Monday, June 27, 2016

Essie Summer 2016: Loot the Booty

Today I bring you the first of four polishes I picked up from Essie's Summer 2016's collection: Loot the Booty.

I'll take a moment before getting into the polish to describe the full collection, which I haven't yet seen in local stores (I took advantage of a Nordstrom bonus day to pick up this set online). Names are courtesy Essie's website.
  • Viva Antigua, the collection's namesake- iridescent crystalline turquoise
  • Coconut Cove- sweet cream white
  • Berried Treasures- bright ruby berry
  • Hiking Heels- scorching hot lava red
  • Loot the Booty- blue sapphire pavĂ©
  • Tribal Text-Styles- black gold and crushed onyx

One of my favorite things that Essie offers is the mini 4-pack of colors. Let's be honest, how many of us ever finish a full bottle of polish? The Summer 2016 4-pack is Viva Antigua, Coconut Cove, Berried Treasures, and Loot the Booty. I think it's the perfect mix and am happy with the brand's choices.

I tested and photographed the following combination:

1 coat Ridge Filler Base coat, 3 coats Loot the Booty nail color, 1 coat No Chips Ahead Topcoat (this isn't a work-friendly color, otherwise I would've used my beloved Gel Setter). Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of No Chips Ahead because it fails to live up to its name with my nails, chipping quickly, and doesn't leave as shiny a finish as I'd like.

Cleanup was easy with a bit of nail polish remover- this doesn't seem to be the type of blue that's going to stain your nail beds. Even so, use a base coat!

OK, now let's talk about Loot the Booty. With a name like that and first available testing time on a Saturday, you know that's where I needed to start with this collection.

Loot the Booty is a glorious blue. I think Essie's description of the blue as sapphire is spot-on; it's quite similar to a sapphire that I own (but won't photograph for security seasons) that's a high quality family heirloom. It's close to a deep, natural sapphire. The shimmer gives it internal illumination that elevates this from a plain creme. It's also not over the top.

Here's Loot the Booty inside:

Outside in the sun, it really does look like a pure sapphire. I had a hard time getting a good photo- and no, I didn't clean up my dominant hand. #sorrynotsorry.

Here's a 100% out-of-focus but 100% true-to-color shot. Blame the focus issues on it being at a stop light!

Bottom Line: Loot the Booty is an awesome summer color, and I'm glad that I started my exploration of Essie Summer 2016 with it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Essie Gel Setter Top Coat

Anyone who has read even a few posts on this blog knows that I'm a hussy for nail polish and can't commit to a color for more than a day. Truth told, it's because I can't keep a color chip free for more than a day- sometimes less than a day.

Right now, I'm having a moment with my Essie polishes. They've surpassed Christian Louboutin or Chanel's Longwear formula. Why, you ask, why? Five words: Essie Gel Setter Top Coat.

This little beauty is available everywhere that Essie is- including drug stores. Retailing at a moderate $10, Essie's version of a gel top coat is simply mind-blowing.

I've been testing this out for the past 3-4 weeks and couldn't be happier. Base coat seems not to matter, although I suspect that the formula was optimized to work with Essie's polishes. I successfully used Essie's Ridge-Filling Base Coat, CND Stickey, and Butter London Nail Foundation with this top coat and got the same astronomical wear time.

Let's talk about application. I tend to use one coat of base, 2-3 coats of polish, wait 20-30 minutes, then 1 coat of top coat. I want to make sure that the polish isn't going to transfer pigment into the top coat.

This has led to a crazy wear time of 5-7 days! I used to love Essie polishes but couldn't keep them chip-free. Admittedly, I've been loving one of the Essie Spring 2016 colors (Lounge Lover) as of late, but I had to repaint every other day or so. Now, I had to remove after 7 days simply to change colors.

My testing notes:
  • Essie Lounge Lover (Spring 2016): First of all, go get this color if you can still find it. It's a universally flattering salmon pink coral. 2 coats plus Gel Setter lasted me 7 full days without a chip. I had to remove, in order to replace with...
  • Essie Mint Candy Apple (permanent collection): Three coats of this (the greener version of the color that I have- anyone else notice that there is a blue and a green version of this shade?) plus top coat lasted 5 days before I got bored with the color. No chipping or cracking in that time.
  • Essie French Affair (permanent collection): Three coats of this were flawless when I removed it to play with other colors after 6 days. This is another classic Essie shade that should be in anyone's nail polish collection. 
  • Essie Where's My Chauffeur: Two coats of this, CND Stickey, and one coat of Gel Setter have lasted 3 flawless weeks and counting on my toes. Two paws up!
I did try it briefly with Julep Nan and found that the same flawless results weren't achieved. The polish was a bit gummy under the top coat and I was able to gouge it an hour later. I find that if you want extended wear with Julep polishes, their Freedom Polymer Top Coat is the way to go. The formula of the Julep seemed not to play nicely with Essie Gel Setter.

I know I've not been around much, but when I find something that I absolutely can't stay silent about, you'll see me pop up. Also look for some reviews from Essie's summer collection- because of my newfound love for the brand due to Gel Setter.