Essie Starter Kit

Just a quick open and close of my nail polish drawer reveals a new level of ridiculousness. Let’s just say I own way more polishes than I do nails, have upteen shades that fit the sheer pink category and posses all the cult favourites from Essie. It’s not a proud moment. But when it comes to nail lacquer I just can’t help myself, there’s something about the feeling of an at home mani with a new colour to luxe-up your outfit – I think I need to take some of my own advice, Beauty Spring Clean anyone? However in reality only a small selection enter my everyday polish rotation and my Essie-centric collection got me thinking whether I could whittle it down to a mere ‘Starter Kit-esque’ edit. And you know what with some careful colour deduction, I just about can…

My thinking behind these four choices were that every gal needs a pink, red, a slightly dirty nude and a fruity choice to see her through the nail polish cycle. Starting from the left allow me to introduce Merino Cool, a shade that I will recommend to anyone if they allow me to gas on about polish for long enough. It fits the ‘dirty, grey, heather, murky neutral’ category perfectly (that category exists, right?), and has been a bit of a go-to colour for myself over the past few years. Then to fill the sheer pink bill, Ballet Slippers is the ultimate. A milky white-based pink that looks just as chic on the nails with one coat as it does three. For occasions when you’re feeling a little experimental and a shade that looks especially good when the sun finally decides to make an appearance is Mint Candy Apple. Easily the most blabbed about shade from Essie’s offering and one that will have you peering down at your pinkies all day. Aperitif is what I like to call my ‘one-stop-red’, even just a single layer on the nail of this cherry rouge will have you sorted. The only red you need, and that’s sayin’ somethin’.

So there you have it – my top pickings of those white-lidded cuties for any Essie virgins out there and a nice beginners quad for you. Now I’m off to heed my own advice and get rifling through my own stash. I’m not quite sure how I can justify my possession of five pink glitter polishes…


  • Mzelle-mara

    I love these 4 colours ! Great choices !

    • Thanks! :) 

  • I love Essie, great choices, but i dislike Ballet slippers. I sold mine as i found it very streaky.
    Jules x

    • Have you got the one from the diffusion line with the wider brush – it applies so much better :) 

  • I adore Essie nail polish! My collection is still only in the tiny phase though :) 

    • Ah hopefully this will come in handy for you then! :) 

  • Great edit, this must have been so hard to narrow it down! I might have to pick up Aperitif soon, I don’t actually own a classic red like it …. Totally justified.


    • Haha it was!!! ;) 

  • Liora Tamam

    I now own so many essie nail polishes due to all your essie posts…and this one could lead to one more uhoh! xx

    • Haha apologies for that 😉

  • Amanda M Lowe

    Ooooh film a ” what I’m getting rid of” video?

    • Have a look at my disappointing products video – that’s what that basically is :) 

  • Elle

    Love this post, Essie is by far my favourite nail polish brand, especially the diffusion line. Fifth avenue is my go to bright red, Tart Deco when the sun – as you say – finally makes an appearance and Fiji when I want a lovely but ever so slightly tacky/jersey shore nude. Ha!


    • Oooooo I LOVE Fiji! Slightly tacky but who cares :) 

  • Georgia smith

    I only own ‘adore-a-ball’ and the amazing base coat but I’m always lusting over the Essie stand in my local boots. I won’t allow myself to buy anymore until I clear out my polish drawer!
    Georgia x

    • Haha good girl :) 

  • Ι Love Essie so much!!! Great shades!!
    Merino Cool is must have!!

    • It really is – I wear it so much! 🙂

  • I think I can safely blame you for my love of Essie! I wasn’t too interested then all of a sudden I was in love!  Ballet Slippers really is a perfect pink neutral and Mademoiselle is nice layered over the top of it. I still don’t own Mint Candy Apple though, think I need to change that!

    • Ooo love Mademoiselle over my other nudes :) 

  • Sian Lacey

    My love for Essie just keeps on growing and I say help it grow even more! Essie are gorgeous! Defiantly need some shades for Spring!! xxx

    • Looking forward to seeing what shades they bring out for Spring :) 

  • Holly_skelton

    I love Essie but I think there are much nicer colours than the ones in this set! Holly xx

    • Ooo what shades would you have picked? :) 

  • Procrast1nato2

    Fishnet Stockings or Limited Addiction are my favourite reds from Essie.  I need to check out some of the murky, taupe-y grays in her collection!

    • Love Limited Addiction – just wish it wasn’t limited edition! :) 

  • Katie Hello

    I love Ballet Slippers, I’m wearing Navigate Her on my nails right now!
    Katie xx

    • Love that shade, it’s been on my wishlist for so long :) 

  • I always have a silly idea that colours in a set need to match in someway, but this is such a coherent little group! A varnish for any occassion, and whittled down to just 4. Love Merino Cool and Ballet Slippers is SO cute!

