Best Essie nail polish

Nail Color & Care

Picking a color that flatters your skin tone can take your look to the next level. For the best look, avoid colors that look washed out or mismatched with your skin tone.

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Which Essie nail polish is best?

Essie is one of the most recognized and iconic nail polish brands. Even if you’re not an aficionado, you may have recognized the tiny square-shaped bottles with a white “Essie” label lined up on the shelves of a store or beauty salon. The polish’s bold and vibrant shades with its clever names have gained the affection of polish wearers worldwide. 

The secret to Essie’s success goes beyond its award-winning collection of nail polish colors. Essie’s nail polish boasts high-quality and fast-drying formulas that make the polish chip-resistant and long-lasting. Its wide range of colors caters to all skin tones, ages and lifestyle preferences. Whether you like your polish sparkly or neutral, you’ll find an Essie polish that suits your unique taste. For a high-quality nail polish that goes great with lots of looks, Essie’s Ballet Slippers nail polish is the top pick.

What to know before you buy Essie nail polish


Finding a polish that isn’t made with harsh chemicals is not an easy feat. With only a handful of natural alternatives in the market, you’ll have better luck finding “safe” polishes that fall into categories from “3-free” to “10-free.” The number refers to the quantity of chemicals they are free from. The top three additives you want to stay away from are formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. 

  • Five-free polishes are made without these three ingredients, plus aluminum powder and dimethicone. 
  • Seven-free polishes are made without xylene and triphenyl phosphate, along with these five ingredients. 
  • Nine-free polish is made without parabens and acetone, and 10-free polish is free from harmful additives and is vegan. 

Essie is considered a safer “3-free” nail polish, but it does include some harsh ingredients, including dimethicone and aluminum powder.


If you want your nails to sparkle, look for nail polishes that have glitter. Polish that comes in dull colors doesn’t usually sparkle in indoor lighting and sunlight. Glitter polishes are especially favored for special occasions such as birthdays and other festive occasions.


In addition to different colors, nail polishes come in a variety of finishes. It impacts your overall look and the fashion statement you make. Polish with a good finish does not chip easily and lasts for a long time. If you want to flaunt your manicure for as long as possible, consider wearing a high-quality top coat polish. Here are the most common type of nail polish finishes: 

  • Creme finish: Gloss finish that often requires two coats. 
  • Sheer: A subtle look that’s favored for French manicures.
  • Jelly: Creates the wet look from its translucent color.
  • Textured: Gives polish a three-dimensional quality that makes the polish sparkle. 
  • Matte: This has a solid finish with no shine. A good option for those who want to wear a bold color without gloss. 
  • Holo polish: A new trend in the market, this polish contains glitter that creates the effect of a rainbow when exposed to sunlight. 
  • Metallic: As the name suggests, this polish offers a metal-like finish. The metallic looks include silver, gold, bronze and copper finishes. 
  • Pearl: This luxurious look has a soft, reflective and iridescent quality. A great polish finish for those who want something that stands out but wants to stay away from the blingy look of glitter.


There are some types of nail polishes that have strong odors, which can be overpowering and heavy. A strong scent is a no-no if you’re especially sensitive to smells and if you expect to attend an event like a meeting or a date where the odor of your nail polish will disturb those around you. Opt for polishes with a sweet scent that’s pleasant and subtle.

How to choose the right Essie nail polish color


Similar to choosing clothes, we should gravitate toward nail polish colors based on the season. Fun and bright shades are perfect for summer, while darker hues are suitable for the winter months. During autumn, nudes and neutrals are appropriate, while pastels shine during the spring.


Wearing polish hues that are suitable for the setting and occasion is important. For instance, glammed-up nails would look out of place in a business meeting or during somber occasions. Think about your lifestyle and what kind of activities you have planned before picking a polish. If you’re planning a night out with the girls, go for glitzy shades such as bronze, silver or gold. On the other hand, if you have an upcoming job interview, opt for neutral colors.

