Essie Enchanted Gel Couture Collection 2018 review

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Top Row (L to R): Good Knight, Matter of Fiction, Once Upon a Time

Bottom Row (L to R): Spellbound, Princess Charming, Daring Damsel

 

I adored this enchanting collection of fairy tale-inspired shades from Essie that was released earlier this year. These shades are from their Gel Couture range, which doesn’t need a base coat and can last for two weeks, apparently! Although since I change my nail polish so often, I don’t get to really do a wear test on them.

Besides thinking of the Taylor Swift song, “Enchanted”, I also couldn’t help but think of my favorite fairy tale-inspired books. I love reading fantasy novels, particularly fairy tale retellings, so I thought this was a good opportunity to do something fun and a little different and along with my reviews of the individual shades, I’m going to make a book recommendation!

So, without further ado…the books…and the shades!

 

Good Knight

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First up, Good Knight! I love this dark vampy shade that has tones of burgundy and dark purple. Application was smooth, but be careful of your cuticles as this one is a stainer! I really enjoy wearing darker polishes and I could’ve worn this for the full 14 days of wear time as promised by Essie.

Book recommendation: The Squire’s Tale, by Gerald Morris

The Squire's Tale

The Squire’s Tale is the first in a series of books that are Arthurian legend retellings. I know this isn’t strictly a “fairy tale”, but there’s enough magic in these legends for this book to qualify as an “enchanting” recommendation. The protagonist of the The Squire’s Tale is Terence, who becomes squire to Sir Gawain and is swept along to Camelot and the world of the Knights of the Round Table. The protagonists are different in subsequent books, which are at turn, heartwarming, hilarious, and epically dramatic. Highly, highly recommend for fans of King Arthur, distressing damsels, and characters full of mystery and humor.

Matter of Fiction

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Next up we have Matter of Fiction! This creamy pale pink is gorgeous and oh-so-delicately chic! A good alternative to Fiji, if you struggle with the formula of that shade. Formula can be slightly thick, so just be careful of doing thin coats. This is 3 coats for full opacity.

Book recommendation: Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty

Robin McKinley is one of my favorite fantasy authors and Beauty was one of the first fairy tale retellings I ever read. The world she builds for Beauty is enchanting, mysterious, and beguiling and I loved how it hews a bit more towards a Brothers Grimm feel than Disney.

Once Upon a Time

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This lovely shade is meant to be a blue grey, I think, but it came out very purple for me. However, that means that this shade is super fun and unique because it is a color changer depending on the lighting.

Book recommendation: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Sun and Moon Ice and Snow

Jessica Day George is also the author of the enjoyable “The Princesses of Westfalin” series, of which Princess of the Midnight Ball is the first one and based on the fairy tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is based off a Scandinavian fairy tale and is very similar to Beauty and the Beast. I love its snowy setting and was utterly under the spell of this beautiful story.

Spellbound

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This gorgeous grey-green shade with subtle gold glitter makes this a very intriguing color. I loved wearing this unique and interesting shade, which also had a great formula. And the shimmer definitely shows up on the nail, not just in the bottle!

Book recommendation: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted

In all honesty, this book was one I picked up because of its gorgeous cover and then bought because it’s inspired by Brothers Grimm and Eastern European folktales. I loved, loved, loved this book and all the mysterious magic and enchantments at the heart of this story. The heroine is smart & clever and the world is lushly detailed. Truly excellent.

Princess Charming

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Princess Charming is a lovely, lovely shade of rose and mauve mixed together. Formula is fantastic and the color is gorgeously elegant. A classic shade that you can’t go wrong with!

Also, this color matches my pink wool coat!

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Book recommendation: Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Spindle's End

Yes, another one from Robin McKinley but she is seriously one of the queens of fairy tale retellings! Spindle’s End is a retelling of yes, you guessed it…Sleeping Beauty! Robin McKinley does a great job of expanding upon the admittedly bare-bones original into a lush, extravagantly detailed and thrilling story all its own. Also, the first time I read this as a young girl, I was so scared of the wicked fairy/Maleficent character that I couldn’t read it at night!