    • Ah thanks!!! :) 

  • Lulu

    I can’t believe I still haven’t tested out Essie polishes yet as like you I have milllllions and they’re always recommended!!

    Lulu – xx

    • Hopefully this will be a good starting point for you :) 

  • Millie

    Great post !! I love Mint Candy Apple it’s one of my all time favorite Essie polishes!! 🙂 ♥

    • Thanks hun! :) 

  • Katie Fawcett

    Love Mint Candy Apple! You started my essie obsession, so I blame you for my nail box not closing ha

    Katie xo

    • Haha oh gawd it doesn’t close? I’m sorry 😉

  • Pippa Jones

    Love these colour, i dont have essie polishes my self but this post has changed my mind about them, i really want to give them a go. Really pretty neutral colours! Good choice!

    Pipp xx

    • Ah thanks hun – glad you like the edit :) 

  • Kelly Westra

    I love the way you write, it’s so nice and witty. You however did make me feel guilty about my nail polish stash.

    • Haha thank you! And there ain’t nothing wrong with having a big stash! 

  • …And today the ultimate post was born.  I have but one Essie polish (Sugar Daddy, a sheer pink go figure!), and have been meaning to pick up another, but I never know where to begin, because to say the Essie polish collection is overwhelming is well, a bit of an understatement! x

    • Well this comment made me laugh! Hope this is a good starting point for you :) 

  • Maddy Cane

    You should do a Blog Sale!!!!! xxxx

    • Ah all my leftovers go to my mates, not sure they’d be too happy about that :) 

  • Diane

    Hands down Anna- this is one of your best posts ever. I have yet to purchase an Essie so this post comes in really handy. As always you’ve churn out another fab must read post.Thanks for the Essie edit. 🙂 PS I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference.

    • Ah thank you hun! Glad you liked it :) 

  • Sarah

    I have the same polish addiction but I found that sometimes I will pass on or throw out a shade and then sometime later see it on someone and want it again … So I’m extra cautious these days as to what I toss out … Brilliant post as always

    • Haha I do that too! My mate was wearing Nails Inc Victoria the other day that I gave her and I had a ‘darn it’ moment! :) 

  • Emma Stanworth

    As an Essie virgin myself  whose always wanted to try one (£8 for a single nail polish!!), but never knew which one to get – I will definately be trying all of these! 

    • Ah brilliant – glad it came in handy :) 

  • Emilie Garnes

    Oh as always, your blog always entertain me! Once again a well written and fun post, and I will have to go have a look at merino cool and ballet slippers I believe.. You do seem to love them and I do trust your taste, so off to boots it is! Love Em xx

    • Thanks Em!! 🙂

  • Woops.. I just gave my Candy Mint Apple away in a secret Twitter santa package.. Don’t make me regret this 🙂

    • Haha well that’s very nice of you indeed :) 

  • Amy Luff

    Oooo aperitif is so pretty, can never resist another red polish! x

    • It’s a stunner! :) 

  •  Candy Mint Apple is without a doubt my favourite Essie colour, it looks good on every skintone, age and best of all it works in all seasons, love it 🙂

    • Agreed! :) 

  • Laurathroughthelens

    Ballet Slippers is my favorite  (:

    • My favourite sheer pink :) 

  • katherine.parkes

    you’ve now added Merino Cool to my want list! x

    • It’s a gorgeous shade! 🙂

  • Hellokimmy11

    I am almost ashamed to admit I own all of these shades and about two boxes more from Essie. You have perfect taste when it comes to the must-have nail shades!

    • Thanks! That sounds like an amazing collection!!!! :) 

  • Rebecca

    Haha I’m with you in saying that our nail polish collection is ridiculous!! I’ve wanted Mint Candy Apple for a  while now… I think this post may have just pushed me over the edge.. Love posts like this!

  • yesss i definitely agree with your picks, anna. i’m always so scared to wear cool colours though (i don’t know why), i’m definitely more of a nude gal. x

  • Got all 3 apart from Apprentive as I already own loads of reds. Great idea 🙂 x

  • Ahhhhhh must refrain from popping into Boots and drooling at the Essie stand. Must wait for payday! X

  • Georgia Palmer

    Laughing at the phrase “dirty nude” clearly shows my mental age…! These are great selections though, especially loving Mint Candy Apple and Aperitif. 🙂

  • Excellent post! I love Essies, Mint Candy Apple seems to receive a frosty reception from many thanks to its rather thick formula and ease of chipping but I love the colour enough to forgive. I’m always temped by Ballet Slippers but reviews seem mixed, I really can’t get on with polishes that require two coats.