Do Oui Love Essie and the Essie Spring 2011 French Affair Collection?

Published in: Nails, Product Reviews

Essie French Affair

The one time I visited France was part of a whirlwind European vacation with El Hub before we got married, and we rode the rails to get around, hustling from train station to train station in performance fleece and flannel.


I must have looked more like a hobo than a fashionable girl, burdened by the weight of my big red backpack, as I passed perfectly put-together French women on the streets, them with their scarves and perfume; me with my maps and dirty laundry.

I tried to soak up as much proximity glamor as possible, a feat I believe is also possible by osmosis, even though there’s very little (read: no) scientific evidence to back it up. (Persnickety science fun fact: technically it would probably be glamor through diffusion, not osmosis, since osmosis refers specifically to the movement of water molecules from a higher to lower concentration through a semi-permeable membrane.)

That trip was six years ago, and now my French glamor/glamour reserves are running dangerously low (like low-rise jeans for men), and it could be kismet that the Essie French Affair collection and I met at this intersection of my so-called life.

I’m told that Essie Weingarten, founder and president of the brand, was inspired to create the six limited edition polishes by actress Brigitte Bardot, the scorchingly hot French ’60s sex symbol and former French fashion model.

“I think every woman has a little Brigitte Bardot in her,” Weingarten said, “and this palette coaxes her out!”

essie french affair 1
Essie French Affair Polishes from the left: French Affair, Nice is Nice and Coate Azure

essie french affair 2
Sand Tropez; Topless and Barefoot; and Kisses and Bises

My inner Bardot needed a little a lot of coaxing today, as evidenced by my ensemble of fashion dont’s — stretchy pants, a haute hair scrunchie in white, granny underwear (So-en Panties for the Filipino gals reading this)… I could probably explain myself better by simply saying, “I’m PMS-ing.”

Now, you know how Essie is known for sheer, subtle pastels, right? Well, not with this collection. She took a new direction with French Affair, aiming for opaque pastels that kinda look like pale M&Ms on my nails, and it’s not exactly what I think of when I think of glamor (I tend to picture high heels and red lipstick).

But I do still like the vibe. The $8 polishes feel upbeat, optimistic, girly and fun. They come in a shimmery blue, creamy pink, creamy tan, creamy peach, creamy purple and an iridescent green (it flashes to pink!), and with the exception of the iridescent Kisses and Bises, which is more like a decorative top coat, I’ve been using two coats to obtain full coverage with them.

essie french affair swatch
Essie French Affair swatches from the left: French Affair, Coat Azure and Nice is Nice

essie coat azure swatch
Coat Azure

essie nice is nice swatch
Nice is Nice

essie sand tropez swatch
Sand Tropez; Topless and Barefoot; and Kisses and Bises

essie topeless and barefoot swatch
Topless and Barefoot

essie kisses and bises swatch
Kisses and Bises

If I were into body ink, I’d probably get “Essie 4 Life” in some sort of scripty font above my left boob, because that pretty much sums up how I feel about the brand. I love it, and I think this collection, while not exactly what I expected, is quite Essie, fashionable and cute. The formula’s super easy to apply, too, and with a good base and top coat, remains chip-free for about a week.


PRICE: $8 each
AVAILABILITY: At select salons, beauty stores and online

A sweet expression of cat lady-ness

Um, did you know that you can get personalized M&Ms made with your own colors, messages and even pictures on them? Tabs, guess what we’re doing this week. πŸ™‚ I think it’s high time we immortalize the Tab-inator in milk chocolate with a crunchy candy shell.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 95 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. JJ says:

    I love these! So Spring-y! Though, I can’t decide if I like French Affair or Topless & Barefoot better…

    • Karen says:

      Both are gorgeous. Do you have a lot of pinks in your collection? If you’re already covered, then how about Topless and Barefoot? It’s a little more unique, methinks…

  2. Arianne says:

    Nice is Nice is soooo nice! πŸ˜‰ I also like Coat Azure.

    I’m with you on the brand, Karen. I really like the Essie nail polish formula. I haven’t met a colour that didn’t go on smoothly.
    Arianne recently posted … Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipsticks- Team Brights

  3. Tiffany says:

    I think I need topless & barefoot – I don’t really have any neutrals like that. I also like nice is nice!

    haha, I think Tabs-inspired m&ms need to happen asap πŸ™‚

  4. Heidi says:

    I would totally buy Tabs M & M’s, but I don’t know if I could bring myself to eat them!

