ESSIE STARRY STARRY NIGHT RETRO REVIVAL COLLECTION SWATCHES & REVIEW

A long-lost love returns! Lemming squished!
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Karen Falcon
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A long-lost love returns! Lemming squished!
Essie Starry Starry Night Retro Revival Beautygeeks Composite

Essie Starry Starry Night (aka SSN) from the Essie Retro Revival 2016 Collection has landed on mah desk! Wanna see it? In fact, wanna see the whole collection? I mean after all, back in July, you crazy nail nerds sorta helped it come back to life, right?

essie retro revival collection swatches & review 

Essie Retro Revival 2016_Essie Cabana Boy Swatches

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Cabana Boy

Let’s start here with Cabana Boy (above). This guy was born in 2005 and is simply a stunning shade of pearly grey. Essie calls it pearly white but to me, it definitely leans grey. And beautiful. If I'd had a bottle of this in 2005, I never would have let it go. I didn't have one then so I'm awfully glad to have one now.

Essie Cabana Boy_Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Cabana Boy

Essie Cabana Boy (above). That’s two simple coats to opaque with zero top coat. You’ll need to be somewhat precise when you apply – use quick strokes and keep your brush as parallel to the nail as you can on the second coat so you don’t pull up your first coat. If you can do that, you’ll get to what I’ve shown you up there and then you’ll smile. By itself, dry time is average but you can speed that up with your Essie Gel-Setter top coat, yes?

Essie Retro Revival Collection_Essie Birthday Suit Swatches

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Birthday Suit

Part of the Original 12 Essie shades released in 1981, this is Birthday Suit (above). She’s a simple, semi-transparent creamy nude.

Essie Birthday Suit_Essie Retro Revival Collection Swatches 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Birthday Suit

Essie Birthday Suit (above). I’ve got two decent coats on there and I could build it up to opaque but it’d take waaay too many coats. I don’t like to do waaaay too many coats so I stopped at two. While I’m not a fan of visible nail lines (VNL) I think I can tolerate them here. Birthday Suit is such a throwback. Slapping this stuff on brings back memories. This is how all nail polish used to be! Skinny brushes and not pigment-laden. Yeah… totally a walk down memory lane. In a good way.

Essie Retro Revival_Essie Bikini With a Martini over Birthday Suit Swatches

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Bikini With a Martini over Birthday Suit

Essie Bikini With a Martini over Essie Birthday Suit (above). This is the youngest shade of the collection (created in 2006) and here, I’ve slapped one coat of Bikini With a Martini over my two coats of Birthday Suit. Kinda pretty, huh? Shimmery and somewhat iridescent, it’s a surprising little shot of frosty pink that reminds me of polish days past. That's what this collection is – it's history in bottles.

Essie Bikini with a Martini_Essie Retro Revival Collection SSN 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Bikini With a Martini

Essie Bikini With a Martini (above). Here it is straight up. That’s three thin coats. Yep, three. But that’s how polishes were built 20 years ago. My Archives are full of shimmery-sheer shades like these and I actually quite like them. They’re flashes of colour that show up when you least expect them. If you know how to use them, they can get you surprising results.

Essie Retro Revival Swatches_Essie Bikini with a Martini Mattified

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Bikini With a Martini - Mattified

Essie Bikini With a Martini – Mattified (above). Sometimes I do things just to see what’ll happen. I haven’t really decided how I feel about this result. It reminds me of the Cashmere Matte Shades – all satiny smooth and soft. Might it be good for springtime? Or not?

Essie Retro Revival Collection Swatches_Essie Sequin Sash 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Sequin Sash

Essie Sequin Sash (above). Originally released in 2005, Essie calls this a “sheer glittery bronze” and with that, they’ve nailed it. That’s exactly what it is in 3 thin coats, and boy howdy is this ever a revival kind of shade. I grew up on shades like these. They used to be stuffed with toxic chemicals and would dry stupendously fast. If you use thin coats, this one dries in an average amount of time and don't worry about the streaks when you apply - they'll diminish significantly.

Essie Sequin Sash_Essie Retro Revival Collection Swatches 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Sequin Sash

Essie Sequin Sash (above). Out of all the Essie Retro Revival shades, this one is to me, the most retro. Sheer frosty glitter polishes like these just aren’t made today. It makes me smile. It’s a throwback. I love it.

Essie Retro Revival Swatches_Essie Sequin Sash Mattified 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Sequin Sash - Mattified

Essie Sequin Sash - Mattified (above). Sometimes I think it’s good to show you when things I do really don’t work out so well. Before I did this, I had zero idea it'd come out 'n match my skin so completely. Ooops. Live ‘n learn, right?

Essie Retro Revival Swatches_Essie Sequin Sash over Black

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Sequin Sash over Revlon Black Magic

Essie Sequin Sash over Revlon Black Magic (above). Yes, I did that. And you know what, I totally dig it. One coat of Sequin Sash over one coat of my Revlon Black Magic gave me a pearly, shimmery, silvery gun metal grey night sky. Whodathunk that would come out of that bottle?

