronze fine bar glitter strands. There’s a good amount of glitter per brush stroke to provide good coverage, without any extra fishing needed. Something about these Luxe Effects shades inspire me and I couldn’t help but play; as seen in the above swatch, it’s quite easy to create number of looks with Tassel Shaker, from dots (which wound up looking like stars due to the bar glitter – a happy coincidence), stripes, all over application, or just on the tips for a shimmery touch. If I can do it, anyone can.


Essie Haute Tub swatch

Haute Tub | A mid-sheer blackened base hue filled with multi-chrome ultra fine shimmer (predominantly magenta-coloured, but with flashes bronze, green, purple and blue seen at some angles). The hybrid crème-jelly formula leans on the thick side but is still very easy to work with (and has the benefit of not pooling into cuticles or along nail sides), falling in a self-levelling way and finishing up glossy. Bonus: non-staining upon removal. I couldn’t resist adding a matte top coat to see what effect I’d get (so much love for this finish), then even played around with some free-hand nail art via a flashy silver tip using Apres-Chic.

Coats: 2 plus top coat (as well as matte top coat)

Essie Haute Tub swatch 2

Essie | Haute Tub (in direct sunlight)

Essie Haute Tub swatch matte

Essie | Haute Tub (matte)

Essie Haute Tub swatch nail art

Essie | Haute Tub with Apres-Chic on tips


Essie Apres-Chic swatch

Apres-Chic | A white-based metallic silver in one of the best formulas to date that I’ve come across for this type of polish. Naturally, a steady hand is needed to avoid any potential visible brush strokes but the formula seems to level things out as it dries, turning it quite even-looking all on its own. Like newly-forged steel (makes me think of sword blades), the brilliance can be blinding in direct light – so gorgeous, and really doesn’t benefit from added top coat (except for protection purposes). There will probably be some shimmer spread upon removal, so be warned (but who cares – the finish makes it worth the effort). Bonus: this makes an excellent nail art shade as well – think: silver gradient tips.

Coats: 2 plus top coat (except ring finger)


Essie Fringe Factor swatch

Fringe Factor | (over Apres-Chic) A clear base filled with plum bar glitter. The formula here was the thickest of the four Luxe Effects and while it worked in my favour to create this ombré look, you’ll probably need to go in with a couple of coats for allover coverage. For the above look and working backwards (from the tip up), I applied the first coat, concentrating more along the edge. A second coat of glitter was again added to just the edge and spread out (more like’ shmooshed’ out using the brush), with everything topped off by a layer of top coat which smooths things out and covers any demarcation lines.

Essie Fringe Factor swatch macro

Essie | Fringe Factor over Apres-Chic (macro)


Essie Shall We Chalet swatch

Shall We Chalet? | One word: SPECTACULAR. Yes, it’s a red and we all have about a zillion reds in our stash, but this blue-based hue is still amazing regardless. A hybrid crème/jelly formula, this colour-drenched shade applies in a completely self-levelling way and finishes up with a mirror-like glossy shine (once again, ring finger is left bare of top coat to show how intense the gloss truly is). Any staining potential is quite low, but I wouldn’t skip on base coat just the same.

Coats: 2 plus top coat (except ring finger)


Essie Fashion Flares swatch

Fashion Flares | (over Shall We Chalet?) A clear base filled with metallic magenta bar glitter as well as black hexagonal glitter (small, medium & large). Let me begin by saying that I was blown away with Fashion Flares on so many levels: application was superb with good coverage by even the first coat, and I became slightly obsessed with the textured & multi-level effect it gives to nails. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, the matte layer  I added for the last swatch, took things up several notches and really made the glitter pattern stand out in a stylized artistic way. Just, WOW.

Coats: 2 plus top coat, and matte top coat added last.

Essie Fashion Flares swatch matte

Essie | Fashion Flares over Shall We Chalet? (matte)


With the spring collections about to make their debut all over counters, there’s thankfully still time to scoop up any (or all) of these shades. Essie’s entire Winter 2015 Collection is a big hit for me, with absolutely zero duds in the bunch. Peak Show and Virgin Snow are absolutely breathtaking and will be still wearable once the warmer weather hits, while both Haute Tub (don’t you just love that name?) and Apres-Chic each have a totally unique appeal. Even the two red shades have their merits, although if forced to pick one, I’d say that Shall We Chalet? is well worth adding to your stash. The bar glitter of Luxe Effects may not be everyone’s cup of tea (I’ve never been a big fan … until now), but there’s no denying how much interest they can add to your existing mani – and you don’t even need to go all out; a simple accent nail will do. See? Fun & easy-peasy.

Essie’s Winter 2015 and Luxe Effects 2015 Collections are available in drugstores, salons, and other beauty destinations and retail for CAN $9.99 each. Find more information via


Essie Winter & Luxe Effects 2015 closer



Product samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration