If there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from Essie’s Winter collections, it’s warm, cozy shades. Founder Essie Weingarten has a relationship with fabric that really comes through in her collections and at a time when all I want to do is bury under a blanket next to a roaring fire, she delivers that feeling in nail color.
For her Winter 2013 nail polish collection she is pitting rich, dark tones against power pastels, bringing a lightness to what could have been a really heavy palette.
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. Bottles at mass retailers have stickers rather than embossing on the bottle. 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.
The Essie formula has a squishy, watery texture that glides on the nail allowing for precise application. One of the major benefits of the Essie consistency, and a reason I’m a fan, is that, for the most part, it self levels. So even when you think you jacked up a nail with uneven application, give it a minute and the polish will settle out.
In this collection, the application varies by finish and color so I will address that in the individual reviews below.
Essie Mind Your Mittens is a blackened teal creme. It leans more towards blue in the way that Essie Stylenomics leans green. It’s also a bit muted with a greyed cast. It’s very pigmented and smooth, requiring only two coats.
Essie Parka Perfect is a mellow blue-grey with that subtle crystal sparkle that I adore. It’s like little snow flakes floating on the surface. Think of it as a slightly darker, more greyed version of Essie Sag Harbor, one of my all-time fave Essie shades. The only downside was with application. The formula is kind of thick and had leveling issues so I needed three coats to avoid bald spots.
Essie Sable Collar is a smokey reddish brown with warm metallic shimmer. It has a lot of depth and has a candlelit glow about it. Someone asked me about it in relation to OPI I Knead Sour-dough and they nothing alike. Sable Collar is darker and more browned. This one applies like butter. So smooth and malleable. This is two coats.
Essie Shearling Darling is a vampy dried blood red creme. If you were to cross brown-based Essie Carry On with the vibrant jelly-ish Essie Masquerade Belle, you would get Shearling Darling. This one applies just as smooth and flow-y as Mind Your Mittens. This is two coats.
Essie Toggle To The Top has a sheer jelly-ish red base filled with candy red glitter. In all honesty, this polish made me angry. It was so lumpy and chunky and hard to apply that by the third coat I got mad at it, and Essie, because they can do much better than this. The formula is such a nightmare that I just want to yell, DON’T BUY THIS! If it’s just my bottle and you’ve had a different experience, please let me know.
Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck is a mauve creme that dries quite a bit darker than the bottle suggests, so be prepared for that. Essie describes it as a “wisteria pink” but I’m not seeing that and I’m glad. I prefer mauves to pinks any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Illamasqua Velocity is of the same shade family, only it’s a bit darker. This one isn’t as pigmented as the other cremes so I needed three coats.
Bottom Line: Overall there are some lovely shades in this collection but the only real standouts for me are Sable Collar and Parka Perfect which, in spite of its leveling issues, is simply too gorgeous to pass up. I’ve made my feelings clear on Toggle To The Top and the rest are not exactly must-haves.
Essie Winter 2013 is available now at salons and beauty retailers nationwide including ULTA stores and ULTA.com. Essie nail polish retails for $8.50/ea for a .5oz bottle.
Which of these shades are you planning to pick up? Do you like to mix it up between lights and darks in the winter? If you could only wear one color from this collection, what would it be?
Disclosure: Product samples were provided by reps for Essie. Affiliate links appear in this post. When you purchase through an affiliate link, you help support this site. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.