Your skin tone

Nail polish colors should match your skin tone. Picking a color that flatters your skin can take your look to the next level. Avoid colors that look washed out or mismatched with your color. These are the recommended colors for different types of skin tones:

  • Fair skin or pale skin: Often considered a cool skin tone, pale complexion needs hues that enrich the skin. Pastels, nudes are the best options, while dark shades and overpowering colors such as orange, bright red and yellow-based colors should be avoided. 
  • Tanned skin: Yellow undertone shades complement tanned skin. Bright shades of purple, pink and blue enhance your complexion. Skip neutral shades that resemble your skin color as well as golden polish. 
  • Medium or olive skin tone: Except for gold and rust shades, almost any shade looks flattering on this skin color. The best choices have warm and yellow undertones and have a metallic finish while less ideal ones include dark purple, red and navy blue. 
  • Dark skin: Colors of darker shades look vibrant and pop out on this complexion. Hues like maroons, dark red and green and mocha are your go-to choices. Light shades of chocolate brown are flattering too. It’s best not to wear pale colors and bright shades such as silver, orange and white. Pinkish hues will make dark skin tones appear dull and aged. 

Your makeup

Creating a well-put-together look involves choosing a nail polish color that complements your makeup. Avoid matching your polish and makeup colors to a tee, as this can look outdated and tacky. When done right, however, it can enhance your overall look. For instance, if you’re wearing a dark smokey eye look, match it with darker polish.

Latest trends

It’s well worth paying attention to what’s currently popular in the beauty world. If fashion experts and influencers are recommending them, there’s a good reason for it. Keep yourself informed about what’s trending while also ensuring if it will look good on your complexion and whether or not it suits your lifestyle.

How much you can expect to spend on Essie nail polish

On average, the price for a regular Essie nail polish costs $6-$12 per bottle. The Essie Gel Couture Longwear nail polish is priced higher, $8-$12, because it provides chip- and fade-resistant color with gel and a high-shine finish, unlike regular polish.

Essie nail polish FAQ

How long do you have to wait for your Essie nail polish to dry?

A. The perfect drying time depends on environmental factors like temperature and humidity. To shorten drying time in warmer and wetter climates, use a fan. After applying the base coat, two coats of polish and the topcoat, it’s recommended to sit for about 15 minutes for your nails to dry. While your nails may feel dry after this time, your nails are not completely dry until two to three hours after painting. During this time, you should avoid doing anything that could smudge your polish.

What can you do to extend the shelf life of your Essie nail polish?

A. Nail polishes can last up to two years with proper care. Keep the nail polish bottle out of direct sunlight, store it in a cool place, and keep the neck of the bottle clean. Some experts recommend keeping your nail polish in a refrigerator or freezer. After each use, make sure that the cap is sealed tight to prevent the drying of the polish. If the polish settles in the bottle, roll it between your hands so that it mixes properly.

Are Essie nail polishes hypoallergenic?

A. Nail polish can’t be considered hypoallergenic because of its ingredients. If you have allergies to any of the chemicals, review the ingredient list found on the product pages on the Essie website. In this way, you’ll be able to screen out the polishes you should stay away from. 

What’s the best Essie nail polish to buy?

Top Essie nail polish

Essie Ballet Slippers

Essie Ballet Slippers

What you need to know: This iconic award-winning polish is a perfect sheer pink shade that suits every skin tone and can be worn with just about any outfit.

What you’ll love: Essie’s number-one bestseller has a classical pale pink hue that’s graced with a sheer and subtle finish. It creates an elegant look for those who want a hint of color and sheen on their nails. This simple go-to polish is suitable for any season and occasion.

What you should consider: Some wearers found the polish too thick and did not apply smoothly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Essie nail polish for the money

Essie Bikini So Teeny

Essie Bikini So Teeny

What you need to know: This sparkling dewy shade of blue creates a fun and youthful look.

What you’ll love: A perfect addition to your pastel polish collection, this cornflower blue shade is described as being pretty yet provocative — a great fit for a day at the beach and all through the spring season.

What you should consider: According to some buyers, the polish color does not match the description and pictures. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Essie Bordeaux

Essie Bordeaux

What you need to know: This polish’s deep red-wine color creates an elegant and sophisticated appearance.

What you’ll love: This burgundy blood0red shade is a great alternative to black nail polish. The translucency of the jellylike polish adds depth. Adding a couple of coats provides longevity and extra shine. The deep and dramatic hue is a perfect fit for fall and winter. 

What you should consider: The nail polish has a cream formula that gives it a different consistency, so the wearer will need to apply two coats for even coverage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


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Seline Shenoy writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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