Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Essie?

This is going to be a GIANT post - but stick around if you're interested in the changes happening at Essie, a sneak peak at the Spring 2011 line, and bottle comparisons of Dive Bar and Master Plan - two new colours from the Walmart line! (And they are gorgeous!!)

In April 2010, cosmetics giant L'Oreal purchased Essie - my favourite brand of nail polish. There was a lot of speculation over what would change, what wouldn't, and I personally was worried that my fav brand would be ruined. L'Oreal said it wanted to broaden the distribution of Essie polish and make it more widely available, but now we know that what they've done to accomplish this is created in a sense two separate "lines" - a salon line and a retail line.

The salon line - Will have all the new collections and be sold at salons, and I'm assuming Ulta, Trade Secrets, etc. This is the current Essie that we know and love!

The retail line - This is the newcomer meant for mass distribution. Apparently L'Oreal made an agreement with Walmart, and they are already selling the retail line. Maybe it will start popping up in more places as well?

So what the heck is with this new retail line??

Essie @ Walmart

Take a look! I ventured into Walmart for the first time in 14 years just for Essie! (The first and last time I went into Walmart all those years ago, I passed out at the door. Nice.)

This is the display at Walmart - looks pretty neat right? (NB: Some people have reported seeing smaller displays. Check to see which polishes are available at your store.) What's different...


Here's a step-by-step in photos of the bottles! The retail Walmart Essie, Master Plan is on the left, the salon Essie, I'm using Sew Psyched, is on the right.

Glass molding is still there *whew*!

Ugly sticker, but I took mine off after I shot this. It only left a little residue, which rubbing alcohol wiped away easily.

Glass molding on both sides...

...and I took that barcode sticker on the cap off as well without any issues.

No bottom sticker with a number...

...but instead the cute "e" cap is replaced with a lame colour-coordinating name sticker.


So this is truly LOL-worthy. Some of the names have been toned down for Walmart - much like the lyrics in the music they sell there, it has to be family friendly! What they seem to have considered "inappropriate" though is *hilarious*. For example, "Fondola Gondola" is now "Fun in the Gondola", "Velvet Voyeur" is now "Velvet Voyage", and "Demure Vixen" is now "Demure Vix".

There also seem to be a lot of "z's" added where there weren't before. Maybe to up the "cool factor". I have no idea. For example "Lapis of Luxury" is now "Lapiz of Luxury".

Then there are just some name changes I don't "Pop Art Pink" is now "Poppy Art Pink" and "Decadent Diva" is now "Decadent Dish". What is so offensive about pop and divas?!

To check out all the new names, see the list here.


There is a limited selection of the Essie range being sold as a core collection at Walmart. (See all the colours being sold at Walmart here.) There are also some colours that are exclusive to Walmart, and some that are online-only. Here's a list of the exclusive shades...

Beach Bum Blue - medium/dark aqua with lots of shimmer
Devil's Advocate - very dark, either black or purple
Dive Bar - dark teal shimmer (see below!)
Jamaica Me Crazy - super shimmery fuchsia
Oui Madame - frosty white
Miami Nice - red/pink with shimmer
Master Plan (was online listed as in stores) - light putty (see below!)
Mango Bango (online only) - dusty orange creme?
Sweet Talker (online only) - light but intense blue/aqua
Mochaccino - ?????
Trophy Wife - ?????

Mochaccino and Trophy Wife were both listed in original press releases (see that at ALU here), but I can't find the colours anywhere - online or in-store! Hmm...another mystery... The status of these polishes seems to be changing as well - originally Master Plan was online-only and now it is supposedly in-store, but I've yet to see it in a display.

Now some bottle pics!!! When I first found out about the Walmart colours, I ordered the two Walmart-exclusives that seemed most interesting to me online - Dive Bar and Master Plan. Fedex lost my package, but Walmart quickly replaced it - I may not be a Walmart fan, but their customer service was amazing and I would certainly order online again. I didn't have enough light left to do real swatches, but those are coming.

Master Plan

L - R: Essie Chinchilly, Essie Master Plan, Essie Body Language

Master Plan seems to fall somewhere between Chinchilly and Body Language, but what I think it's probably closest to is Lippmann Waking Up in Vegas. (See Meganchair's post with WUiV here, Piff's post here, and my post here. We are thorough here at PoP!) I wish I still had that for comparison purposes, but I swapped it away. Needless to say, I LOVE this colour!!

Dive Bar

L - R: OPI Unriprned, Essie Dive Bar, Essie Midnight Cami

Dive Bar has the same size shimmer as Midnight Cami, but where MC is navy, DB is more like OPI Unripened in colour. The shimmer in both is teal and flashes purple in the bottle. I'm willing to guess that the purple flash doesn't show up much if at all on the nail in DB either, just like in Unripened. It's like someone took Unripened, but it in a blender for a bit, and called it Dive Bar! I think I like Essie's take on this better.

Essie Spring 2011

Other interesting tidbits - in this new Walmart display we got a preview of the Spring 2011 collection - A French Affair! (Check out the display can see the 'mini-display' on the top right.) Walmart is selling 4 out of the 6 colours from the collection. Walmart has - Coat Azure, French Affair, Nice is Nice, and Sand Tropez. I looked at them all and passed...but I did pause to take a picture comparing the bottles of Coat Azure and Lapis of Luxury for you.

L - Coat Azure, R - Lapis of Luxury

Coat Azure has subtle shimmer, much like fan-fav Sew Psyched (which I'm happy to say is part of the Walmart 'core' collection!) and is less periwinkle/purple than Lapis of Luxury. Even though I passed on these, I am still looking forward to the remaining colours in the collection - Kisses and Bisses (a pearl) and Topless & Barefoot (a pinky nude). It's also pretty neat to see part of the collection early - I wonder if this will continue?

The verdict?

After witnessing the changes myself, I'm still not sure what to think - on one hand I can still buy the same Essie polish I know and love, but on the other, I worry that the brand's image is being tarnished, and I don't like that one bit! While the bottle and product seemed to not have changed too much for me, Essie being sold at Walmart makes the brand look cheap, and I'm not into that. I really love the brand identity that Essie built - a reputation of class and quality. Walmart isn't exactly the best "fit" for that image. I'm sure that pretty display I showed you above will be trashed before long...tragic. However, I'm going to solve this by never going into Walmart again if I can help it - I don't want to see people painting their nails at the display, or the messed up bottles, or the empty shelves. I will be happy to purchase them online though, especially in light of the great customer service at The awesome new colours don't hurt either.

Whew! Congrats to those of you who got through the whole post - I was just so excited/intrigued by what was going on that I had to share. I am, after all, completely Essie-obsessed! What do you think of the Essie changes? Would you buy them from Walmart?