Where I live, I can purchase Essie nail polishes anywhere between $8 and $12 CDN, unless they're on sale. A lot of places are carrying Essie now - WalMart, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, etc. so they're not quite as hard to find anymore.
I have heard rave reviews of Essie polishes from many YouTube gurus and beauty bloggers, so I definitely felt the push to go try some out.
About a year ago, I picked up Essie's Spaghetti Strap which is a light peachy pink creme. In the bottle, it looks more pigmented than it is on your nails. It takes upwards of 4 or 5 coats before this is even remotely opaque. I hate seeing my nail tips under a nail polish, and with 4 coats, they're still peeking through the polish - that's why I'd only wear this on short nails. But, as the light pink base coat of a french manicure, it works really well. You have to be very careful with this polish too, as it is very easy for the polish to leave streak marks.
|Essie Spaghetti Strap|
My next Essie purchase was Turquoise and Caicos, a minty turquoise green creme. After applying to my nails, it appeared more 'dirty' in color than it did in the bottle - almost more turquoise-y army green. I definitely did not love it. Once again, it was very sheer in the first two applications and took three or more coats to achieve an opaque finish. I was disappointed because this polish was also very streaky - a very precise and methodical application was needed to avoid the very obvious streak-marks that inevitably showed up after drying. I gave this one to my sister after my first try with it... blech.
|Essie Turquoise and Caicos|
Third time's the charm, right!? Definitely in this case. Essie's Aruba Blue was my third purchase. A very pigmented royal, almost cerulean, blue. This was the first polish I'd purchased of Essie's to have shimmer in it, as the first two were cremes. In two coats, I achieve my desired opacity, and... no streak marks!! This is one color I continually rediscover every so often, and I absolutely adore wearing this on my toes.
|Essie Aruba Blue|
After my good experience with my third purchase, I decided to dip my toe in again. My fourth and final Essie polish purchase was Buy Me A Cameo, which is a frosty satin champagne camel-esque brown. It's very sheer - and takes about three thick coats to achieve a decent opacity. This polish streaks like crazy. Because of the frosty satin-esque finish, streak marks are incredibly visible upon drying. Besides that, it's so sheer, I can see my nail tips through it, and the shade of the polish is not very flattering on my pale white skin.
|Essie Buy Me A Cameo|
Overall, I'm thoroughly unimpressed with Essie nail polishes. As a general rule of thumb they are incredibly sheer, streak-mania, and overpriced. They have a decent range of color selection - but I find most of the colors to be very indiscriminant in their differences and variation. The reds are all very alike, the pinks are all very alike, etc. Many of the colors are weak in their pigmentation and color payoff.
A common characteristic among all of the nail polishes I've tried from Essie are that they take an incredibly long time to dry. I need to give each coat about ten minutes to dry - and then after I've applied as many coats as I want, I need to give it an additional thirty minutes to set and harden. This makes it an incredibly difficult polish to work with, and virtually impossible to use in a hurry.
To be dropping ten or eleven dollars on a bottle of sheer, streaky polish is unacceptable in my opinion. That's not to say that Essie doesn't have some great polishes like Aruba Blue, it's just to say that there are a lot more misses than hits. Unless you know for a fact that the color is going to be opaque and non-streaky, snatch it up when you have a chance, otherwise, stay away from just grabbing an Essie polish on a whim. You may end up wasting ten or eleven bucks.
Overall, I rate Essie polishes a mere 3 out of 5. Maybe one day I'll be better impressed.
* * *
What do you think about Essie polishes? Are they worth the money? Which colors would you recommend?