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ALU’s 365 of Untrieds – Essie Smokin’ Hot

By on May 8, 2011
in 365 of Untrieds, Essie
essie-smokin-hot-nail-polish-winter-2010-365-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.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope your loved ones were good to you today.

So I think all the pinkness of Chanel Morning Rose sent me screaming back to the dark side. You see, after swatching Mattese Attitude yesterday I put Morning Rose BACK ON to wear to a Cinco de Mayo party last night. That’s how into it I am. Then this morning I woke up, a wee bit hungover, and all that sweet carnation pink staring back at me was too much. I needed to put on something the complete opposite which led me to Essie Smokin’ Hot.

Smokin’ Hot was released with the Essie Winter 2010 Collection and I think at the time I was feeling so inundated by the amount of funky greys and taupes on the market that this one kind of flew under the radar. Well today it was exactly what the nail doctor ordered.

Formula & Application: Essie is a 3-Free brand. The square bottles are embossed with the essie logo and the smooth plastic caps include an embossed e on top. The brushes are thin, round and shorter than most. The bristles are very flexible, allowing you to easily fan out the brush to cover your nail width.

Smokin’ Hot has that typical squishy texture that I’ve come to expect from Essie.  That jelly-ish consitency that makes application a breeze even though doesn’t exactly pay off in the pigmentation department.  If I would have gotten a little heavier with my coats I probably could have gotten away with two but I opted for three thin coats instead.  After all, the thinner the coats the less likely you are to chip. The finish was so glossy that I really didn’t need a top coat but I applied one anyway just to make sure it dried quickly.

Essie Smokin’ Hot is a dark purple tinged charcoal grey creme.  It falls into the same category as Chanel Paradoxal, Models Own Purple Grey and Zoya Kelly. You know that new crop of unusual neutrals that you can’t exactly describe. I think that’s why I love these type of shades so much.  Even in spite of how many have come out in the past year. Any shade you can’t truly classify with a standard Crayola crayon color is intriguing to me.

essie smokin hot swatch from the essie winter 2010 nail polish collection

Speaking of Zoya Kelly, I did a little side-by-side comparison for those of you debating between the colors or looking to avoid dupes. As you can see Kelly is more cool blue to it whereas Smokin’ Hot has more warmth with its purple base.

essie smokin hot comparison swatch with zoya kelly nail polish

Bottom Line: Smokin’ Hot is definitely a winner in the edgy neutrals category. It’s dark but not too dark, like a blackened mauve, and really flattering. I wish there was more pigment to it but that’s just the nature of Essie polish. The application rocks but the pigmentation doesn’t quite hit the mark.

365 of Untrieds Stash/Share Verdict: This one will live to see another day in my STASH.

Essie Smokin’ Hot is unfortunately not readily available. The Winter 2010 Collection was Limited Edition so you’ll have to track this one down at a local salon, evilBay or a random online seller. Zoya Kelly would make a great substitute even if they aren’t identical and it can be found on

Did you snatch up Smokin’ Hot when it was released? Thoughts on the color? Do you think this is something Essie should consider bringing back or making permanent? Or is it just a trendy seasonal shade that should remain LE?

Disclosure: A product sample was provided by Essie and Zoya. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 31 Brilliant Comments

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  1. I like Smokin Hot way more than Kelly! Now I need to go track it down…

  2. Wanda says:

    I like the look of Smokin’ Hot; however, I do have Zoya Kelly and have enjoyed that this fall. I won’t bother looking for Smokin’ Hot, although I do like the purple base to it. I’ve been buying so many nail polishes lately, I have to stop. I picked up some new Zoya today and OPI Pirates of the Caribbean today.

  3. Regina says:

    For those trying to get a hold of Smokin’ Hot and not being able to, Sally Hansen Grey Area is a dupe. Nina Ultra Pro Never Gum Plum is also said to be a dupe. Hope to help.

  4. Andy says:

    This is a very nice colour – just the sort I like, but I have picked up quite a few similar ones: Model’s Own Purple Grey which you mentioned. Barry M’s Dusky Mauve and Misa’s Blackberry Jubilee. I like all of these, so for me hunting down this one is not high on the priority list. I like Essie’s formula though…

  5. Scienter says:

    I don’t have either, but I like Smokin’ Hot more than the Zoya Kelly. I like the grayish purple (grurple?) color, I don’t have anything like it in my hoard.

