Mainstream Swatch and Review - Essie Retro Revival Collection

Nothing to Disclose

Hello there lovely readers! Today on the blog I have the much talked about Essie Retro Revival collection.
 


To commemorate its 35th anniversary, Essie brought back for a limited time 6 shades from its color archives. The bottle caps have a diamond-pshaped golden design that pays tribute to Las Vegas’ flashy casino night lights, the birthplace of Essie. Comprising the Retro Revival collection are the following polishes: Cabana Boy, Sequin Sash, Bikini with a Martini, Birthday Suite, Life of the Party, and Starry Starry Night.

Before I go into my swatches and review, let me make the following disclaimer: I did not own any of the original shades; therefore, I am not sentimentally attached to any of the polishes!  Alright? Good!

Cabana Boy
This is a light glossy gray crème with a subtle pearlescent shimmer. You have to apply this one carefully since the formula does not self-level easily. I found that applying multiple thin coats worked best. Shown below are 3 thin coats plus top coat. 

nail polish swatch of Cabana Boy by Essie
Cabana Boy by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival


nail polish swatch of essie retro revival



Sequin Sash
This is a shear nude shade that features a copper microshimmer, pearlescent microshimmer, and silver microglitter. At first, I swatched this polish over a clear base coat and I absolutely hated it. It brought out the yellow stains in my nails. In addition, I still had visible nail lines (VNL) after 3 coats. As it did have some redeeming elements, I then decided to swatch it over a crème base. For the task at hand, I chose Pillow Talk by Barielle. This nude crème is a soft shade of peachy pink that has enough color to cover the VNL, yet it is pale enough not to show through the sheer polish on top. Shown below are 3 thin coats of Sequin Sash over Pillow Talk plus top coat.

nail polish swatch of Sequin Sash by Essie
Sequin Sash by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival


nail polish swatch of essie retro revival




Birthday Suit
This is a glossy blush pink crème. It is the type of pink that you see a lot on bridal and French manicures. The simplicity of this polish is what I liked the most. You can either apply 2 heavy coats or 3 thin coats to avoid having any VNL showing through. Shown below are 3 easy coats plus coat.

nail polish swatch of Birthday Suit by Essie
Birthday Suit by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival


nail polish swatch of essie retro revival




Bikini with a Martini
This is another sheer polish that features an iridescent shimmer. Again, I hated this shade on its own. However, swatched over a soft pink base (Birthday Suit being the logical choice!), this polish completely transformed itself. Shown below are 3 thin coats over Birthday Suit plus top coat.

nail polish swatch of Bikini with a Martini by Essie
Bikini with a Martini by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival


nail polish swatch of essie retro revival




Life of the Party
This polish is a crimson red shimmer. The color is classic and translate well to present time! The formula goes on opaque and self-levels nicely. Shown below are 2 easy coats plus top coat.

nail polish swatch of Life of the Party by Essie
Life of the Party by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival


nail polish swatch of essie retro revival




Starry Starry Night
This is the reformulated version of the 1997 Essie hit. This jelly-like navy blue polish features blue and silver microglitter. Although the polish goes on opaque from the very first coat, the formula is a bit puzzling. I found that I had to have a generous amount of polish coating the brush in order for my brush to glide over the nail bed; otherwise, the polish dragged and made for an annoying application! Shown below are 2 coats plus top coat.


nail polish swatch of Starry Starry Night by Essie
Starry Starry Night by Essie
nail polish swatch of essie retro revival






Overall, the collection left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Birthday Suit and Life of the Party are pretty but unremarkable. Sequin Sash looks dated and it’s not a flattering shade on me (not Essie’s fault though!). Also, for the life of me, I do not understand why Cabana Boy had to be resurrected. There is nothing special about it and the formula is far from great. Starry Starry Night is pretty but the formula takes away the fun out of it.

The only polish from the collection that I will probably wear again is Bikini with a Martini. When applied over an undie, this shades looks unintentionally retro glam. Pink also happens to be one of my favorite shades!

This collection is currently being sold at Ulta, Target, and Essie.com.

Did you all get this collection or do you own any of the original polishes? I would love to read your thoughts on it!


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22 comments

  1. I don't like any of those. I wish they had skipped this and went straight to spring.

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  2. I don't like any of those. I wish they had skipped this and went straight to spring.

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  3. Well this shows how times have changed, the lighter ones look really dated. I had trouble just swatching SSN on a nail wheel, similar to what you said happened for you. I have the CbL dupe which I recall being shown next to the original Essie, and they were very close. I put the CBL and new SSN next to each other (and we've all seen the comparison posts), and they are not similar at all. No reason to even put this new one out with the same name, other than nostalgia/money grab (which worked since I bought it, albeit from ebay seller for cheaper shipped than Essie sells for normally in stores).

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    Replies
    1. I feel like Essie had a chance to make this a better hit, I totally agree the polishes are just....outdated and cheap feeling.

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  4. I'm really underwhelmed by these, tbh. Essie has just fallen off my radar completely and never won me back.

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  5. I only liked Bikini In A Martini and Life of the Party. But overall I'm not impressed .

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  6. Other than Starry Starry Night (which I don't hate like everyone else seems to), I passed on all the others. Can't say I'm sorry.

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  7. I'm one of those (somewhat rare) essie fans, and purchase almost every collection.. But this one didn't appeal to me even a little bit. I bought the CbL dupe to SSN and knew that was enough for me. I will say though that your swatches are flawless and you managed to make them all look good!!

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  8. That blue is gorgeous. My plan for this year was to get brands I haven't in my collection but sadly my no buy is hindering than plan x

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  9. Bikini with a Martini is my favorite of the bunch. I am so disappointed with the SSN revival. Did they think we wouldn't know??

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  10. I'm not a fan of Essie so none of these did anything for me.

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  11. I'm glad I picked up SSN but the rest aren't great!

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  12. I'm not a huge fan of Essie, TBH I feel that they're really overrated. These aren't my favorite, for sure. I don't feel like I'm missing out by not picking any of them up. Great swatches, though!

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  13. I don't really know what they were thinking with SSN. I mean, I get they can't put actual diamond dust in it anymore but STILL. Annoying application is one reason why I don't own many essie polishes.

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  14. I didn't get any of these, I don't have any of the originals either but these are just ok, nothing to write home about esp since ssn is nothing like the original. Your swatches are lovely though!

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  15. This collection really kind of bums me out. I love the idea of bringing back retro in-demand shades, but the pinks and nudes seem more dated than classic, SSN is basically a wholly different polish, and it seems like they didn't give any attention to the formulas.

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  16. I haven't read a review of Starry Starry Night that thought the polish applied well. It's too bad since that's the one we all breathlessly awaited.

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  17. Shame about the formula issues. This isn't the first I've heard though. Step up your game, Essie!

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  18. I'm not a fan of sheer polishes, but that Starry Starry Night shade is beautiful. Love all the sparkle!

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  19. Very pretty swatches! I recently picked up Starry Starry Night because I got caught up in all the hype. Even though it's not exactly like the original, it's still fun!

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  20. What's funny to me is starry starry night looks more like an indie to me than a mainstream polish.

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  21. Lovely swatches! I really tend to like Essie polishes but these did absolutely not a thing for me.

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