I know that some people are all about “the rules”–rules like: you can’t wear white after labor day, never wear a smokey eye with a red lip, pastel colors=spring, and bold, bright colors=summer. But, you know what they say about rules sometimes: they were meant to be broken. At least in the world of beauty. That’s precisely why I wear my beloved pastel pinks and lavenders and vibrant corals and oranges all fall and winter. It’s my own little piece of springtime year-round. I find that something small like giving myself a manicure using a neon tangerine can do wonders for brightening up my mood–not to mention my hands. So Essie’s new Navigate Her collection may have been released for spring, but colors like these are on full-rotation all year long for me. Essie founder Essie Weingarten also bends the rules with this fun 6-piece collection–mixing soft, creamy pastels with lively, vivid brights. All of them are totally wearable and suit a variety of skin tones.
First off is Tour de Finance–a beautiful fuschia color. It may seem like your typical hot pink polish, but I find that the pink and blue micro-shimmer within really gives it a gorgeous kick. This was one of the easier shades to apply–but it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. I found this polish (like most of the other shades from this collection) started out being very easy to apply–thin (but not too thin) and fluid. But halfway through applying the first coat on my nails, the polish started to gunk up and become unmanageable. The longer I had the bottle open, the more tacky and gloppy the polish would get so that by the time I was halfway through my second coat, I was wanting to pull my hair out. The finish was shiny and glossy–glossier than any of the other polishes for sure. I really liked how this looked on. Of course, you will be able to find many dupes for this color–almost every brand offers one. But I do find that this is a good option, nonetheless.
The first thing that comes to mind when I look at Olé Caliente is “watermelon”. This is definitely not your average red, the subtle difference in color with the orange and pink keeps it interesting. It’s a bright, punchy orangey-red, but pulls more pink in certain lighting (I wasn’t able to capture the pink tones in my photos). This polish was pretty easy to apply (but still thickened slightly) and was pretty much perfect after just one coat (I still applied 2 coats though–as I do with all polishes). I really liked this one–it will look great on anyone no matter what the season!
Orange, It’s Obvious! is a–you guess it–bright orange hue. I was able to achieve a near-full coverage after one coat, perfect after two. Nothing too special really, just a nice basic orange créme. Great for summer! This was a shade I had an especially hard time with. Halfway through, it started to get a bit glue-y and apply unevenly. It was sticky and hard to even out–if I went over any part of my nail that I had already applied polish to, it would start to stick and get really patchy–with ridges of polish that wouldn’t level out.
To Buy or Not to Buy is a stunning pale milky lilac that contains absolutely beautiful lilac shimmer in the bottle, but unfortunately those shimmers just don’t show up once applied to the nail. It’s a shame too, ’cause they look so pretty in the bottle!! It was a lot more opaque than I thought it would be, yielding an even, almost perfect coverage with just 1 coat. With 2 coats, the color was perfect. I did not have as many problems with application of this one as I did with some of the others. The color after 2 coats is an extremely pale lilac. In certain lighting, it almost looks white with subtle lilac tones. I still like this color a lot though, and I was pleasantly surprised with the application. Plus, I am a sucker for a lavender/lilac nail.
Navigate Her is a fantastic pistachio cream color. I expected having to use 3 coats to get an opaque finish with this particular shade, but again, I was pleasantly surprised. The milky, creamy color was perfect in 2 coats and dried to a nice shiny finish. I was expecting to hate this color because I thought it wouldn’t do my skin tone any favors. Navigate Her proved me wrong–I think it surprisingly looks great on me (most minty-kind of greens don’t)! It’s a green that has more yellow in it than blue, so it’ll be very flattering on warm skin tones as well as cool. It’s a really fresh and fun option for spring. But, the application–oh, the application! This was another problem child–I just barely managed to get it to look decent on my nails.
A Crewed Interest is a very pale milky peach. The color is lovely–I think this is the perfect spring everyday polish for fingers or toes. I just wish it was easier to apply! But it’s pretty and easy to wear. It’s not too pink and it’s not too nudey-looking so that it washes me out/gives me the dreaded “corpse hand”. This polish did have application issues as well.
Olé Caliente and Orange, It’s Obvious! both stained my nails slightly (especially Orange, It’s Obvious!)–despite using a base coat underneath. I found that To Buy or Not to Buy was by far the easiest shade to remove–though it lasted just as long on my nails as the others. All the colors lasted on my fingers for a week and a half with nary a chip–but considerable tip wear (as is expected). With polishes, I tend not to test them for any more than a week and a half tops–just because I (like many of you) don’t like to wear my polish for any longer than that as you will get a lot of growth and your manicure will start to look sloppy.
My main complaint though would be the drying time for some of these polishes. Orange, It’s Obvious!, Navigate Her, and A Crewed Interest in particular started drying so quickly that by the time I was halfway through the first coat on each nail, it would start to get really gooey–I definitely had a hard time with that! They started out so smooth and quickly became a huge pain the butt. Also, all the colors except Olé Caliente and Tour de Finance bubbled slightly on my nails. I did not shake them prior to use–nor did I apply too thick of a coat. I have never had a problem with bubbling before with any of my Essie polishes, so this was certainly a surprise. But then again, I’ve never had literally any problems with tacky, thick, hard-to-work-with formulas from Essie, either. This leads me to believe that I may have purchased a few duds? Perhaps they were old or had been exposed to sunlight and/or heat for an extended period of time? I may be wrong–they may just be a few not so stellar nail shades by a brand that has many amazing ones.
All in all, really liked the shades and finishes and hated the formulas. I defnitely wasn’t blown away with this collection. I did appreciate the fact that they didn’t go the normal pastel route for their spring collection and mixed in some fun, vibrant shades with their pastels. They are good buys and it may be worth checking it out yourself to see if you have better luck with application than I did. After all, many of the other blogs that I checked out didn’t once mention any similar problems.
Pros: beautiful colors and finishes; not your average pastel collection (though it does contain some pastel colors)
Cons: these particular formulas, for some reason, seem to dry a lot faster than any of the other Essie polishes I’ve ever tried. The result is a seemingly thin, fluid formula quickly becoming sticky and gloppy the longer the bottle is open
»»Pricing: $8/0.46 fl. oz.
»»Availability: drugstores, salons, etc. Click here for help locating an Essie retailer near you
»»Recommended for: if you really like these colors and don’t mind working with a slightly gluey formula, by all means!
*side note: again, this was just my personal experience with these polishes. You might have better results if mine truly were defective in some way. I recommend trying them if you can
»»Overall Rating: B-