Daring Damsel

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Daring Damsel is a lovely champagne gold, so even though it’s a yellow gold shade, it’s not overly warm with the champagne tones cooling it down. And, while metallics are often victim to overly visible brushstrokes, this nail polish hides them fairly well for a smoother finish – win!

Book recommendation: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is a pretty iconic book, IMO, and while I enjoyed the movie with Anne Hathaway quite a bit, this is definitely a case of “The Book Was Better”. Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella and Cinderella, or “Ella”, is fierce and feisty despite being cursed with having to obey every command given to her. I absolutely loved this book growing up and the gorgeous world that Gail Carson Levine built around her charming and daring heroine.

 

So there you have it! A beautiful collection of enchanting colors and some books to read while you’re wearing them!

It’s really hard to pick a favorite with these, as they are all gorgeous in their own right, but I think I enjoyed wearing Good Knight, Matter of Fiction, and Princess Charming the most! Which ones are your faves? Did you pick any of these up?

And…did any of the books pique your interests? What fairy tale retellings have you enjoyed reading? If you recommend anything I haven’t read, I’ll add it to my list!

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Essie Winter 2017 Collection review

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Top Row (L to R): Suit & Tied, Social-Lights, On Your Mistletoes

Bottom Row (L to R): New Year, New Hue, Ring in the Bling, Be Cherry!

I think that this Winter collection may very well have been one of my favorite Essie collections released this year! The names were clever and the formulas were on point. Shimmers, beautiful cremes, and gorgeous jewel tones are all here in this collection!

As tonight is NYE, I wanted to get my review in before the year was officially out!

Suit & Tied

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As I shared on Instagram, this was my least favorite color from the collection. This is based solely on my opinion that I really didn’t like it on myself, but it applied beautifully and is a very nice neutral for the holiday season. Others loved this color, while some were like me and weren’t huge fans. Where did you fall on this color?

Social-Lights

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Social-Lights was one of my most anticipated colors from this collection and it did not disappoint! This soft grey color is infused with a subtle amber glow that really shines through. Formula was a winner as well!

On Your Mistletoes

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This lovely teal blue color is dark and beautifully jewel-toned. Bright enough to not be super dark, it shows off its tone wonderfully. This color really made me feel chic while wearing it! Another great formula.

New Year, New Hue

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New Year, New Hue was the color that surprised me the most, oddly enough! I was just expecting another berry-ish color, but its brightness was intoxicating and bewitching! It reminded me of a darker Flowerista or a brighter Bahama Mama. I couldn’t stop looking at my nails when I was wearing this color. Although it wasn’t the most unique color, I really loved this one.

Ring in the Bling

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Ring in the Bling might appear as just another red, but the shimmer in this one takes it to another level! This is the perfect shade for the holidays, and as a bonus, this one looks just as good – if not better – matte!

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Be Cherry!

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Be Cherry! is probably the most “normal” polish, as it may just be another bright red. If you have another bright red color, you might not need this one. But, this one does have a nice wash of pink that does set it apart. Everyone needs a bright red for the holidays and if you don’t have one, pick this one up! Smooth formula, just like all the others!

Overall, my favorites were New Year, New Hue, Ring in the Bling, and Social-Lights. As a whole collection, it is perfect for the holidays and for NYE!

What were your favorites from this collection? Did you pick any up to wear for the New Year?

For more reviews and comparisons, check out Essie Envy and essiebuff!

Ghosts of Fall Collections Past

So, this post is an attempt to bridge the gap between the seasons of fall and winter. I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a few weeks now and kept putting it off!

