Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Essie?

This is going to be a GIANT post - but stick around if you're interested in the changes happening at Essie, a sneak peak at the Spring 2011 line, and bottle comparisons of Dive Bar and Master Plan - two new colours from the Walmart line! (And they are gorgeous!!)

In April 2010, cosmetics giant L'Oreal purchased Essie - my favourite brand of nail polish. There was a lot of speculation over what would change, what wouldn't, and I personally was worried that my fav brand would be ruined. L'Oreal said it wanted to broaden the distribution of Essie polish and make it more widely available, but now we know that what they've done to accomplish this is created in a sense two separate "lines" - a salon line and a retail line.

The salon line - Will have all the new collections and be sold at salons, and I'm assuming Ulta, Trade Secrets, etc. This is the current Essie that we know and love!

The retail line - This is the newcomer meant for mass distribution. Apparently L'Oreal made an agreement with Walmart, and they are already selling the retail line. Maybe it will start popping up in more places as well?

So what the heck is with this new retail line??

Essie @ Walmart

Take a look! I ventured into Walmart for the first time in 14 years just for Essie! (The first and last time I went into Walmart all those years ago, I passed out at the door. Nice.)

This is the display at Walmart - looks pretty neat right? (NB: Some people have reported seeing smaller displays. Check to see which polishes are available at your store.) What's different...


Here's a step-by-step in photos of the bottles! The retail Walmart Essie, Master Plan is on the left, the salon Essie, I'm using Sew Psyched, is on the right.

Glass molding is still there *whew*!

Ugly sticker, but I took mine off after I shot this. It only left a little residue, which rubbing alcohol wiped away easily.

Glass molding on both sides...

...and I took that barcode sticker on the cap off as well without any issues.

No bottom sticker with a number...

...but instead the cute "e" cap is replaced with a lame colour-coordinating name sticker.


So this is truly LOL-worthy. Some of the names have been toned down for Walmart - much like the lyrics in the music they sell there, it has to be family friendly! What they seem to have considered "inappropriate" though is *hilarious*. For example, "Fondola Gondola" is now "Fun in the Gondola", "Velvet Voyeur" is now "Velvet Voyage", and "Demure Vixen" is now "Demure Vix".

There also seem to be a lot of "z's" added where there weren't before. Maybe to up the "cool factor". I have no idea. For example "Lapis of Luxury" is now "Lapiz of Luxury".

Then there are just some name changes I don't "Pop Art Pink" is now "Poppy Art Pink" and "Decadent Diva" is now "Decadent Dish". What is so offensive about pop and divas?!

To check out all the new names, see the list here.


There is a limited selection of the Essie range being sold as a core collection at Walmart. (See all the colours being sold at Walmart here.) There are also some colours that are exclusive to Walmart, and some that are online-only. Here's a list of the exclusive shades...

Beach Bum Blue - medium/dark aqua with lots of shimmer
Devil's Advocate - very dark, either black or purple
Dive Bar - dark teal shimmer (see below!)
Jamaica Me Crazy - super shimmery fuchsia
Oui Madame - frosty white
Miami Nice - red/pink with shimmer
Master Plan (was online listed as in stores) - light putty (see below!)
Mango Bango (online only) - dusty orange creme?
Sweet Talker (online only) - light but intense blue/aqua
Mochaccino - ?????
Trophy Wife - ?????

Mochaccino and Trophy Wife were both listed in original press releases (see that at ALU here), but I can't find the colours anywhere - online or in-store! Hmm...another mystery... The status of these polishes seems to be changing as well - originally Master Plan was online-only and now it is supposedly in-store, but I've yet to see it in a display.

Now some bottle pics!!! When I first found out about the Walmart colours, I ordered the two Walmart-exclusives that seemed most interesting to me online - Dive Bar and Master Plan. Fedex lost my package, but Walmart quickly replaced it - I may not be a Walmart fan, but their customer service was amazing and I would certainly order online again. I didn't have enough light left to do real swatches, but those are coming.

Master Plan

L - R: Essie Chinchilly, Essie Master Plan, Essie Body Language

Master Plan seems to fall somewhere between Chinchilly and Body Language, but what I think it's probably closest to is Lippmann Waking Up in Vegas. (See Meganchair's post with WUiV here, Piff's post here, and my post here. We are thorough here at PoP!) I wish I still had that for comparison purposes, but I swapped it away. Needless to say, I LOVE this colour!!