  6. Luka says:

    Just wondering if your stash is thining at all? Seems like you are stashing most of the untrieds. :-)

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Clearly, not as much as I would like, ha! Though I’ve been choosing colors that I’m drawn to. Eventually I will have to start swatching the less “me” shades and my share bin will undoubtedly grow.

      • meme says:

        One has to be in the right mood to clean out a stash I have discovered – or have a good friend over that is really in NEED of major perk me ups!

  7. sara says:

    I have both and I much prefer the purple undertones to Smokin’ Hot. It was one of my favorite polishes for the winter.

  8. Rachel says:

    This is one of my favourite nailpolishes! :)

  9. Anna says:

    As for dupes to Smokin’ Hot; Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Grey Area is almost an exact dupe. And it’s perm!

  10. KayDiKat says:

    I had Smokin’ Hot and swapped it thinking I’d get it again later. Doh! I do own Kelly, but I want SH back in my stash! Thanks for the comp :)

  11. Oh geez, I’ve already been trying to hunt this one down since it is sold out and crazy expensive on eBay…. guess I’ll look a little harder!

  12. Kelly says:

    Essie needs to bring this back and make it part of her core collection. I normally buy all her collections but when this one came out, I wasn’t too interested in it. I already had OPI’s Jade is the new black and I typically don’t wear green polish too much anyways. Smokin Hot didn’t look like much in the bottle. Well, now, I am hating myself because this color is rockin my world. If anyone out there wants to get rid of theirs, I’ll take it off your hands quick and easy. I can pay thru PayPal. ;-)

  13. Kristel says:

    This one has a permanent spot in the display at my Ulta

  14. emily says:

    Isn’t this a dupe for Nina ultra pro Never glum plum?

    • Diana says:

      Love this color. It’s definitely more wearable than Zoya Kelly. Nina Ultra Pro’s Never Glum Plum is an exact dupe to this.

  15. Serena says:

    After seeing this post, I checked to see if any stores an my neighborhood had some unassuming bottle leftover. I had no luck, sadly. One of the sales girls told me that Chanel sued Essie over the color, which is intense!!

    Luckily, I have Kelly and Paradoxal. But SH is still lovely in its own way.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I’d love to know where she heard that. I highly doubt Chanel sued over the color. For what reason? I love how rumors like that fly around, ha!

  16. Smokin Hot is such a fab color… would love to see it next to RBL Recherche!

  17. Cat says:

    I really love this color and am bummed that once again, I missed out on a cool polish! Argh! The purple base is so pretty. I also like Zoya Kelly. I can only hope to find one of the so-called dupes or hope it comes back.

  18. hng23 says:

    Swimming against the tide here, but I have to say I really prefer Kelly. I like the cool blue/greyness of it.

  19. meme says:

    Lovin’ this! I just ran across it a day ago on a seller’s eBay site – recall the name, but missed this E. collection. Now that I have seen your swatch, I certainly want to go back to eBay and see if it’s worth ordering for the $ and postage. I am with you on liking these colors that have no dups, yet are in this ‘dirty/dusky’ range. Not quite a vamp color, but in my NEED’s list now! So glad you needed a change from that FAB pink that we are all still drooling over!

  20. Ty says:

    Like others I too wished I hadn’t passed on this color. It’s gorgeous! Will you be reviewing the Essie summer collection. I’ve seen quite a few colors from that collection that look fab.

  21. Mab says:

    This post brings me right back to the red face angry moment I went through about 3 months ago. While my boyfriend was putting up my nail rack he dropped the rack with my polishes in it and the whole bottom row fell and shattered…Smokin’ Hot was on of the victims and I haven’t been able to find it again :o(

  22. Erin says:

    I’m a Kelly fan! If I ever had carnation pink on my nails I’d be freaking out ,” the morning after” !

  23. Kara says:

    Wow, it is so pretty! Somehow this flew under my radar too? Now I want it…

  24. Caroline says:

    Am I the only one the can’t stand essie polish? I have such a hard time getting a decent application and I usually end up getting frustrated and taking it all off before I even finish a manicure. I wish I could make it work. Am I missing something?

  25. Erin says:

    This is my first time seeing a swatch of Kelly. Consider me sold. It looks so different on the nail than the pictures of the bottle/color spoon on the website.

  26. Tams says:

    Ahhhh this one got away from me, by the time I decided I wanted it it was long gone at my Ulta! But, I think I have some similar enough to not feel tooooooo bad.

  27. This is why you’re the best of the best! I absolutely loved this review. I picked up SH today and can’t wait to wear it and when I do, I will definitely link bak to this post. Bar none… :)