Essie’s fall collections are among my favorites of all the limited edition collections they release. They usually knock it out of the park with these seasonal releases and so I wanted to look back at two fall collections that I really enjoyed: Fall 2016, which was themed around Japan, and Fall 2015, which was themed around 1960s rock’n’roll.

First up: Fall 2016!

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Top Row (L to R): Maki Me Happy, Playing Koi, Kimono Over

Bottom Row (L to R): Now and Zen, Udon Know Me, Go Go Geisha

One of the reasons I love this collection so much is that I really think it contains some good fall staples as well as something for everyone. Soft neutrals, dusty tones, rich jewel tones, and striking shades all serve to encapsulate quintessential colors for the autumn season.

Maki Me Happy

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This color really does make me happy! It’s a gorgeous, deep red that is just right for fall. Red is a classic no matter the season, but this shade of red really belongs amongst the fall foliage.

Playing Koi

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I featured this color in my post on my favorite fall shades. This rusty, burnt orange has been dubbed “fall in a bottle” and I couldn’t agree more! A perennial fall favorite for years to come.

Kimono Over

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As the days become shorter and the weather starts to get chilly, this striking dark purple fits right in. I also chose this color as one of my fall favorites. I didn’t get a chance to wear it last year, but I’m so glad I finally got to wear it.

Now and Zen

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Another color I didn’t get to wear in the year of its initial release. This color is a dusty, mossy grey-green that is quite the color-shifter. Appearing more grey or more green depending on the light, this intriguing shade is a beautiful and daring neutral.

Udon Know Me

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This unique blue manages to both be a bright pop of color in some lighting and a soulful dusty shade in others. Whatever color it is, it’s right at home amidst sweater weather and steaming mugs of mulled wine.

Go Go Geisha

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Another fall favorite and one of my earliest favorites from this collection. It’s one of the prettiest pink shades in my opinion and its dusty hue leans either more beige or more pink depending on the lighting. Love it!

And now, traveling back to the year 2015, when we were supposed to get hoverboards…

…Fall 2015!

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Top Row (L to R): With the Band, Frock’n’Roll

Bottom Row (L to R): Leggy Legend, In the Lobby

The only two colors I’m missing are Color Binge (a bright orange red) and Bell-Bottom Blues (a shimmery bright blue), both of which I really need to get my hands on! My Fall 2015 polishes are a minis collection, but I was able to find full-sized bottles of Leggy Legend and With the Band in Germany. I would love to find a full-sized bottle of In the Lobby!

I think this collection has the perfect shades for fall with a few daring twists. While this collection was shy on the neutrals, it’s dripping with rich, luscious color.

With the Band

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As with Maki Me Happy, this is a perfect red for fall. While not as deep as MMH, its creamy reddish hue feels right at home among cozy knits and pumpkin pie. I just love this red shade so much!

Frock’n’Roll

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This glittery purplish black color is mysterious, edgy, and beguiling. The shimmery glitter packed into this shade takes it up that extra notch in an already beautiful color.

Leggy Legend

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Another fall favorite pick, this bold, brazen bronze is just stunning. Try layering it over a dark shade like Licorice or Partner in Crime and topping it with a matte coat!

In the Lobby

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Everyone needs a plum shade for their nails in the fall and this color proves it. Gorgeous!

 

So there you have my walk down memory lane! Are there any older Essie collections that you loved?

Fall Favorites

I was challenged on Instagram by @essie_envy and @sjs_nails to post my #top5essiesfall! This was super hard for me to do! When I sat down before the start of September to choose what colors I wanted to wear, I had a list of over 40 polishes! (And yes, I plan ahead – months in advance!)

Fall is my favorite season. I just love the weather, the food, and the rich colors that fall brings – not only in the changing of the seasons (well, I guess that depends on where you are!) but in the range of colors deemed “fall colors”. I love rich, warm browns and deep burgundies, beautiful dark purples and navy, and on and on.