  5. Tiffany H. says:

    I love Essie polishes! It is my favorite brand. They last so long. I am really digging Nice is nice.
    Tiffany H. recently posted … Manicure Mondays-Hard Candy Mr Wrong

  6. Cassy says:

    I will tell the truth, I only bought my first Essie polish a few weeks ago. It’s totally love, that mani lasted longer than any I have done before.
    Cassy recently posted … Yours Clothing a review

  7. French Affair, Nice is Nice and Coate Azure are calling my name!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … All About Eyes – Slate Inspired by Emily Blunt

  8. Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

    LOL thank you for pointing out the diffusion thing. This science nerd greatly appreciated it. I always end up thinking that whenever someone uses “osmosis” colloquially, lol.

    I really like these, especially Nice is Nice and Topless and Barefoot. I might have to get a bottle and paint my toenails!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, you’re welcome. My biology degree comes in handy sometimes…

      Ooh, get Nice is Nice! I bet it would look quite stunning against a backdrop of Aisha and Tigger fur. πŸ˜€

  9. Rae says:

    Loving the look of Topless and Barefoot – I’m a huge fan of that sort of pinked-beige/nude, and this one looks deliciously opaque! (The ones I’ve tried thus far have all been quite streaky, unfortunately :()
    Rae recently posted … A stunning lip for any occasion- Marcelle Rouge Xpression swatches and descriptions

  10. Melinda says:

    I love Essie but these colors look close to some things in my collection.
    Not distinct enough to buy. My favorite Essie polish is Turqoise & Caicos and Red Nouveau :))
    Melinda recently posted … My Polishes Warning- Picture Heavy!

  11. Sara says:

    Any recommendations on a topcoat and basecoat to make a manicure last a week? I swear, I can’t get mine to last longer then 24 hours!:( Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sara,

      Essie’s First Base Coat and Seche Vite top coat are easy to find and pretty good.

      Lately, though, I’ve REALLY been loving Zoya’s Anchor Base Coat and Armor Top Coat. I think they do a fantastic job of sealing color in place and adding a nice shine. You can purchase them separately for $8 each, but if you want to spend a little more, the Zoya Color Lock System offers both items along with a handful of additional useful goodies:

      Zoya Color Lock System

      I use this all the time and have noticed a dramatic difference in wear time!

  12. Nina says:

    the colors are soooo summery – so pretty! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      They are! The blue shade makes me want to go swimming. πŸ™‚

      How was the rest of your day? Good, I hope!

      • Nina says:

        it was quiet — we had chick fil a for dinner, we deserved a cheat day. then i swiffered the house …. and watched glee (it was ok) and raising hope (my fave comedy these days) ….

        how was yours?

        oh and the hubs wants me to try on blue nail polish on my toes! πŸ˜€ i think hes slowly getting to understand the beauty thing-o i have. πŸ˜€

        • Karen says:

          What is this mysterious Chick Fil A!? I keep hearing about it and have no idea what people are talking about…

          My day has so far been okay. I didn’t get any sleep last night (GRR)… this big cup of tea should help.

          Aww, that’s cute about your hubby! I don’t think El Hub notices half the time, LOL!

          • Tiffany says:

            sorry, I have to butt in here. chick fil a is like the best fast food ever. and now I want some. yum. Nina, have you ever tried the cookies n cream milkshake? yummmmmmm.

  13. BeautyMaven says:

    Essie just has the BEST colors!! I am in love with that blue one, mmm. Isn’t it funny how we’ve basically circled back around to the ’90s? I remember having polka dot nails, and right now I have leopard.. doo doooo…
    BeautyMaven recently posted … Technique Thursday- The eyes have it!!

  14. Markina says:

    I am loving Coat Azure and Barefoot!

  15. Chris25 says:

    I totally love Coat Azure!

  16. Vijaya says:

    I’m in love with that blue!
    Vijaya recently posted … Stila Travel Palette- Trendsetting in Tokyo

  17. Michelle says:

    I’m all about pastels this time of year. Bring on the spring!

    Also, my boyfriend got me M&Ms with our faces on them for our anniversary last year. It was quite possibly the cutest thing of all time.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Usually I’d totally be drawn to Sand Tropez; Topless and Barefoot, and Kisses and Bises but after seeing these swatches, I will definitely be picking up French Affair, Coat Azure and Nice is Nice!

    I love how opaque and striking they are! I have to get out of the sheer, colourless rut I’m in!

  19. Anna says:

    Gorgeous pastels!! Reminds me of Cadbury Mini Eggs…

  20. Toni says:

    Oooh, I like these colors! I loooove Essie polishes so much! Just did my nails tonight in Demure Vixen. I think I’m going to have to buy several of these polishes, because the colors are right up my alley. Thanks for the swatch pics! xoxo
    Toni recently posted … Happy Monday! Menu Monday and other Musings

  21. Tammy says:

    They’re all so pretty!

  22. Tania says:

    I saw these at Ulta and fell in love with French Affair, Nice is Nice, and Coat Azure. I’ll need to go back again and splurge!