Dive Bar

L - R: OPI Unriprned, Essie Dive Bar, Essie Midnight Cami

Dive Bar has the same size shimmer as Midnight Cami, but where MC is navy, DB is more like OPI Unripened in colour. The shimmer in both is teal and flashes purple in the bottle. I'm willing to guess that the purple flash doesn't show up much if at all on the nail in DB either, just like in Unripened. It's like someone took Unripened, but it in a blender for a bit, and called it Dive Bar! I think I like Essie's take on this better.

Essie Spring 2011

Other interesting tidbits - in this new Walmart display we got a preview of the Spring 2011 collection - A French Affair! (Check out the display can see the 'mini-display' on the top right.) Walmart is selling 4 out of the 6 colours from the collection. Walmart has - Coat Azure, French Affair, Nice is Nice, and Sand Tropez. I looked at them all and passed...but I did pause to take a picture comparing the bottles of Coat Azure and Lapis of Luxury for you.

L - Coat Azure, R - Lapis of Luxury

Coat Azure has subtle shimmer, much like fan-fav Sew Psyched (which I'm happy to say is part of the Walmart 'core' collection!) and is less periwinkle/purple than Lapis of Luxury. Even though I passed on these, I am still looking forward to the remaining colours in the collection - Kisses and Bisses (a pearl) and Topless & Barefoot (a pinky nude). It's also pretty neat to see part of the collection early - I wonder if this will continue?

The verdict?

After witnessing the changes myself, I'm still not sure what to think - on one hand I can still buy the same Essie polish I know and love, but on the other, I worry that the brand's image is being tarnished, and I don't like that one bit! While the bottle and product seemed to not have changed too much for me, Essie being sold at Walmart makes the brand look cheap, and I'm not into that. I really love the brand identity that Essie built - a reputation of class and quality. Walmart isn't exactly the best "fit" for that image. I'm sure that pretty display I showed you above will be trashed before long...tragic. However, I'm going to solve this by never going into Walmart again if I can help it - I don't want to see people painting their nails at the display, or the messed up bottles, or the empty shelves. I will be happy to purchase them online though, especially in light of the great customer service at The awesome new colours don't hurt either.

Whew! Congrats to those of you who got through the whole post - I was just so excited/intrigued by what was going on that I had to share. I am, after all, completely Essie-obsessed! What do you think of the Essie changes? Would you buy them from Walmart?


Like this? Click below to let us know!


Une Ruxi à Paris said...

ohhh, I really liked the E on the cap. will the old essies still be available on sites like transdesign? or they'll put the new retail line there too? I really like having the brand symbol on the cap, that way I know what everything is easier.

Elizabelle said...

I was in Delaware visiting my parents and paid a visit to Walmart...I *may* have been looking for the Nicole by OPI Justin Bieber heart glitter polish (what?!) and I saw the Essie display. I actually picked up Demure "Vix" because I had been curious about it and hadn't been able to find it. The Ultas near me (I live in the DC area) sell out of the new collections really quickly and don't seem to get them back in stock. So I will be stopping at Walmart when I'm visiting my folks to check out the Essies from now on. Oh, I also go there to get Hard Candy polish. Seeing your pic of Dive Bar makes me wish I'd picked it up! PS the JB glitter was not in stock. :)

Nina said...

I agree with you 100%. I might have a different opinion if my local Walmart weren't an old, shabby one, and if buying any sort of polish there weren't a huge pain in the arse, with the messy aisles and people swatching on everything. The name changes are just silly - L'Oreal changes Demure Vixen, but leaves Sexy Divide alone? Jeez.

However, I will have to pick up Dive Bar. Gorgeous!

kittytokaren said...

@une ruxi - Hi there! I believe that transdesign will be selling the "normal" line - the salon line with the "e" on the cap, because they distribute to salons. At the moment, this new retail line is only in Walmart.

@Elizabelle - Yes! I am glad that they put some great shades in the permanent line-up at Walmart like Sew Psyched and Demure Vix(en). Those sold out fast by me as well so people will be able to get them now! :) And LOL at your JB shyness ;)


Stephanie said...

What a wonderful post!

ShakeupYourMakeup! said...

I saw that too - I picked up a couple colors - I am very happy to see that I can find Essie there, because I've had a hard time finding them in my area. Fun stuff!

kittytokaren said...

@Nina - I haven't exactly been to many Walmarts, but the one I went to all the displays were gross with polish all over and almost no bottles. Just sad. I don't want to see that. Hahah and I think they didn't think hard enough about Sexy Divide!! ;)

@Stephanie - Thank you!! It was a lot of info but I hope it was clear!

