Do not approach the Essie Holiday 2013 Encrusted Treasures lineup as a collection of polishes. That way lies Epic Fail. It's a collection of finishes. Something happens to the Encrusted Treasures shades when you layer them over something dark, and sometimes it's a little bit magical.
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Ignite The Night: Look, it's four Essie Ignite the Night options starting from the left. Pinky: three solid coats of Ignite the Night. Ring: one coat Ignite the Night over one coat Essie Devil’s Advocate nail colour. Middle: one coat Ignite the Night over one coat Essie After School Boy Blazer nail colour. Index: one coat Ignite the Night over one coat Essie Power Clutch nail colour.
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Hors d'Oeuvres: There’s something quite interesting about Essie Hors d'Oeuvres, isn’t there? I decided two coats would do it and it does – it comes out looking a lot like a Christmas ornament. In some ways, I like it. In others, I can’t help wondering what it would look like if I tried it over a darker shade like...
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Hors d'Oeuvres over Essie After School Boy Blazer: Oh! Oh! The joy! I found The Joy! Yes, I forgot to turn the bottle label up so you could read it but there you are – that’s a single coat of Essie Hors d'Oeuvres over a single coat of Essie After School Boy Blazer. The result was an awesome surprise: a holographic, iridescent winner.
Essie Encrusted Treasures, On A Silver Platter: Remarkably similar to Essie Hors d'Oeuvres, instead of being silver and gold, Essie On a Silver Platter is blue and gold. I’ve shown you two solid coats and I’m leaving it up to you to decide what you’ll use under it as a base coat to make it magic.
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Peak of Chic over Essie Chinchilly: I can’t say I’m a fan of this fuzzy kind of polish look. That’s probably because I have zero idea how to use it and make it look good. At first, thinking I could go all kinds of Christmas, I put one coat of Essie Peak of Chic over a coat of Essie Wicked. That looked so terrible I can’t even show you for fear you’ll choke on your coffee. So I then put two coats of Essie Peak of Chic over a coat of Essie Chinchilly (oh, how I love the Chinchilly). Better, but still not great.
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Peak of Chic over OPI I Vant to Be A-Lone Star: So I put Essie Peak of Chic over a coat of OPI I Vant To Be A-Lone Star, a dove grey. Even better, right? I just gave up with it after that. I don’t know what to do with it; wish I did.
After I’d fought with Essie Peak of Chic for a little and resigned myself to failure, Essie nail expert Rita Remark told me I should try a coat of Essie Allure, a coat of Peak of Chic, and then another coat of Allure. She said the results would be “SNOWGLOBE!” I don’t have Essie Allure but maybe you do. If so, try it out and lemme know what happens!
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Lots of Lux:Ta da! Essie is on the sand train and I tell ya what, with Essie Lots of Lux they’ve nailed it. The application, pigment, and texture are all bang on. This silvery blue shade is a standout. I like it a lot.
Essie Encrusted Treasures: How to Use Essie Belugaria
Essie Encrusted Treasures, Belugaria: It’s not often I have to fight with a bottle of polish. Please enjoy this quad (click to enlarge) of my first attempt with Essie Belugaria, a mash-up of textures -- iridescent sequins, coloured glitter, sand, whatever. From the top left, that's my first coat, then the left side of my nails after the second coat, the right side of my nails after the second coat, and the finished product from straight on. Note the crummy edges all the way around (including the cuticle line) and the somehow square edge on my pinky (that’s weird because under that polish, my nail sho nuff ain’t square).
Enter again Essie nail expert Rita Remark, this time with words of Belugaria wisdom and her own photos for Beautygeeks:
"Start by giving the bottle a good shake, or roll, to mix the beads and sequins in the formula. Your first coat is meant for coverage, so polish as you would any other, ignoring the beads, but ensuring the entire nail plate is black. Your second coat is a 'filler.' Keeping the product to one side of the brush, dab the product into any gaps on the nail where the glitz could use a little filling. It may seem like you're globbing the product on, but it will dry faster than you think! The glitter to polish ratio on this beauty is 50:50 so it's a quick set. This colour is intended to have a matte-like finish so no top coat is necessary.
"I hope this helps! If you still have trouble mastering an even first coat, a quick cheat would be to layer it on Essie Licorice."
"To get a perfect cuticle line, I used my usual push/pull technique to apply to polish over a regular base coat. The clean line at the cuticle and free edge is thanks to a little angled brush dipped in acetone to clean up any stray black polish."
I could have just left you with Rita’s images and advice, but instead I decided to try Belugaria just one more time. I mean if I can’t do it after an expert tells me how, then how’re you gonna do it?
What you see there are the two tools I used (that’s two more tools than I regularly use for polishing). I used the other end of the cuticle pusher to shove up the first coat of polish that had blobbed along the cuticle line of my ring finger. I used the lint-free cotton pad to clean the gloops gently from the tips. Everything else you see there was done freehand. I literally lifted the brush straight out without wiping it against the neck of the bottle, started it in the middle of the nail, and slowly moved down toward my cuticle. Second coat was a repeat but I held the brush somewhat more parallel to the nail and started much closer to the cuticle. The lines aren’t great (click to enlarge) but if we back up a bit and look at it from further away…
It looks pretty okay. Not my normal caliber of work but still, for a polish as tricky as this one and without using an angle brush with acetone, I’m giving myself a 7/10.
These top coats are full of glitter and sparkle – when I say full, I mean full. When you pick your base colour, pick something complementary instead of something that’ll compete. If I can give you any words of wisdom (in addition to Rita’s words of wisdom), I’ll say to pop out and get yourself a bottle of Essie After School Boy Blazer. Out of the several shades I tried as base coats, it worked best with all the finishes.
Whew. K Falcon out.
UPDATE: Ready for Spring? See the Essie Spring 2014 Resort Fling preview now.