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ALU’s 365 of Untrieds – Essence Pool Party

By on April 14, 2011
in 365 of Untrieds, Essence, Turquoise
essence pool party nail polish bottle 365 untrieds 365 of Untrieds is my personal challenge to weed through the polishes in the ALU stash that I’ve been wanting to try but just haven’t gotten around to.

Have you ever spotted a nail polish line that is so inexpensive you can only assume that it has to be a waste of money?  Well, that’s what I thought the first time I heard of the Essence Colour & Go line carried at ULTA.  I mean, how great can a nail polish be when it’s priced UNDER A DOLLAR?!?

Well, I finally bit the bullet and decided to order some colors from the line last Summer but even after they arrived, the bottles looked so cheap and tiny that I felt no immediate need to try them.  Today I put this budget brand to the test when I took Essence Pool Party for a spin.

Formula & Application: Essence Colour & Go nail polish is 4-Free. For a full ingredient list, visit  The bottles are small and round with a sizable smooth, plastic cap.  The brushes are wide, flat and long considering the bottle size.  The bristles are somewhat stiff (think MAC) which can lead to some dragging so use a light touch.

The polish itself isn’t that pigmented but it builds nicely.  I used three coats of Pool Party to achieve full opacity but given the price point, it’s not something I will complain about.  In fact, if you consider how inexpensive the brand is, the formula proves the whole “you get what you pay for” adage wrong.  This particular polish applied very well and dried with a high level of glossiness.

Essence Pool Party is so much more vivid in person.  The actual color must not be “web safe” as it uploaded much lighter and more washed out than it appears in real life.  If you think of what a turquoise swimming pool liner does to the water, you have a good idea of what Pool Party really looks like.   It’s pretty fantastical and I REALLY don’t want to take it off tomorrow.  I’m absolutely mesmerized. The silver micro-glitter floating throughout is apparent but not over-the-top.

essence pool party swatch nail polish 365 untrieds

Bottom Line: Consider me impressed.  If Pool Party is an indication of how the entire Essence line performs than sign me up for the fan club.  I’m a smitten kitten and can’t wait to try some more colors from the line.  For a buck can you really resist trying it for yourself.

365 of Untrieds Stash/Share Verdict: Not only will I STASH it but I’m considering buying a backup.

Essence Colour & Go nail polishes are available at ULTA stores nationwide, availability can vary, and online at  Essence nail polishes retail for 99¢ and some are on sale for 49¢ for a .1oz bottle.

Have you tried Essence polishes before?  Thoughts on the line?  What are your favorite colors?  What do you think of Pool Party?  What other budget lines do you think buck the “you get what you pay for” concept?

Disclosure: I purchased Essence Pool Party.  For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 42 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Meghan says:

    Love it!!! I’m going to have to get this beaut, I have a “thing” for light blues, especially ones with beautiful shimmer!

  2. Catherine says:

    WOW!! You found a true treasure! Cheap AND stunning??!? I want in on the fan club as well, and I’ve never even tried them! Lol

  3. PinkStar26 says:

    I love this color! It reminds me of Zoya Phoebe’s glittery, shimmery cousin. :)

    And I love the 365 of Untrieds posts! Keep up the great work.

  4. Tawny says:

    oooooohhh. this is nice indeed!

  5. Jessi says:

    I love Essence’s polishes. Their other cosmetics are actually pretty good also, better than most drugstore brands. I don’t they have anything over like 5 bucks.

  6. I love Essence! There are some gorgeous shades that are one coater (usually the cream shades) and they are long lasting! They do have some basic colours that I would go for instead of spending 20x more on a premium brand for a very similar shade. I’m more precious about premium brands where I prefer to invest on colours that I wouldn’t be able to get in Catrice or Essence.
    Catrice also has great shades for brilliant prices!

  7. Rea says:

    Essence really is a common brand here and I totally remember the time where those essence polishes were absolutely UNUSABLE because of its thickness and non-drying formula (you could spend hours and the polish didn’t dry). Well, they’re okay now but considering they aren’t that cheap actually (you just get 5ml for 1,25

    • Rea says:

      “they’re both carry”? Oh well whatever, let’s go back to bed… X_X

    • Kate & Zena says:

      5ml is .16 oz (which is the bottle above. Essence just puts one number on the US ones) so it’s basically the same size. You just need to convert.

      I wouldn’t say that Essence is expensive in Germany though. It’s .99 WITHOUT tax here in the states (every state sets its own tax for things like this. Where I live it’s 7%. That’s $1.06 w/tax); in Germany–converted into US dollars–it’s $1.08, two pennies more than what I pay and I know that price is already with tax. For the quality she’s saying, that’s a steal to an American!

  8. Jennifer says:

    That’s a steal…and 4-free, too. Color me impressed.

  9. I love Essence polishes, here in Italy it’s hard to find something with that quality/price ratio. Thanks to this brand we had the opportunity to try something different in terms of color (they released a couple of stunning greens in the “Multidimension” line, which is 8ml@1,99

  10. Ylva says:

    I realy do love the Essence polishes. With a good top- and basecoat they hold up pretty good and the colours are realy cool, especially for the price.

    If you can get them in the US, some of the new Nail Art Effect Toppers (I think, that’s what they are called) are very cool. Mystic Mermaid, for example. It’s a silver shimmer with torquoise and pink duochrome-y reflecks. Very pretty over a LOT of colours.

    There are two more german drugstore brands which make amazing polishes, one is Catrice (which is manufactured by the same company as Essence) and P2. I am currently wearing Catrice Sold out Forever and I love it (It’s a rather nice dupe for Chanel Jade :) )

  11. TropicalChrome says:

    I have Pool Party too, and yes, it is all that. I have two other Essence polishes from their latest collection – Fairy Berry and Humpty Dumpty – and not only did they apply well and sparkle like crazy, they wore like iron. I had Fairy Berry on my toes for three weeks with almost no wear. (To be fair, it is still shoe season here, so it’s not as hard as summer on the feet!)