@Shakeupyourmakeup - Then it's a total win for you!!


jaljen said...

I think Walmart is Asda in the UK. I don't go there. The new bottles look cheap. Not a good move. Downgrades the brand imo.

Unknown said...

thanks for the post! i love essie, so i'm glad to have the details. have you had a chance to apply and identify if there any differences in the brush or the formulas? keep up the good work!

Alison said...

I agree that Walmart seems to cheapen the brand. As you say Essie built up a lovely classy and elegant image for themselves and Walmart just doesn't fit that.

I really hate those stickers but at least they do come off!

Like jaljen said previously, Walmart owns Asda in the UK so I wonder if they will turn up here too. Although I never shop there either!

As long as the new releases will continue in the salon collection I will be quite happy and continue to buy Essie polishes which I have always loved too!

kittytokaren said...

@jaljen - Agreed. They are vastly improved when I removed the stickers though.

@Jenelle - You're welcome! I haven't had a chance to apply on my nails, but i swatched on tape and they felt/smelled the same! Brushes are identical for sure.

@Alison - The bar code and white essie logo stickers come off piece of cake! I didn't remove the sticker on the cap because the name isn't anywhere else...Like you I will continue to buy the salon version unless the retail collection has new cool colours like Dive Bar and Master Plan!


Hook Prism Power said...

I've never worn Essie but I agree with you abour Walmart making the brand look cheap. I did see one of the displays and you could tell it was just done because everything looked perfect. When good polish hapens to bad retailers.....

loveandkiwi said...

Is there a price different between the retail and salon line then?

Danielle said...

lol, the name changes are the funniest!

kittytokaren said...

@let them have polish - Exactly...I bet those displays won't be perfect for long!

@loveandkiwi - Ah! I forgot to mention the price! The line at Walmart is selling for $7.75 so virtually the same price as the $8.00 pricetag at my Ulta. Let down.

@Danielle - Hahaha I had a good giggle when I realized why they were changed!!


myclumsyheart said...

Love the Cake reference in your name. :)

milan and vanaily said...

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. I love essie, with it being at Wal-mart doesn't bother me too much. And by looking at the prices online, $7.75 is still pretty pricey.

I hope the formula is still good!

Ruthlessrocks said...

If they bring back starry night at Walmart they can do whatever they want with it.... please

Lucy said...

Ugh, Walmart! There is a brand new store not to far from where my girlfriend works. She went a few times just to check it out. I did have her get me Hard Candy's Lava. If I need to I will order online. I don't step into that place. I agree that Walmart cheapens the Essie product. The least they could do is have the price significantly lowered! Maybe Walmart is trying to class up their image. Good luck with that! Thanks for all the information.

Anonymous said...

Lapiz of Luxury... omg that's funny.

kittytokaren said...

@myclumsyheart - Yay! Not that many people get it - they mostly think I'm weird. Glad it reached someone! :)

@milan and vanaily - The formula seems to be the same, but I'll report back more accurately after I wear it!

@Ruthiessrocks - What a brilliant idea!!

@Lucy - I'm also surprised the price isn't significantly lower...but maybe Walmart is trying to class it up. Who knows.

@justasachildof10 - Some of the names are truly hilarious...its so silly.


Ruthie said...

The name changes really ARE hilarious! Changing "Pop Art Pink" to "Poppy Art Pink" seems LESS family-friendly rather than more to me. I envision "Poppy Art" being created by a bunch of super stoned opium addicts! LOL!

And changing "Lapis of Luxury" to "Lapiz of Luxury" is especially funny, too, because "Lapiz" isn't a real word in English but it is in Spanish - well, to be correct, it is a real word in Spanish AS LONG AS you add an accent over the "a", which would make it "Lápiz of Luxury". In Spanish, "Lápiz" means pencil, so the the literal translation would be "Luxury Pencil" or "Pencil of Luxury". Oooh! What a sexy name! Must.Have.Now!!! ;-)

Honestly, Essie being sold at Walmart doesn't bother me at all. The only I think the brand's image could be tarnished by this is if consumers who wouldn't normally buy nail polish at a salon pick it up at Walmart and find it lacking in comparison to drugstore or "non-salon" polishes (that are also less expensive than Essie, obviously :)), at least in their opinions.

In other words, if Essie is selling a fantastic product why would the venue affect the brand's image in this case?

