Essie Pale Pink Comparison : Ballet Slippers, Minimalistic, Romper Room & Fiji

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 17 comments
I have a few Essie pale pinks in my collection and was curious to see how they stacked up against one another. In the bottles, some of them look almost identical, but once on, the subtleties in the pink and the differences in formula are more obvious. So let's jump in!

Ballet Slippers vs Romper Room vs Minimalistic vs Fiji

Left to Right: Ballet Slippers, Romper Room, Minimalistic, & Fiji

I always say things like, "I know I already have like 3 pale pinks, but I need this other pale pink because it's slightly different than my other pale pinks." Sometimes I feel guilty about having that mentality, but look at this!  They really are different!

Left to Right: Ballet Slippers, Romper Room, Minimalistic & Fiji

Ballet Slippers is almost a cream colour with just a whisper of pink. Romper Room seems to have warmer undertones, while Minimalistic has cooler undertones. And Fiji is obviously the most pink out of the bunch.

The photo above shows the polishes completely opaque at 3 coats each.  I decided to start with one coat each and show you the differences as you put more coats on. Early on, you can see that Fiji (pointer) and Romper Room (ring finger) are the most opaque while Minimalistic and Ballet Slippers are in a milky sheer base.

Left to Right: Fiji, Minimalistic, Romper Room & Ballet Slippers
1 coat each

Left to Right: Fiji, Minimalistic, Romper Room & Ballet Slippers
2 coats each

Left to Right: Fiji, Minimalistic, Romper Room & Ballet Slippers
3 coats each

Essie Ballet Slippers

Ballet slippers has a sheer, milky formula. Probably the most sheer out of the 4. On the first coat it doesn't even look pink. The formula is a bit streaky. It was still fairly streaky after the second coat. A third coat is where I stopped, but there's still some streaks if you look up close. I would wear it like this, but it's not perfect. It needs a good topcoat because all the nails aren't perfectly smooth. Top coat smooths the manicure out, so it's necessary. It's a beautiful barely-there pink, the least pink out of the bunch. 

Essie Romper Room

I like the formula of Romper Room.  It's applies smooth and it's opaque and is easy to work with. There's very little streaking. It was the only one out of the four that looked opaque in 2 coats. I would have stopped there if I was doing this for normal wear, but did 3 coats for the pics so it looked flawless. I'm glad I did, because to my naked eye it looked great, but as you can see in the 2 coat picture above, my macro lens picked up on some minor streaks. It was pretty good at self-leveling but I did add topcoat to these pics. Essie describes this colour as "tea rose" and I agree, it has sort of an antique look to it.

Essie Minimalistic

Minimalistic has a smooth milky formula, much like Ballet Slippers, but easier to work with. It is self-leveling but there's still some streaks on the second coat. This was the only one that didn't need topcoat to smooth out the manicure, since it's smooth and self-leveling on it's own. It's pretty opaque on 3 coats but still a bit see-through. I really love this one. 

Essie Fiji

Fiji is very opaque and the most pink out of the four. I found the formula really tricky to work with. I needed to apply a bit thicker coats to get a better, smoother, less streaky application. I actually put this colour on last, because I wanted to wear it for the day. But because I was applying thicker coats to get a smoother application, and I needed 3 coats to get it completely opaque, the polish got quite thick. I added my usual fast-drying top coat, Good To Go, and let it dry for a solid half hour. Even though the manicure was dry to the touch, the first time I touched something, the layers of polish underneath started sliding around and the manicure was ruined.  It was extremely frustrating! I will have to try this polish again with thinner coats, but like I said it was difficult to get smooth non-streaky coats when it was thin. It applied rather chalky. 

My personal favourite out of the four is Minimalistic. It's become my go-to pale pink this season and I just love the way it applies. But doing this comparison showed me that Romper Room is definitely a close second.  I haven't been giving that polish the love it deserves apparently! I've had it since last Spring when it came out, and since it looks identical to Ballet Slippers in the bottle I thought it was a dupe.  But I loved the opaque antique pink and it was great to apply.  Fiji was a real stinker for me and it would be in dead last.  I will play around with application a bit more to see if I can get a more desirable finish and will update this post then. (*Here's what I know about Fiji)

Have you tried any of these pinks? Which is YOUR favourite?



