Essie: Summer 2019

The weather is heating up in my corner of the universe. School is nearly out. The air is quickly turning sticky and humid, with a chance of daily thunder showers. All of this can only mean one thing: Summer is nearly here! As I have mentioned in here (oh so many times … broken record-style), I don’t always go in for Spring or Summer collections. I tend to gravitate toward darker colors all year long, which means Fall and Winter offerings are my jam. But I have been trying to break out of this comfort zone for a while. This year, I find myself wanting to try out some of these warmer, hotter, and brighter colors on my nails — even if it’s only for a short while here and there.


Enter the Essie Summer 2019 Collection! This collection caught my eye in my local drug store, and I could not resist grabbing them due to the bright and vibrant colors. The fact that Essie has switched to a new, larger brush helps a lot, too. I find I am liking this brand more with the new brush size. I am not sure I will ever collect Essie like I collect from other mainstream brands, but at least it will be fun to pick up a color or a collection here or there.

As always, I will list the polishes in alphabetical order. And I have taken the descriptions from the official Essie website and info, wherever possible. There is NO white base coat in my swatch pictures. These photos show the polishes on their own.  If you use a white base under them, you will likely get even more brightness.


We are starting off with Claim to Flame. This is a “spicy hot neon pink polish with coral overtones”. It has a rich and slightly more creamy formula than the others in this collection. I had slight streaking on the first coat, but I found everything evened out for full opacity in 2 coats. I thought this polish was easy to apply and build up on the nail.

I don’t see “pink” or “coral” when I look at this. I see more of a terra cotta. Is there such a thing as a neon terra cotta? I’m not sure. But I think this is a nice neutral for Summer, since it still gives some sizzle on the nail. Given the brown tones I see in this polish, I think it would also translate over to Fall, but maybe I’m crazy in thinking this? I don’t know. I will probably wear it in the Fall, too. Because I’m nutty like that. I feel like this is the easiest of the earth-toned or neutral polishes in the collection. This reminds me of Orly, Desert Rose from (I think) 2017 or 2018. I don’t have Desert Rose available for comparison, but, if memory serves me correctly, I believe it is more pink-toned than this one. Don’t quote me on that, though.


In Full Swing is a “sweet neon peachy nude polish with a demi-matte finish”. This has a medium sort of formula. As expected from a color like this, the formula isn’t great. But it also isn’t horrible, thanks to Essie’s new brush size. (Can you guys tell I am a fan of the larger brush?) For me, it was patchy and streaky on the first coat. Most of the low spots started to even out with coat number 2. And I had full opacity with 3 coats.

Surprisingly, I like this polish. And this color. It is not a color I will wear often. Or for long periods of time. Let’s get real: I know me, and I like me some BRIGHT or DARK color. With glitter. And flakes. And shimmer. And the kitchen sink. But this is a lovely neutral for those days when you just need something a little more calm and serene. It still has a nice punch with the neon brightness. And I was okay with this peach color against my skin tone.


Soles on Fire is a “fiery neon tangerine orange with a demi-matte finish”. This has a decent formula. I found it to be very liquid/fluid. This surprised me, but it didn’t create problems in application. I still had some streaking on the first coat. This was mostly gone on the second, but I saw a couple of low spots. I think, if I had been more consistent in my application, I could have had this opaque in 2 coats. As it is, I used 3, and I was okay with that. They were easy coats.

Am I becoming a fan of orange nail polish? I am not sure, but I like this one. It is bright but not eye-searingly bright. I like that. And I like this particular tone of orange. For a color that is not always the norm, I feel this one is wearable. It is also oh-so Summery! Look how tan it makes my pasty-white skin look. Ha! I’ve already used it in a gradient, and it worked great!


Strike a Rose is a neon pink. (There was no description for this one on the Essie site.) It’s pretty basic. I liked the formula on this polish. I thought it was nice and easy to apply. It felt like more of a jelly/crelly formula to me, which I wasn’t expecting after swatching other polishes in the collection. I also found it a little more sheer than I expected, but this might have been due to my application style. I think you can get this polish opaque in 2-3 coats.

So … pink!! Now that I’ve changed over to almond shaped nails, I find I like pinks on me so much more. And I have been gravitating toward them in collections, too. Or toward collections that have a lot of pink in them (I’m looking at you, OPI!). So, perhaps, there will be more pink in the future of my stash. I don’t know. I do know I like this one. That may not always be the case, as I am fickle and tastes change. But I enjoyed swatching it. And I liked seeing it on my nails. It is a really basic color. But, if you don’t have a neon or hot pink in your stash already, I thought this was a nice one.


Take the Lead is a “vivid neon sky blue”. This has a great formula. It was easy to apply for the most part. You can see, in my swatch photo, that I was a little overly exuberant when dipping into the bottle. I had some of the polish run off the brush stem to flood my cuticles a little bit. I think this was more user error than a fault with the formula. I found it slightly sheer on the first coat, but it was opaque and lovely for me in 2!

This is definitely my favorite from the collection. I love how bright and vibrant this blue is. And, believe it or not, I am not sure I have a blue that is exactly like this. I like how it dries to a rubbery/matte sort of look on the nail. I always top with a glossy top coat, but I love seeing these polishes dry down before I gloss them up. Again, this is a pretty basic color, overall. But, if you don’t have a blue this shade or with this brightness, this is a nice one.


Tangoed in Love is a “glowing neon purple”. This has a nice formula. It has a jelly/crelly feel going onto the nail, but it is opaque and easy to apply. I liked it at 2-3 coats, depending on my application technique from nail to nail.

I pretty much love this one, too. It is easily my second favorite from the collection. I love how bright it is, but how it is also dark. This is like the best of both worlds for me! I thought this was one of the easiest out of the collection to apply. And it is a fantastic pedicure color! I have been wearing it on my toes for about a week and a half now. It looks amazing and is holding up well.


So, what do you guys think? Are you planning to grab any of these Essie Summer polishes? I have to admit this was an impulse buy on my part. But I am happy I got them, and I am happy to share them on the blog.

Overall, I think this was a good collection. It has good points and bad points, like anything in the nail polish world. I liked how this collection balanced nicely between earthy-toned neutral neons and more vibrant or darker color toned neons. I like how all the polishes in here have a nice amount of brightness and vibrancy to them. I also love that they all look fabulous on their own, without a white base coat. And I thought the formulas were pretty good.

On the negative side, there isn’t anything in here that is new or exciting or unexpected. I think we have all seen colors like this from mainstream polish many times now. Still, for someone who is a more casual polish collector or wearer, this is a great and fun collection with a nice Summer feel!

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