Essie Retro Revival Swatches_Essie Life of the Party

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Life of the Party

Ooooh! Whatta red! This be Essie Life of the Party (above) and she was first made in 2002. There’s something about her that stopped me dead in my tracks. It might have been the coverage (which was perfect in 2 stupendously easy coats), or it might be the actual shade of red. It’s different. It’s not bright, it’s not flashy, but it’s also not dull or understated. What it might be, is indescribable.

Essie Life of the Party_Essie Retro Revival Collection Swatches 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Life of the Party

Essie Life of the Party (above). There she is again and if you have a good look at my index nail, you can see it’s got this shimmery lit-from-within thing going on that gives it an amazing amount of depth. The finish isn’t quite pearl and it definitely isn’t frost. It’s not metallic either but maybe it’s a metallic pearl? Dunno. Can’t pin it down. I’m just going to tell you it’s freakin’ beautiful and leave it at that.

Essie Retro Revival Collection_Essie Starry Starry Night Swatches

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Starry Starry Night

Essie Starry Starry Night (above). Unnnh. 1997. That’s how long I’ve been waiting. That might also be how long you’ve been waiting. Was I going to spend $100’s on a bottle of SSN on eBay? No way in hell. Would I spend $9 today? Hellz yes! I’d spend $18 and get two!

Essie Starry Starry Night 2016_Essie Retro Revival Collection

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Starry Starry Night

Essie Starry Starry Night (above). She’s buildable (that's 3 coats up there with a nice slick of top coat, and shot in natural light). And if you build her, she will show you the cosmos. That’s her genius. That’s part of what made her into the legend she is today. That’s her Lemming-ness and that’s why you need her. 

Essie Starry Starry Night Mattified_Essie Retro Revival Collection Swatches 2016

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Starry Starry Night - Mattified

Essie Starry Starry Night – Mattified (above). Then, if you’re me, you mattify her – you know, just to see what happens. Would you?

I confess to not having an original bottle of SSN (hence my campaign to bring it back) so I can't compare the two for you. I will say the glitter bits in here are all silver and are all somewhat irregularly shaped. They're not perfectly round. With the addition of the blue jelly, you get the illusion of different shades and sizes of glitter. Essie has also come out 'n said there's no real diamond dust (apparently world dust supplies ran out) in this new 2016 formulation which leads me to believe that this bottle and the original bottle will be similar but far, far away from being identical. From trolling swatches of the oldie, this new one looks different - even in the bottle. But hey, someone out there has both bottles and will do a comparison for us very soon. If that's you, let me know and we'll add in a linky so people can come see the two side-by-side! 

Before you leave, I must tell you that when you work with any of these shades, beware of gravity. If you leave too much polish on the wand part of your brush, gravity will pull it down way faster than you think and you’ll end up flooding. Trust me. I also want to encourage you to slap sheer retro stuff (like these Essie shades) over opaque stuff just to see what kind of result you get. Sometimes it'll be a fail but sometimes, it'll be a big, fat win.

Essie Bikini With a Martini over Starry Starry Night_Essie Retro Revival Swatches

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 - Bikini With a Martini over Starry Starry Night

So? Let’s have it! What are your thoughts on the entirety of the Essie Retro Revival Collection? I have many thoughts. I think your response to it will depend on your age, how long you've been a nail polish junkie, and the size of your personal Archives.

If you’re game, I’d love your reaction along with your age (ball-park will do), the approximate size of your collection, and which of these shades you're looking at adding to your Archives. If you’re only up for SSN, let me know how long it's been a lemming – I’m insanely curious to see if I judged this collection the way you will.

Essie Retro Revival Collection_1

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 (image via Essie Canada)

Thanks for stopping by, my fellow polish nerdies! And best of luck securing your bottle of Starry Starry Night on the January 5th 2016 Canada/USA launch date. As of today, the Amazon.ca pre-order is over – it took less than 24 hours to sell out. Keep your mouse pointed at Essie.ca for further intel. If you’re in the US, there’s a sign-up for news over at Essie.com – it looks like the pre-sale starts for you on December 17th. In Europe, I hear May 2016 or later – but that’s unconfirmed. Here's hoping it'll be available at Ulta.com!

Oh! Oh! And right, right now, we're running an Exclusive Canadian Giveaway for a full set of the Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 featuring Starry Starry Night! Only a couple days left to enterrrrrrr!! Go! Go now! xoxoxox.

Essie Retro Revival Collection_3

Essie Retro Revival Collection 2016 (image via Essie Canada)

Durr - I should leave this here for you too... Just in case you missed the post, here's Essie Winter 2015 + Essie LuxEffects 2015. xoxo.

Manicures and photographs Karen Falcon (she’d like to thank Essie Canada & Katie Green for totally squishing her lemming)
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