  • Anonymous said...

    Love this comparison. Please do more comparisons with e.g. reds, turquoises, whites..
    Thank you, xo

  • Unknown said...

    So friendly and helpful blog for us essienistas...thx so much for all the effort, time and dedication ...
    By the way ..gorgeous hands and nails! !
    Q: do you use base coat ,?

  • Kindra said...

    Hi Monica, thank you so much! Yes I do use base coat, although I don't necessarily have a very favourite one. Sometimes I use Millionails, sometimes Fill the Gap and sometimes just to be quick and easy I use CND Stickey. Do you have a favourite base coat?

  • Anonymous said...

    I was so surprised and delighted to come across this blog just now. Just today I was in Walgreens, trying to decide which pink Essie to buy. I was indecisive about Ballet Slippers, Minimalistic, and Romper Room. I quickly brush one coat of each on 3 different fingers, and thought I would think it over while the polish dried. I left the store without buying one because I couldn't decide. This article of yours is wonderful and concise regarding all of these pink shades. Thank You!!! Great Job!!! :)

  • Kindra said...

    I'm SOOOO happy this post was helpful to you!! That is the whole reason I started this blog, was so that I could provide the kinds of Essie info that I've always wanted to other people. It makes me so happy that you found it useful. Which pink did you go with?

  • Anonymous said...

    Hi Kindra, thank you for replying. I went back to Walgreens today to purchase ballet slippers when I spotted limo-scene (another sheer pastel pink). I hadn't noticed that shade the last time I was there. I brushed one coat on. Now I'm confused again, lol. So, being unable to decide which Essie, I bought a Maybelline polish to hold me over (Maybelline Color Show shade - Born With It, #150). It was on sale and a few $$ less than Essie. Whenever I make up my mind which Essie, I'll let you know. Thanks again and Happy New Year. ps. I've bookmarked your page.

  • Pammie D said...

    Fiji! Super popular but super brutal to work with. It was my go to summer colour in 2012 (?). Thin coats help, but the brush still pulls colour up. I find it helps to make sure the brush is well loaded before letting it touch your nail and not too many strokes....but it's still hard!

  • Steph said...

    This is a great post! Thanks! I recently bought Ballet Slippers because it seems to be such a popular everyday polish. I wanted something that would go with everything! At the store i did notice minimalistic and romper room and they looked soooo similar in the bottle with very very very slight differences in color. Its great to now know what they look like on the nails and that romper room is more opaque and better to work with! I love the color of ballet slippers...but it does streak and i needed 3 coats and over an hr drying time for it to be FULLY dried. Thanks for this!!!

  • Unknown said...

    I found this after applying ballet slipper and trying to see if my formula was perhaps just streaky, what top coat do you suggest to level out ballet slipper if any? I typically use Seche vite as my top coat and orly bonder as my base coat. I had also put on OPI nail envy strengthener underneath the base coat because I was curious to see if that would help the streaks, which it might have. I can never prevent ballet slipper from messing up because of all the coats and drying time needed.

  • Anonymous said...

    Hi, I've just recently discovered your website and I must say it is awesome! Such great information, especially for someone like me who's a total beginner with nail polishes! �� I've a problem I hope you may help me solve with all your Essie-related knowledge. I've just bought my first Essie's sheer polish (Allure) on Amazon, but I've been quite disappointed in my expectations... It is supposed to be very sheer and easy to apply, but mine is white and opaque in only one coat, and has a very streaky and uneven formula that's not easy at all to apply... Has this ever happened to you? Does it mean they sold me an old polish or what? Is there anything I can do to fix it? Sorry for all these questions, but I don't know anyone else with all this experience of Essie's nail polishes as you! �� Thanks for your work and greetings from Italy! Valentina

  • norma said...

    I'm new to this since I just went back to my natural nails. Thank you SOOOOOOOOOO much for such detail. It is extremly helpful. I'm going with Minimalist.

  • Suzi said...

    Thank you! A perfect comparison that tells me everything I need to know without a lot of small talk...

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