Also, of the limited edition collections that Essie releases seasonally, their fall collections are some of my absolute favorites. So, yes, it was very hard to narrow it down to only 5 colors! But, I did it!

So, without further ado, I present to you…my Top 5 Essies for fall!!!

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From L to R: In the Lobby, Mink Muffs, Go Go Geisha, Playing Koi, and Angora Cardi

These are colors that I have worn not only once…but twice…and I plan on wearing them every year in the fall. I consider these my fall staples for sure!

In the Lobby

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In the Lobby is a luscious, deep plum color that is so beautiful. It was released in the Fall 2015 collection, which was rock’n’roll themed. I really think that everyone should have a dark color like this in their nail polish collection. Plum is so perfect for fall! I don’t think In the Lobby was added to the permanent line (please correct me if I’m wrong), but Bahama Mama might be a good alternative.

Mink Muffs

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Mink Muffs was was one of the first Essies I ever got! I love wearing it for fall because it’s a lovely brown with mauve undertones. A rich and gorgeous color, this polish debuted in the Fall 2009 collection and is now part of the permanent collection.

Go Go Geisha

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Go Go Geisha came out in the Fall 2016 collection, which was themed around Japan. A pink shade might not be the most obvious for fall, but this color’s dusty beige undertones can make it look beige or pink depending on the light. This color was the first one I wore in September to herald the advent of fall! I believe this color was added to the core collection.

Playing Koi

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Playing Koi, aka “Fall in a Bottle”, also came out in the Fall 2016 collection. This color was one of the ones I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint! This beautiful rusty orange shade is the epitome of autumn. I loved this color last year, this year, and I look forward to wearing it for future fall seasons. If you like it, I think this one was also made permanent.

Angora Cardi

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Angordi Cardi was the most pinned color in 2016 and it is another perfect autumnal color. A dusty mauve reminiscent of fuzzy sweaters, this color also came out with Mink Muffs in the Fall 2009 collection and is also in the core collection. This is the third year in a row that I’ve worn this for fall and I plan on making this a perennial fall favorite.

If you’ve made it this far in the blog post…how about a bonus round?!

Five! More! Favorites!

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From L to R: Leggy Legend, Knee-high Life, Mode du Jour, Kimono Over, Partner in Crime

As I said earlier, it was really hard for me to pick my top 5 Essie fall favorites…so I picked five more! While my previous list is made up of my Essie fall staples, this next top 5 is my list of new fall favorites!

Leggy Legend

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Leggy Legend came out in the Fall 2015 collection along with In the Lobby, but I hadn’t worn it until this year. This beautiful shimmery color surprised me with how gorgeous it was! A perfect fall shade that I couldn’t stop looking at when it was on my nails!

Knee-high Life

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Knee-high Life came out in this year’s Fall 2017 collection. Although it’s a pretty “basic” shade, I fell in love with this one when I put it on, putting me in the mood for fall. A lovely cranberry color that belongs in everyone’s fall collection!

Mode du Jour

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Mode du Jour is one of the salon exclusive shades from the Fall 2017 Gel Couture collection. I feel like a mossy green color is a necessity for fall and this one fits the bill perfectly. I can see myself pulling this out next year for sure.

Kimono Over

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Kimono Over came out in the Fall 2016 collection along with Go Go Geisha and Kimono Over. Although I was super excited for this one to come out, I somehow never got around to wearing it last fall. But this year, I made it a priority to wear the colors from the Fall 2016 collection I missed wearing last year and I’m so glad I did! The whole collection from last year was so good and this one was soo amazing! I think everyone needs a deep color for fall/winter and this gorgeous deep purple is so good.

Partner in Crime

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Partner in Crime came out in the Fall 2015 collection, which was themed around…crimes of fashion? Other colors in this collection were Fall in Line, Style Cartel, and Dressed to Kilt. I was scared of dark colors initially so I didn’t wear it even though I bought it when it first came out. I’m so glad I overcame that fear, because this color is a beauty. It’s a rich chocolate color so dark it looks almost black and made me really crave chocolate when I wore it!