  23. Nina says:

    LOVE Coat Azure!!! πŸ˜€ So pretty!
    Nina recently posted … Mixing It Wednesday- Hold It Against Me

  24. Shanda says:

    Topless and Barefoot and Cote Azure are mine!!!
    Shanda recently posted … Sephora by OPI Glee Collection

  25. gio says:

    I need to get my hands on French Affair, Nice is Nice and Coate Azure, they are stunning!
    gio recently posted … Product Review- Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

  26. Nina says:

    Wooow where can I get those m&m´s? My dream is coming true! πŸ™‚

  27. Inday says:

    So-En panties are a MUST for that time of the month. LOL Karen you SO rock my world!

  28. Silva says:

    I like this collection, specially love Sand Tropez and Coat Azure.
    Silva recently posted … P2 Elegant

  29. Reese says:

    I’m in love with Nice Is Nice. I can’t wait for the spring so I can wear it on my nails! I’m not sure if I should get French Affair since it looks kinda cool-toned.

  30. Alison says:

    I love Essie polishes I have the best wear and the vast majority of my favourite colours are from Essie too. I really like Topless and Barefoot and Kisses and Bises.

    Those M&M’s are awesome! I wish we could get those over here!

    Lol! when I read above your ‘so-called life’ I immediatly thought of Jared Leto! I am as obsessed with him as I am with Essie polishes. Man I got it bad!

    • Karen says:

      Heehee! I figured you’d get a kick out of that. I wonder of Jared wears Essie, LOL!

      • Alison says:

        Hmmmm…… He might he does like a bit of nail polish!

        I’ll try to remember to ask him if I get the chance to meet him again (he’ll remember me as the weird nail polish girl – but at least he’ll remember me!)

  31. Kim says:

    I really like Essie, too. This definitely says Easter Egg to me (ou Les PÒques poussent), more than Brigitte Bardot, but I still like the collection. Of course, I like Kisses and Bises best. Natural with a little sparkle and shine. And less noticeable when it chips. πŸ™‚

    I did know that about the M&Ms but have never done it. The Tabs version is going to be epic! πŸ™‚

  32. Ruchita says:

    These are so pretty! The pink, blue and purple remind me of Easter candy. I love the neutrals as well, espeically Sand Tropez and Topless and Barefoot. Those would be good colors to wear to work.

  33. Camzie says:

    Oooooo gotta love that lavender (Nice is Nice). I wish Essie is within reach here in the Philippines. So-En!! LOL Still putting that thing to good use.

  34. Alka says:

    I am a huge Essie nail polish fan! I have worn Mademoiselle nonstop since I bought it 1 month ago. I will definitely be picking up Topless and Barefoot for me and Cote Azure for my oldest daughter who is obsessed with blue polish. High quality polish + low cost = LOVE!

  35. Stephanie says:

    I like the pastel colors.
    Stephanie recently posted … Tag- 99 Things

  36. karo says:

    my favourite is SAND TROPEZ and I bought them!!! πŸ™‚
    karo recently posted … TOO FACED PIXIE PIN-UPS

  37. Ariel says:

    These colors remind me of Paris in springtime! Good memories.
    Ariel recently posted … Currently Loving- February

  38. lexi says:

    I was just at Ulta this President’s Day, too. I should have picked up Coat Azure then. I’m pretty sure it’s gone by now.

    This post really reaffims my obsession with that color – I don’t know what it is about blue polishes and me. I guess I’m still searching for the perfect shade. I recently picked up Barielle’s Slate of Affairs – a darker greyed periwinkle – does that make sense?

    I already have a lilac from OPI’s last Spring collectioin – Hong Kong, I think? But I am still eyeing that Nice is Nice!
    lexi recently posted … A Tale of Two New Blusheswhich one made the cut

  39. Nicki says:

    I picked up Sand Tropez, Topless and Barefoot, Coate Azure and Nice is Nice a few days ago. I LOVE Sand Tropez.

  40. stacie says:

    These are really lovely especially like Coat azure and Nice is Nice
    stacie recently posted … Pastel multicolour stripes

  41. Betsy T says:

    Ooohhh. I so hope they have a mini collection of this out soon… Those little 4-packs of the Essie collections are the best!

  42. megan says:

    I love Coat Azure…will be buying! I don’t have anything like it.

  43. French Affair and Sand Tropez are by far my favourites! Great coverage too – I love Essie already! recently posted … Ombre hair- the dip-dye effect

  44. Aracely says:

    I just got nice is nice, topless and barefoot, and coat azure. But I am inspecting nice is nice and it is looking a lot like the Rumple’s wiggin’ color from opi shrek collection. I am debating to exchange it for French Affair….

  45. noa says:

    love it!!! my best essie color is Essie Nail Polish Geranium

  46. Elizabeth Natividad says:

    I love these colors! Pastels are ansolutely beauti-must!

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