I'm an equal opportunity nail polish lover - from WnW to Dior and back - and I hope Essie does really well in it's new venture!

Also, thanks for all the great info - your post was amazing (as they always are - I've been reading for a while now but this is my first comment and I just finally "joined" through Google Friend Connect). :)

GerryBerry said...

I'm all for buying essie @ Wal-Mart, makes it much easier for my to buy--i prefer shopping for np in person.

"dive bar" does look real pretty in the bottle.

i haven't seen any essies @ my local Wal-Mart yet, are the displays only being limtd to the Super Wal-Mart stores? the nearest one is about 9 mi. from my home.

kittytokaren said...

@RuthieGirl - Oooo Pencil of Luxury!! Loves it!! I am seriously getting a kick out of the name changes. I'm glad it doesn't bother you, but I do disagree about the venue affecting the brand image. I really think it does, but time will tell! I love Essie so like you, I really hope this venture works out for them. I'm so glad you joined us and commented!! I'm honoured to receive your first comment!

@GerryBerry - It's funny it seems to be inconsistent. My closest Walmart doesn't have them, but two slightly farther away do. You can check on the Walmart website whether or not your store carries the Essies!


Katie said...

Great post. I did a post about this a couple of days ago. I didn't even realize Essie was going retail until I happened upon the display.
I don't really care for them changing the names and what not. Seems silly.
I am for them making polish easier to access though. I know it will make it easier for some people to buy. However I thought the price point would have been a bit lower. Ha.
It will be interesting to see how this goes over.

Cat said...

Great, thorough post! I couldn't care less if Essie's salon appeal is reduced by being at Walmart, but I loathe everything that Walmart represents and will never, ever set foot in that store, so I guess that means no exclusives for me.

kittytokaren said...

@Katie - I had no idea you posted about this! But now I am a follower of yours :) I agree - I think the price point should have been lower, but time will tell how this move fares!

@faerieberry - Thank you! Honestly, I don't blame you about Walmart. This was my first conscious Walmart experience, and it was not pleasant. The online experience, however I would highly recommend that if the exclusives are calling out to you!


Katie said...

@kittytokaren Haha, I think we are the first to do any major posting about this.
Can't wait to see some of your swatches of these. I think I may have to go back and get Dive Bar. I passed on it in the store because I was in a hurry. It's so pretty though.
Thanks for becoming a follower. I appreciate that. =)

kittytokaren said...

@Katie - I feel sometimes like I'm the only Essie-obsessed person out there!! I hope to get some swatches up this weekend. Oh and if you want Dive Bar, shipping on Walmart is free right now! And I'm glad I'm a follower!! Now I'll know when you put up big posts like that so I can link to them. :)


Nails and Thangs said...

Very informative!! I dnt own any Essies, for they're a little outside my budget and i didnt care for the formula when I tried it out.. but! I'm glad you posted this.. I don't find many bloggers talking bout Essie and their changes... All I've been hearing is OPI lol

Katie said...

@kittytokaren Haha. My Essie collection is small, but the ones I have I do adore. It's funny though I've hardly ever swatched any of them for the blog. I need to get on that lol. Thanks for the heads up on free shipping. May have to check it out now.

kittytokaren said...

@Nails and Thangs - I'm glad you liked the post even though you don't wear Essie! I used to love OPI but recently they've got me down and I've become a tad Essie obsessed so I really wanted to post about this!


תמר said...

this is my first time commenting on your blog :) im Tamar which means date( the fruit) in hebrew
i love essie and am also obsessed. i live really far away and essie is about 25 bucks here so i never buy here and find other ways to buy.
ive heard about walmart and this is pretty much a no no. i think that least they could have given the line a diffrent name just like opi did with "nicole by opi" they made a diffrent line
and also dropped the price by like a dollar and a half- or two! which is smart for people who cant afford the opi price.
sorry for such a long comment....loved your post and that new master plan color -cant wait for the swatch!

Sandi said...

They threatened the E-tailers to stop their discount pricing (after OPI did it) because they were worried about keeping up the image of their brand name...and then they go to Wal*Mart??? WTH? This has L'Oreal written all over it. Since I refuse to buy L'Oreal products due to their lousy business practices, I'll just have to love the few Essies I have from 'before' and continue to boycott the L'Oreal.

kittytokaren said...