My ideal fall palette consists of orange, red/pink/mauve, blue/grey/green, brown, nude, and deep colors. The following is a list of fall colors I love or would love to try:

Oranges

  • Playing Koi
  • Capri
  • Taj-ma-haul
  • Fondant of You
  • Fear or Desire
  • Tart Deco

Reds/pinks/mauves

  • Knee-high Life
  • With the Band
  • Bubbles Only
  • Maki Me Happy
  • Go Go Geisha
  • Angora Cardi
  • Ladylike

Blues/greys/greens

  • Bobbing for Baubles
  • After School Boy Blazer
  • Style Cartel
  • Udon Know Me
  • Now and Zen
  • Chinchilly
  • Exposed
  • Mode du Jour

Browns/bronze

  • Mink Muffs
  • Partner in Crime
  • Hot Coco
  • Ready to Boa
  • Leggy Legend

Deeps

  • Kimono Over
  • Partner in Crime
  • After School Boy Blazer
  • In the Lobby
  • Model Clicks
  • Licorice
  • Dressed to the Nineties

Nudes

  • Captivate Me
  • Mixetaupe
  • Sand Tropez
  • Satin Slipper

What are your favorite fall colors? Are there any on this list that you love or any that you would like to try?

 

Essie Fall 2017 Collection review

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Top Row (L to R): As If!, Girly Grunge, Saved by the Belle

Bottom Row (L to R): Knee-high Life, Dressed to the Nineties, Mixetaupe

 

I have to admit, when I first saw the announcement for the Fall 2017 collection, I didn’t think it screamed “fall!” to me. Honestly, I still don’t think it’s very autumnal overall, but like Karen from Manigeek pointed out, I think these colors look great with the fall colors you’re going to be wearing this season. At any rate, these colors are still fantastic and I enjoyed wearing them!

As If!

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I was expecting this color to be a lot greyer than it turned out to be in real life, but its periwinkle tones are gorgeous. This would look great with some goldenrod/mustard colors!

The formula was a little on the thicker side, but nothing too unmanageable. This is two coats with the Speed Setter top coat.

 

Girly Grunge

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I normally don’t wear metallics, so this was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I ended up loving it! Its soft, pale purple color is absolutely amazing.

Formula was smooth and silky, which made for an easy application. You could probably get away with one coat, but I did it in two and topped it with the Speed Setter top coat. This also looks amazing matte!

 

Saved by the Belle

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It’s pink! If you like pinks, this is a great one. What’s awesome about wearing this one in the fall is that I feel it can make you look a little more tan…so this is for all those out there who miss summer and don’t want it to be fall just yet!

Similarly to As If!, formula was a little thicker but not unwieldy. As always, I did two coats with…you guessed it: Speed Setter top coat!

 

Knee-high Life

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I know this isn’t the most unique color when it comes to fall collections (Deep reds in fall? Groundbreaking.) but I LOVED this color! Putting this one on made me feel so excited about fall and the cooler temperatures! I think everyone should have a deep red in their collection for fall/winter, and this would be a great one to have!

Formula was excellent on this one. Smooth & silky & just the way I like it! Be careful on the edges though as it can stain a little bit.

Two coats. Speed Setter top coat.

 

Dressed to the Nineties

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This was one of the colors from this collection that I was MOST excited about and it did not disappoint! This gorgeous dark and dusty purple has a subtle but not unnoticeable pale green shimmer that makes this color one you don’t want to stop looking at! Beautiful, beautiful shade for the cooler weather!

You know the deetz: two coats + Speed Setter top coat.

Mixtaupe

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The last one I tried was this warm ivory color with pink tones. A beautiful neutral color to go with all the navy and burgundy you can wear this season!

As with Saved by the Belle and As If!, I found this formula on the thick side but not too bad. Two coats, top coat, etc.

