Though I may be having a bit of a moment right now for Nails Inc and the new Barry M Speedy Quick Dry range – but more on that another day – the bulk of my nail polish stash is made up of Essie. I’d stay it can be split right down the middle; half Essie and half grey/mauve/nude/the odd red polishes from other brands. I can’t quite put my finger on why I dig the brand so much but I guess (cute bottles aside) it’s the fact that the range is mostly shimmer-free and the limited edition colours that are added each season are always so on point. There’s a very large red and nude contingent and when there is a daring shade added into things it’s always in the most tasteful, ‘you know what? I’d actually wear that‘ way. I thought I’d try and narrow it down to my favourites as a bit of an intro to Essie if you need a bit of inspiration for your shopping list. I started trying to condense it down into five, but ended up with 10 and I’m pretty proud of myself for that. It was hard man. So in no particular order…
1. Essie Nail Polish in Absolutely Shore. Now I was tempted to stick Mint Candy Apple in here, but actually I prefer this parred back version of mint. It’s a three coat jobbie and is not part of the diffusion range so you’ll have to root around online to find it, but it’s well worth the digging.
2. Essie Nail Polish in Topless & Barefoot. I have a strong emotional connection to this nail polish as it’s the one I wore on my Graduation Day and even though there are a tonne of pinks and nudes in the Essie range, this one is my favourite as it’s got an opaqueness in there and a pretty pinky-take on beige.
3. Essie Nail Polish in Lady Like. Another one like the two above that’s not part of the diffusion range and takes three coats to layer up, but I like this shade because although it doesn’t look particularly unique, I don’t really have anything else like this. A true mauve nude.
4. Essie Nail Polish in Master Plan. The prettiest grey I have. There’s a bit of purple in there that stops things looking too murky and is one that I like to pair up with a glitter nail or two during the festive season. A good ‘I’m in an indecisive mood and have no idea what colour to use’ polish as it goes with everything.
5. Essie Nail Polish in Merino Cool. This one is my favourite purple and is about as purple as I ever intend to get with my nails. I think they call it a ‘Mulberry’ online, but it’s a pretty grey-ish polish that doesn’t read too colourful. Again, as with the above we’re back into readily available diffusion line shades and thankfully wide-set brushes. Whoop.
6. Essie Nail Polish in Maximillianstrasse-Her. The latest addition to my favourites, but I think I love this shade so much because I can while away time just staring at it and trying to pinpoint the exact colour. Is it a grey? Or blue? Or green? I honestly have no idea, but whatever it is it makes a nice alternative to baby pastels.
7. Essie Nail Polish in After School Boy Blazer. I never thought I’d be one for navy on my nails, but this shade is such a pretty one to wear in the cooler months. It’s very dark which makes it look black in some lights, but I love that whole ‘is it black or is it blue?’ thing that happens when you paint this on.
8. Essie Nail Polish in Solemate. My go-to deep red. This is one that transforms with each layer. One layer gives a light wash of wine, but two or three and things start to get pretty deep. When layered it’s a bit like the aforementioned in that it can look black, but there’s always a hint of red just visible.
9. Essie Nail Polish in Aperitif. My go-to red red. It’s kind of warm red I guess – a cherry red. The best thing about this is that if I’m a bit overzealous in my application I can get this pretty much as opaque as I want it in just one coat. A great one to throw on as you’re walking out the door.
10. Essie Nail Polish in Meet Me At Sunset. This is the one I reach for when I want a summer take on red. It’s an orange-laced rouge and adds a bit of brightness to my digits. A fab one for toes too. And on that mental note…