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Essie Winter 2013 “Shearling Darling” Nail Polish Collection Swatches & Review

By on November 22, 2013
in Blue, Brown, Essie, Lilac, Red, Teal, Winter 2013
Essie Winter 2013 Shearling Darling nail polish collection

Essie Winter 2013

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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 Mind Your Mittens Winter 2013

Essie Mind Your Mittens

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 Parka Perfect Winter 2013

Essie Parka Perfect

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 Sable Collar Winter 2013

Essie Sable Collar

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 Shearling Darling Winter 2013 nail polish

Essie Shearling Darling

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 Toggle To The Top Winter 2013

Essie Toggle To The Top

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.

Essie Warm Toasty Turtleneck Winter 2013

Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck

Essie Winter 2013

Essie Winter 2013

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 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

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There Are 35 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Icequeen81 says:

    Darling and torgle are Gorgeous

  2. amy says:

    I had such similar experiences with the collection – I was SOOO excited about Toggle to the Top and then in real life, it was a huge disappointment when it came to the application. The only other thing for me was the Warm and Toasty Turtleneck- hated it. The color was really close to my skin tone, it was dreadful. Loved the rest of them though! I did a design with the parka and mittens that looked awesome together.

  3. El says:

    Only one color? Toggle to the Top. In the winter I like to wear dark shades.

  4. Miss Louise says:

    That’s too bad about Toggle to the top :( It looks soo pretty!
    It’s still a pretty collection!

  5. I’m loving Parka Perfect from your swatches. Another great review and photos. Thanks.

  6. WendyMD says:

    Mind your mittens looks really similar to 2011′s Bobbing for Baubles. Thoughts? I’d love to have a dupe!

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Hi Wendy! I don’t have Bobbling for Baubles. It’s a shade I regret not getting. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they are dupes.

    • Lena says:

      I used to have Bobbing for Baubles and I have now Parka Perfect in front of me. Based on my memories, they are different. BoB is bluer, purpler.

    • Lena says:

      One more thing: you can still find BoB in the usual suspects of online retailers, I think.

  7. Nailderella says:

    I have Toggle To The Top and don’t find difficult to apply. The only “problem” is that I had to use 2 coats of top coat to tame the glitters because they “ate” the top coat. By the way, I used the European version of this polish. I’m not sure if the formula is a bit different or not but the brush is different. The brush is similar to Lanc

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Interesting. I didn’t know the brushes were different in Europe. Since Essie and Lancome have the same parent company, I wonder if they use Lancome’s formula overseas as well.

  8. NailPolishFan says:

    Essie Mind Your Mittens (I love love love), Essie Parka Perfect (I like, but it really reminds my of that dove gray color that came out with the Orly Once Upon A Time collection-I can’t remember the name). And even though you had a hard time with Essie Toggle To The Top I really love it. It reminds me of China Glaze Ruby Pumps, but more burgundy and I like a good glitter nail polish even though they can be a pain to get off.

  9. nailpolishcolor says:

    Toggle to the top looks identical to last winter’s Leading Lady. It sounds like this one has the same awful formula too, yuck.

  10. 10NiceNails says:

    I picked up Parka and Turtleneck. Can’t wait to try them. This is a beyond excellent review!!

  11. Lindsey D says:

    I really want to get my hands on some of these. Especially Shearling Darling.

  12. Casey says:

    I didn’t have quite as much trouble with Toggle to the Top – the first coat was kind of streaky and didn’t have a whole lot of glitter in it, but a thicker second coat leveled it out nicely. I was a little disappointed by the slightly bumpy finish even after two coats of topcoat. None of the other colors in this collection are really calling to me, although I’ve been giving Sable Collar a second look lately.

  13. Stephanie says:

    Bummer about ToggleTTT! I have it and didn’t experience the same issues, maybe a bad batch? It is a gorgeous shade nonetheless! I have Sable Collar too but haven’t worn it yet, because I want to use it under a glitter but can’t. settle on the right combo for it yet, haha

  14. Loren says:

    Yes, I noticed the same application challenges with Toggle. It is a pretty color – I like the deeper red tone that it has but it is a bit of a challenge to apply evenly. And with dark colors you really have to watch the smudges and mistakes. I have Sable Collar too and that is a very pretty shade.

  15. Symplybutifl says:

    Hello great post… Would Essie’s Sable Coloar be a dupe for Opi Muir Muir?

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Sable Collar is warmer, more brown and lighter than Muir Muir. I find Muir Muir to be more plummy.

  16. Chris says:

    I love Sable Collar.

  17. I bought toggle awhile ago and I didn’t have the same issue with clumps.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      I’m really hoping it’s just my bottle then. I was so mad, I wanted to throw my bottle against the wall. I just couldn’t get it smooth and even.

  18. Anya says:

    I like Toggle to the Top. I didn’t have any issues with layering past the first coat.

  19. Lindsay says:

    Mind your mittens is such a pretty color! I absolutely love Toggle to the top too, but I find when I put more than 1 coat on, the sparkles lose their “sparkle”

  20. Erin says:

    I have Parka Perfect and I love it. Mind Your Mittens is so similar to last winter’s Bobbing for Baubles so I passed on that one.

  21. Galaxia says:

    I pretty much love them all and the fact they they self level? Very helpful for someone like me haha

  22. Jolie Kerr says:

    For what it’s worth, I think you got a bum bottle of Toggle

  23. anon says:

    Parka Perfect reminds me of Butter London’s Lady Muck.

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      They’re not quite the same. I compared it to Lady Muck which has a lot more glitter and a more greyed tone.

  24. Lena says:

    I agree with you, Sable Collar looks gorgeous. This type of shade is really under-rated imo, especially against Asian skin. And it can be worn year round. Great for toes too! I got the mini set of this collection, and Sable Collar is the only one I truly love enough to get a full size…

  25. Lindsay says:

    I love Toggle, and definitely didn’t have that problem with mine! Right now, I’m wearing Shearling Darling with Toggle to the Top on the upper diagonal of each nail. I love it!!