    Essence is at the top of my list these days.

  12. blusherine says:

    Yay, I love the fact that you featured an Essence nail polish!

  13. Missa says:

    I’ve never bothered to check out Essence products until I read many good feedbacks on their nail polishes. I decided to give them a try – I was impressed. I don’t have Pool Party though… hopefully I can still find it.

  14. Laura says:

    I didn’t even know you can buy essence outside of Europe. It’s one of brands I can actually afford in Germany (a bottle of OPI for example costs 23$) and you can buy it pretty much everywhere here.

    Last week I wore “Lime Up!” which was still perfect after 2 1/2 days (then I lost a battle with a net made of wire^^). I’d also recommend “Choose Me!”. It looks great and is really robust.

  15. Michelle says:

    YAAY! Finally a color I can buy, I live in Germany ;)

  16. Most of the times, you pay the brand, not the product.
    I think that in nailpolish world, high (or even good) quality does not always necessarily mean a high price, and beside special pigments/ingredients, nailpolish is a pretty cheap product.

  17. Shaina says:

    It’s gorgeous! All Essence Color and Go polishes are this amazing quality! The formula is pretty good for under a buck. I just wish they had a bigger color range!

  18. love4lacquer says:

    Hmm..I wonder though since the bottles are tiny and you need three coats that must run out faster (if ever you run out a polish lol)

    Still really pretty colour :)

  19. Sonja says:

    This is so funny! I live in the Netherlands and everybody here is obsessed with Essence and their nailpolishes. They’ve actually improved their formula a while ago and the nailpolishes are now more opaque than ever. They have a great lime green called ‘lime up!’
    This nailpolish was actually one of the very first nailpolishes I ever had, and I still have the same bottle :D

  20. Kelsey says:

    I bought one of these a while ago because, hey, it was $1. After using it though I went back and got several more. They have great colors–the lavendar is BEAUTIFUL–and they last for a surprisingly long time. I love these polishes!

  21. Barbara says:

    I seriously love Essence nailpolishes! I have “no more drama” on right now, it’s a pretty lilac colour which only needs two coats for absolute opacity. ;) Where I live in Germany, Essence nailpolishes are pretty much the cheapest I can get around here and yet they’re so good! Love them! I don’t think I’ll try Pool Party though, I’m not that into bright blue nailpolish. It looks lovely on you, but for me personally it would just be a little too bright.

  22. sara says:

    I don’t think I have that one, but I bought a bunch of the Essence polishes when Ulta finally opened in Columbus because it was a cheap way for me to get pink polish for Mara (I don’t have too many pinks in my collection and my 4 year old is quite the girly girl!). I’m totally going to have to pick this one up though. I’m a sucker for a pretty blue polish!!

  23. monique r says:

    I’m enjoying this series SO MUCH!!!

    And really enjoying that you stash most of them!! LOL!

  24. Peikko says:

    Choose me is an awesome color too

  25. Kitty says:

    I didn’t see this the last time I was there. I gotta hit another ULTA up. I’ve been looking for this for a while now.

  26. Arrianne says:

    Hmm, I’m the opposite. When I see a polish brand so cheap I think to myself, “Hey, this is so cheap even if it does suck I only spent 99 cents!” Something along those lines. Is this wrong? ;)

  27. Iris says:

    I always get butterflies when you review a polish I already own and love, it makes me feel supercool. :)
    I’m a big fan of the Essence line, their creme colors go on in one or two coats and they have a neat range of colors. I keep their medium-warm purple in heavy rotation.

  28. Steffi says:

    Have this colour on right now. LOVE it!

  29. Here in Belgium, Essence is a common brand and I do like it. They have a lot of fun colors and they are super cheap!
    For some cheap (and good) nailpolish, you could check out Catrice.

  30. Karina says:

    Yes, this color is phenomenal! Buying a backup is not a bad idea!

  31. Rebecca says:

    Such a pretty color! I’ve never tried Essence before and after your review, I think I’m gonna have to. I’m loving this 365 Days of Untrieds project btw! :)

  32. Karen says:

    Pretty blue and I like the touch of glitter. I’ve never heard of this brand sp I’ll look out for it. If looking for cheap, try Saffron of London, they have to die fir glitters that are on the jelly side. I have a blue, pink & a gold to try this week. All 3 bought for

  33. Jo says:

    Beautiful! Again, loving your 365 untrieds series :)

  34. Jill says:

    I love it! I must check these out next time I go to ULTA. If it’s only $1, I won’t feel as guilty as buying nail polish. My boyfriend doesn’t understand my hobby of collecting haha. Also I looked up some Essence swatches and the color Choose Me! looks exactly like Zoya Charla and OPI- Catch me in Your Net.

  35. Tams says:

    Ummmmmm I always look at the essence colors at Ulta but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this…surely I would have bought it already!!

  36. Tia says:

    WOW!!! I’m definitely buying this on my next trip to ULTA. Its so cheap and the color is so pretty!

  37. Kat says:

    Okay so I live in Seoul, South Korea and there are these super cheap nail polishes that really don’t have a brand because they’re sold from the make up store with no labels and no names, but they’re amazing. They go on really well and stay on for a super long time.

    Btw the color is amazing!

  38. Rachel says:

    This was the first ever Essence polish that I purchased. It’s so pretty! And really unique, too; can’t say I’ve seen a color quite like it ever since. When I first wore it, I could NOT stop looking at my nails.

    Good post :)