LOVE THIS LINE. Rich formula & pigment, longwearing, vibrant color & finish, long-lasting, easy to apply, minimal application mistakes (great brush!). Costly, but worth buying a few well-loved colors. The formula & application brush are excellent.
The topcoat is rather useless to me, but other users seem to like it better than I do. Any topcoat works with these colors for me, though I tend to get a little shrinkage no matter what I use, even the matching topcoat that's made for these. Generally, I use Seche Vite for added plushness & volume.
My fave colors are Sheer Fantasy (very sheer blush), Beauty Marked (opaque classic red), Rock The Runway (opaque bright red), & Gala-Vanting (vampy burgundy). Next I want to get Flashed (opaque orangey). Essie offers my favorite shades of red that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. These are flattering to my medium skintone & they (*hallelujah*) don't morph into some shade of ugly after they dry that makes me want to hurl. They stay color-true throughout wear, I don't notice any yellowing or fading.
Miracle of all miracles, this polish doesn't chip on me at all...I mean, at all. I'm sure it helps that I keep my nails short, but other polishes generally chip on me within 5 brutal workdays in a nonstop hectic medical office, & this product just doesn't chip at all before I change the color (usually every 7-10 days at which point there's new growth showing & raggedy cuticles). I've never had a real salon gel manicure. With this polish, it's the first time I can go on a week's vacay with full confidence that my mani/pedi won't chip or peel off by day 3 (or right after swimming) - I'm thrilled at that prospect! Been using this line for a few months & get consistent results each time. Virtually HG.
UPDT 2/1/8 -
"Virtually HG"...? What was I thinking?...this stuff is totally HG! It is so the bomb. The formula & brush are the perfect combo for mistake-free manicures. FINALLY, no freaking cleanup! And I did have my first flawless vacay mani - applied it late the night before I left, dried to perfection, stayed immaculate for 8 travel days (no swimming though). I only refreshed the shine with topcoat halfway through the trip b/c I'm a stickler for smooth shiny nails, & I went on to wear it an additional week since I was too busy/tired/lazy to change it sooner. (In 2 wks without mani change, my cuticles are weeds.) Love this line & reach for it probably 90% of the time. Hope Essie never discontinues it, or at least don't d/c the amazing brush. Brush application is perfection. Still love the same 4 classic shades the best, but interested in trying more. They need to make some punchy colors like China Glaze & Color Club, or some versions from their regular line (the one with the terrible skinny brush that helps almost no one).