I’ve long admired “the unattainable” European brands on various nail blogs: p2, Essence, Catrice, Ciate, etc. Well Ulta recently started selling Essence, and the intrepid Soaper1 agreed to review them for us. Here’s her stunning swatch of Break Through.
Essence is a German brand, not available in the U.S. untilÂ Ulta started carrying it this past spring.Â Ulta offers 20 shades, which range from work-friendly (light pink) to bold neon green (work-friendliness depends on your job).Â The polishes are mini-sized at .16 oz and are priced at 99 cents, but don’t let the size or the price fool you:Â these are amazing polishes.Â The three I’ve tried so far have all been wonderful.Â They’re nicely pigmented and apply beautifully.
If you’ve read my reviews, you know that I’m a habitual 3-coater — this photo is 3 coats with 1 coat of Seche Vite. However, this polish would be fine with 2 coats.Â I was able to capture the very subtle, hidden shimmer in this polish because I took it in direct sunlight.Â However, in most light, it looks like a creme rather than a shimmer on the nail. According to their website, Essence does not test on animals.
The stencil set was pretty easy to use. You do have to be careful not to use too thick of a layer of polish or it doesn’t remove cleanly. Also, you can’t use pure acetone to clean up the stencils. I melted one. It cleaned up fine with Zoya Remove +, but I think I’d probably use non-acetone remover next time. I should have used SV, but since I had a rhinestone, I used a rhinestone top coat. It’s not perfect, but not too bad for a first attempt. Of course, it looks better from a little distance. Macro isn’t always kind (and the color is a little distorted from the flash).