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ALU’s 365 of Untrieds – Essence Break Through & Space Queen

essence break through nail polish and essence space queen nail polish 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.

Untried Day #115 – Do you ever have those days where you love your nails? Like when you file them perfectly and they are the exact length and shape you want? I’m having one of those days today. It doesn’t happen often since I’m am hypercritical but, when it does, I just LOVE putting polish on my nails.

A few weeks back an image popped up in my Tumblr stream of a pale pink with multi-colored glitter and it reminded me that Essence Space Queen has been sitting in my untrieds for way too long. I wanted to pair it with something a little bolder than the image that inspired me so I pulled out Essence Break Through. You HAVE to love a layering manicure that only costs $2.

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 thing I noticed this time that I haven’t in the past is that while the brush fans out well, it’s almost too wide for smaller nails, like the pinkie.

The formula itself is well pigmented. Two thin coats are all I need to achieve opacity. The consistency falls somewhere between a creme and a jelly so it’s pretty easy to control.

Essence Break Through is a deep magenta creme. It’s like a cross between red grape and Byzantine purple and very vivid. It’s definitely bright enough to make for a fun spring/summer mani/pedi but it’s dark enough to transition right into fall/winter.

essence break through nail polish swatch purple creme nail polish

Adding a coat of Essence Space Queen definitely adds a more youthful, flight-of-fancy feel. The clear, jelly-like base perfectly suspends the tiny, hexagonal multi-colored glitter. As the light hits each particle you see small bursts of gold, orange, red, pink, blue and green. I’m not totally loving this combo but it’s entertaining. Space Queen looked better in the inspiration pic over Sweet As Candy.

essence space queen glitter top coat layered over essence break through nail polish swatch

In looking for a close dupe of Break Though, all my purples seemed to lean too red or too blue in comparison. The best comps I could come up with are Barry M Bright Purple and OPI Pamplona Purple.

essence break through nail polish comparison dupe opi pamplona purple

I overlooked Pamplona Purple when it first came out and now I regret doing so. Especially after seeing this pic. In this instance however, it’s not a match. Nor is Bright Purple. BP is too red and Pamplona is too dark.

essence break through nail polish comparison swatch dupe opi pamplona purple

Bottom Line: Essence nail polish would be a great buy at 5x the price so for a $1/ea there’s no reason to pass this line by. Break Through may be too warm for some, myself included, but it’s a great shade with no dupes in my collection. Space Queen is a fun glitter top coat but I’m not in love with it over a color this dark. It looks a bit cheap over a color this dark. I think I will reserve it for use over lighter colors.

365 of Untrieds Stash/Share Verdict: I’m STASHing both of them. They tiny and cheap. What’s not to love?

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

How are we feeling about Break Through and Space Queen? If you have Space Queen what do you like to layer it over? If you haven’t tried Essence yet, what are you waiting for?

Disclosure: I purchased the Essence nail polishes. The Barry M and OPI polishes were furnished by reps for the manufacturers. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 25 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jessi says:

    I have a lot of Essence makeup, but only like 1 polish. I always passed them by because the colors looked fairly basic and similar to ones I have. Now I know I was making a mistake! I’ll definitely have to get these two at least.

  2. Jen K says:

    I’m in love with the Essence polishes! I bought three a few weeks ago and they were all excellent. I’m going to keep an eye out for Space Queen, I like the amount and color of glitter it put down.

  3. Nynaeve says:

    Actually this glitter is pretty gorgeous over dark blues, my favourite combination is over the new version of Essence Underwater.

  4. nancy g says:

    I love your nails too!! Everything looks good on them.

  5. Chris says:

    Space Queen looks so lovely!

  6. amy says:

    I really like your blogging series of 365 days of untrieds because I get to see more off beat brands I have never heard of. You should continue this series next year as well.

  7. Raye says:

    While I love the purple color, you’re right in saying that the glitter seems to cheapen them up. They kind of remind me of something a little girl would do while playing dress up as a princess.

  8. meme says:

    Perfectly purdy. I love it – a shade I have looked for because I also think Paploma Purple is too dark for what I have been looking for in a polish in this range. Seems with all the purples out there more would have hit on this shade without the red in it. Maybe it’s hard to add just the right amount of blue and not end up too dark in formulating because you sure don’t see that much of this kind of shade.