@Tamar - 25 dollars!? WOW!! Are you able to buy from a cheaper dealer online? I never though about it, but you're right - maybe they should have gone with the "nicole by opi" tactic. Thanks so much for commenting!! It's great to have you! And I'll have Master Plan up as soon as I can :)

@Sandi - HAHA good point!! "Stop cheapening our image! We will sue!" Then they run to Walmart...oi....WTH is right. I'm sure this is a L'Oreal move because when they bought the company they said that their first step was going to be broadening distribution...and this is their way I suppose. Maybe someone else will come along and buy Essie away from L'Oreal? Maybe?


ggggg said...

It doesn't bother me that Essie (or any other high end line) is sold at Walmart as long as the polish is basically the same and it is sold at a cheaper price than in the salon. It actually affords me easier access to the product.

I don't think that selling Essie at Walmart has cheapened the name or reputation of the product - either Essie or L'Oreal can take responsibility for that as they are the ones who made the decision to sell their product at a "discount" store.

On a side note (as I get on my soapbox), I am seriously annoyed with the prices of beauty products in the everyday retail stores these days. There isn't much difference between the discount stores and the department stores any more. Since that's the case, just go to the department stores - you get customized treatment for the correct products you need, gifts with purchase and free samples! (That's all - I'm getting down now)

Sandi said...

K2K, we should be so lucky. Unfortunately, I think not. L'Oreal has kind of reached Jabba the Hutt status with me. A huge behemoth that swallows everything it can reach. I don't think maintaining quality is really a L'Oreal priority. Crowding out smaller competitors, stealing formulas and family processes from their rightful creators? Check. Licensing distributors in untapped markets and then refusing to renew their licenses while stepping in to make use of the market that's been opened up by their hard work? Check. Quality? Integrity? Not on the list. Sometimes I think indie companies are the only way to go for cosmetics anymore, too bad that's not really possible with nail polish...yet.

kittytokaren said...

@ggggg - You know it's funny I've noticed that as well - the price point of drugstore products is getting higher and closer to department store prices. But I also feel that (especially with make up) the quality of drug store make up has gone way up as well in accordance with the price. But I'm with you...if I'm going to spend my money, I want the nice department store experience. :)

@Sandi - I feel like L'Oreal and Coty are both those kind of behemoths that you speak of...It's like chain restaurants taking over all the small private businesses. All we'll get one day is Sally Hansen and Applebees! We need to make a serious effort to keep the indie businesses around by frequenting them - both cosmetics and other retail locations!


Anonymous said...

Agreed kitty -- Drugstore prices have gotten outrageous! But at least the quality went up. I boycott Wal-Mart religiously (haven't set foot in one in over 3 years) so no new shades for me. I need to put this out on my blog.

Donna said...

Actually it's Beach Bum Blu...not Blue. I guess like adding the "z" to the names, removing that "e" adds to the coolness factor? lol (I bought that one on my last trip to Walmart and it's sitting in front of me now.)

Also, Essie is already sold at my Target, so this isn't their first foray into retail. I never bought them there since all they had were boring whites/creams, pinks, and reds. I hope this means they will be updating shades at Target and get some of these nice ones. I'd much rather shop there than Walmart!

Anonymous said...

This may be old news but Essie is coming to Walgreen's, too...bought some polish there yesterday and the register printed a "coupon" (not actually a coupon) stating as much (no date given, just "coming soon").

rojosa said...

Very informative blog entry! Thanks for taking the time to write all this out. I don't have any Essie polishes but will try it out eventually. Now I'm curious about your fainting episode when you first went to Walmart. Care to share?

Donna said...

Update: I am wearing Beach Bum Blu and will be removing right away! It's a terribly streaky frost and I have a million bubbles on all my fingers. I wish I could remember what this is called, but this polish also does that thing where if you go over it more than once it takes off some of the polish and leaves bald spots. What's the word or phrase for that again?

ggggg said...

Donna, I think that's called "drag."

EmpressRi said...

I have trophy wife on my nails, if you'd like I'll send you a picture of the bottle. It's such a pretty color

Next Creatives said...

I have a lot of Essie salon polishes and love them. I kept wondering why my coworker says she hates Essie and that they're very streaky. Well. She buys hers at walmart. She got me one for Christmas, and another one a few weeks ago. I have to say, THEY ARE SO STREAKY. I don't even want to use them. I have one on my toes right now and don't know how long I will be able to keep it on for. It looks cheap. So I believe they have changed the formulation as well as the packaging and colour names. Has anyone else noticed this?

Libellule said...

"Lapiz" is Spanish, btw. It's not like they invented the word just to out a z in it. Lol

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