 

Overall, I have to say my favorites were Girly Grunge, Knee-high Life, and Dressed to the Nineties. While I don’t personally think this collection is “quintessentially fall”, I think it does have a good variety of colors to offer everyone.

What were your favorite colors from this collection? Which ones did you pick up or are looking forward to getting?

For more reviews AND comparisons, check out Essie Envy and Essie Buff.

Summer Nail Polish Roundup

Before the official start of fall signals the end of summer, I wanted to do a roundup of nail polishes that I enjoyed wearing this past summer. Of course, the Essie Summer 2017 collection is an excellent place to start and you can find my blog post about it here.

Blues

Top row (L to R): Bikini So Teeny, Nama-stay the Night

Bottom row (L to R): Butler Please, Frontpage Worthy

I found myself really enjoying various shades of blue! A bright, bold blue like Butler Please or Frontpage Worthy really made my nails pop and was a fun hue to wear during the summer months. Bikini So Teeny inevitably conjures up visions of the beach and blue skies over the ocean, while Nama-stay the Night provides a jolt of color just as adventurous as an exotic summer vacation!

Sheer Pinks

Top Row (L to R): Dress is More, Blushworthy

Bottom Row (L to R): Inside Scoop, Ballet Slippers

For a girl who claimed she could never wear sheer polishes, I really fell hard for sheers these past few months. Dress is More and Blushworthy are both from the Essie Gel Couture Bridal Collection, which was a collaboration with bridal designer Monique Lhuillier, and are perfect for a summer wedding. Both of these polishes have a wonderful barely there feel with a gorgeous hint of pink and provide a delicate touch of color on a swelteringly hot day. The same goes for Inside Scoop from the Gala Bolds Gel Couture collection, which is more pigmented and has slightly more coverage. Ballet Slippers is the classic sheer, which I also wrote about here.

Bright Pinks

L to R: Secret Story, Fiesta

When you’re craving a bright, punchy color, it’s hard to go wrong with a beautiful hot pink. Whether matching a prickly pear margarita or bougainvillea blooms, Secret Story and Fiesta are your perfect summer accessory!

Classic Reds

Top Row (L to R): Living Legend, Really Red

Bottom Row (L to R): Style Stunner, Sizzling Hot

Where are all my dancing girl in a red dress emojis at?? These reds are just right when you’re feeling like classing up your summer with a classic red nail polish. Living Legend has just a touch of sheer for a clean, fresh feel, while Style Stunner has some hints of orange to add some heat to your look.

I loved all these colors, but if I had to pick one color that really summed summer up for me, it would be…

Chillato!

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Stay cool for the summer with this pale pistachio shade with a hint of lemon-lime! I loved wearing this unique shade and I’m already looking forward to wearing it again next summer!

Which shades did you wear this summer? What did you wish you had worn more of? Share with me in the comments below!

Ballet Slippers by Essie

Ballet Slippers by Essie is often described as a “cult classic” and is arguably one of the more famous shades among the hundreds and hundreds of permanent Essie shades. It’s even been reported that Queen Elizabeth II only wears this color!

I wore this color when my now-husband proposed to me (three years ago this coming Monday!), but I always had it applied by a manicurist. I was a little afraid of applying it on my own, as it is a very sheer formula with a milky/jelly consistency that needs three coats. I think any time you go over 2 coats you more easily run the risk of getting bubbles. I’m not the most technically skilled nail painter, so it wasn’t until I was back in the UK and purchased a bottle with the Essie UK wide paddle brush that I felt I could finally take a swing at applying it myself.

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I’m wearing this to a wedding this weekend and I’m happy to wear this gorgeous shade! I have a few bubbles, but only on a few fingers, so pretty good all things considered!

Have you worn Ballet Slippers before? What were your impressions? Anyone else have a sheer pale pink they like better – or the same as – Ballet Slippers? Let me know your thoughts below!