  9. Renee says:

    Ooooh! I love it! Both with and without the glitter. Great color. Love those perfect nail moments too.

  10. Sabine says:

    I do like Essence polishes and I’m so glad many different shades are available here! It’s cheap, formula is good (at least for the polishes I own) and I just love their LE. I like the purple though I would have added more of the glitter on top.

  11. Margje says:

    I have a LOT of Essence nailpolish. It’s available in lots of drugstores where I live (The Netherlands), it’s cheap and it comes in funky colours. Yay! But somehow I passed by Space Queen. I almost bought it a few days ago, but thought it looked too girly and “meh”. After seeing your pictures, I think I was wrong! I have to buy some nailpolish this afternoon! (:

  12. Jen says:

    You are easily in the top 3 all-time best nails and best application anywhere. If I had nails like yours I would be ecstatic.

    Love a creamy purple. Can’t get Essence in the UK. SOOOOO annoying.

  13. Laura says:

    I’ve never looked twice at Break Through so far, but maybe I should give it a shot.

  14. Erin says:

    OPI Pamplona Purple is my absolute favourite OPI! This colour looks great

  15. jill says:

    I love that purple but I know it’s too warm for me. Essence polishes are awesome! Walk of Fame, Underwater and Fabuless are in constant rotation on my nails ;)

  16. Anutka says:

    This is such a sweet combination! I like it very much :)

  17. Adele Uddo says:

    I LOVE this site! I’m an LA hand model and since I regularly work on commercials I generally have to keep my nails neutral. People often ask me about hand-care, polish, etc. (some of which I cover in my blog: Hand Jobs, Tales of a hand model). But I’ll certainly refer some nail-enthusiasts to this very HANDY site! :)

  18. JACQUELYN says:

    I like it better w/o the sparkle. I have never bought Essence, but I intend to pick up this great deal of a 4-free polish next time I see them.

  19. Caitlyn says:

    I’ve known Essence for many years and though I bought some polishes from this brand in the beginning, I soon stopped because they chipped like instantly on me.
    No matter which topcoat I used or without any base-/topcoat, I had tipwear and chips within hours, overnight or the next day. The formula just doesn’t agree with me, I’m afraid.
    Essence is cheap, that’s true, but for me it’s not worth even the 1,25 Euros to 1,75 Euros that one bottle costs in Germany.

    Essence does one limited edition per month on average and they almost always include nailpolish. I still have a few from some time ago, jellies and sparklies and maybe I’ll give them a try again.

    Essence is also changing their coreline of nail polishes for Fall and maybe they are changing their formula as well, I will re-try their nailpolishes then.

    Worst of all for me was their “show your feet”-collection. I tried a dark blue one, put Essie Good to Go over it and went to bed and it chipped and peeled on me the very next morning :(

  20. sticksandtunes says:

    This post pretty much clinched it for me that I’m using my Ulta reward certificate as a $3.50 off $10 coupon instead of using it for a reward (it was only a level 1 this time). I definitely need Break Through, and I might need Space Queen as well.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I love that you found some quality polishes for $1! I love reading about your more reach polishes like Essie and Chanel and such, but at $8+ a bottle, I don’t experiment too much. With less expensive polishes, I don’t feel bad buying 2 (0r 5) :)

  22. Jenne says:

    Does anyone know if there is a place to buy the Essence nail polish in Canada? I have not seen it anywhere and there are sooo many cute colours I would love to try. Thanks! P.S. Your blog is amazing!! :)

  23. Kat says:

    I LOVE Space Queen – I almost always wear glitter over bare nail, I think it looks done but never overly so. Plus, it’s a bit surprising :) My favorite polish, esp. for going out, is an old formula essence silver glitter (which they unfortunately don’t make anymore – where does one get chunky silver glitter in clear base?!), and now I’m finally in an essence-carrying country again, so I popped by and got this one. It’s perfect! At a certain angle, it almost looks like just a lick of clear polish, but when you wiggle your fingers it’s a rainbow of perfectly dispersed glitter. Lovely for everyday, for me.

  24. Becky says:

    We just got Essence in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart so I went there today and ended up buying 11 nail polishes. Whoops. Anyway I got Space Queen and swatched it over the black I was already wearing and it looked so good I ended up wearing it as a full mani. Seriously, try it over black, so amazing.